It has been suggested that oxidative stress may play a role in the pathogenesis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but the literature reports somewhat contradictory results. To further investigate the issue, we evaluated a high number of peripheral oxidative stress parameters, and some related issues such as erythrocyte membrane functional features and lipid composition. Twenty-one autistic children (Au) aged 5 to 12 years, were gender and age-matched with 20 typically developing children (TD). Erythrocyte thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, urinary isoprostane and hexanoyl-lysine adduct levels were elevated in Au, thus confirming the occurrence of an imbalance of the redox status of Au, whilst other oxidative stress markers or associated parameters (urinary 8-oxo-dG, plasma radical absorbance capacity and carbonyl groups, erythrocyte superoxide dismutase and catalase activities) were unchanged. A very significant reduction of Na+/K+-ATPase activity (−66%, p<0.0001), a reduction of erythrocyte membrane fluidity and alteration in erythrocyte fatty acid membrane profile (increase in monounsaturated fatty acids, decrease in EPA and DHA-ω3 with a consequent increase in ω6/ω3 ratio) were found in Au compared to TD, without change in membrane sialic acid content. Some Au clinical features appear to be correlated with these findings; in particular, hyperactivity score appears to be related with some parameters of the lipidomic profile and membrane fluidity. Oxidative stress and erythrocyte membrane alterations may play a role in the pathogenesis of ASD and prompt the development of palliative therapeutic protocols. Moreover, the marked decrease in NKA could be potentially utilized as a peripheral biomarker of ASD.
The tumor suppressor p53 protein supports growth arrest and is able to induce apoptosis, a signaling cascade regulated by sequential activation of caspases. Mechanisms that lead from p53 to activation of individual initiator caspases are still unclear. The present model for caspase-2 activation includes PIDDosome complex formation. However, in certain experimental models, elimination of complex constituents PIDD or RAIDD did not significantly influence caspase-2 activation, suggesting the existence of an alternative activation platform for caspase-2. Here we have investigated the link between p53 and caspase-2 in further detail and report that the latter is able to utilize the CD95 DISC as an activation platform. The recruitment of caspase-8 to this complex is required for activation of caspase-2. In the experimental system used, the DISC is formed through a distinct, p53-dependent upregulation of CD95. Moreover, we show that caspase-2 and -8 cleave Bid, and that both act simultaneously upstream of mitochondrial cytochrome c release. Finally, a direct interaction between the two caspases and the ability of caspase-8 to cleave caspase-2 are demonstrated. Thus, the observed functional link between caspase-8 and -2 within the DISC represents an alternative mechanism to the PIDDosome for caspase-2 activation in response to DNA damage.
To define the time course and potential effects of electrical stimulation on permanently denervated muscle, we evaluated excitation-contraction coupling (ECC) of rat leg muscles during progression to long-term denervation by ultrastructural analysis, specific binding to dihydropyridine receptors, ryanodine receptor 1 (RYR-1), Ca channels and extrusion Ca pumps, gene transcription and translation of Ca-handling proteins, and in vitro mechanical properties and electrophysiological analyses of sarcolemmal passive properties and L-type Ca current (ICa) parameters. We found that in response to long-term denervation: 1) isolated muscle that is unable to twitch in vitro by electrical stimulation has very small myofibers but may show a slow caffeine contracture; 2) only roughly half of the muscle fibers with "voltage-dependent Ca channel activity" are able to contract; 3) the ECC mechanisms are still present and, in part, functional; 4)ECC-related gene expression is upregulated; and 5) at any time point, there are muscle fibers that are more resistant than others to denervation atrophy and disorganization of the ECC apparatus. These results support the hypothesis that prolonged "resting" [Ca] may drive progression of muscle atrophy to degeneration and that electrical stimulation-induced [Ca] modulation may mimic the lost nerve influence, playing a key role in modifying the gene expression of denervated muscle. Hence, these data provide a potential molecular explanation for the muscle recovery that occurs in response to rehabilitation strategies developed based on empirical clinical observations.
BackgroundClinical chemistry tests for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are currently unavailable. The aim of this study was to explore the diagnostic utility of proteotoxic biomarkers in plasma and urine, plasma protein glycation, oxidation, and nitration adducts, and related glycated, oxidized, and nitrated amino acids (free adducts), for the clinical diagnosis of ASD.MethodsThirty-eight children with ASD (29 male, 9 female; age 7.6 ± 2.0 years) and 31 age-matched healthy controls (23 males, 8 females; 8.6 ± 2.0 years) were recruited for this study. Plasma protein glycation, oxidation, and nitration adducts and amino acid metabolome in plasma and urine were determined by stable isotopic dilution analysis liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Machine learning methods were then employed to explore and optimize combinations of analyte data for ASD diagnosis.ResultsWe found that children with ASD had increased advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), Nε-carboxymethyl-lysine (CML) and Nω-carboxymethylarginine (CMA), and increased oxidation damage marker, dityrosine (DT), in plasma protein, with respect to healthy controls. We also found that children with ASD had increased CMA free adduct in plasma ultrafiltrate and increased urinary excretion of oxidation free adducts, alpha-aminoadipic semialdehyde and glutamic semialdehyde. From study of renal handling of amino acids, we found that children with ASD had decreased renal clearance of arginine and CMA with respect to healthy controls. Algorithms to discriminate between ASD and healthy controls gave strong diagnostic performance with features: plasma protein AGEs—CML, CMA—and 3-deoxyglucosone-derived hydroimidazolone, and oxidative damage marker, DT. The sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristic area-under-the-curve were 92%, 84%, and 0.94, respectively.ConclusionsChanges in plasma AGEs were likely indicative of dysfunctional metabolism of dicarbonyl metabolite precursors of AGEs, glyoxal and 3-deoxyglucosone. DT is formed enzymatically by dual oxidase (DUOX); selective increase of DT as an oxidative damage marker implicates increased DUOX activity in ASD possibly linked to impaired gut mucosal immunity. Decreased renal clearance of arginine and CMA in ASD is indicative of increased arginine transporter activity which may be a surrogate marker of disturbance of neuronal availability of amino acids. Data driven combination of these biomarkers perturbed by proteotoxic stress, plasma protein AGEs and DT, gave diagnostic algorithms of high sensitivity and specificity for ASD.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (10.1186/s13229-017-0183-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The wide spectrum of unique needs and strengths of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a challenge for the worldwide healthcare system. With the plethora of information from research, a common thread is required to conceptualize an exhaustive pathogenetic paradigm. The epidemiological and clinical findings in ASD cannot be explained by the traditional linear genetic model, hence the need to move towards a more fluid conception, integrating genetics, environment, and epigenetics as a whole. The embryo-fetal period and the first two years of life (the so-called ‘First 1000 Days’) are the crucial time window for neurodevelopment. In particular, the interplay and the vicious loop between immune activation, gut dysbiosis, and mitochondrial impairment/oxidative stress significantly affects neurodevelopment during pregnancy and undermines the health of ASD people throughout life. Consequently, the most effective intervention in ASD is expected by primary prevention aimed at pregnancy and at early control of the main effector molecular pathways. We will reason here on a comprehensive and exhaustive pathogenetic paradigm in ASD, viewed not just as a theoretical issue, but as a tool to provide suggestions for effective preventive strategies and personalized, dynamic (from womb to adulthood), systemic, and interdisciplinary healthcare approach.
Understanding the relationship between physical exercise, reactive oxygen species and skeletal muscle modification is important in order to better identify the benefits or the damages that appropriate or inappropriate exercise can induce. Unbalanced ROS levels can lead to oxidation of cellular macromolecules and a major class of protein oxidative modification is carbonylation. The aim of this investigation was to study muscle protein expression and carbonylation patterns in trained and untrained animal models. We analyzed two muscles characterized by different metabolisms: tibialis anterior and soleus. Whilst tibialis anterior is mostly composed of fast-twitch fibers, the soleus muscle is mostly composed of slow-twitch fibers. By a proteomic approach we identified 15 protein spots whose expression is influenced by training. Among them in tibialis anterior we observed a down-regulation of several glycolitic enzymes. Concerning carbonylation, we observed the existence of a high basal level of protein carbonylation. Although this level shows some variation among individual animals, several proteins (mostly involved in energy metabolism, muscle contraction, and stress response) appear carbonylated in all animals and in both types of skeletal muscle. Moreover we identified 13 spots whose carbonylation increases after training.
Aim of the present work was the evaluation of the effects of moderate exercise training on 2 skeletal muscles differing in fibre-type composition, Tibialis Anterior (TA) and Soleus (SOL). Fibre adaptations, including their metabolic shift and mechanisms underlying proliferation and differentiation, oxidative stress markers, antioxidant and cytoprotective molecules, activity of Ca2+-handling molecules were examined. 6 male 2-month-old rats trained on a treadmill for 1 h/day, 3 days/week, for 14 weeks, reaching 30 m/min at the end of training. 6 age-matched sedentary rats served as controls. Rats were sacrificed 24 h after the last training session. Muscle regulatory factors increased in both muscles, activating satellite cell proliferation, which led to moderate hypertrophy in SOL and to moderate hyperplasia in TA, where the upregulation of desmin and TNFR2 expression suggests that myotube formation by proliferating myoblasts is somehow delayed. Changes leading to a more oxidative metabolism together with the upregulation of a number of antioxidant enzymes occurred in TA. HSP70i protein was upregulated in both SOL and TA, while oxidative stress markers increased in SOL alone. The status of ionic channels and pumps was preserved. We suggest that the increase in ROS, known to be associated with exercise, underlies most observed results.
Following experimental hind limb denervation in rats, this study demonstrates that oxidative stress occurs and advances an hypothesis about its origin. In fact: (i) ROS are formed; (ii) membrane lipids are oxidized; (iii) oxidized ion channels and pumps may lead to increased [Ca(2+)](i); all the above mentioned events increase with denervation time. In the denervated muscle, (iv) mRNA abundance of cytoprotective and anti-oxidant proteins (Hsp70, Hsp27, Sod1, Catalase, Gpx1, Gpx4, Gstm1), as well as (v) SOD1 enzymatic activity and HSP70i protein increase; (vi) an unbalance in mitochondrial OXPHOS enzymes occurs, presumably leading to excess mitochondrial ROS production; (vii) increased cPLA2alpha expression (mRNA) and activation (increased [Ca(2+)](i)) may lead to increased hydroperoxides release. Since anti-oxidant defences appear inadequate to counterbalance increased ROS production with increased denervation time, an anti-oxidant therapeutic strategy seems to be advisable in the many medical conditions where the nerve-muscle connection is impaired.
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