Honors & Awards
Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Research Award, American Federation for Aging Research (07/05)
Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Award, American Federation for Aging Research (07/2001)
We are interested in understanding the basic mechanisms by which neurons die in stroke and in neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Our focus is on the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) pathway, which has been found to play a critical role in promoting neuronal death in a number of models of neurological disease, including stroke, Parkinsons disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Alzheimers disease. We are examining the function of downstream prostaglandin receptor signaling pathways, focusing on the functions of prostaglandin receptors in glutamate toxicity, ischemia, and neuroinflammation. Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo genetic and pharmacological strategies, we are finding that specific prostaglandin receptor signaling pathways impact dramatically on disease progression in models of both acute and chronic neurodegeneration. The long-term goal of our research is to understand the contribution of prostaglandin signaling to neuronal injury in a wide array of neurological diseases and to develop therapeutic strategies targeting these pathways in human disease.
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a potent lipid signaling molecule, modulates inflammatory responses through activation of downstream G-protein coupled EP(1-4) receptors. Here, we investigated the cell-specific in vivo function of PGE2 signaling through its E-prostanoid 2 (EP2) receptor in murine innate immune responses systemically and in the CNS. In vivo, systemic administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) resulted in a broad induction of cytokines and chemokines in plasma that was significantly attenuated in EP2-deficient mice. Ex vivo stimulation of peritoneal macrophages with LPS elicited proinflammatory responses that were dependent on EP2 signaling and that overlapped with in vivo plasma findings, suggesting that myeloid-lineage EP2 signaling is a major effector of innate immune responses. Conditional deletion of the EP2 receptor in myeloid lineage cells in Cd11bCre;EP2(lox/lox) mice attenuated plasma inflammatory responses and transmission of systemic inflammation to the brain was inhibited, with decreased hippocampal inflammatory gene expression and cerebral cortical levels of IL-6. Conditional deletion of EP2 significantly blunted microglial and astrocytic inflammatory responses to the neurotoxin MPTP and reduced striatal dopamine turnover. Suppression of microglial EP2 signaling also increased numbers of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra independent of MPTP treatment, suggesting that microglial EP2 may influence development or survival of DA neurons. Unbiased microarray analysis of microglia isolated from adult Cd11bCre;EP2(lox/lox) and control mice demonstrated a broad downregulation of inflammatory pathways with ablation of microglial EP2 receptor. Together, these data identify a cell-specific proinflammatory role for macrophage/microglial EP2 signaling in innate immune responses systemically and in brain.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2203-13.2013
View details for Web of Science ID 000325283600033
View details for PubMedID 24089506
There is significant evidence for a central role of inflammation in the development of Alzheimer disease (AD). Epidemiological studies indicate that chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduces the risk of developing AD in healthy aging populations. As NSAIDs inhibit the enzymatic activity of the inflammatory cyclooxygenases COX-1 and COX-2, these findings suggest that downstream prostaglandin signaling pathways function in the preclinical development of AD. Here, we investigate the function of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2) ) signaling through its EP3 receptor in the neuroinflammatory response to A? peptide.The function of PGE(2) signaling through its EP3 receptor was examined in vivo in a model of subacute neuroinflammation induced by administration of A?(42) peptides. Our findings were then confirmed in young adult APPSwe-PS1?E9 transgenic mice.Deletion of the PGE(2) EP3 receptor in a model of A?(42) peptide-induced neuroinflammation reduced proinflammatory gene expression, cytokine production, and oxidative stress. In the APPSwe-PS1?E9 model of familial AD, deletion of the EP3 receptor blocked induction of proinflammatory gene and protein expression and lipid peroxidation. In addition, levels of A? peptides were significantly decreased, as were ?-secretase and ? C-terminal fragment levels, suggesting that generation of A? peptides may be increased as a result of proinflammatory EP3 signaling. Finally, deletion of EP3 receptor significantly reversed the decline in presynaptic proteins seen in APPSwe-PS1?E9 mice.Our findings identify the PGE(2) EP3 receptor as a novel proinflammatory, proamyloidogenic, and synaptotoxic signaling pathway, and suggest a role for COX-PGE(2) -EP3 signaling in the development of AD.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ana.23677
View details for Web of Science ID 000312940300017
View details for PubMedID 22915243
?-Amyloid 42 (A?42) and ?-amyloid 40 (A?40), major components of senile plaque deposits in Alzheimer's disease, are considered neurotoxic and proinflammatory. In multiple sclerosis, A?42 is up-regulated in brain lesions and damaged axons. We found, unexpectedly, that treatment with either A?42 or A?40 peptides reduced motor paralysis and brain inflammation in four different models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) with attenuation of motor paralysis, reduction of inflammatory lesions in the central nervous system (CNS), and suppression of lymphocyte activation. A?42 and A?40 treatments were effective in reducing ongoing paralysis induced with adoptive transfer of either autoreactive T helper 1 (T(H)1) or T(H)17 cells. High-dimensional 14-parameter flow cytometry of peripheral immune cell populations after in vivo A?42 and A?40 treatment revealed substantial modulations in the percentage of lymphoid and myeloid subsets during EAE. Major proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines were reduced in the blood after A? peptide treatment. Protection conferred by A? treatment did not require its delivery to the brain: Adoptive transfer with lymphocytes from donors treated with A?42 attenuated EAE in wild-type recipient mice, and A? deposition in the brain was not detected in treated EAE mice by immunohistochemical analysis. In contrast to the improvement in EAE with A? treatment, EAE was worse in mice with genetic deletion of the amyloid precursor protein. Therefore, in the absence of A?, there is exacerbated clinical EAE disease progression. Because A?42 and A?40 ameliorate experimental autoimmune inflammation targeting the CNS, we might now consider its potential anti-inflammatory role in other neuropathological conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004145
View details for Web of Science ID 000307159500004
View details for PubMedID 22855462
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Fewer than 5% of patients benefit from the only intervention approved to treat stroke. Thus, there is an enormous need to identify new therapeutic targets. The role of inducible cyclooxygenase (COX-2) activity in stroke and other neurologic diseases is complex, as both activation and sustained inhibition can engender cerebral injury. Whether COX-2 induces cerebroprotective or injurious effects is probably dependent on which downstream prostaglandin receptors are activated. Here, we investigated the function of the PGE2 receptor EP4 in a mouse model of cerebral ischemia. Systemic administration of a selective EP4 agonist after ischemia reduced infarct volume and ameliorated long-term behavioral deficits. Expression of EP4 was robust in neurons and markedly induced in endothelial cells after ischemia-reperfusion, suggesting that neuronal and/or endothelial EP4 signaling imparts cerebroprotection. Conditional genetic inactivation of neuronal EP4 worsened stroke outcome, consistent with an endogenous protective role of neuronal EP4 signaling in vivo. However, endothelial deletion of EP4 also worsened stroke injury and decreased cerebral reperfusion. Systemic administration of an EP4 agonist increased levels of activated eNOS in cerebral microvessels, an effect that was abolished with conditional deletion of endothelial EP4. Thus, our data support the concept of targeting protective prostaglandin receptors therapeutically after stroke.
View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI46279
View details for Web of Science ID 000296482700019
View details for PubMedID 21965326
Peripheral inflammation leads to immune responses in brain characterized by microglial activation, elaboration of proinflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species, and secondary neuronal injury. The inducible cyclooxygenase (COX), COX-2, mediates a significant component of this response in brain via downstream proinflammatory PG signaling. In this study, we investigated the function of the PGE2 E-prostanoid (EP) 4 receptor in the CNS innate immune response to the bacterial endotoxin LPS. We report that PGE2 EP4 signaling mediates an anti-inflammatory effect in brain by blocking LPS-induced proinflammatory gene expression in mice. This was associated in cultured murine microglial cells with decreased Akt and I-kappaB kinase phosphorylation and decreased nuclear translocation of p65 and p50 NF-kappaB subunits. In vivo, conditional deletion of EP4 in macrophages and microglia increased lipid peroxidation and proinflammatory gene expression in brain and in isolated adult microglia following peripheral LPS administration. Conversely, EP4 selective agonist decreased LPS-induced proinflammatory gene expression in hippocampus and in isolated adult microglia. In plasma, EP4 agonist significantly reduced levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, indicating that peripheral EP4 activation protects the brain from systemic inflammation. The innate immune response is an important component of disease progression in a number of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In addition, recent studies demonstrated adverse vascular effects with chronic administration of COX-2 inhibitors, indicating that specific PG signaling pathways may be protective in vascular function. This study supports an analogous and beneficial effect of PGE2 EP4 receptor signaling in suppressing brain inflammation.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.0903487
View details for Web of Science ID 000278516700071
View details for PubMedID 20483760
This review presents an overview of the emerging field of prostaglandin signaling in neurological diseases, focusing on PGE(2) signaling through its four E-prostanoid (EP) receptors. A large number of studies have demonstrated a neurotoxic function of the inducible cyclooxygenase COX-2 in a broad spectrum of neurological disease models in the central nervous system (CNS), from models of cerebral ischemia to models of neurodegeneration and inflammation. Since COX-1 and COX-2 catalyze the first committed step in prostaglandin synthesis, an effort is underway to identify the downstream prostaglandin signaling pathways that mediate the toxic effect of COX-2. Recent epidemiologic studies demonstrate that chronic COX-2 inhibition can produce adverse cerebrovascular and cardiovascular effects, indicating that some prostaglandin signaling pathways are beneficial. Consistent with this concept, recent studies demonstrate that in the CNS, specific prostaglandin receptor signaling pathways mediate toxic effects in brain but a larger number appear to mediate paradoxically protective effects. Further complexity is emerging, as exemplified by the PGE(2) EP2 receptor, where cerebroprotective or toxic effects of a particular prostaglandin signaling pathway can differ depending on the context of cerebral injury, for example, in excitotoxicity/hypoxia paradigms versus inflammatory-mediated secondary neurotoxicity. The divergent effects of prostaglandin receptor signaling will likely depend on distinct patterns and dynamics of receptor expression in neurons, endothelial cells, and glia and the specific ways in which these cell types participate in particular models of neurological injury.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2009.04.003
View details for Web of Science ID 000277722600006
View details for PubMedID 19808012
Inflammation has emerged as an important factor in disease progression in human and transgenic models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Recent studies demonstrate that the prostaglandin E(2) EP2 receptor is a major regulator of inflammatory oxidative injury in innate immunity. We tested whether EP2 signaling participated in disease pathogenesis in the G93A superoxide dismutase (SOD) model of familial ALS.We examined the phenotype of G93A SOD mice lacking the EP2 receptor and performed immunocytochemistry, quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and Western analyses to determine the mechanism of EP2 toxicity in this model.EP2 receptor is significantly induced in G93A SOD mice in astrocytes and microglia in parallel with increases in expression of proinflammatory enzymes and lipid peroxidation. In human ALS, EP2 receptor immunoreactivity was upregulated in astrocytes in ventral spinal cord. In aging G93A SOD mice, genetic deletion of the prostaglandin E(2)EP2 receptor improved motor strength and extended survival. Deletion of the EP2 receptor in G93A SOD mice resulted in significant reductions in levels of proinflammatory effectors, including cyclooxygenase-1, cyclooxygenase-2, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and components of the NADPH oxidase complex. In alternate models of inflammation, including the lipopolysaccharide model of innate immunity and the APPSwe-PS1DeltaE9 model of amyloidosis, deletion of EP2 also reduced expression of proinflammatory genes.These data suggest that prostaglandin E(2) signaling via the EP2 receptor functions in the mutant SOD model and more broadly in inflammatory neurodegeneration to regulate expression of a cassette of proinflammatory genes. Inhibition of EP2 signaling may represent a novel strategy to downregulate the inflammatory response in neurodegenerative disease.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ana.21437
View details for Web of Science ID 000259681700013
View details for PubMedID 18825663
Epidemiological studies demonstrate that chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in normal aging populations reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). NSAIDs inhibit the enzymatic activity of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and inducible COX-2, which catalyze the first committed step in the synthesis of prostaglandins. These studies implicate COX-mediated inflammation as an early and potentially reversible preclinical event; however, the mechanism by which COX activity promotes development of AD has not been determined. Recent studies implicate the prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) E prostanoid subtype 2 (EP2) receptor in the development of the innate immune response in brain. Here, we report that deletion of the PGE2 EP2 receptor in the APPSwe-PS1DeltaE9 model of familial AD results in marked reductions in lipid peroxidation in aging mice. This reduction in oxidative stress is associated with significant decreases in levels of amyloid-beta (Abeta) 40 and 42 peptides and amyloid deposition. Aged APPSwe-PS1DeltaE9 mice lacking the EP2 receptor harbor lower levels of beta C-terminal fragments, the product of beta-site APP cleaving enzyme (BACE1) processing of amyloid precursor protein. Increases in BACE1 processing have been demonstrated in models of aging and AD and after oxidative stress. Our results indicate that PGE2 signaling via the EP2 receptor promotes age-dependent oxidative damage and increased Abeta peptide burden in this model of AD, possibly via effects on BACE1 activity. Our findings identify EP2 receptor signaling as a novel proinflammatory and proamyloidogenic pathway in this model of AD, and suggest a rationale for development of therapeutics targeting the EP2 receptor in neuroinflammatory diseases such as AD.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3591-05.2005
View details for Web of Science ID 000232988500015
View details for PubMedID 16267225
Substantial evidence indicates that both beta-amyloid and cyclooxygenase activity contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. The immediate product of the cyclooxygenases, prostaglandin H2, rapidly rearranges in aqueous solution, with approximately 20% being converted to levuglandins E2 and D2. These gamma-ketoaldehydes are highly reactive and rapidly adduct to accessible amine groups on macromolecules, particularly the epsilon-amine of lysine residues on proteins. The immediate LG-lysine adducts are themselves reactive, and can covalently crosslink proteins. PGH2, acting via LGs, accelerates the formation of the type of oligomers of amyloid beta that has been associated with neurotoxicity. In this review, we discuss the cyclooxygenase-dependent lipid-modification of proteins by levuglandins in vitro, in cells in culture and in vivo in transgenic mice over-expressing COX in the brain.
View details for Web of Science ID 000228514500007
View details for PubMedID 15912886
The cyclooxygenases COX-1 and COX-2 catalyze the first committed step of prostaglandin synthesis from arachidonic acid. Previous studies in rodent stroke models have shown that the inducible COX-2 isoform promotes neuronal injury, and the administration of COX-2 inhibitors reduces infarct volume. We investigated the function of PGE2, a principal prostaglandin product of COX-2 enzymatic activity, in neuronal survival in cerebral ischemia. PGE2 exerts its downstream effects by signaling through a class of four distinct G-protein-coupled EP receptors (for E-prostanoid: EP1, EP2, EP3, and EP4) that have divergent effects on cAMP and phosphoinositol turnover and different anatomical distributions in brain. The EP2 receptor subtype is abundantly expressed in cerebral cortex, striatum, and hippocampus, and is positively coupled to cAMP production. In vitro studies of dispersed neurons and organotypic hippocampal cultures demonstrated that activation of the EP2 receptor was neuroprotective in paradigms of NMDA toxicity and oxygen glucose deprivation. Pharmacologic blockade of EP2 signaling by inhibition of protein kinase A activation reversed this protective effect, suggesting that EP2-mediated neuroprotection is dependent on cAMP signaling. In the middle cerebral artery occlusion-reperfusion model of transient forebrain ischemia, genetic deletion of the EP2 receptor significantly increased cerebral infarction in cerebral cortex and subcortical structures. These studies indicate that activation of the PGE2 EP2 receptor can protect against excitotoxic and anoxic injury in a cAMP-dependent manner. Taken together, these data suggest a novel mechanism of neuroprotection mediated by a dominant PGE2 receptor subtype in brain that may provide a target for therapeutic intervention.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4485-03.2004
View details for Web of Science ID 000187888700027
View details for PubMedID 14715958
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with three cardinal features of pathology: 1. Aggregation of ?-synuclein into intraneuronal structures called Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites. 2. Dysregulated immune activation in the substantia nigra (SN). 3. Degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the nigrostriatal circuit. The largely correlative nature of evidence in humans has precluded a decisive verdict on the relationship between ?-synuclein pathology, inflammation, and neuronal damage. Furthermore, it is unclear whether inflammation plays a role in the early prodromal stages of PD before neuronal damage has occurred and Parkinsonian motor symptoms become apparent. To gain insight into the interaction between the inflammatory response and the development of neuronal pathology in PD, Watson et al. characterized neuroinflammation in a wild-type ?-synuclein overexpressing mouse model of prodromal PD. They demonstrate, for the first time, the existence of early and sustained microglial mediated innate inflammation that precedes damage to the nigrostriatal circuit. Additionally they observe the spread of inflammation from the striatum to the SN. This study suggests that early dysregulated inflammation may contribute to progressive nigrostriatal pathology in PD, although the initiating factor that triggers the inflammatory response remains elusive. The novel concept of an early inflammatory response in the development of PD has important implications for preventive and therapeutic strategies for PD.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.expneurol.2012.12.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000315315800018
View details for PubMedID 23261765
Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a leading cause of severe and permanent neurologic disability after birth. The inducible cyclooxygenase COX-2, which along with COX-1 catalyzes the first committed step in prostaglandin (PG) synthesis, elicits significant brain injury in models of cerebral ischemia; however its downstream PG receptor pathways trigger both toxic and paradoxically protective effects. Here, we investigated the function of PGE(2) E-prostanoid (EP) receptors in the acute outcome of hypoxic-ischemic (HI) injury in the neonatal rat. We determined the temporal and cellular expression patterns of the EP1-4 receptors before and after HIE and tested whether modulation of EP1-4 receptor function could protect against cerebral injury acutely after HIE. All four EP receptors were expressed in forebrain neurons and were induced in endothelial cells after HIE. Inhibition of EP1 signaling with the selective antagonist SC-51089 or co-activation of EP2-4 receptors with the agonist misoprostol significantly reduced HIE cerebral injury 24 h after injury. These receptor ligands also protected brain endothelial cells subjected to oxygen glucose deprivation, suggesting that activation of EP receptor signaling is directly cytoprotective. These data indicate that the G-protein coupled EP receptors may be amenable to pharmacologic targeting in the acute setting of neonatal HIE.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.09.005
View details for Web of Science ID 000296951400001
View details for PubMedID 21939736
Memory deficits in Alzheimer's disease (AD) manifest together with the loss of synapses caused by the disruption of the postsynaptic density (PSD), a network of scaffold proteins located in dendritic spines. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. Since it was shown that ProSAP2/Shank3 scaffold assembly within the PSD is Zn2+-dependent and that the amyloid beta protein (A?) is able to bind Zn2+, we hypothesize that sequestration of Zn2+ ions by A? contributes to ProSAP/Shank platform malformation.To test this hypothesis, we designed multiple in vitro and in vivo assays demonstrating ProSAP/Shank dysregulation in rat hippocampal cultures following A? oligomer accumulation. These changes were independent from alterations on ProSAP/Shank transcriptional level. However, application of soluble A? prevented association of Zn2+ ions with ProSAP2/Shank3 in a cell-based assay and decreased the concentration of Zn2+ clusters within dendrites. Zn2+ supplementation or saturation of A? with Zn2+ ions prior to cell treatment was able to counter the effects induced by A? on synapse density and ProSAP2/Shank3 levels at the PSD. Interestingly, intracellular Zn2+ levels in APP-PS1 mice and human AD hippocampus are reduced along with a reduction in synapse density and synaptic ProSAP2/Shank3 and Shank1 protein levels.We conclude that sequestration of Zn2+ ions by A? significantly contributes to changes in ProSAP2/Shank3 platforms. These changes in turn lead to less consolidated (mature) synapses reflected by a decrease in Shank1 protein levels at the PSD and decreased synapse density in hippocampal neurons.
View details for DOI 10.1186/1750-1326-6-65
View details for Web of Science ID 000295832100001
View details for PubMedID 21939532
The inducible cyclooxygenase COX-2 exerts neurotoxic effects in a wide spectrum of neurological disease models, including models of cerebral ischaemia and chronic neurodegeneration. As COX-1 and COX-2 catalyse the first committed step in prostaglandin synthesis, recent efforts have focused on identifying the downstream prostaglandin signalling pathways responsible for mediating the toxic effect of COX-2. Recent studies in models of in vitro excitotoxicity or hypoxia demonstrate that certain prostaglandin receptors mediate toxic effects, but a large number appear to mediate paradoxically protective effects. In vivo studies have begun to confirm initial in vitro findings, with selected prostaglandin receptors eliciting either neurotoxic or protective effects in models of cerebral ischaemia. In the present issue, Ikeda-Matsuo et al. examine the function of the PGE(2) EP3 receptor in a model of transient focal ischaemia and explore its potential signalling through Rho kinase activation.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00715.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000278032300006
View details for PubMedID 20590583
Organotypic hippocampal slice culture is an in vitro method to examine mechanisms of neuronal injury in which the basic architecture and composition of the hippocampus is relatively preserved (1). The organotypic culture system allows for the examination of neuronal, astrocytic and microglial effects, but as an ex vivo preparation, does not address effects of blood flow, or recruitment of peripheral inflammatory cells. To that end, this culture method is frequently used to examine excitotoxic and hypoxic injury to pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus, but has also been used to examine the inflammatory response. Herein we describe the methods for generating hippocampal slice cultures from postnatal rodent brain, administering toxic stimuli to induce neuronal injury, and assaying and quantifying hippocampal neuronal death.
View details for DOI 10.3791/2106
View details for PubMedID 21085096
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is a neuronal immediate early gene that is regulated by N-methyl d aspartate (NMDA) receptor activity. COX-2 enzymatic activity catalyzes the first committed step in prostaglandin synthesis. Recent studies demonstrate an emerging role for the downstream PGE(2) EP2 receptor in diverse models of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity and a significant function in models of neurological disease including cerebral ischemia, Familial Alzheimer's disease, and Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Little is known, however, about the normal function of the EP2 receptor in behavior and cognition. Here we report that deletion of the EP2 receptor leads to significant cognitive deficits in standard tests of fear and social memory. EP2-/- mice also demonstrated impaired prepulse inhibition (PPI) and heightened anxiety, but normal startle reactivity, exploratory behavior, and spatial reference memory. This complex behavioral phenotype of EP2-/- mice was associated with a deficit in long-term depression (LTD) in hippocampus. Our findings suggest that PGE(2) signaling via the EP2 receptors plays an important role in cognitive and emotional behaviors that recapitulate some aspects of human psychopathology related to schizophrenia.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.expneurol.2009.01.016
View details for Web of Science ID 000265859000009
View details for PubMedID 19416671
The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)) is expressed by neurons particularly vulnerable in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We tested the hypothesis that non-peptide, small molecule p75(NTR) ligands found to promote survival signaling might prevent Abeta-induced degeneration and synaptic dysfunction. These ligands inhibited Abeta-induced neuritic dystrophy, death of cultured neurons and Abeta-induced death of pyramidal neurons in hippocampal slice cultures. Moreover, ligands inhibited Abeta-induced activation of molecules involved in AD pathology including calpain/cdk5, GSK3beta and c-Jun, and tau phosphorylation, and prevented Abeta-induced inactivation of AKT and CREB. Finally, a p75(NTR) ligand blocked Abeta-induced hippocampal LTP impairment. These studies support an extensive intersection between p75(NTR) signaling and Abeta pathogenic mechanisms, and introduce a class of specific small molecule ligands with the unique ability to block multiple fundamental AD-related signaling pathways, reverse synaptic impairment and inhibit Abeta-induced neuronal dystrophy and death.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0003604
View details for Web of Science ID 000265134200003
View details for PubMedID 18978948
Induction of COX-2 activity in cerebral ischemia results in increased neuronal injury and infarct size. Recent studies investigating neurotoxic mechanisms of COX-2 demonstrate both toxic and paradoxically protective effects of downstream prostaglandin receptor signaling pathways. We tested whether misoprostol, a PGE(2) receptor agonist that is utilized clinically as an anti-ulcer agent and signals through the protective PGE(2) EP2, EP3, and EP4 receptors, would reduce brain injury in the murine middle cerebral artery occlusion-reperfusion (MCAO-RP) model. Administration of misoprostol, at the time of MCAO or 2h after MCAO, resulted in significant rescue of infarct volume at 24 and 72h. Immunocytochemistry demonstrated dynamic regulation of the EP2 and EP4 receptors during reperfusion in neurons and endothelial cells of cerebral cortex and striatum, with limited expression of EP3 receptor. EP3-/- mice had no significant changes in infarct volume compared to control littermates. Moreover, administration of misoprostol to EP3+/+ and EP3-/- mice showed similar levels of infarct rescue, indicating that misoprostol protection was not mediated through the EP3 receptor. Taken together, these findings suggest a novel function for misoprostol as a protective agent in cerebral ischemia acting via the PGE(2) EP2 and/or EP4 receptors.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.04.054
View details for Web of Science ID 000257276900017
View details for PubMedID 18472336
Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are important endogenous lipid mediators in synaptic transmission and plasticity and are oxygenated by cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) to form new types of prostaglandins. However, little is known about whether COX-2 oxidative metabolism of eCBs and their metabolites alter synaptic signaling. Here we demonstrate that increased COX-2 expression significantly enhances basal synaptic transmission and augments long-term potentiation (LTP) in the mouse hippocampus. This augmentation was inhibited in the presence of a selective COX-2 inhibitor or with deletion of the COX-2 gene. The CB(1) receptor-mediated depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) was diminished when COX-2 expression was increased either with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation or transgenic neuronal over-expression of COX-2. Conversely, DSI was potentiated when COX-2 activity was pharmacologically or genetically inhibited. Interestingly, COX-2 oxidative metabolites of eCBs elevated LTP, an effect opposite to that of their parent molecules 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and arachidonoyl ethanolamide (AEA). In addition, the ERK/MAPK and IP(3) pathways were found to mediate PGE(2)-G-induced enhancement of LTP. Our results indicate that COX-2 oxidative metabolism of eCBs is an important signaling pathway in modulation of synaptic transmission and plasticity.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mcn.2007.12.019
View details for Web of Science ID 000254905300005
View details for PubMedID 18295507
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is the consequence of systemic asphyxia occurring at birth. Twenty five percent of neonates with HIE develop severe and permanent neuropsychological sequelae, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy. The outcomes of HIE are devastating and permanent, making it critical to identify and develop therapeutic strategies to reduce brain injury in newborns with HIE. To that end, the neonatal rat model for hypoxic-ischemic brain injury has been developed to model this human condition. The HIE model was first validated by Vannucci et al and has since been extensively used to identify mechanisms of brain injury resulting from perinatal hypoxia-ischemia and to test potential therapeutic interventions. The HIE model is a two step process and involves the ligation of the left common carotid artery followed by exposure to a hypoxic environment. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the hemisphere ipsilateral to the ligated carotid artery does not decrease because of the collateral blood flow via the circle of Willis; however with lower oxygen tension, the CBF in the ipsilateral hemisphere decreases significantly and results in unilateral ischemic injury. The use of 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) to stain and identify ischemic brain tissue was originally developed for adult models of rodent cerebral ischemia, and is used to evaluate the extent of cerebral infarctin at early time points up to 72 hours after the ischemic event. In this video, we demonstrate the hypoxic-ischemic injury model in postnatal rat brain and the evaluation of the infarct size using TTC staining.
View details for DOI 10.3791/955
View details for PubMedID 19066530
Induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) with production of prostaglandins occurs in a wide spectrum of acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases and is associated with neuronal death. Inhibition of the COX-2 pathway and downstream production of prostaglandins protect neurons in rodent models of cerebral ischemia and neurodegeneration. Recent studies investigating the functions of selected prostaglandin receptor pathways in mediating COX-2 neurotoxicity have demonstrated both toxic and paradoxically neuroprotective effects of several receptors in models of excitotoxicity. In this study, we investigate the functions of additional prostaglandin receptors not previously characterized in organotypic models of glutamate excitotoxicity. We find that PGD(2), PGI(2), and PGF(2alpha) receptors protect motor neurons in an organotypic spinal cord model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, PGI(2) and TXA(2) receptors rescue CA1 neurons in an organotypic hippocampal model of N-methyl-d-aspartate excitotoxicity. However, in a model of inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide, prostaglandin receptors previously found to be protective in excitotoxicity now cause CA1 neuronal death. Taken together, these studies identify novel eicosanoid receptor signaling pathways that mediate neuronal protection in excitotoxic paradigms; these data also support the emerging hypothesis that the toxic/protective effects of eicosanoid signaling on neuronal viability diverge significantly depending on whether excitotoxicity or inflammation predominates as the underlying toxic stimulus.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neulet.2007.05.055
View details for Web of Science ID 000248152100014
View details for PubMedID 17574754
Induction of COX-2 expression and enzymatic activity promotes neuronal injury in a number of models of neurological disease. Inhibition of COX-2 activity, either genetically or pharmacologically, has been shown to be neuroprotective in rodent models of stroke, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Inhibition of COX activity with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduces inflammation and amyloid accumulation in murine transgenic models of Familial Alzheimer's disease, and the use of NSAIDs decreases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in healthy aging populations. COX-mediated neuronal injury is presumed be due to downstream effects of one or more prostaglandin products including PGE2, PGD2, PGF2alpha, PGI2 (prostacylin) and TXA2 (thromboxane) that effect cellular changes through activation of specific prostaglandin receptor subtypes and second messenger systems. In this proceeding, we review recent data demonstrating effects of prostaglandin signaling on neuronal viability that are paradoxically protective, when taken in the context that COX-2 induces neuronal injury in the setting of excitotoxicity. Conversely, in the context of an inflammatory stimulus, the EP2 receptor enhances neuronal injury. These findings argue for an additional level of complexity in the prostaglandin response in neurological disease.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12031-007-0058-8
View details for Web of Science ID 000249670800015
View details for PubMedID 17901552
To determine whether chronic treatment with celecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor that has been shown to be beneficial in preclinical testing, is safe and effective in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).A double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial was conducted. Three hundred research subjects with ALS were randomized (2:1) to receive celecoxib (800 mg/day) or placebo for 12 months. The primary outcome measure was the rate of change in upper extremity motor function measured by the maximum voluntary isometric contraction strength. Secondary end points included safety, survival, change in cerebrospinal fluid prostaglandin E(2) levels, and changes in the rate of decline of leg and grip strength, vital capacity, ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised, and motor unit number estimates.Celecoxib did not slow the decline in muscle strength, vital capacity, motor unit number estimates, ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised, or affect survival. Celecoxib was well tolerated and was not associated with an increased frequency of adverse events. Prostaglandin E(2) levels in cerebrospinal fluid were not elevated at baseline and did not decline with treatment.At the dosage studied, celecoxib did not have a beneficial effect on research subjects with ALS, and it was safe. A biological effect of celecoxib was not demonstrated in the cerebrospinal fluid. Further studies of celecoxib at a dosage of 800 mg/day in ALS are not warranted.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ana.20903
View details for Web of Science ID 000238825500008
View details for PubMedID 16802291
Administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in normal aging populations, an effect that may occur from inhibition of the cyclooxygenases, the rate-limiting enzymes in the formation of prostaglandins. In this study, we investigated whether increased activity of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), the inducible isoform of cyclooxygenase, potentiates disease progression in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. To study the functional effects of COX-2 activity, male and female bigenic mice (amyloid precursor protein with Swedish mutation [APPswe]-presenilin-1 protein with deletion of exon 9 [PS1dE9] and trigenic COX-2/APPswe-PS1dE9) were behaviorally tested +/-administration of the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib. Behavioral testing included a three-trial Y maze that measures spatial working and recognition memories and an open field task that tested levels of hyperactivity. Overexpression of COX-2 in APPswe-PS1dE9 mice resulted in specific deficits in spatial working memory in female but not male mice. These sex-specific deficits were abolished by pharmacological inhibition of COX-2 activity. Importantly, COX-2-associated deficits were dependent on co-expression of all three transgenes since COX-2 single transgenic and APPswe-PS1dE9 bigenic mice showed normal memory. Quantification of amyloid plaque load and total Abeta 40 and 42 peptides did not reveal significant differences in trigenic versus bigenic mice treated with either vehicle or celecoxib. Taken together, these data indicate an interaction between the effects of COX-2 and Abeta peptides on cognition that occurs in a sex-specific manner in the absence of significant changes in amyloid burden. These findings suggest that pathological activation of COX-2 may potentiate the toxicity of Abeta peptides, particularly in females, without significantly affecting Abeta accumulation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.05.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000239822800006
View details for PubMedID 16753269
Female patients experience substantial neuroprotection after experimental stroke compared with male patients, a finding attributed to the protective effects of gonadal hormones. This study examined the response of male- and female-derived organotypic hippocampal slices to oxidative and excitotoxic injury. Both oxygen and glucose deprivation and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid exposure led to neuronal death; however, female-derived cultures sustained less injury than male-derived cultures. Cell death after oxygen and glucose deprivation was ameliorated in male cultures, but not female cultures, by the addition of 7-nitroindazole, a neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitor. These studies have relevance to researchers investigating neuroprotective agents in mixed sex experiments.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ana.20538
View details for Web of Science ID 000230856000017
View details for PubMedID 15988750
The formation of cyclooxygenase-derived lipid adducts of protein in brains of patients who had Alzheimer's disease has been investigated. The enzymatic product of the cyclooxygenases, prostaglandin H2, rearranges in part to highly reactive gamma-ketoaldehydes, levuglandin (LG) E(2) and LGD(2). These gamma-ketoaldehydes react with free amines on proteins to yield a covalent adduct. Utilizing analysis of the levuglandinyl-lysine adducts by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, we now find that this post-translational modification is increased significantly in the hippocampus in Alzheimer's disease. The magnitude of the increase correlates with the pathological evidence of severity.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2005.03264.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000230888200026
View details for PubMedID 15992375
Recent studies suggest a neuroprotective function of the PGE2 EP2 receptor in excitotoxic neuronal injury. The function of the EP2 receptor was examined at time points after excitotoxicity in an organotypic hippocampal model of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) challenge and in a permanent model of focal forebrain ischemia. Activation of EP2 led to significant neuroprotection in hippocampal slices up to 3 hours after a toxic NMDA stimulus. Genetic deletion of EP2 resulted in a marked increase in stroke volume in the permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion model. These findings support further investigation into therapeutic strategies targeting the EP2 receptor in stroke.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ana.20461
View details for Web of Science ID 000228937300021
View details for PubMedID 15852374
Cyclo-oxygenases (COXs) catalyze the first committed step in the synthesis of the prostaglandins PGE(2), PGD(2), PGF(2alpha), PGI(2) and thomboxane A(2). Expression and enzymatic activity of COX-2, the inducible isoform of COX, are observed in several neurological diseases and result in significant neuronal injury. The neurotoxic effect of COX-2 is believed to occur through downstream effects of its prostaglandin products. In this study, we examined the function of PGD(2) and its two receptors DP1 and chemoattractant receptor-homologous molecule expressed on Th2 cells (CRTH2) (DP2) in neuronal survival. PGD(2) is the most abundant prostaglandin in brain and regulates sleep, temperature and nociception. It signals through two distinct G protein-coupled receptors, DP1 and DP2, that have opposing effects on cyclic AMP (cAMP) production. Physiological concentrations of PGD(2) potently and unexpectedly rescued neurons in paradigms of glutamate toxicity in cultured hippocampal neurons and organotypic slices. This effect was mimicked by the DP1-selective agonist BW245C but not by the PGD(2) metabolite 15d-PGJ(2), suggesting that neuroprotection was mediated by the DP1 receptor. Conversely, activation of the DP2 receptor promoted neuronal loss. The protein kinase A inhibitors H89 and KT5720 reversed the protective effect of PGD(2), indicating that PGD(2)-mediated neuroprotection was dependent on cAMP signaling. These studies indicate that activation of the PGD(2) DP1 receptor protects against excitotoxic injury in a cAMP-dependent manner, consistent with recent studies of PGE(2) receptors that also suggest a neuroprotective effect of prostaglandin receptors. Taken together, these data support an emerging and paradoxical neuroprotective role of prostaglandins in the CNS.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2004.02870.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000226401900005
View details for PubMedID 15659218
Recent studies suggest that the inducible isoform of cyclooxygenase, COX-2, promotes motor neuron loss in rodent models of ALS. We investigated the effects of PGE2, a principal downstream prostaglandin product of COX-2 activity, on motor neuron survival in an organotypic culture model of ALS. We find that PGE2 paradoxically protects motor neurons at physiological concentrations in this model. PGE2 exerts its downstream effects by signaling through a class of four distinct G-protein-coupled E-prostanoid receptors (EP1-EP4) that have divergent effects on cAMP. EP2 and EP3 are dominantly expressed in ventral spinal cord in neurons and astrocytes, and activation of these receptor subtypes individually or in combination also rescued motor neurons. The EP2 receptor is positively coupled to cAMP, and its neuroprotection was mimicked by application of forskolin and blocked by inhibition of PKA, suggesting that its protective effect is mediated by downstream effects of cAMP. Conversely, the EP3 receptor is negatively coupled to cAMP, and its neuroprotective effect was blocked by pertussis toxin, suggesting that its protective effect is dependent on Gi-coupled heterotrimeric signaling. Taken together, these data demonstrate an unexpected neuroprotective effect mediated by PGE2, in which activation of its EP2 and EP3 receptors protected motor neurons from chronic glutamate toxicity.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ana.20179
View details for Web of Science ID 000223434700010
View details for PubMedID 15293276
Increases in COX-2 enzymatic activity and prostaglandin production have been associated with neuronal injury in both acute and age-related degenerative neurological diseases. In this study, we tested the effects of increased COX-2 activity in a model of transient focal ischemia using a transgenic mouse model in which human COX-2 is constitutively expressed selectively in neurons of the striatum, cerebral cortex, and hippocampus. These COX-2 transgenic mice harbor elevated levels of PGE(2) that are 10-fold higher than nontransgenic levels. A significant increase in infarct volume was observed after middle cerebral artery occlusion with 4 days of reperfusion in COX-2 transgenic mice as compared with nontransgenic littermates. Pretreatment of nontransgenic mice with the selective COX-2 inhibitor SC58236 resulted in a significant reduction of infarct volume in nontransgenic mice, consistent with previous pharmacological studies. However, transgenic COX-2 mice treated with SC58236 did not show a significant reduction. This suggests that chronic increases in COX-2 expression and enzymatic activity, which can occur in aging and in pathological states characterized by oxidative stress and chronic inflammatory processes, can lead to downstream cellular changes that have a negative impact on neuronal survival in cerebrovascular disease.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ana.10612
View details for Web of Science ID 000184352700005
View details for PubMedID 12891667
Cyclooxygenases catalyze the first committed step in the formation of prostaglandins and thromboxanes from arachidonic acid. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), the inducible isoform of cyclooxygenase, is expressed in brain selectively in neurons of hippocampus, cerebral cortex, amygdala, and hypothalamus. Prostaglandins function in many processes in the CNS, including fever induction, nociception, and learning and memory, and are upregulated in paradigms of excitotoxic brain injury such as stroke and epilepsy. To address the varied functions of COX-2 and its prostaglandin products in brain, we have developed a transgenic mouse model in which COX-2 is selectively overexpressed in neurons of the CNS. COX-2 transgenic mice demonstrate elevated levels of all prostaglandins and thromboxane, albeit with a predominant induction of PGE(2) over other prostaglandins, followed by more modest inductions of PGI(2), and relatively smaller increases in PGF(2alpha),PGD(2), and TxB(2). We also examined whether increased neuronal production of prostaglandins would affect fever induction in response to the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide. COX-2 induction in brain endothelium has been previously determined to play an important role in fever induction, and we tested whether neuronal expression of COX-2 in hypothalamus also contributed to the febrile response. We found that in mice expressing transgenic COX-2 in anterior hypothalamus, the febrile response was significantly potentiated in transgenic as compared to non-transgenic mice, with an accelerated onset of fever by 1 2 hours after LPS administration, suggesting a role for neuronally derived COX-2 in the fever response.
View details for Web of Science ID 000181531400002
View details for PubMedID 12665673
During the development of the central nervous system, there is a fundamental requirement for synaptic activity in transforming immature neuronal connections into organized functional circuits (Katz 1996). The molecular mechanisms underlying activity-dependent adaptive changes in neurons are believed to involve regulated cascades of gene expression. Immediate early genes (IEGs) comprise the initial cascade of gene expression responsible for initiating the process of stimulus-induced adaptive change, and were identified initially as transcription factors that were regulated in brain by excitatory synaptic activity. More recently, a class of neuronal immediate early genes has been identified that encodes growth factors, signaling molecules, extracellular matrix and adhesion proteins, and cytoskeletal proteins that are rapidly and transiently expressed in response to glutamatergic neurotransmission. This review focuses on the neuronal immediate early gene (nIEG) response, in particular, the class of "effector" immediate early gene proteins that may directly modify neuronal and synaptic function.
View details for PubMedID 12353466
The cyclooxygenases catalyze the rate-limiting step in the formation of prostaglandins from arachidonic acid and are the pharmacological targets of (NSAIDs). In brain, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), the inducible isoform of cyclooxygenase, is selectively expressed in neurons of the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala. As an immediate-early gene, COX-2 is dramatically and transiently induced in these neurons in response to NMDA receptor activation. In models of acute excitotoxic neuronal injury, elevated and sustained levels of COX-2 have been shown to promote neuronal apoptosis, indicating that upregulated COX-2 activity is injurious to neurons. COX-2 may also contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease, for which early administration of NSAIDs is protective against development of the disease. To test the effect of constitutively elevated neuronal COX-2, transgenic mice were generated that overexpressed COX-2 in neurons and produced elevated levels of prostaglandins in brain. In cross-sectional behavioral studies, COX-2 transgenic mice developed an age-dependent deficit in spatial memory at 12 and 20 months but not at 7 months and a deficit in aversive behavior at 20 months of age. These behavioral changes were associated with a parallel age-dependent increase in neuronal apoptosis occurring at 14 and 22 months but not at 8 months of age and astrocytic activation at 24 months of age. These findings suggest that neuronal COX-2 may contribute to the pathophysiology of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease by promoting memory dysfunction, neuronal apoptosis, and astrocytic activation in an age-dependent manner.
View details for Web of Science ID 000171442000040
View details for PubMedID 11588192
Neural activity results in long term changes that underlie synaptic plasticity. To examine the molecular basis of activity-dependent plasticity, we have used differential cloning techniques to identify genes that are rapidly induced in brain neurons by synaptic activity. Here, we identify a novel cadherin molecule Arcadlin (activity-regulated cadherin-like protein). arcadlin mRNA is rapidly and transiently induced in hippocampal granule cells by seizures and by N-methyl-D-aspartate-dependent synaptic activity in long term potentiation. The extracellular domain of Arcadlin is most homologous to protocadherin-8; however, the cytoplasmic region is distinct from that of any cadherin family member. Arcadlin protein is expressed at the synapses and shows a homophilic binding activity in a Ca2+-dependent manner. Furthermore, application of Arcadlin antibody reduces excitatory postsynaptic potential amplitude and blocks long term potentiation in hippocampal slices. Its close homology with cadherins, its rapid inducibility by neural activity, and its involvement in synaptic transmission suggest that Arcadlin may play an important role in activity-induced synaptic reorganization underlying long term memory.
View details for Web of Science ID 000081196300087
View details for PubMedID 10383464
Prostaglandins (PGs) were first described in the brain by Samuelsson over 30 years ago (Samuelsson, 1964). Since then a large number of studies have shown that PGs are formed in regions of the brain and spinal cord in response to a variety of stimuli. The recent identification of two forms of cyclooxygenase (COX; Kujubu et al., 1991; Xie et al., 1991; Smith and DeWitt, 1996), both of which are expressed in the brain, along with superior tools for mapping COX distribution, has spurred a resurgence of interest in the role of PGs in the central nervous system (CNS). In this review we will describe new data in this area, focusing on the distribution and potential role of the COX isoforms in brain function and disease.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997YG18500001
View details for PubMedID 9373877
In Drosophila melanogaster, the frizzled gene plays an essential role in the development of tissue polarity as assessed by the orientation of cuticular structures. Through a combination of random cDNA sequencing, degenerate polymerase chain reaction amplification, and low stringency hybridization we have identified six novel frizzled homologues from mammals, at least 11 from zebrafish, several from chicken and sea urchin, and one from Caenorhabditis elegans. The complete deduced amino acid sequences of the mammalian and nematode homologues share with the Drosophila frizzled protein a conserved amino-terminal cysteine-rich domain and seven putative transmembrane segments. Each of the mammalian homologues is expressed in a distinctive set of tissues in the adult, and at least three are expressed during embryogenesis. As hypothesized for the Drosophila frizzled protein, the frizzled homologues are likely to act as transmembrane receptors for as yet unidentified ligands. These observations predict the existence of a family of signal transduction pathways that are homologous to the pathway that determines tissue polarity in Drosophila.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996TW96000078
View details for PubMedID 8626800
beta-A activin is a member of the transforming growth factor-beta family and has been implicated in nerve cell survival and inhibition of differentiation in vitro [Hashimoto M. et al. (1990) Biochem. biophys. Res. Commun. 173, 193-200; Schubert D. et al. (1990) Nature 344, 868-870]. In our studies to identify genomic mechanisms involved in long-term neuronal responses to synaptic activity, we have determined that beta-A activin messenger RNA is rapidly and transiently induced in neurons of the adult rat brain by excitatory synaptic input. Synaptic mechanisms involved in beta-A activin messenger RNA induction were examined in adult hippocampus and cortex using the long-term potentiation paradigm. beta-A activin messenger RNA is induced in granule cell neurons of the hippocampus by high-frequency synaptic stimuli that produce long-term potentiation, and this induction is blocked by the N-methyl-D-aspartate type glutamate receptor antagonist, dizocilpine. beta-A activin messenger RNA is expressed at basal levels in neurons of layers II/III and V/VI, and this expression rapidly decreases following sensory deafferentation of the visual cortex or systemic administration of dizocilpine, suggesting that beta-A activin expression is regulated by physiological excitatory synaptic activity. In developing brain, beta-A activin is expressed in the neocortex and neostriatum beginning at embryonic day 17. beta-A activin expression in late fetal cortex is enriched in postmitotic neurons at the lower boundary of the dense cortical plate. As development progresses, beta-A activin expression continues to be enriched in neurons at the boundary between the hypercellular cortical plate and the subjacent, more mature deep layers. This inside-out progression of beta-A activin expression follows the well-characterized radial gradient of cortical development. Expression of beta-A activin messenger RNA is rapidly regulated in early postnatal cortex and striatum by GABA and glutamate antagonists, suggesting that beta-A activin is also regulated as a rapid response gene in developing brain, and that the high basal levels reflect a steady-state response to developmental signals. Since activin receptors are enriched in neurons of developing and adult brain [Cameron V. A. et al. (1994) Endocrinology 134, 799-808; Roberts V. J. and Barth S. L. (1994) Endocrinology 134, 914-922], our observations suggest a role for activin signaling in neuronal responses to synaptic and developmental activity. In this study, we analyse the induction of expression of beta-A activin, a member of the transforming growth factor-beta family of secreted peptides, in response to synaptic activity and in the developing brain. The elevated and specific expression of beta-A activin during fetal and early postnatal neocortical development and its later regulation by excitatory activity postnatally and in the adult suggests that the activin signaling pathway functions at multiple developmental stages in the neuroplastic response.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995TE43100010
View details for PubMedID 8596648
The prediction that "saturation" of LTP/LTE at hippocampal synapses should impair spatial learning was reinvestigated in the light of a more specific consideration of the theory of Hebbian associative networks, which predicts a nonlinear relationship between LTP "saturation" and memory impairment. This nonlinearity may explain the variable results of studies that have addressed the effects of LTP "saturation" on behavior. The extent of LTP "saturation" in fascia dentata produced by the standard chronic LTP stimulation protocol was assessed both electrophysiologically and through the use of an anatomical marker (activation of the immediate-early gene zif268). Both methods point to the conclusion that the standard protocols used to induce LTP do not "saturate" the process at any dorsoventral level, and leave the ventral half of the hippocampus virtually unaffected. LTP-inducing, bilateral perforant path stimulation led to a significant deficit in the reversal of a well-learned spatial response on the Barnes circular platform task as reported previously, yet in the same animals produced no deficit in learning the Morris water task (for which previous results have been conflicting). The behavioral deficit was not a consequence of any after-discharge in the hippocampal EEG. In contrast, administration of maximal electroconvulsive shock led to robust zif268 activation throughout the hippocampus, enhancement of synaptic responses, occlusion of LTP produced by discrete high-frequency stimulation, and spatial learning deficits in the water task. These data provide further support for the involvement of LTP-like synaptic enhancement in spatial learning.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994PL02800006
View details for PubMedID 7931545
Programs of gene activation may underlie long-term adaptive cellular responses to extracellular ligands. We have used a differential cDNA cloning strategy to identify genes that are strongly induced by excitatory stimuli in the adult rat hippocampus. Here, we report the rat cDNA sequence of a zinc-finger transcription factor, Egr3/Pilot, and characterize its regulated mRNA expression in brain. Egr3 mRNA is rapidly and transiently induced in neurons of the hippocampus and cortex by electroconvulsive seizure. mRNA levels peak 2 hr after the seizure and remain elevated for as long as 8 hr. Egr3 mRNA is also rapidly induced in granule cells of the dentate gyrus by synaptic NMDA receptor activation elicited by patterned stimulation of the perforant pathway and by drugs that alter dopamine neurotransmission in the striatum. Basal levels of Egr3 mRNA in the cortex appear to be driven by natural synaptic activity because monocular deprivation rapidly decreases Egr3 mRNA in the deafferented visual cortex. Aspects of the protein structure, sequence-specific DNA binding, transcriptional activity, and regulation of Egr3 are highly similar to another zinc-finger transcription factor, Egr1/zif268. Moreover, we demonstrate colocalization of Egr3 and zif268 mRNAs in neurons of normal and stimulated cortex. Our studies suggest that interactions between these coregulated transcription factors may be important in defining long-term, neuroplastic responses.
View details for PubMedID 10467592
Aberrations of dendritic morphology are seen in most forms of mental retardation (MR). Normal cortical development is dependent on neural activity that modulates developmental processes such as dendritic differentiation. Indeed, many of the classical histological correlates of MR are reproduced in models that alter activity during development. To explore the hypothesis that MR results from aberrant activity signals during development, it would be useful to have histochemical markers that are sensitive to neural activity. Recent studies indicate that certain immediate early genes (IEGs) are normally expressed at relatively high levels in cortical neurons during postnatal development and are rapidly regulated by natural activity. We have begun to assess the possible use of IEG markers to study MR by examining the pre- and postnatal developmental time course of a panel of known IEG transcription factors as well as a set of novel IEGs identified in our laboratory. One of these recently characterized clones encodes a novel, mitogen-inducible cyclo-oxygenase that is expressed during a critical period for dendritic formation and is regulated by N-methyl-D-aspartate-dependent synaptic activity and by environmental stimuli. These data suggest a role for prostaglandin signaling in postnatal cortical development. Other partially characterized novel IEGs are expressed in a cell-specific fashion in the cortical plate. Application of these histochemical markers to the study of MR pathogenesis in animal models is discussed.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994PC30000005
View details for PubMedID 7976483
Prostaglandins play important and diverse roles in the CNS. The first step in prostaglandin synthesis involves enzymatic oxidation of arachidonic acid, which is catalyzed by prostaglandin H(PGH) synthase, also referred to as cyclooxygenase. We have cloned an inducible form of this enzyme from rat brain that is nearly identical to a murine, mitogen-inducible cyclooxygenase identified from fibroblasts. Our studies indicate that this gene, here termed COX-2, is expressed throughout the forebrain in discrete populations of neurons and is enriched in the cortex and hippocampus. Neuronal expression is rapidly and transiently induced by seizures or NMDA-dependent synaptic activity. No expression is detected in glia or vascular endothelial cells. Basal expression of COX-2 appears to be regulated by natural synaptic activity in the developing and adult brain. Both basal and induced expression of COX-2 are inhibited by glucocorticoids, consistent with COX-2 regulation in peripheral tissues. Our studies indicate that COX-2 expression may be important in regulating prostaglandin signaling in brain. The marked inducibility in neurons by synaptic stimuli suggests a role in activity-dependent plasticity.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LU06500016
View details for PubMedID 8352945