Hippocampal neurogenesis has widely been linked to memory and learning performance. New neurons generated from neural stem cells (NSC) within the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG) integrate in hippocampal circuitry participating in memory tasks. Several neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders show cognitive impairment together with a reduction in DG neurogenesis. Growth factors secreted within the DG promote neurogenesis. Protein kinases of the protein kinase C (PKC) family facilitate the release of several of these growth factors, highlighting the role of PKC isozymes as key target molecules for the development of drugs that induce hippocampal neurogenesis. PKC activating diterpenes have been shown to facilitate NSC proliferation in neurogenic niches when injected intracerebroventricularly. We show in here that long-term administration of diterpene ER272 promotes neurogenesis in the subventricular zone and in the DG of mice, affecting neuroblasts differentiation and neuronal maturation. A concomitant improvement in learning and spatial memory tasks performance can be observed. Insights into the mechanism of action reveal that this compound facilitates classical PKCα activation and promotes transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα) and, to a lesser extent, neuregulin release. Our results highlight the role of this molecule in the development of pharmacological drugs to treat neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders associated with memory loss and a deficient neurogenesis.
Acute or chronic injury to the central nervous system (CNS), causes neuronal death and irreversible cognitive deficits or sensory-motor alteration. Despite the capacity of the adult CNS to generate new neurons from neural stem cells (NSC), neuronal replacement following an injury is a restricted process, which does not naturally result in functional regeneration. Therefore, potentiating endogenous neurogenesis is one of the strategies that are currently being under study to regenerate damaged brain tissue. The insignificant neurogenesis that occurs in CNS injuries is a consequence of the gliogenic/non-neurogenic environment that inflammatory signaling molecules create within the injured area. The modification of the extracellular signals to generate a neurogenic environment would facilitate neuronal replacement. However, in order to generate this environment, it is necessary to unearth which molecules promote or impair neurogenesis to introduce the first and/or eliminate the latter. Specific isozymes of the protein kinase C (PKC) family differentially contribute to generate a gliogenic or neurogenic environment in injuries by regulating the ADAM17 mediated release of growth factor receptor ligands. Recent reports describe several non-tumorigenic diterpenes isolated from plants of the Euphorbia genus, which specifically modulate the activity of PKC isozymes promoting neurogenesis. Diterpenes with 12-deoxyphorbol or lathyrane skeleton, increase NPC proliferation in neurogenic niches in the adult mouse brain in a PKCβ dependent manner exerting their effects on transit amplifying cells, whereas PKC inhibition in injuries promotes neurogenesis. Thus, compounds that balance PKC activity in injuries might be of use in the development of new drugs and therapeutic strategies to regenerate brain injuries.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common form of brain tumor characterized by its resistance to conventional therapies, including temozolomide, the most widely used chemotherapeutic agent in the treatment of GBM. Within the tumor, the presence of glioma stem cells (GSC) seems to be the reason for drug resistance. The discovery of GSC has boosted the search for new experimental models to study GBM, which allow the development of new GBM treatments targeting these cells. In here, we describe different strategies currently in use to study GBM. Initial GBM investigations were focused in the development of xenograft assays. Thereafter, techniques advanced to dissociate tumor cells into single-cell suspensions, which generate aggregates referred to as neurospheres, thus facilitating their selective expansion. Concomitantly, the finding of genes involved in the initiation and progression of GBM tumors, led to the generation of mice models for the GBM. The latest advances have been the use of GBM organoids or 3D-bioprinted mini-brains. 3D bio-printing mimics tissue cytoarchitecture by combining different types of cells interacting with each other and with extracellular matrix components. These in vivo models faithfully replicate human diseases in which the effect of new drugs can easily be tested. Based on recent data from human glioblastoma, this review critically evaluates the different experimental models used in the study of GB, including cell cultures, mouse models, brain organoids, and 3D bioprinting focusing in the advantages and disadvantages of each approach to understand the mechanisms involved in the progression and treatment response of this devastating disease.
Neural stem cells are activated within neurogenic niches in response to brain injuries. This results in the production of neuroblasts, which unsuccessfully attempt to migrate toward the damaged tissue. Injuries constitute a gliogenic/nonneurogenic niche generated by the presence of anti-neurogenic signals, which impair neuronal differentiation and migration. Kinases of the protein kinase C (PKC) family mediate the release of growth factors that participate in different steps of the neurogenic process, particularly, novel PKC isozymes facilitate the release of the neurogenic growth factor neuregulin. We have demonstrated herein that a plant derived diterpene, (EOF2; CAS number 2230806-06-9), with the capacity to activate PKC facilitates the release of neuregulin 1, and promotes neuroblasts differentiation and survival in cultures of subventricular zone (SVZ) isolated cells in a novel PKC dependent manner. Local infusion of this compound in mechanical cortical injuries induces neuroblast enrichment within the perilesional area, and noninvasive intranasal administration of EOF2 promotes migration of neuroblasts from the SVZ towards the injury, allowing their survival and differentiation into mature neurons, being some of them cholinergic and GABAergic. Our results elucidate the mechanism of EOF2 promoting neurogenesis in injuries and highlight the role of novel PKC isozymes as targets in brain injury regeneration.
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that participates in several homeostatic functions in mammalian organisms. Lower levels of vitamin D are produced in the older population, vitamin D deficiency being an accelerating factor for the progression of the aging process. In this review, we focus on the effect that vitamin D exerts in the aged brain paying special attention to the neurogenic process. Neurogenesis occurs in the adult brain in neurogenic regions, such as the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG). This region generates new neurons that participate in cognitive tasks. The neurogenic rate in the DG is reduced in the aged brain because of a reduction in the number of neural stem cells (NSC). Homeostatic mechanisms controlled by the Wnt signaling pathway protect this pool of NSC from being depleted. We discuss in here the crosstalk between Wnt signaling and vitamin D, and hypothesize that hypovitaminosis might cause failure in the control of the neurogenic homeostatic mechanisms in the old brain leading to cognitive impairment. Understanding the relationship between vitamin D, neurogenesis and cognitive performance in the aged brain may facilitate prevention of cognitive decline and it can open a door into new therapeutic fields by perspectives in the elderly.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent and aggressive primary brain tumor and is associated with a poor prognosis. Despite the use of combined treatment approaches, recurrence is almost inevitable and survival longer than 14 or 15 months after diagnosis is low. It is therefore necessary to identify new therapeutic targets to fight GBM progression and recurrence. Some publications have pointed out the role of glioma stem cells (GSCs) as the origin of GBM. These cells, with characteristics of neural stem cells (NSC) present in physiological neurogenic niches, have been proposed as being responsible for the high resistance of GBM to current treatments such as temozolomide (TMZ). The protein Kinase C (PKC) family members play an essential role in transducing signals related with cell cycle entrance, differentiation and apoptosis in NSC and participate in distinct signaling cascades that determine NSC and GSC dynamics. Thus, PKC could be a suitable druggable target to treat recurrent GBM. Clinical trials have tested the efficacy of PKCβ inhibitors, and preclinical studies have focused on other PKC isozymes. Here, we discuss the idea that other PKC isozymes may also be involved in GBM progression and that the development of a new generation of effective drugs should consider the balance between the activation of different PKC subtypes.
A small library of phorbol 12,13-diesters bearing low lipophilicity ester chains was prepared as potential neurogenic agents in the adult brain. They were also used in a targeted UHPLC–HRMS screening of the latex of Euphorbia resinifera. Two new 12-deoxy-16-hydroxyphorbol 13,16-diesters were isolated, and their structures were deduced using two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy and NOE experiments. The ability of natural and synthetic compounds to stimulate transforming growth factor alpha (TFGα) release, to increase neural progenitor cell proliferation, and to stimulate neurogenesis was evaluated. All compounds that facilitated TGFα release promoted neural progenitor cell proliferation. The presence of two acyloxy moieties on the tigliane skeleton led to higher levels of activity, which decreased when a free hydroxyl group was at C-12. Remarkably, the compound bearing isobutyryloxy groups was the most potent on the TGFα assay and at inducing neural progenitor cell proliferation in vitro, also leading to enhanced neurogenesis in vivo when administered intranasally to mice.
Oxidative stress is one of the main proposed mechanisms involved in neuronal degeneration. To evaluate the consequences of oxidative stress on motor cortex pyramidal neurons during postnatal development, rats were classified into three groups: Newborn (P2–P7); infantile (P11–P15); and young adult (P20–P40). Oxidative stress was induced by 10 µM of cumene hydroperoxide (CH) application. In newborn rats, using the whole cell patch-clamp technique in brain slices, no significant modifications in membrane excitability were found. In infantile rats, the input resistance increased and rheobase decreased due to the blockage of GABAergic tonic conductance. Lipid peroxidation induced by CH resulted in a noticeable increase in protein-bound 4-hidroxynonenal in homogenates in only infantile and young adult rat slices. Interestingly, homogenates of newborn rat brain slices showed the highest capacity to respond to oxidative stress by dramatically increasing their glutathione and free thiol content. This increase correlated with a time-dependent increase in the glutathione reductase activity, suggesting a greater buffering capacity of newborn rats to resist oxidative stress. Furthermore, pre-treatment of the slices with glutathione monoethyl ester acted as a neuroprotector in pyramidal neurons of infantile rats. We conclude that during maturation, the vulnerability to oxidative stress in rat motor neurons increases with age.
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