Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30

Search results for: neurodegeneration

30 Histological Evaluation of the Neuroprotective Roles of Trans Cinnamaldehyde against High Fat Diet and Streptozotozin Induced Neurodegeneration in Wistar Rats

Authors: Samson Ehindero, Oluwole Akinola


Substantial evidence has shown an association between type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cognitive decline, Trans Cinnamaldehyde (TCA) has been shown to have many potent pharmacological properties. In this present study, we are currently investigating the effects of TCA on type II diabetes-induced neurodegeneration. Neurodegeneration was induced in forty (40) adult wistar rats using high fat diet (HFD) for 4 months followed by low dose of streptozotocin (STZ) (40 mg/kg, i.p.) administration. TCA was administered orally for 30 days at the doses of 40mg/kg and 60mg/kg body weight. Animals were randomized and divided into following groups; A- control group, B- diabetic group, C- TCA (high dose), D- diabetic + TCA (high dose), E- diabetic + TCA (high dose) with high fat diet, F- TCA Low dose, G- diabetic + TCA (low dose) and H- diabetic + TCA (low dose) with high fat diet. Animals were subjected to behavioral tests followed by histological studies of the hippocampus. Demented rats showed impaired behavior in Y- Maze test compared to treated and control groups. Trans Cinnamaldehyde restores the histo architecture of the hippocampus of demented rats. This present study demonstrates that treatment with trans- cinnamaldehyde improves behavioral deficits, restores cellular histo architecture in rat models of neurodegeneration.

Keywords: neurodegeneration, trans cinnamaldehyde, high fat diet, streptozotocin

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29 Envy and Schadenfreude Domains in a Model of Neurodegeneration

Authors: Hernando Santamaría-García, Sandra Báez, Pablo Reyes, José Santamaría-García, Diana Matallana, Adolfo García, Agustín Ibañez


The study of moral emotions (i.e., Schadenfreude and envy) is critical to understand the ecological complexity of everyday interactions between cognitive, affective, and social cognition processes. Most previous studies in this area have used correlational imaging techniques and framed Schadenfreude and envy as monolithic domains. Here, we profit from a relevant neurodegeneration model to disentangle the brain regions engaged in three dimensions of Schadenfreude and envy: deservingness, morality, and legality. We tested 20 patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), 24 patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as a contrastive neurodegeneration model, and 20 healthy controls on a novel task highlighting each of these dimensions in scenarios eliciting Schadenfreude and envy. Compared with the AD and control groups, bvFTD patients obtained significantly higher scores on all dimensions for both emotions. Interestingly, the legal dimension for both envy and Schadenfreude elicited higher emotional scores than the deservingness and moral dimensions. Furthermore, correlational analyses in bvFTD showed that higher envy and Schadenfreude scores were associated with greater deficits in social cognition, inhibitory control, and behavior. Brain anatomy findings (restricted to bvFTD and controls) confirmed differences in how these groups process each dimension. Schadenfreude was associated with the ventral striatum in all subjects. Also, in bvFTD patients, increased Schadenfreude across dimensions was negatively correlated with regions supporting social-value rewards, mentalizing, and social cognition (frontal pole, temporal pole, angular gyrus and precuneus). In all subjects, all dimensions of envy positively correlated with the volume of the anterior cingulate cortex, a region involved in processing unfair social comparisons. By contrast, in bvFTD patients, the intensified experience of envy across all dimensions was negatively correlated with a set of areas subserving social cognition, including the prefrontal cortex, the parahippocampus, and the amygdala. Together, the present results provide the first lesion-based evidence for the multidimensional nature of the emotional experiences of envy and Schadenfreude. Moreover, this is the first demonstration of a selective exacerbation of envy and Schadenfreude in bvFTD patients, probably triggered by atrophy to social cognition networks. Our results offer new insights into the mechanisms subserving complex emotions and moral cognition in neurodegeneration, paving the way for groundbreaking research on their interaction with other cognitive, social, and emotional processes.

Keywords: social cognition, moral emotions, neuroimaging, frontotemporal dementia

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28 Maresin Like 1 Treatment: Curbing the Pathogenesis of Behavioral Dysfunction and Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Model

Authors: Yan Lu, Song Hong, Janakiraman Udaiyappan, Aarti Nagayach, Quoc-Viet A. Duong, Masao Morita, Shun Saito, Yuichi Kobayashi, Yuhai, Zhao, Hongying Peng, Nicholas B. Pham, Walter J Lukiw, Christopher A. Vuong, Nicolas G. Bazan


Aims: Neurodegeneration and behavior dysfunction occurs in patients with Alzheimer's Disease (AD), and as the disease progresses many patients develop cognitive impairment. 5XFAD mouse model of AD is widely used to study AD pathogenesis and treatment. This study aimed to investigate the effect of maresin like 1 (MaR-L1) treatment in AD pathology using 5XFAD mice. Methods: We tested 12-month-old male 5XFAD mice and wild type control mice treated with MaR-L1 in a battery of behavioral tasks. We performed open field test, beam walking test, clasping test, inverted grid test, acetone test, marble burring test, elevated plus maze test, cross maze test and novel object recognition test. We also studied neuronal loss, amyloid β burden, and inflammation in the brains of 5XFAD mice using immunohistology and Western blotting. Results: MaR-L1 treatment to the 5XFAD mice showed improved cognitive function of 5XFAD mice. MaR-L1 showed decreased anxiety behavior in open field test and marble burring test, increased muscular strength in the beam walking test, clasping test and inverted grid test. Cognitive function was improved in MaR-L1 treated 5XFAD mice in the novel object recognition test. MaR-L1 prevented neuronal loss and aberrant inflammation. Conclusion: Our finding suggests that behavioral abnormalities were normalized by the administration of MaR-L1 and the neuroprotective role of MaR-L1 in the AD. It also indicates that MaR-L1 treatment is able to prevent and or ameliorate neuronal loss and aberrant inflammation. Further experiments to validate the results are warranted using other AD models in the future.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, motor and cognitive behavior, 5XFAD mice, Maresin Like 1, microglial cell, astrocyte, neurodegeneration, inflammation, resolution of inflammation

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27 Targeting Calcium Dysregulation for Treatment of Dementia in Alzheimer's Disease

Authors: Huafeng Wei


Dementia in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the number one cause of dementia internationally, without effective treatments. Increasing evidence suggest that disruption of intracellular calcium homeostasis, primarily pathological elevation of cytosol and mitochondria but reduction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium concentrations, play critical upstream roles on multiple pathologies and associated neurodegeneration, impaired neurogenesis, synapse, and cognitive dysfunction in various AD preclinical studies. The last federal drug agency (FDA) approved drug for AD dementia treatment, memantine, exert its therapeutic effects by ameliorating N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor overactivation and subsequent calcium dysregulation. More research works are needed to develop other drugs targeting calcium dysregulation at multiple pharmacological acting sites for future effective AD dementia treatment. Particularly, calcium channel blockers for the treatment of hypertension and dantrolene for the treatment of muscle spasm and malignant hyperthermia can be repurposed for this purpose. In our own research work, intranasal administration of dantrolene significantly increased its brain concentrations and durations, rendering it a more effective therapeutic drug with less side effects for chronic AD dementia treatment. This review summarizesthe progress of various studies repurposing drugs targeting calcium dysregulation for future effective AD dementia treatment as potentially disease-modifying drugs.

Keywords: alzheimer, calcium, cognitive dysfunction, dementia, neurodegeneration, neurogenesis

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26 Insight into the Binding Theme of CA-074Me to Cathepsin B: Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Scaffold Hopping to Identify Potential Analogues as Anti-Neurodegenerative Diseases

Authors: Tivani Phosa Mashamba-Thompson, Mahmoud E. S. Soliman


To date, the cause of neurodegeneration is not well understood and diseases that stem from neurodegeneration currently have no known cures. Cathepsin B (CB) enzyme is known to be involved in the production of peptide neurotransmitters and toxic peptides in neurodegenerative diseases (NDs). CA-074Me is a membrane-permeable irreversible selective cathepsin B (CB) inhibitor as confirmed by in vivo studies. Due to the lack of the crystal structure, the binding mode of CA-074Me with the human CB at molecular level has not been previously reported. The main aim of this study is to gain an insight into the binding mode of CB CA-074Me to human CB using various computational tools. Herein, molecular dynamics simulations, binding free energy calculations and per-residue energy decomposition analysis were employed to accomplish the aim of the study. Another objective was to identify novel CB inhibitors based on the structure of CA-074Me using fragment based drug design using scaffold hoping drug design approach. Results showed that two of the designed ligands (hit 1 and hit 2) were found to have better binding affinities than the prototype inhibitor, CA-074Me, by ~2-3 kcal/mol. Per-residue energy decomposition showed that amino acid residues Cys29, Gly196, His197 and Val174 contributed the most towards the binding. The Van der Waals binding forces were found to be the major component of the binding interactions. The findings of this study should assist medicinal chemist towards the design of potential irreversible CB inhibitors.

Keywords: cathepsin B, scaffold hopping, docking, molecular dynamics, binding-free energy, neurodegerative diseases

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25 Characterization and Correlation of Neurodegeneration and Biological Markers of Model Mice with Traumatic Brain Injury and Alzheimer's Disease

Authors: J. DeBoard, R. Dietrich, J. Hughes, K. Yurko, G. Harms


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a predominant type of dementia and is likely a major cause of neural network impairment. The pathogenesis of this neurodegenerative disorder has yet to be fully elucidated. There are currently no known cures for the disease, and the best hope is to be able to detect it early enough to impede its progress. Beyond age and genetics, another prevalent risk factor for AD might be traumatic brain injury (TBI), which has similar neurodegenerative hallmarks. Our research focuses on obtaining information and methods to be able to predict when neurodegenerative effects might occur at a clinical level by observation of events at a cellular and molecular level in model mice. First, we wish to introduce our evidence that brain damage can be observed via brain imaging prior to the noticeable loss of neuromuscular control in model mice of AD. We then show our evidence that some blood biomarkers might be able to be early predictors of AD in the same model mice. Thus, we were interested to see if we might be able to predict which mice might show long-term neurodegenerative effects due to differing degrees of TBI and what level of TBI causes further damage and earlier death to the AD model mice. Upon application of TBIs via an apparatus to effectively induce extremely mild to mild TBIs, wild-type (WT) mice and AD mouse models were tested for cognition, neuromuscular control, olfactory ability, blood biomarkers, and brain imaging. Experiments are currently still in process, and more results are therefore forthcoming. Preliminary data suggest that neuromotor control diminishes as well as olfactory function for both AD and WT mice after the administration of five consecutive mild TBIs. Also, seizure activity increases significantly for both AD and WT after the administration of the five TBI treatment. If future data supports these findings, important implications about the effect of TBI on those at risk for AD might be possible.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, blood biomarker, neurodegeneration, neuromuscular control, olfaction, traumatic brain injury

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24 Involvement of Nrf2 in Kolaviron-Mediated Attenuation of Behavioural Incompetence and Neurodegeneration in a Murine Model of Parkinson's Disease

Authors: Yusuf E. Mustapha, Inioluwa A Akindoyeni, Oluwatoyin G. Ezekiel, Ifeoluwa O. Awogbindin, Ebenezer O. Farombi


Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most prevalent motor disorder. Available therapies are palliative with no effect on disease progression. Kolaviron (KV), a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, has been reported to possess neuroprotective effects in Parkinsonian flies and rats. Objective: The present study investigates the neuroprotective effect of KV, focusing on the DJ1/Nrf2 signaling pathway. Methodology: All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA, 10 mg/kg, i.p.) was used to inhibit Nrf2. Murine model of PD was established with four doses of MPTP (20 mg/kg i.p.) at 2 hours interval. MPTP mice were pre-treated with either KV (200 mg/kg/day p.o), ATRA, or both conditions for seven days before PD induction. Motor behaviour was evaluated, and markers of oxidative stress/damage and its regulators were assessed with immunofluorescence and ELISA techniques. Results: MPTP-treated mice covered less distance with reduced numbers of anticlockwise rotations, heightened freezing, and prolonged immobility when compared to control. However, KV significantly attenuated these deficits. Pretreatment of MPTP mice with KV upregulated Nrf2 expression beyond MPTP level with a remarkable reduction in Keap1 expression and marked elevation of DJ-1 level, whereas co-administration with ATRA abrogated these effects. KV treatment restored MPTP-mediated depletion of endogenous antioxidant, striatal oxidative stress, oxidative damage, and inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity. However, ATRA treatment potentiated acetylcholinesterase inhibition and attenuated the protective effect of KV on the level of nitric oxide and activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase. Conclusion: Kolaviron protects Parkinsonian mice by stabilizing and activating the Nrf2 signaling pathway. Thus, kolaviron can be explored as a pharmacological lead in PD management.

Keywords: Garcinia kola, Kolaviron, Parkinson Disease, Nrf2, behavioral incompetence, neurodegeneration

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23 Innate Immune Dysfunction in Niemann Pick Disease Type C

Authors: Stephanie Newman


Niemann-Pick Type C disease is a rare, usually fatal lysosomal storage disorder. Although clinically characterized by progressive neurodegeneration, there is also evidence of altered innate immune responses such as neuroinflammation that promote disease progression. We have initiated an investigation into whether phagocytosis, an important innate immune activity and the process by which particles are ingested is defective in NPC. Using an in vitro assay, we have shown that NPC macrophages have a deficiency in the phagocytosis of different particles. We plan to investigate the mechanistic basis for impaired phagocytosis, the contribution that this deficiency makes to disease pathology, and whether therapies that have shown in vivo benefit are able to restore phagocytic activity.

Keywords: Niemann Pick Disease C, phagocytosis, innate immunity, lysosomal storage disorder

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22 Epigallocatechin Gallate Protects against Oxidative Stress-Mediated Neurotoxicity and Hippocampus Dysfunction Induced by Fluoride in Rats

Authors: S. Thangapandiyan, S. Miltonprabu


Fl (Fl) exposure engenders neurodegeneration and induces oxidative stress in the brain. The Neuroprotective role of EGCG on oxidative stress-mediated neurotoxicity in Fl intoxicated rat hippocampus has not yet been explored so far. Hence, the present study is focused on witnessing whether EGCG (40mg/kg) supplementation prevents Fl induced oxidative stress in the brain of rats with special emphasis on the hippocampus. Fl (25mg/kg) intoxication for four weeks in rats showed an increase in Fl concentration along with the decrease the AChE, NP, DA, and 5-HT activity in the brain. The oxidative stress markers (ROS, TBARS, NO, and PC) were significantly increased with decreased enzymatic (SOD, CAT, GPx, GR, GST, and G6PD) and non-enzymatic antioxidants (GSH, TSH, and Vit.C) in Fl intoxicated rat hippocampus. Moreover, Fl intoxicated rats exhibited an intrinsic and extrinsic pathway mediated apoptosis in the hippocampus of rats. Fl intoxication significantly increased the DNA damage as evidenced by increased DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, the toxic impact of Fl on hippocampus was also proved by the immunohistochemical, histological, and ultrastructural studies. Pre-administration of EGCG has significantly protected the Fl induced oxidative stress, biochemical changes, cellular apoptotic, and histological alternations in the hippocampus of rats. In conclusion, EGCG supplementation significantly attenuated the Fl induced oxidative stress mediated neurotoxicity via its free radical scavenging and antioxidant activity.

Keywords: brain, hippocampal, NaF, ROS, EGCG

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21 GABARAPL1 (GEC1) mRNA Expression Levels in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease

Authors: Ali Bayram, Burak Uz, Ilhan Dolasik, Remzi Yiğiter


The GABARAP (GABAA-receptor-associated protein) family consists of GABARAP, GABARAPL1 (GABARAP-like 1) and GABARAPL2 (GABARAP-like 2). GABARAPL1, like GABARAP, was described to interact with both GABAA receptor and tubulin, and to be involved in intracellular GABAA receptor trafficking and promoting tubulin polymerization. In addition, GABARAPL1 is thought to be involved in various physiological (autophagosome closure, regulation of circadian rhythms) and/or pathological mechanisms (cancer, neurodegeneration). Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neuro degenerative disorder characterized with impaired cognitive functions. Disruption of the GABAergic neuro transmission as well as cholinergic and glutamatergic interactions, may also be involved in the pathogenesis of AD. GABARAPL1 presents a regulated tissue expression and is the most expressed gene among the GABARAP family members in the central nervous system. We, herein, conducted a study to investigate the GABARAPL1 mRNA expression levels in patients with AD. 50 patients with AD and 49 control patients were enrolled to the present study. Messenger RNA expression levels of GABARAPL1 were detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction. GABARAPL1 mRNA expression in AD / control patients was 0,495 (95% confidence interval: 0,404-0,607), p= 0,00000002646. Reduced activity of GABARAPL1 gene might play a role, at least partly, in the pathophysiology of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, GABARAPL1, mRNA expression, RT-PCR

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20 Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Some Benzoxazole Derivatives as Inhibitors of Acetylcholinesterase / Butyrylcholinesterase and Tyrosinase

Authors: Ozlem Temiz-Arpaci, Meryem Tasci, Fatma Sezer Senol, İlkay Erdogan Orhan


Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a progressive deterioration of memory and cognition, occurs more frequently in elderly people. Current treatment approaches in this disease with the major therapeutic strategy are based on the AChE and BChE inhibition. On the other hand, tyrosinase inhibition has become a target for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) since this enzyme may play a role in neuromelanin formation in the human brain and could be critical in the formation of dopamine neurotoxicity associated with neurodegeneration linked to PD. Also benzoxazoles are structural isosteres of natural nucleotides that can interact with biopolymers so that benzoxazoles showed a lot of different biological activities. In this study, a series of 2,5-disubstituted-benzoxazole derivatives were synthesized and were evaluated as possible inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) / butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) and tyrosinase. The results demonstrated that the compounds exhibited a weak spectrum of AChE / BChE inhibitory activity ranging between 3.92% - 54.32% except compound 8 which showed no activity against AChE and compound 4 which showed no activity against BChE at the specified molar concentrations. Also, the compounds indicated lower than tyrosinase inhibitory activity of ranging between 8.14% - 22.90% to that of reference (kojic acid).

Keywords: AChE and BChE inhibition, Alzheimer’s disease, benzoxazoles, tyrosinase inhibition

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19 Activation of Mitophagy and Autophagy in Familial Forms of Parkinson's Disease, as a Potential Strategy for Cell Protection

Authors: Nafisa Komilova, Plamena Angelova, Andrey Abramov, Ulugbek Mirkhodjaev


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which is induced by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. The mechanism of neurodegeneration is associated with the aggregation of misfolded proteins, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial disfunction. Considering this, the process of removal of unwanted organelles or proteins by autophagy is vitally important in neurons, and activation of these processes could be protective in PD. Short-time acidification of cytosol can activate mitophagy and autophagy, and here we used sodium pyruvate and sodium lactate in human fibroblasts with PD mutations (Pink1, Pink1/Park2, α-syn triplication, A53T) to induce changes in intracellular pH. We have found that both lactate and pyruvate in millimolar concentrations can induce short-time acidification of cytosol in these cells. It induced activation of mitophagy and autophagy in control and PD fibroblasts and protected against cell death. Importantly, the application of lactate to acute brain slices of control and Pink1 knockout mice also induced a reduction of pH in neurons and astrocytes that increase the level of mitophagy. Thus, acidification of cytosol by compounds which play important role in cell metabolism also can activate mitophagy and autophagy and protect cells in the familial form of PD.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease, mutations, mitophagy, autophagy

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18 Investigation of the Effects of Monoamine Oxidase Levels on the 20S Proteasome

Authors: Bhavini Patel, Aslihan Ugun-Klusek, Ellen Billet


The two main contributing factors to familial and idiopathic form of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are oxidative stress and altered proteolysis. Monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) plays a significant role in redox homeostasis by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) via deamination of for example, dopamine. The ROS generated induces chemical modification of proteins resulting in altered biological function. The ubiquitin-proteasome system, which consists of three different types or proteolytic activity, namely “chymotrypsin-like” activity (CLA), “trypsin-like” activity (TLA) and “post acidic-like” activity (PLA), is responsible for the degradation of ubiquitinated proteins. Defects in UPS are known to be strongly correlated to PD. Herein, the effect of ROS generated by MAO-A on proteasome activity and the effects of proteasome inhibition on MAO-A protein levels in WT, mock and MAO-A overexpressed (MAO-A+) SHSY5Y neuroblastoma cell lines were investigated. The data in this study report increased proteolytic activity when MAO-A protein levels are significantly increased, in particular CLA and PLA. Additionally, 20S proteasome inhibition induced a decrease in MAO-A levels in WT and mock cells in comparison to MAO-A+ cells in which 20S proteasome inhibition induced increased MAO-A levels to be further increased at 48 hours of inhibition. This study supports the fact that MAO-A could be a potential pharmaceutical target for neuronal protection as data suggests that endogenous MAO-A levels may be essential for modulating cell death and survival.

Keywords: monoamine oxidase, neurodegeneration, Parkinson's disease, proteasome

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17 Nitric Oxide: Role in Immunity and Therapeutics

Authors: Anusha Bhardwaj, Shekhar Shinde


Nitric oxide (NO•) has been documented in research papers as one of the most versatile player in the therapeutics. It is identified as a biological multifunctional messenger molecule which is synthesized by the action of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzyme from L-arginine. The protective and the toxic effect in conjunction form the complete picture of the biological function of nitric oxide in humans. The dual nature is because of various factors such as concentration of NO, the isoform of NOS involved, type of cells in which it is synthesized, reaction partners like proteins, reactive oxygen intermediates, prosthetic groups, thiols etc., availability of the substrate L-arginine, intracellular environment in which NO is produced and generation of guanosine 3, 5’- cyclic monophosphate (cGMP). Activation of NOS through infection or trauma leads to one or more systemic effects including enhanced immune activity against invading pathogens, vaso/bronchodilatation in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and altered neurotransmission which can be protective or toxic. Hence, NO affects the balance between healthy signaling and neurodegeneration in the brain. In lungs, it has beneficial effects on the function of airways as a bronchodilator and acts as the neurotransmitter of bronchodilator nerves. Whereas, on the other hand, NO may have deleterious effects by amplifying the asthmatic inflammatory response and also act as a vasodilator in the airways by increasing plasma exudation. But NOS Inhibitors and NO donors hamper the signalling pathway and hence a therapeutic application of NO is compromised.

Keywords: nitric oxide, multifunctional, dual nature, therapeutic applications

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16 Muscle Relaxant Dantrolene Repurposed to Treat Alzheimer's Disease

Authors: Huafeng Wei


Failures of developing new drugs primarily based on the amyloid pathology hypothesis after decades of efforts internationally lead to changes of focus targeting alternative pathways of pathology in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Disruption of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, especially the pathological and excessive Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) via ryanodine receptor (RyRs) Ca2+ channels, has been considered an upstream pathology resulting in major AD pathologies, such as amyloid and Tau pathology, mitochondria damage and inflammation, etc. Therefore, dantrolene, an inhibitor of RyRs that reduces the pathological Ca2+ release from ER and a clinically available drug for the treatment of malignant hyperthermia and muscle spasm, is expected to ameliorate AD multiple pathologies synapse and cognitive dysfunction. Our own studies indicated that dantrolene ameliorated impairment of neurogenesis and synaptogenesis in neurons developed from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) originated from skin fibroblasts of either familiar (FAD) or sporadic (SAD) AD by restoring intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis. Intranasal administration of dantrolene significantly increased its passage across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and, therefore its brain concentrations and durations. This can render dantrolene a more effective therapeutic drug with fewer side effects for chronic AD treatment. This review summarizes the potential therapeutic and side effects of dantrolene and repurposes intranasal dantrolene as a disease-modifying drug for future AD treatment.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, calcium, drug development, dementia, neurodegeneration, neurogenesis

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15 Phyllantus nuriri Protect against Fe2+ and SNP Induced Oxidative Damage in Mitochondrial Rich Fractions of Rats Brain

Authors: Olusola Olalekan Elekofehinti, Isaac Gbadura Adanlawo, Joao Batista Teixeira Rocha


We evaluated the potential neuroprotective effect of Phyllantus nuriri against Fe2+ and SNP induced oxidative stress in mitochondria of rats brain. Cellular viability was assessed by MTT reduction, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was measured using the probe 2,7-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA). Glutathione content was measured using dithionitrobenzoic acid (DTNB). Fe2+ (10µM) and SNP (5µM) significantly decreased mitochondrial activity, assessed by MTT reduction assay, in a dose-dependent manner, this occurred in parallel with increased glutathione oxidation, ROS production and lipid peroxidation end-products (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS). The co-incubation with methanolic extract of Phyllantus nuriri (10-100 µg/ml) reduced the disruption of mitochondrial activity, gluthathione oxidation, ROS production as well as the increase in TBARS levels caused by both Fe2+ and SNP in a dose dependent manner. HPLC analysis of the extract revealed the presence of gallic acid (20.54±0.01), caffeic acid (7.93±0.02), rutin (25.31±0.05), quercetin (31.28±0.03) and kaemferol (14.36±0.01). This result suggests that these phytochemicals account for the protective actions of Phyllantus nuriri against Fe2+ and SNP -induced oxidative stress. Our results show that Phyllantus nuriri consist important bioactive molecules in the search for an improved therapy against the deleterious effects of Fe2+, an intrinsic producer of reactive oxygen species (ROS), that leads to neuronal oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.

Keywords: Phyllantus niruri, neuroprotection, oxidative stress, mitochondria, synaptosome

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14 Disturbed Cellular Iron Metabolism Genes in Neurodevelopmental Disorders is Different from Neurodegenerative Disorders

Authors: O. H. Gebril, N. A. Meguid


Background: Iron had been a focus of interest recently as a main exaggerating factor for oxidative stresses in the central nervous system and a link to various neurological disorders is suspected. Many studies with various techniques showed evidence of disturbed iron-related proteins in the cell in human and animal models of neurodegenerative disorders. Also, linkage to significant pathological changes had been evidenced e.g. apoptosis and cell signaling. On the other hand, the role of iron in neurodevelopmental disorders is still unclear. With increasing prevalence of autism worldwide, some changes in iron parameters and its stores were documented in many studies. This study includes Haemochromatosis HFE gene polymorphisms (p.H63D and p.C282Y) and ferroportin gene (SLC40A1) Q248H polymorphism in autism and control children. Materials and Methods: Whole genome DNA was extracted; p.H63D and p.C282Y genotyping was studied using specific sequence amplification followed by restriction enzyme digestion on a sample of autism patients (25 cases) and twenty controls. Results: The p.H63D is seen more than the C282Y among both autism and control samples, with no significant association of p.H63D or p.C282Y polymorphism and autism was revealed. Also, no association with Q248H polymorphism was evidenced. Conclusion: The study results do not prove the role of cellular iron genes polymorphisms as risk factors for neurodevelopmental disorders, and in turn highlights the specificity of cellular iron related pathways in neurodegeneration. These results demand further gene expression studies to elucidate the main pathophysiological pathways that are disturbed in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Keywords: iron, neurodevelopmental, oxidative stress, haemohromatosis, ferroportin, genes

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13 The Ameliorative Effects of the Histamine H3 Receptor Antagonist/Inverse Agonist DL77 on MK801-Induced Memory Deficits in Rats

Authors: B. Sadek, N. Khan, Shreesh K. Ojha, Adel Sadeq, D. Lazewska, K. Kiec-Kononowicz


The involvement of Histamine H3 receptors (H3Rs) in memory and the potential role of H3R antagonists in pharmacological control of neurodegenerative disorders, e.g., Alzheimer disease (AD) is well established. Therefore, the memory-enhancing effects of the H3R antagonist DL77 on MK801-induced cognitive deficits were evaluated in passive avoidance paradigm (PAP) and novel object recognition (NOR) tasks in adult male rats, applying donepezil (DOZ) as a reference drug. Animals pretreated with acute systemic administration of DL77 (2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg, i.p.) were significantly ameliorated in regard to MK801-induced memory deficits in PAP. The ameliorative effect of most effective dose of DL77 (5 mg/kg, i.p.) was abrogated when animals were pretreated with a co-injection with the H3R agonist R-(α)-methylhistamine (RAMH, 10 mg/kg, i.p.). Moreover, and in the NOR paradigm, DL77 (5 mg/kg, i.p.) reversed MK801-induced deficits long-term memory (LTM), and the DL77-provided procognitive effect was comparable to that of reference drug DOZ, and was reversed when animals were co-injected with RAMH (10 mg/kg, i.p.). However, DL77(5 mg/kg, i.p.) failed to alter short-term memory (STM) impairment in NOR test. Furthermore, DL77 (5 mg/kg) failed to induce any alterations of anxiety and locomotor behaviors of animals naive to elevated-plus maze (EPM), indicating that the ameliorative effects observed in PAP or NOR tests were not associated to alterations in emotions or in natural locomotion of tested animals. These results reveal the potential contribution of H3Rs in modulating CNS neurotransmission systems associated with neurodegenerative disorders, e.g., AD.

Keywords: histamine H3 receptor, antagonist, learning and memory, Alzheimer's disease, neurodegeneration, passive avoidance paradigm, novel object recognition, behavioral research

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12 SUMOylation Enhances Nurr1/1a Mediated Transactivation in a Neuronal Cell Type

Authors: Jade Edey, Andrew Bennett, Gareth Hathway


Nuclear receptor-related 1 protein (also known as Nurr1 or NR4A2) is an orphan nuclear receptor which plays a vital role in the development, survival and maintenance of dopaminergic (DA) neurons particularly in the substantia nigra (SN). Increasing research has investigated Nurr1’s additional role within microglia and astrocytes where it has been suggested to act as a negative regulator of inflammation; potentially offering neuroprotection. Considering both DA neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation are commonly accepted constituents of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), understanding the mechanisms by which Nurr1 regulates inflammatory processes could provide an attractive therapeutic target. Nurr1 regulates inflammation via a transrepressive mechanism possibly dependent upon SUMOylation. In addition, Nurr1 can transactivate numerous genes involved in DA synthesis, such as Tyrosine Hydroxylase (TH). A C-terminal splice variant of Nurr1, Nurr-1a, has been reported in both neuronal and glial cells. However, research into its transcriptional activity is minimal. We employed in vitro methods such as SUMO-Pulldown experiments alongside Luciferase reporter assays to investigate the SUMOylation status and transactivation capabilities of Nurr1 and Nurr-1a respectively. The SUMO-Pulldown assay demonstrated Nurr-1a undergoes significantly more SUMO modification than its full-length variant. Consequently, despite having less transcriptional activation than Nurr1, Nurr1a may play a more prominent role in repression of microglial inflammation. Contrary to published literature we also identified that SUMOylation enhances transcriptional activation by Nurr1 and Nurr1a. SUMOylation-dependent increases in Nurr1 and Nurr1a transcriptional activation were only evident in neuronal SHSY5Y cells but not in HEK293 cells. This research provides novel insight into the regulation of Nurr-1a and indicates differential effects of SUMOylation dependent regulation in neuronal and inflammatory cells.

Keywords: nuclear receptors, Parkinson’s disease, inflammation, transcriptional regulation

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11 Investigation of Ameliorative Effect of a Polyphenolic Compound of Green Tea Extract against Rotenone Induced Neurotoxicity: A Mechanistic Approach

Authors: Sandeep Goyal, Sandeep Saluja


Natural antioxidants have major role in maintenance of health. Green tea extract principally contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), as its abundant antioxidant constituent. Green tea is consumed daily worldwide as antioxidant to combat CNS diseases and has traditional importance also. EGCG has neuroprotective potential in various animal models of Parkinson disease, Alzheimer’s disease etc. but its exact mechanism has not been ruled out. The present study has been designed to investigate the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and mitochondrial modulating mechanism of neuroprotective effect of epigallocatechin-3-gallate against rodent model of rotenone induced Parkinson’s disease (PD). The behavioural alterations were assessed by using open field test apparatus, Chatilon’s grip strength test apparatus and elevated plus maze for determining the locomotor activity, grip strength and cognition respectively. Biochemically, various parameters to assess oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and neurochemical estimations were performed on rat brain homogenates. A histological examination of rat brain striatum was done to check the neurodegeneration. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) at 10 & 20 mg/kg, were investigated for their neuroprotective potential along with levodopa as a standard agent. Minocycline, a microglial activation inhibitor, was administered alone and in combination with EGCG. EGCG and minocycline produced ameliorative effect against rotenone induced PD like symptoms by significantly reduced behavioral, biochemical and histological alterations. Results of our study reveal the neuroprotective effect of EGCG and minocycline against rotenone induced PD. Results of our study indicate that EGCG exerted neuroprotective effect against rotenone induced PD via its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and mitochondrial modulating mechanisms and substantiate its previously reported and traditional claims for its use in CNS diseases.

Keywords: antioxidants, neurotoxicity, rotenone, EGCG

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10 Attenuation of Amyloid beta (Aβ) (1-42)-Induced Neurotoxicity by Luteolin

Authors: Dona Pamoda W. Jayatunga, Veer Bala Gupta, Eugene Hone, Ralph N. Martins


Being a neurodegenerative disorder, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects a majority of the elderly demented worldwide. The key risk factors for AD are age, metabolic syndrome, allele status of APOE gene, head injuries and lifestyle. The progressive nature of AD is characterized by symptoms of multiple cognitive deficits exacerbated over time, leading to death within a decade from clinical diagnosis. However, it is revealed that AD originates via a prodromal phase that spans from one to few decades before symptoms first manifest. The key pathological hallmarks of AD brains are deposition of amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). However, the yet unknown etiology of the disease fails to distinguish mitochondrial dysfunction between a cause or an outcome. The absence of early diagnosis tools and definite therapies for AD have permitted recruits of nutraceutical-based approaches aimed at reducing the risk of AD by modulating lifestyle or be used as preventive tools during AD prodromal state before widespread neurodegeneration begins. The objective of the present study was to investigate beneficial effects of luteolin, a plant-based flavone compound, against AD. The neuroprotective effects of luteolin on amyloid beta (Aβ) (1-42)-induced neurotoxicity was measured using cultured human neuroblastoma BE(2)-M17 cells. After exposure to 20μM Aβ (1-42) for 48 h, the neuroblastoma cells exhibited marked apoptotic death. Co-treatment of 20μM Aβ (1-42) with luteolin (0.5-5μM) significantly protected the cells against Aβ (1-42)-induced toxicity, as assessed by the MTS [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2(4sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium, inner salt; MTS] reduction assay and the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) cell death assay. The results suggest that luteolin prevents Aβ (1-42)-induced apoptotic neuronal death. However, further studies are underway to determine its protective mechanisms in AD including the activity against tau hyperphosphorylation and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Keywords: Aβ (1-42)-induced toxicity, Alzheimer’s disease, luteolin, neuroblastoma cells

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9 Expression of ULK-1 mRNA in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Patients with Alzheimer's Disease

Authors: Ali Bayram, Remzi Yiğiter


Objective: Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. At present, diagnosis of AD is rather late in the disease. Therefore, we attempted to find peripheral biomarkers for the early diagnosis of AD. Herein, we conducted a study to investigate the unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase-1 (ULK1) mRNA expression levels in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with Alzheimer's disease. Method: To determine whether ULK1 gene expression are altered in AD patients, we measured their gene expression in human peripheral blood cell in 50 patients with AD and 50 age and gender matched healthy controls by quantitative real-time PCR technique. Results: We found that both ULK1 gene expression in peripheral blood cell were significantly decreased in patients with AD as compared with controls (p <0.05). Lower levels of ULK1 gene expression were significantly associated with the increased risk for AD. Conclusions: Serine/threonine-protein kinase involved in autophagy in response to starvation. Acts upstream of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase PIK3C3 to regulate the formation of autophagophores, the precursors of autophagosomes. Part of regulatory feedback loops in autophagy: acts both as a downstream effector and negative regulator of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) via interaction with RPTOR. Activated via phosphorylation by AMPK and also acts as a regulator of AMPK by mediating phosphorylation of AMPK subunits PRKAA1, PRKAB2, and PRKAG1, leading to negatively regulate AMPK activity. May phosphorylate ATG13/KIAA0652 and RPTOR; however such data need additional evidences. Plays a role early in neuronal differentiation and is required for granule cell axon formation. Alzheimer is the most common neurodegenerative disease. Our results provide useful information that the ULK1 gene expression is decreased in the neurodegeneration and AD patients with, indicating their possible systemic involvement in AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s sisease, ULK1, mRNA expression, RT-PCR

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8 Constraint-Based Computational Modelling of Bioenergetic Pathway Switching in Synaptic Mitochondria from Parkinson's Disease Patients

Authors: Diana C. El Assal, Fatima Monteiro, Caroline May, Peter Barbuti, Silvia Bolognin, Averina Nicolae, Hulda Haraldsdottir, Lemmer R. P. El Assal, Swagatika Sahoo, Longfei Mao, Jens Schwamborn, Rejko Kruger, Ines Thiele, Kathrin Marcus, Ronan M. T. Fleming


Degeneration of substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurons is one of the hallmarks of Parkinson's disease. These neurons have a highly complex axonal arborisation and a high energy demand, so any reduction in ATP synthesis could lead to an imbalance between supply and demand, thereby impeding normal neuronal bioenergetic requirements. Synaptic mitochondria exhibit increased vulnerability to dysfunction in Parkinson's disease. After biogenesis in and transport from the cell body, synaptic mitochondria become highly dependent upon oxidative phosphorylation. We applied a systems biochemistry approach to identify the metabolic pathways used by neuronal mitochondria for energy generation. The mitochondrial component of an existing manual reconstruction of human metabolism was extended with manual curation of the biochemical literature and specialised using omics data from Parkinson's disease patients and controls, to generate reconstructions of synaptic and somal mitochondrial metabolism. These reconstructions were converted into stoichiometrically- and fluxconsistent constraint-based computational models. These models predict that Parkinson's disease is accompanied by an increase in the rate of glycolysis and a decrease in the rate of oxidative phosphorylation within synaptic mitochondria. This is consistent with independent experimental reports of a compensatory switching of bioenergetic pathways in the putamen of post-mortem Parkinson's disease patients. Ongoing work, in the context of the SysMedPD project is aimed at computational prediction of mitochondrial drug targets to slow the progression of neurodegeneration in the subset of Parkinson's disease patients with overt mitochondrial dysfunction.

Keywords: bioenergetics, mitochondria, Parkinson's disease, systems biochemistry

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7 Neuro-Preservation Potential of Resveratrol Against High Fat High Fructose-Induced Metabolic Syndrome

Authors: Rania F. Ahmed, Sally A. El Awdan, Gehad A. Abdel Jaleel, Dalia O. Saleh, Omar A. H. Ahmed-Farid


The metabolic syndrome is an important public health concern often related to obesity, improper diet, and sedentary lifestyles and can predispose individuals to the development of many dangerous health conditions, disability and early death. This research aimed to investigate the efficacy of resveratrol (RSV) to reverse the neuro-complications associated with metabolic syndrome experimentally-induced in rats using an eight weeks high fat, high fructose diet (HFHF) model. The corresponding drug treatments were administered orally during the last 10 days of the diet. Behavioural tests namely the open field test (OFT) and the forced swimming test (FST) were conducted. Brain levels of monoamines viz. serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine as well as their metabolites were assessed. 8-hydroxyguanosine (8-OHDG) as an indicative of DNA-fragmentation, nitric oxide (NOx) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF- α) were estimated. Finally, brain antioxidant parameters namely malondialdehyde (MDA), reduced and oxidized glutathione (GSH, GSSG) were evaluated. HFHF-induced metabolic syndrome resulted in decreased activity in the OFT and increased immobility duration in the FST. Furthermore, HFHF-induced metabolic syndrome lead to a significant increase in brain monoamines turn over as well as elevation in 8-OHDG, NOx, TNF- α, MDA and GSSG; and reduction in GSH. Ten days daily treatment with RSV (20 and 40 mg/kg p.o) dose dependently increased activity in the OFT and decreased immobility duration in the FST. Moreover, RSV normalized brain monoamines contents, reduced 8-OHDG, NOx, TNF- α, MDA and GSSG; and elevated GSH. In conclusion, we can say that RSV showed neuro-protective properties against HFHF-induced metabolic syndrome represented by monoamines preservation, prevention of neurodegeneration, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potentials and could be recommended as a beneficial daily dietary supplement to treat the neuronal side effects associated with HFHF-induced metabolic syndrome.

Keywords: antioxidants, DNA-fragmentation, forced swimming test, HFHF-induced metabolic syndrome, monoamines, nitric oxide (NOx), open field, resveratrol, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF- α), 8-hydroxyguanosine (8-OHDG)

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6 Neuro-Epigenetic Changes on Diabetes Induced-Synaptic Fidelity in Brain

Authors: Valencia Fernandes, Dharmendra Kumar Khatri, Shashi Bala Singh


Background and Aim: Epigenetics are the inaudible signatures of several pathological processes in the brain. This study understands the influence of DNA methylation, a major epigenetic modification, in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus of the diabetic brain and its notable effect on the cellular chaperones and synaptic proteins. Method: Chronic high fat diet and STZ-induced diabetic mice were studied for cognitive dysfunction, and global DNA methylation, as well as DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) activity, were assessed. Further, the cellular chaperones and synaptic proteins were examined using DNMT inhibitor, 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC)-via intracerebroventricular injection. Moreover, % methylation of these synaptic proteins were also studied so as to correlate its epigenetic involvement. Computationally, its interaction with the DNMT enzyme were also studied using bioinformatic tools. Histological studies for morphological alterations and neuronal degeneration were also studied. Neurogenesis, a characteristic marker for new learning and memory formation, was also assessed via the BrdU staining. Finally, the most important behavioral studies, including the Morris water maze, Y maze, passive avoidance, and Novel object recognition test, were performed to study its cognitive functions. Results: Altered global DNA methylation and increased levels of DNMTs within the nucleus were confirmed in the cortex and hippocampus of the diseased mice, suggesting hypermethylation at a genetic level. Treatment with AzadC, a global DNA demethylating agent, ameliorated the protein and gene expression of the cellular chaperones and synaptic fidelity. Furthermore, the methylation analysis profile showed hypermethylation of the hsf1 protein, a master regulator for chaperones and thus, confirmed the epigenetic involvement in the diseased brain. Morphological improvements and decreased neurodegeneration, along with enhanced neurogenesis in the treatment group, suggest that epigenetic modulations do participate in learning and memory. This is supported by the improved behavioral test battery seen in the treatment group. Conclusion: DNA methylation could possibly accord in dysregulating the memory-associated proteins at chronic stages in type 2 diabetes. This could suggest a substantial contribution to the underlying pathophysiology of several metabolic syndromes like insulin resistance, obesity and also participate in transitioning this damage centrally, such as cognitive dysfunction.

Keywords: epigenetics, cognition, chaperones, DNA methylation

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5 Sweet to Bitter Perception Parageusia: Case of Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery Territory Diaschisis

Authors: I. S. Gandhi, D. N. Patel, M. Johnson, A. R. Hirsch


Although distortion of taste perception following a cerebrovascular event may seem to be a frivolous consequence of a classic stroke presentation, altered taste perception places patients at an increased risk for malnutrition, weight loss, and depression, all of which negatively impact the quality of life. Impaired taste perception can result from a wide variety of cerebrovascular lesions to various locations, including pons, insular cortices, and ventral posteromedial nucleus of the thalamus. Wallenberg syndrome, also known as a lateral medullary syndrome, has been described to impact taste; however, specific sweet to bitter taste dysgeusia from a territory infarction is an infrequent event; as such, a case is presented. One year prior to presentation, this 64-year-old right-handed woman, suffered a right posterior inferior cerebellar artery aneurysm rupture with resultant infarction, culminating in a ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. One and half months after this event, she noticed the gradual onset of lack of ability to taste sweet, to eventually all sweet food tasting bitter. Since the onset of her chemosensory problems, the patient has lost 60-pounds. Upon gustatory testing, the patient's taste threshold showed ageusia to sucrose and hydrochloric acid, while normogeusia to sodium chloride, urea, and phenylthiocarbamide. The gustatory cortex is made in part by the right insular cortex as well as the right anterior operculum, which are primarily involved in the sensory taste modalities. In this model, sweet is localized in the posterior-most along with the rostral aspect of the right insular cortex, notably adjacent to the region responsible for bitter taste. The sweet to bitter dysgeusia in our patient suggests the presence of a lesion in this localization. Although the primary lesion in this patient was located in the right medulla of the brainstem, neurodegeneration in the rostal and posterior-most aspect, of the right insular cortex may have occurred due to diaschisis. Diaschisis has been described as neurophysiological changes that occur in remote regions to a focal brain lesion. Although hydrocephalus and vasospasm due to aneurysmal rupture may explain the distal foci of impairment, the gradual onset of dysgeusia is more indicative of diaschisis. The perception of sweet, now tasting bitter, suggests that in the absence of sweet taste reception, the intrinsic bitter taste of food is now being stimulated rather than sweet. In the evaluation and treatment of taste parageusia secondary to cerebrovascular injury, prophylactic neuroprotective measures may be worthwhile. Further investigation is warranted.

Keywords: diaschisis, dysgeusia, stroke, taste

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4 Neuroprotection against N-Methyl-D-Aspartate-Induced Optic Nerve and Retinal Degeneration Changes by Philanthotoxin-343 to Alleviate Visual Impairments Involve Reduced Nitrosative Stress

Authors: Izuddin Fahmy Abu, Mohamad Haiqal Nizar Mohamad, Muhammad Fattah Fazel, Renu Agarwal, Igor Iezhitsa, Nor Salmah Bakar, Henrik Franzyk, Ian Mellor


Glaucoma is the global leading cause of irreversible blindness. Currently, the available treatment strategy only involves lowering intraocular pressure (IOP); however, the condition often progresses despite lowered or normal IOP in some patients. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) excitotoxicity often occurs in neurodegeneration-related glaucoma; thus it is a relevant target to develop a therapy based on neuroprotection approach. This study investigated the effects of Philanthotoxin-343 (PhTX-343), an NMDAR antagonist, on the neuroprotection of NMDA-induced glaucoma to alleviate visual impairments. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were equally divided: Groups 1 (control) and 2 (glaucoma) were intravitreally injected with phosphate buffer saline (PBS) and NMDA (160nM), respectively, while group 3 was pre-treated with PhTX-343 (160nM) 24 hours prior to NMDA injection. Seven days post-treatments, rats were subjected to visual behavior assessments and subsequently euthanized to harvest their retina and optic nerve tissues for histological analysis and determination of nitrosative stress level using 3-nitrotyrosine ELISA. Visual behavior assessments via open field, object, and color recognition tests demonstrated poor visual performance in glaucoma rats indicated by high exploratory behavior. PhTX-343 pre-treatment appeared to preserve visual abilities as all test results were significantly improved (p < 0.05). H&E staining of the retina showed a marked reduction of ganglion cell layer thickness in the glaucoma group; in contrast, PhTX-343 significantly increased the number by 1.28-folds (p < 0.05). PhTX-343 also increased the number of cell nuclei/100μm2 within inner retina by 1.82-folds compared to the glaucoma group (p < 0.05). Toluidine blue staining of optic nerve tissues showed that PhTX-343 reduced the degeneration changes compared to the glaucoma group which exhibited vacuolation overall sections. PhTX-343 also decreased retinal 3- nitrotyrosine concentration by 1.74-folds compared to the glaucoma group (p < 0.05). All results in PhTX-343 group were comparable to control (p > 0.05). We conclude that PhTX-343 protects against NMDA-induced changes and visual impairments in the rat model by reducing nitrosative stress levels.

Keywords: excitotoxicity, glaucoma, nitrosative stress , NMDA receptor , N-methyl-D-aspartate , philanthotoxin, visual behaviour

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3 Skull Extraction for Quantification of Brain Volume in Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Authors: Marcela De Oliveira, Marina P. Da Silva, Fernando C. G. Da Rocha, Jorge M. Santos, Jaime S. Cardoso, Paulo N. Lisboa-Filho


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system characterized by neurodegeneration, inflammation, demyelination, and axonal loss. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), due to the richness in the information details provided, is the gold standard exam for diagnosis and follow-up of neurodegenerative diseases, such as MS. Brain atrophy, the gradual loss of brain volume, is quite extensive in multiple sclerosis, nearly 0.5-1.35% per year, far off the limits of normal aging. Thus, the brain volume quantification becomes an essential task for future analysis of the occurrence atrophy. The analysis of MRI has become a tedious and complex task for clinicians, who have to manually extract important information. This manual analysis is prone to errors and is time consuming due to various intra- and inter-operator variability. Nowadays, computerized methods for MRI segmentation have been extensively used to assist doctors in quantitative analyzes for disease diagnosis and monitoring. Thus, the purpose of this work was to evaluate the brain volume in MRI of MS patients. We used MRI scans with 30 slices of the five patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis according to the McDonald criteria. The computational methods for the analysis of images were carried out in two steps: segmentation of the brain and brain volume quantification. The first image processing step was to perform brain extraction by skull stripping from the original image. In the skull stripper for MRI images of the brain, the algorithm registers a grayscale atlas image to the grayscale patient image. The associated brain mask is propagated using the registration transformation. Then this mask is eroded and used for a refined brain extraction based on level-sets (edge of the brain-skull border with dedicated expansion, curvature, and advection terms). In the second step, the brain volume quantification was performed by counting the voxels belonging to the segmentation mask and converted in cc. We observed an average brain volume of 1469.5 cc. We concluded that the automatic method applied in this work can be used for the brain extraction process and brain volume quantification in MRI. The development and use of computer programs can contribute to assist health professionals in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. In future works, we expect to implement more automated methods for the assessment of cerebral atrophy and brain lesions quantification, including machine-learning approaches. Acknowledgements: This work was supported by a grant from Brazilian agency Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (number 2019/16362-5).

Keywords: brain volume, magnetic resonance imaging, multiple sclerosis, skull stripper

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2 The Toxic Effects of Kynurenine Metabolites on SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells

Authors: Susan Hall, Gary D. Grant, Catherine McDermott, Devinder Arora


Introduction /Aim: The kynurenine pathway is thought to play an important role in the pathophysiology of numerous neurodegenerative diseases including depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Numerous neuroactive compounds, including the neurotoxic 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid, 3-hydroxykynurenine and quinolinic acid and the neuroprotective kynurenic acid and picolinic acid, are produced through the metabolism of kynurenine and are thought to be the causative agents responsible for neurodegeneration. The toxicity of 3-hydroxykynurenine, 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid and quinolinic acid has been widely evaluated and demonstrated in primary cell cultures but to date only 3-hydroxykynurenine and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid have been shown to cause toxicity in immortal tumour cells. The aim of this study was to evaluate the toxicity of kynurenine metabolites, both individually and in combination, on SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells after 24 and 72 h exposure in order to explore a cost-effective model to study their neurotoxic effects and potential protective agents. Methods: SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells were exposed to various concentrations of the neuroactive kynurenine metabolites, both individually and in combination, for 24 and 72 h, and viability was subsequently evaluated using the Resazurin (Alamar blue) proliferation assay. Furthermore, the effects of these compounds, alone and in combination, on specific death pathways including apoptosis, necrosis and free radical production was evaluated using various assays. Results: Consistent with literature, toxicity was shown with short-term 24-hour treatments at 1000 μM concentrations for both 3-hydroxykynurenine and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid. Combinations of kynurenine metabolites showed modest toxicity towards SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Specific cell death pathways, including apoptosis, necrosis and free radical production were shown to be increased after both 24 and 72 h exposure of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells to 3-hydroxykynurenine and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid and various combinations of neurotoxic kynurenine metabolites. Conclusion: It is well documented that neurotoxic kynurenine metabolites show toxicity towards primary human neurons in the nanomolar to low micromolar concentration range. Results show that the concentrations required to show significant cell death are in the range of 1000 µM for 3-hydroxykynurenine and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid and toxicity of quinolinic acid towards SH-SY5Y was unable to be shown. This differs significantly from toxicities observed in primary human neurons. Combinations of the neurotoxic metabolites were shown to have modest toxicity towards these cells with increased toxicity and activation of cell death pathways observed after 72 h exposure. This study suggests that the 24 h model is unsuitable for use in neurotoxicity studies, however, the 72 h model better represents the observations of the studies using primary human neurons and may provide some benefit in providing a cost-effective model to assess possible protective agents against kynurenine metabolite toxicities.

Keywords: kynurenine metabolites, neurotoxicity, quinolinic acid, SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma

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1 Elevated Systemic Oxidative-Nitrosative Stress and Cerebrovascular Function in Professional Rugby Union Players: The Link to Impaired Cognition

Authors: Tom S. Owens, Tom A. Calverley, Benjamin S. Stacey, Christopher J. Marley, George Rose, Lewis Fall, Gareth L. Jones, Priscilla Williams, John P. R. Williams, Martin Steggall, Damian M. Bailey


Introduction and aims: Sports-related concussion (SRC) represents a significant and growing public health concern in rugby union, yet remains one of the least understood injuries facing the health community today. Alongside increasing SRC incidence rates, there is concern that prior recurrent concussion may contribute to long-term neurologic sequelae in later-life. This may be due to an accelerated decline in cerebral perfusion, a major risk factor for neurocognitive decline and neurodegeneration, though the underlying mechanisms remain to be established. The present study hypothesised that recurrent concussion in current professional rugby union players would result in elevated systemic oxidative-nitrosative stress, reflected by a free radical-mediated reduction in nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and impaired cerebrovascular and cognitive function. Methodology: A longitudinal study design was adopted across the 2017-2018 rugby union season. Ethical approval was obtained from the University of South Wales Ethics Committee. Data collection is ongoing, and therefore the current report documents result from the pre-season and first half of the in-season data collection. Participants were initially divided into two subgroups; 23 professional rugby union players (aged 26 ± 5 years) and 22 non-concussed controls (27 ± 8 years). Pre-season measurements were performed for cerebrovascular function (Doppler ultrasound of middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAv) in response to hypocapnia/normocapnia/hypercapnia), cephalic venous concentrations of the ascorbate radical (A•-, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy), NO (ozone-based chemiluminescence) and cognition (neuropsychometric tests). Notational analysis was performed to assess contact in the rugby group throughout each competitive game. Results: 1001 tackles and 62 injuries, including three concussions were observed across the first half of the season. However, no associations were apparent between number of tackles and any injury type (P > 0.05). The rugby group expressed greater oxidative stress as indicated by increased A•- (P < 0.05 vs. control) and a subsequent decrease in NO bioavailability (P < 0.05 vs. control). The rugby group performed worse in the Ray Auditory Verbal Learning Test B (RAVLT-B, learning, and memory) and the Grooved Pegboard test using both the dominant and non-dominant hands (visuomotor coordination, P < 0.05 vs. control). There were no between-group differences in cerebral perfusion at baseline (MCAv: 54 ± 13 vs. 59 ± 12, P > 0.05). Likewise, no between-group differences in CVRCO2Hypo (2.58 ± 1.01 vs. 2.58 ± 0.75, P > 0.05) or CVRCO2Hyper (2.69 ± 1.07 vs. 3.35 ± 1.28, P > 0.05) were observed. Conclusion: The present study identified that the rugby union players are characterized by impaired cognitive function subsequent to elevated systemic-oxidative-nitrosative stress. However, this appears to be independent of any functional impairment in cerebrovascular function. Given the potential long-term trajectory towards accelerated cognitive decline in populations exposed to SRC, prophylaxis to increase NO bioavailability warrants consideration.

Keywords: cognition, concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, rugby

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