SummaryWe have studied the mechanisms underlying nonpathological age-related neuronal cell death. Fifty per cent of neurons in the rat enteric nervous system are lost between 12 and 18 months of age in ad libitum (AL) fed rats. Caloric restriction (CR) protects almost entirely against this neuron loss. Using the ROS-sensitive dyes, dihydrorhodamine (DHR) and 2-[6-(4′ ′ ′ ′ -hydroxy)phenoxy-3H-xanthen-3-on-9-yl]benzoic acid (HPF) in vitro , we show that the onset of cell death is linked with elevated intraneuronal levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Treatment with the neurotrophic factors NT3 and GDNF enhances neuronal antioxidant defence in CR rats at 12 -15 months and 24 months but not in adult or aged AL-fed animals. To examine the link between elevated ROS and neuronal cell death, we assessed apoptotic cell death following in vitro treatment with the redox-cycling drug, menadione. Menadione fails to increase apoptosis in 6-month neurons. However, in 12-15mAL fed rats, when age-related cell death begins, menadione induces a 7-to 15-fold increase in the proportion of apoptotic neurons. CR protects age-matched neurons against ROS-induced apoptosis. Treatment with neurotrophic factors, in particular GDNF, rescues neurons from menadione-induced cell death, but only in 12-15mCR animals. We hypothesize that CR enhances antioxidant defence through neurotrophic factor signalling, thereby reducing age-related increases in neuronal ROS levels and in ROS-induced cell death.
Degeneration of central axons may occur following injury or due to various diseases and it involves complex molecular mechanisms that need to be elucidated. Existing in vitro axotomy models are difficult to perform, and they provide limited information on the localization of events along the axon. We present here a novel experimental model system, based on microfluidic isolation, which consists of three distinct compartments, interconnected by parallel microchannels allowing axon outgrowth. Neurons cultured in one compartment successfully elongated their axons to cross a short central compartment and invade the outermost compartment. This design provides an interesting model system for studying axonal degeneration and death mechanisms, with a previously impossible spatial and temporal control on specific molecular pathways. We provide a proof-of-concept of the system by reporting its application to a well-characterized experimental paradigm, axotomy-induced Wallerian degeneration in primary central neurons. Using this model, we applied localized central axotomy by a brief, isolated flux of detergent. We report that mouse embryonic cortical neurons exhibit rapid Wallerian-like distal degeneration but no somatic death following central axotomy. Distal axons show progressive degeneration leading to axonal beading and cytoskeletal fragmentation within a few hours after axotomy. Degeneration is asynchronous, reminiscent of in vivo Wallerian degeneration. Axonal cytoskeletal fragmentation is significantly delayed with nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide pretreatment, but it does not change when distal calpain or caspase activity is inhibited. These findings, consistent with previous experiments in vivo, confirm the power and biological relevance of this microfluidic architecture.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12640-010-9152-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
IntroductionRecent histopathological studies have shown that neurodegenerative processes in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease develop along neuronal networks and that hallmarks could propagate trans-synaptically through neuronal pathways. The underlying molecular mechanisms are still unknown, and investigations have been impeded by the complexity of brain connectivity and the need for experimental models allowing a fine manipulation of the local microenvironment at the subcellular level.ResultsIn this study, we have grown primary cortical mouse neurons in microfluidic (μFD) devices to separate soma from axonal projections in fluidically isolated microenvironments, and applied β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides locally to the different cellular compartments. We observed that Aβ application to the somato-dendritic compartment triggers a “dying-back” process, involving caspase and NAD+ signalling pathways, whereas exposure of the axonal/distal compartment to Aβ deposits did not induce axonal degeneration. In contrast, co-treatment with somatic sub-toxic glutamate and axonal Aβ peptide triggered axonal degeneration. To study the consequences of such subcellular/local Aβ stress at the network level we developed new μFD multi-chamber devices containing funnel-shaped micro-channels which force unidirectional axon growth and used them to recreate in vitro an oriented cortico-hippocampal pathway. Aβ application to the cortical somato-dendritic chamber leads to a rapid cortical pre-synaptic loss. This happens concomitantly with a post-synaptic hippocampal tau-phosphorylation which could be prevented by the NMDA-receptor antagonist, MK-801, before any sign of axonal and somato-dendritic cortical alteration.ConclusionThanks to μFD-based reconstructed neuronal networks we evaluated the distant effects of local Aβ stress on neuronal subcompartments and networks. Our data indicates that distant neurotransmission modifications actively take part in the early steps of the abnormal mechanisms leading to pathology progression independently of local Aβ production. This offers new tools to decipher mechanisms underlying Braak's staging. Our data suggests that local Aβ can play a role in remote tauopathy by distant disturbance of neurotransmission, providing a putative mechanism underlying the spatiotemporal appearance of pretangles.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40478-014-0145-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), a major public health issue reaching worldwide epidemic, has been correlated with lower olfactory abilities in humans. As olfaction represents a major component of feeding behavior, its alteration may have drastic consequences on feeding behaviors that may in turn aggravates T2D. In order to decipher the impact of T2D on the olfactory epithelium, we fed mice with a high fructose diet (HFruD) inducing early diabetic state in 4 to 8 weeks. After only 4 weeks of this diet, mice exhibited a dramatic decrease in olfactory behavioral capacities. Consistently, this decline in olfactory behavior was correlated to decreased electrophysiological responses of olfactory neurons recorded as a population and individually. Our results demonstrate that, in rodents, olfaction is modified by HFruD-induced diabetes. Functional, anatomical and behavioral changes occurred in the olfactory system at a very early stage of the disease.
Introduction: Recent histopathological studies have shown that neurodegenerative processes in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease develop along neuronal networks and that hallmarks could propagate trans-synaptically through neuronal pathways. The underlying molecular mechanisms are still unknown, and investigations have been impeded by the complexity of brain connectivity and the need for experimental models allowing a fine manipulation of the local microenvironment at the subcellular level.
Increasing evidence suggests that pathological hallmarks of chronic degenerative syndromes progressively spread among interconnected brain areas in a disease-specific stereotyped pattern. Functional brain imaging from patients affected by various neurological syndromes such as traumatic brain injury and stroke indicates that the progression of such diseases follows functional connections, rather than simply spreading to structurally adjacent areas. Indeed, initial damage to a given brain area was shown to disrupt the communication in related brain networks. Using cortico-striatal neuronal networks reconstructed in a microfluidic environment, we investigated the role of glutamate signaling in activity-dependent neuronal survival and trans-synaptic degeneration processes. Using a variety of neuronal insults applied on cortical neurons, we demonstrate that acute injuries such as axonal trauma, focal ischemia, or alteration of neuronal rhythms, lead to glutamate-dependent striatal neuron dysfunction. Interestingly, focal pro-oxidant insults or chronic alteration of spontaneous cortical rhythms provoked dysfunction of distant striatal neurons through abnormal glutamate GluN2B-NMDAR-mediated signaling at cortico-striatal synapses. These results indicate that focal alteration of cortical functions can initiate spreading of dysfunction along neuronal pathways in the brain, reminiscent of diaschisis-like processes.
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