Stem Cell Treatment for ALS

ALS Stem Cell Treatment

ALS Stem Cell Treatment

"My life and millions of others are in the hands of Congress. We are already seeing the incredible potential of stem cells to replace what is destroyed in ALS, but we need the federal government to mentor research along in the most responsible, humane way.” Pointing out that, “non-profits like Project A.L.S. and private industry have started stem cell replacement on the right track,”...“do the right thing and take us to the next level with this life-saving science.

Jenifer Estess (1963–2003) founder of Project A.L.S testifying in 2000 before Senator Arlen Specter’s sub-committee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education

Organizatiom of the Brain: Cell Types

Stem Cell Treatment for ALS

 

ALS Stem Cell Treatment Case Review

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease  caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input.

The condition is often called Lou Gehrig's disease in North America, after the New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939. The disorder is characterized by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, spasticity, dysarthria, dysphagia, and respiratory compromise. Sensory function generally is spared, as is autonomic, and oculomotor activity. ALS is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease

Signs and symptoms

The disorder causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body caused by degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Unable to function, the muscles weaken and atrophy. Affected individuals may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel sphincters and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually, but not always, spared.

Cognitive function is generally spared for most patients although some (~5%) also have frontotemporal dementia. A higher proportion of patients (~30-50%) also have more subtle cognitive changes which may go unnoticed but are revealed by detailed neuropsychological testing. Sensory nerves and the autonomic nervous system, which controls functions like sweating, are generally unaffected but may be involved for some patients.

Initial symptoms

The earliest symptoms of ALS are typically obvious weakness and/or muscle atrophy. Other presenting symptoms include muscle fasciculation (twitching), cramping, or stiffness of affected muscles; muscle weakness affecting an arm or a leg; and/or slurred and nasal speech. The parts of the body affected by early symptoms of ALS depend on which motor neurons in the body are damaged first. About 75% of people contracting the disease experience "limb onset" ALS.

SOD1

The cause of ALS is not known, though an important step toward determining the cause came in 1993 when scientists discovered that mutations in the gene that produces the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) enzyme were associated with some cases (approximately 20%) of familial ALS. This enzyme is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from damage caused by superoxide, a toxic free radical generated in the mitochondria. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules produced by cells during normal metabolism again largely by the mitochondria. Free radicals can accumulate and cause damage to both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and proteins within cells.

Studies also have focused on the role of glutamate in motor neuron degeneration. Glutamate is one of the chemical messengers or neurotransmitters in the brain. Scientists have found that, compared to healthy people, ALS patients have higher levels of glutamate in the serum and spinal fluid. Riluzole is currently the only FDA approved drug for ALS and targets glutamate transporters. It only has a modest effect on survival, however, suggesting that excess glutamate is not the sole cause of the disease.

Diagnosis

No test can provide a definite diagnosis of ALS, although the presence of upper and lower motor neuron signs in a single limb is strongly suggestive. Instead, the diagnosis of ALS is primarily based on the symptoms and signs the physician observes in the patient and a series of tests to rule out other diseases. Physicians obtain the patient's full medical history and usually conduct a neurologic examination at regular intervals to assess whether symptoms such as muscle weakness, atrophy of muscles, hyperreflexia, and spasticity are getting progressively worse.

ALS Stem Cell Treatment and stem cell therapy. AlS treatment studies and stem cell protocols:
Related Articles Serial in vivo imaging of transplanted allogeneic neural stem cell survival in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Exp Neurol. 2017 03;289:96-102 Authors: Srivastava AK, Gross SK, Almad AA, Bulte CA, Maragakis NJ, Bulte JWM Abstract Neural stem cells (NSCs) are being investigated as a possible treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) through intraspinal transplantation, but no longitudinal imaging studies exist that describe the survival of engrafted cells over time. Allogeneic firefly luciferase-expressing murine NSCs (Luc+-NSCs) were transplanted bilaterally (100,000 cells/2μl) into the cervical spinal cord (C5) parenchyma of pre-symptomatic (63day-old) SOD1G93A ALS mice (n=14) and wild-type age-matched littermates (n=14). Six control SOD1G93A ALS mice were injected with saline. Mice were immunosuppressed using a combination of tacrolimus+sirolimus (1mg/kg each, i.p.) daily. Compared to saline-injected SOD1G93A ALS control mice, a transient improvement (p<0.05) in motor performance (rotarod test) was observed after NSC transplantation only at the early disease stage (weeks 2 and 3 post-transplantation). Compared to day one post-transplantation, there was a significant decline in bioluminescent imaging (BLI) signal in SOD1G93A ALS mice at the time of disease onset (71.7±17.9% at 4weeks post-transplantation, p<0.05), with a complete loss of BLI signal at endpoint (120day-old mice). In contrast, BLI signal intensity was observed in wild-type littermates throughout the entire study period, with only a 41.4±8.7% decline at the endpoint. In SOD1G93A ALS mice, poor cell survival was accompanied by accumulation of mature macrophages and the presence of astrogliosis and microgliosis. We conclude that the disease progression adversely affects the survival of engrafted murine Luc+-NSCs in SOD1G93A ALS mice as a result of the hostile ALS spinal cord microenvironment, further emphasizing the challenges that face successful cell therapy of ALS. PMID: 28038988 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Boundary Cap Neural Crest Stem Cells Promote Survival of Mutant SOD1 Motor Neurons. Neurotherapeutics. 2017 Jul;14(3):773-783 Authors: Aggarwal T, Hoeber J, Ivert P, Vasylovska S, Kozlova EN Abstract ALS is a devastating disease resulting in degeneration of motor neurons (MNs) in the brain and spinal cord. The survival of MNs strongly depends on surrounding glial cells and neurotrophic support from muscles. We previously demonstrated that boundary cap neural crest stem cells (bNCSCs) can give rise to neurons and glial cells in vitro and in vivo and have multiple beneficial effects on co-cultured and co-implanted cells, including neural cells. In this paper, we investigate if bNCSCs may improve survival of MNs harboring a mutant form of human SOD1 (SOD1G93A) in vitro under normal conditions and oxidative stress and in vivo after implantation to the spinal cord. We found that survival of SOD1G93A MNs in vitro was increased in the presence of bNCSCs under normal conditions as well as under oxidative stress. In addition, when SOD1G93A MN precursors were implanted to the spinal cord of adult mice, their survival was increased when they were co-implanted with bNCSCs. These findings show that bNCSCs support survival of SOD1G93A MNs in normal conditions and under oxidative stress in vitro and improve their survival in vivo, suggesting that bNCSCs have a potential for the development of novel stem cell-based therapeutic approaches in ALS models. PMID: 28070746 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Stem cells for ALS: An overview of possible therapeutic approaches. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2017 Apr;57:46-55 Authors: Czarzasta J, Habich A, Siwek T, Czapliński A, Maksymowicz W, Wojtkiewicz J Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an unusual, fatal, neurodegenerative disorder leading to the loss of motor neurons. After diagnosis, the average lifespan ranges from 3 to 5 years, and death usually results from respiratory failure. Although the pathogenesis of ALS remains unclear, multiple factors are thought to contribute to the progression of ALS, such as network interactions between genes, environmental exposure, impaired molecular pathways and many others. The neuroprotective properties of neural stem cells (NSCs) and the paracrine signaling of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been examined in multiple pre-clinical trials of ALS with promising results. The data from these initial trials indicate a reduction in the rate of disease progression. The mechanism through which stem cells achieve this reduction is of major interest. Here, we review the to-date pre-clinical and clinical therapeutic approaches employing stem cells, and discuss the most promising ones. PMID: 28088365 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Riluzole But Not Melatonin Ameliorates Acute Motor Neuron Degeneration and Moderately Inhibits SOD1-Mediated Excitotoxicity Induced Disrupted Mitochondrial Ca2+ Signaling in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Front Cell Neurosci. 2016;10:295 Authors: Jaiswal MK Abstract Selective motoneurons (MNs) degeneration in the brain stem, hypoglossal motoneurons (HMNs), and the spinal cord resulting in patients paralysis and eventual death are prominent features of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Previous studies have suggested that mitochondrial respiratory impairment, low Ca2+ buffering and homeostasis and excitotoxicity are the pathological phenotypes found in mice, and cell culture models of familial ALS (fALS) linked with Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutation. In our study, we aimed to understand the impact of riluzole and melatonin on excitotoxicity, neuronal protection and Ca2+ signaling in individual HMNs ex vivo in symptomatic adult ALS mouse brain stem slice preparations and in WT and SOD1-G93A transfected SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line using fluorescence microscopy, calcium imaging with high speed charged coupled device camera, together with immunohistochemistry, cell survival assay and histology. In our experiments, riluzole but not melatonin ameliorates MNs degeneration and moderately inhibit excitotoxicity and cell death in SH-SY5YWT or SH-SY5YG93A cell lines induced by complex IV blocker sodium azide. In brain stem slice preparations, riluzole significantly inhibit HMNs cell death induced by inhibiting the mitochondrial electron transport chain by Na-azide. In the HMNs of brainstem slice prepared from adult (14-15 weeks) WT, and corresponding symptomatic SOD1G93A mice, we measured the effect of riluzole and melatonin on [Ca2+]i using fura-2 AM ratiometric calcium imaging in individual MNs. Riluzole caused a significant decrease in [Ca2+]i transients and reversibly inhibited [Ca2+]i transients in Fura-2 AM loaded HMNs exposed to Na-azide in adult symptomatic SOD1G93A mice. On the contrary, melatonin failed to show similar effects in the HMNs of WT and SOD1G93A mice. Intrinsic nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) fluorescence, an indicator of mitochondrial metabolism and health in MNs, showed enhanced intrinsic NADH fluorescence in HMNs in presence of riluzole when respiratory chain activity was inhibited by Na-azide. Riluzole's inhibition of excitability and Ca2+ signaling may be due to its multiple effects on cellular function of mitochondria. Therefore formulating a drug therapy to stabilize mitochondria-related signaling pathways using riluzole might be a valuable approach for cell death protection in ALS. Taken together, the pharmacological profiles of the riluzole and melatonin strengthen the case that riluzole indeed can be used as a therapeutic agent in ALS whereas claims of the efficacy of melatonin alone need further investigation as it fail to show significant neuroprotection efficacy. PMID: 28111541 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Nanotubes impregnated human olfactory bulb neural stem cells promote neuronal differentiation in Trimethyltin-induced neurodegeneration rat model. J Cell Physiol. 2017 Dec;232(12):3586-3597 Authors: Marei HE, Elnegiry AA, Zaghloul A, Althani A, Afifi N, Abd-Elmaksoud A, Farag A, Lashen S, Rezk S, Shouman Z, Cenciarelli C, Hasan A Abstract Neural stem cells (NSCs) are multipotent self-renewing cells that could be used in cellular-based therapy for a wide variety of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's diseases (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis (MS). Being multipotent in nature, they are practically capable of giving rise to major cell types of the nervous tissue including neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. This is in marked contrast to neural progenitor cells which are committed to a specific lineage fate. In previous studies, we have demonstrated the ability of NSCs isolated from human olfactory bulb (OB) to survive, proliferate, differentiate, and restore cognitive and motor deficits associated with AD, and PD rat models, respectively. The use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to enhance the survivability and differentiation potential of NSCs following their in vivo engraftment have been recently suggested. Here, in order to assess the ability of CNTs to enhance the therapeutic potential of human OBNSCs for restoring cognitive deficits and neurodegenerative lesions, we co-engrafted CNTs and human OBNSCs in TMT-neurodegeneration rat model. The present study revealed that engrafted human OBNSCS-CNTs restored cognitive deficits, and neurodegenerative changes associated with TMT-induced rat neurodegeneration model. Moreover, the CNTs seemed to provide a support for engrafted OBNSCs, with increasing their tendency to differentiate into neurons rather than into glia cells. The present study indicate the marked ability of CNTs to enhance the therapeutic potential of human OBNSCs which qualify this novel therapeutic paradigm as a promising candidate for cell-based therapy of different neurodegenerative diseases. PMID: 28121007 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Single-Cell Analysis of SMN Reveals Its Broader Role in Neuromuscular Disease. Cell Rep. 2017 02 07;18(6):1484-1498 Authors: Rodriguez-Muela N, Litterman NK, Norabuena EM, Mull JL, Galazo MJ, Sun C, Ng SY, Makhortova NR, White A, Lynes MM, Chung WK, Davidow LS, Macklis JD, Rubin LL Abstract The mechanism underlying selective motor neuron (MN) death remains an essential question in the MN disease field. The MN disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is attributable to reduced levels of the ubiquitous protein SMN. Here, we report that SMN levels are widely variable in MNs within a single genetic background and that this heterogeneity is seen not only in SMA MNs but also in MNs derived from controls and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. Furthermore, cells with low SMN are more susceptible to cell death. These findings raise the important clinical implication that some SMN-elevating therapeutics might be effective in MN diseases besides SMA. Supporting this, we found that increasing SMN across all MN populations using an Nedd8-activating enzyme inhibitor promotes survival in both SMA and ALS-derived MNs. Altogether, our work demonstrates that examination of human neurons at the single-cell level can reveal alternative strategies to be explored in the treatment of degenerative diseases. PMID: 28178525 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles ALS patients' regulatory T lymphocytes are dysfunctional, and correlate with disease progression rate and severity. JCI Insight. 2017 Mar 09;2(5):e89530 Authors: Beers DR, Zhao W, Wang J, Zhang X, Wen S, Neal D, Thonhoff JR, Alsuliman AS, Shpall EJ, Rezvani K, Appel SH Abstract Neuroinflammation is a pathological hallmark of ALS in both transgenic rodent models and patients, and is characterized by proinflammatory T lymphocytes and activated macrophages/microglia. In ALS mouse models, decreased regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) exacerbate the neuroinflammatory process, leading to accelerated motoneuron death and shortened survival; passive transfer of Tregs suppresses the neuroinflammation and prolongs survival. Treg numbers and FOXP3 expression are also decreased in rapidly progressing ALS patients. A key question is whether the marked neuroinflammation in ALS can be attributed to the impaired suppressive function of ALS Tregs in addition to their decreased numbers. To address this question, T lymphocyte proliferation assays were performed. Compared with control Tregs, ALS Tregs were less effective in suppressing responder T lymphocyte proliferation. Although both slowly and rapidly progressing ALS patients had dysfunctional Tregs, the greater the clinically assessed disease burden or the more rapidly progressing the patient, the greater the Treg dysfunction. Epigenetically, the percentage methylation of the Treg-specific demethylated region was greater in ALS Tregs. After in vitro expansion, ALS Tregs regained suppressive abilities to the levels of control Tregs, suggesting that autologous passive transfer of expanded Tregs might offer a novel cellular therapy to slow disease progression. PMID: 28289705 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Modeling Human Neurological and Neurodegenerative Diseases: From Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to Neuronal Differentiation and Its Applications in Neurotrauma. Front Mol Neurosci. 2017;10:50 Authors: Bahmad H, Hadadeh O, Chamaa F, Cheaito K, Darwish B, Makkawi AK, Abou-Kheir W Abstract With the help of several inducing factors, somatic cells can be reprogrammed to become induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSCs) lines. The success is in obtaining iPSCs almost identical to embryonic stem cells (ESCs), therefore various approaches have been tested and ultimately several ones have succeeded. The importance of these cells is in how they serve as models to unveil the molecular pathways and mechanisms underlying several human diseases, and also in its potential roles in the development of regenerative medicine. They further aid in the development of regenerative medicine, autologous cell therapy and drug or toxicity screening. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the recent development in the field of iPSCs research, specifically for modeling human neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, and its applications in neurotrauma. These are mainly characterized by progressive functional or structural neuronal loss rendering them extremely challenging to manage. Many of these diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been explored in vitro. The main purpose is to generate patient-specific iPS cell lines from the somatic cells that carry mutations or genetic instabilities for the aim of studying their differentiation potential and behavior. This new technology will pave the way for future development in the field of stem cell research anticipating its use in clinical settings and in regenerative medicine in order to treat various human diseases, including neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. PMID: 28293168 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Reconstruction of Large-scale Defects with a Novel Hybrid Scaffold Made from Poly(L-lactic acid)/Nanohydroxyapatite/Alendronate-loaded Chitosan Microsphere: in vitro and in vivo Studies. Sci Rep. 2017 03 23;7(1):359 Authors: Wu H, Lei P, Liu G, Shrike Zhang Y, Yang J, Zhang L, Xie J, Niu W, Liu H, Ruan J, Hu Y, Zhang C Abstract A chitosan-based microsphere delivery system has been fabricated for controlled release of alendronate (AL). The present study aimed to incorporate the chitosan/hydroxyapatite microspheres-loaded with AL (CH/nHA-AL) into poly(L-lactic acid)/nanohydroxyapatite (PLLA/nHA) matrix to prepare a novel microspheres-scaffold hybrid system (CM-ALs) for drug delivery and bone tissue engineering application. The characteristics of CM-ALs scaffolds containing 10% and 20% CH/nHA-AL were evaluated in vitro, including surface morphology and porosity, mechanical properties, drug release, degradation, and osteogenic differentiation. The in vivo bone repair for large segmental radius defects (1.5 cm) in a rabbit model was evaluated by radiography and histology. In vitro study showed more sustained drug release of CM-AL-containing scaffolds than these of CM/nHA-AL and PLLA/nHA/AL scaffolds, and the mechanical and degradation properties of CM-ALs (10%) scaffolds were comparable to that of PLLA/nHA control. The osteogenic differentiation of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) was significantly enhanced as indicated by increased alkaline phosphates (ALP) activity and calcium deposition. In vivo study further showed better performance of CM-ALs (10%) scaffolds with complete repair of large-sized bone defects within 8 weeks. A microspheres-scaffold-based release system containing AL-encapsulated chitosan microspheres was successfully fabricated in this study. Our results suggested the promising application of CM-ALs (10%) scaffolds for drug delivery and bone tissue engineering. PMID: 28337023 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Simple Derivation of Spinal Motor Neurons from ESCs/iPSCs Using Sendai Virus Vectors. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2017 Mar 17;4:115-125 Authors: Goto K, Imamura K, Komatsu K, Mitani K, Aiba K, Nakatsuji N, Inoue M, Kawata A, Yamashita H, Takahashi R, Inoue H Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and fatal degenerative disorder of motor neurons (MNs). Embryonic stem cells (ESCs)/induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) now help us to understand the pathomechanisms of ALS via disease modeling. Various methods to differentiate ESCs/iPSCs into MNs by the addition of signaling molecules have been reported. However, classical methods require multiple steps, and newer simple methods using the transduction of transcription factors run the risk of genomic integration of the vector genes. Heterogeneity of the expression levels of the transcription factors also remains an issue. Here we describe a novel approach for differentiating human and mouse ESCs/iPSCs into MNs using a single Sendai virus vector encoding three transcription factors, LIM/homeobox protein 3, neurogenin 2, and islet-1, which are integration free. This single-vector method, generating HB9-positive cells on day 2 from human iPSCs, increases the ratio of MNs to neurons compared to the use of three separate Sendai virus vectors. In addition, the MNs derived via this method from iPSCs of ALS patients and model mice display disease phenotypes. This simple approach significantly reduces the efforts required to generate MNs, and it provides a useful tool for disease modeling. PMID: 28344997 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Poly(GP) proteins are a useful pharmacodynamic marker for C9ORF72-associated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Sci Transl Med. 2017 03 29;9(383): Authors: Gendron TF, Chew J, Stankowski JN, Hayes LR, Zhang YJ, Prudencio M, Carlomagno Y, Daughrity LM, Jansen-West K, Perkerson EA, O'Raw A, Cook C, Pregent L, Belzil V, van Blitterswijk M, Tabassian LJ, Lee CW, Yue M, Tong J, Song Y, Castanedes-Casey M, Rousseau L, Phillips V, Dickson DW, Rademakers R, Fryer JD, Rush BK, Pedraza O, Caputo AM, Desaro P, Palmucci C, Robertson A, Heckman MG, Diehl NN, Wiggs E, Tierney M, Braun L, Farren J, Lacomis D, Ladha S, Fournier CN, McCluskey LF, Elman LB, Toledo JB, McBride JD, Tiloca C, Morelli C, Poletti B, Solca F, Prelle A, Wuu J, Jockel-Balsarotti J, Rigo F, Ambrose C, Datta A, Yang W, Raitcheva D, Antognetti G, McCampbell A, Van Swieten JC, Miller BL, Boxer AL, Brown RH, Bowser R, Miller TM, Trojanowski JQ, Grossman M, Berry JD, Hu WT, Ratti A, Traynor BJ, Disney MD, Benatar M, Silani V, Glass JD, Floeter MK, Rothstein JD, Boylan KB, Petrucelli L Abstract There is no effective treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a devastating motor neuron disease. However, discovery of a G4C2 repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene as the most common genetic cause of ALS has opened up new avenues for therapeutic intervention for this form of ALS. G4C2 repeat expansion RNAs and proteins of repeating dipeptides synthesized from these transcripts are believed to play a key role in C9ORF72-associated ALS (c9ALS). Therapeutics that target G4C2 RNA, such as antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and small molecules, are thus being actively investigated. A limitation in moving such treatments from bench to bedside is a lack of pharmacodynamic markers for use in clinical trials. We explored whether poly(GP) proteins translated from G4C2 RNA could serve such a purpose. Poly(GP) proteins were detected in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from c9ALS patients and, notably, from asymptomatic C9ORF72 mutation carriers. Moreover, CSF poly(GP) proteins remained relatively constant over time, boding well for their use in gauging biochemical responses to potential treatments. Treating c9ALS patient cells or a mouse model of c9ALS with ASOs that target G4C2 RNA resulted in decreased intracellular and extracellular poly(GP) proteins. This decrease paralleled reductions in G4C2 RNA and downstream G4C2 RNA-mediated events. These findings indicate that tracking poly(GP) proteins in CSF could provide a means to assess target engagement of G4C2 RNA-based therapies in symptomatic C9ORF72 repeat expansion carriers and presymptomatic individuals who are expected to benefit from early therapeutic intervention. PMID: 28356511 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Sporadic ALS Astrocytes Induce Neuronal Degeneration In Vivo. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 04 11;8(4):843-855 Authors: Qian K, Huang H, Peterson A, Hu B, Maragakis NJ, Ming GL, Chen H, Zhang SC Abstract Astrocytes from familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients or transgenic mice are toxic specifically to motor neurons (MNs). It is not known if astrocytes from sporadic ALS (sALS) patients cause MN degeneration in vivo and whether the effect is specific to MNs. By transplanting spinal neural progenitors, derived from sALS and healthy induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), into the cervical spinal cord of adult SCID mice for 9 months, we found that differentiated human astrocytes were present in large areas of the spinal cord, replaced endogenous astrocytes, and contacted neurons to a similar extent. Mice with sALS but not non-ALS cells showed reduced non-MNs numbers followed by MNs in the host spinal cord. The surviving MNs showed reduced inputs from inhibitory neurons and exhibited disorganized neurofilaments and aggregated ubiquitin. Correspondingly, mice with sALS but not non-ALS cells showed declined movement deficits. Thus, sALS iPSC-derived astrocytes cause ALS-like degeneration in both MNs and non-MNs. PMID: 28366455 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles ALS Pathogenesis and Therapeutic Approaches: The Role of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Extracellular Vesicles. Front Cell Neurosci. 2017;11:80 Authors: Bonafede R, Mariotti R Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive muscle paralysis determined by the degeneration of motoneurons in the motor cortex brainstem and spinal cord. The ALS pathogenetic mechanisms are still unclear, despite the wealth of studies demonstrating the involvement of several altered signaling pathways, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, glutamate excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. To date, the proposed therapeutic strategies are targeted to one or a few of these alterations, resulting in only a minimal effect on disease course and survival of ALS patients. The involvement of different mechanisms in ALS pathogenesis underlines the need for a therapeutic approach targeted to multiple aspects. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can support motoneurons and surrounding cells, reduce inflammation, stimulate tissue regeneration and release growth factors. On this basis, MSC have been proposed as promising candidates to treat ALS. However, due to the drawbacks of cell therapy, the possible therapeutic use of extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by stem cells is raising increasing interest. The present review summarizes the main pathological mechanisms involved in ALS and the related therapeutic approaches proposed to date, focusing on MSC therapy and their preclinical and clinical applications. Moreover, the nature and characteristics of EVs and their role in recapitulating the effect of stem cells are discussed, elucidating how and why these vesicles could provide novel opportunities for ALS treatment. PMID: 28377696 [PubMed]
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Related Articles KCHO-1, a novel herbal anti-inflammatory compound, attenuates oxidative stress in an animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Vet Sci. 2017 Dec 31;18(4):487-497 Authors: Kook MG, Choi SW, Seo Y, Kim DW, Song BK, Son I, Kim S, Kang KS Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective death of motor neurons in the central nervous system. The main cause of the disease remains elusive, but several mutations have been associated with the disease process. In particular, mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) protein causes oxidative stress by activating glia cells and contributes to motor neuron degeneration. KCHO-1, a novel herbal combination compound, contains 30% ethanol and the extracts of nine herbs that have been commonly used in traditional medicine to prevent fatigue or inflammation. In this study, we investigated whether KCHO-1 administration could reduce oxidative stress in an ALS model. KCHO-1 administered to ALS model mice improved motor function and delayed disease onset. Furthermore, KCHO-1 administration reduced oxidative stress through gp91phox and the MAPK pathway in both classically activated microglia and the spinal cord of hSOD1G93A transgenic mice. The results suggest that KCHO-1 can function as an effective therapeutic agent for ALS by reducing oxidative stress. PMID: 28385005 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Alisertib induces G2/M arrest, apoptosis, and autophagy via PI3K/Akt/mTOR- and p38 MAPK-mediated pathways in human glioblastoma cells. Am J Transl Res. 2017;9(3):845-873 Authors: Liu Z, Wang F, Zhou ZW, Xia HC, Wang XY, Yang YX, He ZX, Sun T, Zhou SF Abstract Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common brain tumor with poor response to current therapeutics. Alisertib (ALS), a second-generation selective Aurora kinase A (AURKA) inhibitor, has shown potent anticancer effects on solid tumors in animal studies. This study aimed to investigate the killing effect of ALS on GBM cell line DAOY and the possible underlying mechanisms using both bioinformatic and cell-based approaches. Our molecular docking showed that ALS preferentially bound AURKA over AURKB via hydrogen bond formation, charge interaction, and π-π stacking. ALS also bound key regulating proteins of cell cycle, apoptosis and autophagy, such as cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1/CDC2), CDK2, cyclin B1, p27 Kip1, p53, cytochrome C, cleaved caspase 3, Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (Akt), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), 5'-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), beclin 1, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), and microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3). ALS exhibited potent growth-inhibitory, pro-apoptotic, and pro-autophagic effects on DAOY cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Notably, ALS remarkably induced G2/M arrest mainlyvia regulating the expression of CDK1/CDC2, CDK2, cyclin B1, p27 Kip1, and p53 in DAOY cells. ALS significantly induced the expression of mitochondria-mediated pro-apoptotic proteins such as Baxbut inhibited the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins such as Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl, with a significant increase in the release of cytochrome C and the activation of caspases 3 and 9. ALS also induced PI3K/Akt/mTOR and p38 MAPK signaling pathways while activating the AMPK signaling pathway. Taken together, these findings indicate that ALS exerts a potent inhibitory effect on cell proliferation and induces mitochondria-dependent apoptosis and autophagy with the involvement of PI3K/Akt/mTOR- and p38 MAPK-mediated signaling pathways in DAOY cells. ALS is a promising anticancer agent for GBM treatment. PMID: 28386317 [PubMed]
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Related Articles CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted gene correction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient iPSCs. Protein Cell. 2017 05;8(5):365-378 Authors: Wang L, Yi F, Fu L, Yang J, Wang S, Wang Z, Suzuki K, Sun L, Xu X, Yu Y, Qiao J, Belmonte JCI, Yang Z, Yuan Y, Qu J, Liu GH Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a complex neurodegenerative disease with cellular and molecular mechanisms yet to be fully described. Mutations in a number of genes including SOD1 and FUS are associated with familial ALS. Here we report the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from fibroblasts of familial ALS patients bearing SOD1 +/A272C and FUS +/G1566A mutations, respectively. We further generated gene corrected ALS iPSCs using CRISPR/Cas9 system. Genome-wide RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of motor neurons derived from SOD1 +/A272C and corrected iPSCs revealed 899 aberrant transcripts. Our work may shed light on discovery of early biomarkers and pathways dysregulated in ALS, as well as provide a basis for novel therapeutic strategies to treat ALS. PMID: 28401346 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Endothelial and Astrocytic Support by Human Bone Marrow Stem Cell Grafts into Symptomatic ALS Mice towards Blood-Spinal Cord Barrier Repair. Sci Rep. 2017 04 13;7(1):884 Authors: Garbuzova-Davis S, Kurien C, Thomson A, Falco D, Ahmad S, Staffetti J, Steiner G, Abraham S, James G, Mahendrasah A, Sanberg PR, Borlongan CV Abstract Vascular pathology, including blood-CNS barrier (B-CNS-B) damage via endothelial cell (EC) degeneration, is a recently recognized hallmark of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) pathogenesis. B-CNS-B repair may be a new therapeutic approach for ALS. This study aimed to determine effects of transplanted unmodified human bone marrow CD34+ (hBM34+) cells into symptomatic G93A mice towards blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) repair. Thirteen weeks old G93A mice intravenously received one of three different doses of hBM34+ cells. Cell-treated, media-treated, and control mice were euthanized at 17 weeks of age. Immunohistochemical (anti-human vWF, CD45, GFAP, and Iba-1) and motor neuron histological analyses were performed in cervical and lumbar spinal cords. EB levels in spinal cord parenchyma determined capillary permeability. Transplanted hBM34+ cells improved behavioral disease outcomes and enhanced motor neuron survival, mainly in high-cell-dose mice. Transplanted cells differentiated into ECs and engrafted within numerous capillaries. Reduced astrogliosis, microgliosis, and enhanced perivascular end-feet astrocytes were also determined in spinal cords, mostly in high-cell-dose mice. These mice also showed significantly decreased parenchymal EB levels. EC differentiation, capillary engraftment, reduced capillary permeability, and re-established perivascular end-feet astrocytes in symptomatic ALS mice may represent BSCB repair processes, supporting hBM34+ cell transplantation as a future therapeutic strategy for ALS patients. PMID: 28408761 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Immunomodulatory effects of stem cells: Therapeutic option for neurodegenerative disorders. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Jul;91:60-69 Authors: Caprnda M, Kubatka P, Gazdikova K, Gasparova I, Valentova V, Stollarova N, La Rocca G, Kobyliak N, Dragasek J, Mozos I, Prosecky R, Siniscalco D, Büsselberg D, Rodrigo L, Kruzliak P Abstract Stem cells have the capability of self-renewal and can differentiate into different cell types that might be used in regenerative medicine. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), multiple sclerosis (MS), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) currently lack effective treatments. Although stem cell therapy is still on the way from bench to bedside, we consider that it might provide new hope for patients suffering with neurodegenerative diseases. In this article, we will give an overview of recent studies on the potential therapeutic use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), neural stem cells (NSCs), embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and perinatal stem cells to neurodegenerative disorders and we will describe their immunomodulatory mechanisms of action in specific therapeutic modalities. PMID: 28448871 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles The emerging role of autophagic-lysosomal dysfunction in Gaucher disease and Parkinson's disease. Neural Regen Res. 2017 Mar;12(3):380-384 Authors: Kinghorn KJ, Asghari AM, Castillo-Quan JI Abstract Gaucher disease (GD), the commonest lysosomal storage disorder, results from the lack or functional deficiency of glucocerebrosidase (GCase) secondary to mutations in the GBA1 gene. There is an established association between GBA1 mutations and Parkinson's disease (PD), and indeed GBA1 mutations are now considered to be the greatest genetic risk factor for PD. Impaired lysosomal-autophagic degradation of cellular proteins, including α-synuclein (α-syn), is implicated in the pathogenesis of PD, and there is increasing evidence for this also in GD and GBA1-PD. Indeed we have recently shown in a Drosophila model lacking neuronal GCase, that there are clear lysosomal-autophagic defects in association with synaptic loss and neurodegeneration. In addition, we demonstrated alterations in mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling and functional rescue of the lifespan, locomotor defects and hypersensitivity to oxidative stress on treatment of GCase-deficient flies with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin. Moreover, a number of other recent studies have shown autophagy-lysosomal system (ALS) dysfunction, with specific defects in both chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), as well as macroautophagy, in GD and GBA1-PD model systems. Lastly we discuss the possible therapeutic benefits of inhibiting mTOR using drugs such as rapamycin to reverse the autophagy defects in GD and PD. PMID: 28469644 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Dioxins and related environmental contaminants increase TDP-43 levels. Mol Neurodegener. 2017 05 05;12(1):35 Authors: Ash PEA, Stanford EA, Al Abdulatif A, Ramirez-Cardenas A, Ballance HI, Boudeau S, Jeh A, Murithi JM, Tripodis Y, Murphy GJ, Sherr DH, Wolozin B Abstract BACKGROUND: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating neurodegenerative condition that is characterized by progressive loss of motor neurons and the accumulation of aggregated TAR DNA Binding Protein-43 (TDP-43, gene: TARDBP). Increasing evidence indicates that environmental factors contribute to the risk of ALS. Dioxins, related planar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are environmental contaminants that activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), a ligand-activated, PAS family transcription factor. Recently, exposure to these toxicants was identified as a risk factor for ALS. METHODS: We examined levels of TDP-43 reporter activity, transcript and protein. Quantification was done using cell lines, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and mouse brain. The target samples were treated with AHR agonists, including 6-Formylindolo[3,2-b]carbazole (FICZ, a potential endogenous ligand, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo(p)dioxin, and benzo(a)pyrene, an abundant carcinogen in cigarette smoke). The action of the agonists was inhibited by concomitant addition of AHR antagonists or by AHR-specific shRNA. RESULTS: We now report that AHR agonists induce up to a 3-fold increase in TDP-43 protein in human neuronal cell lines (BE-M17 cells), motor neuron differentiated iPSCs, and in murine brain. Chronic treatment with AHR agonists elicits over 2-fold accumulation of soluble and insoluble TDP-43, primarily because of reduced TDP-43 catabolism. AHR antagonists or AHR knockdown inhibits agonist-induced increases in TDP-43 protein and TARDBP transcription demonstrating that the ligands act through the AHR. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide the first evidence that environmental AHR ligands increase TDP-43, which is the principle pathological protein associated with ALS. These results suggest novel molecular mechanisms through which a variety of prevalent environmental factors might directly contribute to ALS. The widespread distribution of dioxins, PCBs and PAHs is considered to be a risk factor for cancer and autoimmune diseases, but could also be a significant public health concern for ALS. PMID: 28476168 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles RNA-seq analyses reveal that cervical spinal cords and anterior motor neurons from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis subjects show reduced expression of mitochondrial DNA-encoded respiratory genes, and rhTFAM may correct this respiratory deficiency. Brain Res. 2017 07 15;1667:74-83 Authors: Ladd AC, Brohawn DG, Thomas RR, Keeney PM, Berr SS, Khan SM, Portell FR, Shakenov MZ, Antkowiak PF, Kundu B, Tustison N, Bennett JP Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a generally fatal neurodegenerative disease of adults that produces weakness and atrophy due to dysfunction and death of upper and lower motor neurons. We used RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) to analyze expression of all mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-encoded respiratory genes in ALS and CTL human cervical spinal cords (hCSC) and isolated motor neurons. We analyzed with RNA-seq mtDNA gene expression in human neural stem cells (hNSC) exposed to recombinant human mitochondrial transcription factor A (rhTFAM), visualized in 3-dimensions clustered gene networks activated by rhTFAM, quantitated their interactions with other genes and determined their gene ontology (GO) families. RNA-seq and quantitative PCR (qPCR) analyses showed reduced mitochondrial gene expression in ALS hCSC and ALS motor neurons isolated by laser capture microdissection (LCM), and revealed that hNSC and CTL human cervical spinal cords were similar. Rats treated with i.v. rhTFAM showed a dose-response increase in brain respiration and an increase in spinal cord mitochondrial gene expression. Treatment of hNSC with rhTFAM increased expression of mtDNA-encoded respiratory genes and produced one major and several minor clusters of gene interactions. Gene ontology (GO) analysis of rhTFAM-stimulated gene clusters revealed enrichment in GO families involved in RNA and mRNA metabolism, suggesting mitochondrial-nuclear signaling. In postmortem ALS hCSC and LCM-isolated motor neurons we found reduced expression of mtDNA respiratory genes. In hNSC's rhTFAM increased mtDNA gene expression and stimulated mRNA metabolism by unclear mechanisms. rhTFAM may be useful in improving bioenergetic function in ALS. PMID: 28511992 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Energy Homeostasis and Abnormal RNA Metabolism in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Front Cell Neurosci. 2017;11:126 Authors: Liu YJ, Tsai PY, Chern Y Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal motor neuron disease that is clinically characterized by progressive muscle weakness and impaired voluntary movement due to the loss of motor neurons in the brain, brain stem and spinal cord. To date, no effective treatment is available. Ample evidence suggests that impaired RNA homeostasis and abnormal energy status are two major pathogenesis pathways in ALS. In the present review article, we focus on recent studies that report molecular insights of both pathways, and discuss the possibility that energy dysfunction might negatively regulate RNA homeostasis via the impairment of cytoplasmic-nuclear shuttling in motor neurons and subsequently contribute to the development of ALS. PMID: 28522961 [PubMed]
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Related Articles The Src/c-Abl pathway is a potential therapeutic target in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Sci Transl Med. 2017 05 24;9(391): Authors: Imamura K, Izumi Y, Watanabe A, Tsukita K, Woltjen K, Yamamoto T, Hotta A, Kondo T, Kitaoka S, Ohta A, Tanaka A, Watanabe D, Morita M, Takuma H, Tamaoka A, Kunath T, Wray S, Furuya H, Era T, Makioka K, Okamoto K, Fujisawa T, Nishitoh H, Homma K, Ichijo H, Julien JP, Obata N, Hosokawa M, Akiyama H, Kaneko S, Ayaki T, Ito H, Kaji R, Takahashi R, Yamanaka S, Inoue H Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal disease causing progressive loss of motor neurons, still has no effective treatment. We developed a phenotypic screen to repurpose existing drugs using ALS motor neuron survival as readout. Motor neurons were generated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from an ALS patient with a mutation in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). Results of the screen showed that more than half of the hits targeted the Src/c-Abl signaling pathway. Src/c-Abl inhibitors increased survival of ALS iPSC-derived motor neurons in vitro. Knockdown of Src or c-Abl with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) also rescued ALS motor neuron degeneration. One of the hits, bosutinib, boosted autophagy, reduced the amount of misfolded mutant SOD1 protein, and attenuated altered expression of mitochondrial genes. Bosutinib also increased survival in vitro of ALS iPSC-derived motor neurons from patients with sporadic ALS or other forms of familial ALS caused by mutations in TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43) or repeat expansions in C9orf72 Furthermore, bosutinib treatment modestly extended survival of a mouse model of ALS with an SOD1 mutation, suggesting that Src/c-Abl may be a potentially useful target for developing new drugs to treat ALS. PMID: 28539470 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Riluzole: real-world evidence supports significant extension of median survival times in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Degener Neurol Neuromuscul Dis. 2017;7:61-70 Authors: Hinchcliffe M, Smith A Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the commonest form of motor neuron disease and is a fatal, degenerative, multisystem disorder affecting upper and/or lower motor neurons in the motor cortex, brain stem, and spinal cord. ALS is characterized by progressive atrophy of associated bulbar, limb, thoracic, and abdominal muscles and supporting cells manifesting in a range of muscular symptoms such as weakness and wasting and eventual paralysis; the majority of patients will die from respiratory failure within 2-5 years of onset. Riluzole, a synthetic benzothiazole drug with glutamine antagonist activity, is indicated for the treatment of patients with ALS and is the only drug that has been shown to slow the course of the disease and extend survival in ALS patients. The original analyses, and subsequent meta-analyses, of data obtained from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) suggest that riluzole typically extends survival by 2-3 months and increases the chance of an additional year of survival by ~9%. However, published real-world evidence (RWE) from 10 clinical ALS databases indicates that riluzole therapy may afford much greater extension of survival, and improvements in median survival times of more than 19 months have been reported in the overall ALS patient population. This article will review the available data from RCTs and RWE on riluzole therapy. PMID: 30050378 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Ex vivo gene therapy for the treatment of neurological disorders. Prog Brain Res. 2017;230:99-132 Authors: Gowing G, Svendsen S, Svendsen CN Abstract Ex vivo gene therapy involves the genetic modification of cells outside of the body to produce therapeutic factors and their subsequent transplantation back into patients. Various cell types can be genetically engineered. However, with the explosion in stem cell technologies, neural stem/progenitor cells and mesenchymal stem cells are most often used. The synergy between the effect of the new cell and the additional engineered properties can often provide significant benefits to neurodegenerative changes in the brain. In this review, we cover both preclinical animal studies and clinical human trials that have used ex vivo gene therapy to treat neurological disorders with a focus on Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, ALS, and stroke. We highlight some of the major advances in this field including new autologous sources of pluripotent stem cells, safer ways to introduce therapeutic transgenes, and various methods of gene regulation. We also address some of the remaining hurdles including tunable gene regulation, in vivo cell tracking, and rigorous experimental design. Overall, given the current outcomes from researchers and clinical trials, along with exciting new developments in ex vivo gene and cell therapy, we anticipate that successful treatments for neurological diseases will arise in the near future. PMID: 28552237 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Imaging of glial cell morphology, SOD1 distribution and elemental composition in the brainstem and hippocampus of the ALS hSOD1G93A rat. Neuroscience. 2017 08 15;357:37-55 Authors: Stamenković S, Dučić T, Stamenković V, Kranz A, Andjus PR Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting motor and cognitive domains of the CNS. Mutations in the Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause 20% of familial ALS and provoke formation of intracellular aggregates and copper and zinc unbinding, leading to glial activation and neurodegeneration. Therefore, we investigated glial cell morphology, intracellular SOD1 distribution, and elemental composition in the brainstem and hippocampus of the hSOD1G93A transgenic rat model of ALS. Immunostaining for astrocytes, microglia and SOD1 revealed glial proliferation and progressive tissue accumulation of SOD1 in both brain regions of ALS rats starting already at the presymptomatic stage. Glial cell morphology analysis in the brainstem of ALS rats revealed astrocyte activation occurring before disease symptoms onset, followed by activation of microglia. Hippocampal ALS astrocytes exhibited an identical reactive profile, while microglial morphology was unchanged. Additionally, ALS brainstem astrocytes demonstrated progressive SOD1 accumulation in the cell body and processes, while microglial SOD1 levels were reduced and its distribution limited to distal cell processes. In the hippocampus both glial cell types exhibited SOD1 accumulation in the cell body. X-ray fluorescence imaging revealed decreased P and increased Ca, Cl, K, Ni, Cu and Zn in the brainstem, and higher levels of Cl, Ni and Cu, but lower levels of Zn in the hippocampus of symptomatic ALS rats. These results bring new insights into the glial response during disease development and progression in motor as well as in non-motor CNS structures, and indicate disturbed tissue elemental homeostasis as a prominent hallmark of disease pathology. PMID: 28576725 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles The use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) therapy - a perspective on cell biological mechanisms. Rev Neurosci. 2017 10 26;28(7):725-738 Authors: Tang BL Abstract Recent clinical trials of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transplantation have demonstrated procedural safety and clinical proof of principle with a modest indication of benefit in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). While replacement therapy remained unrealistic, the clinical efficacy of this therapeutic option could be potentially enhanced if we could better decipher the mechanisms underlying some of the beneficial effects of transplanted cells, and work toward augmenting or combining these in a strategic manner. Novel ways whereby MSCs could act in modifying disease progression should also be explored. In this review, I discuss the known, emerging and postulated mechanisms of action underlying effects that transplanted MSCs may exert to promote motor neuron survival and/or to encourage regeneration in ALS. I shall also speculate on how transplanted cells may alter the diseased environment so as to minimize non-neuron cell autonomous damages by immune cells and astrocytes. PMID: 28599400 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles A C9ORF72 BAC mouse model recapitulates key epigenetic perturbations of ALS/FTD. Mol Neurodegener. 2017 06 12;12(1):46 Authors: Esanov R, Cabrera GT, Andrade NS, Gendron TF, Brown RH, Benatar M, Wahlestedt C, Mueller C, Zeier Z Abstract BACKGROUND: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal and progressive neurodegenerative disorder with identified genetic causes representing a significant minority of all cases. A GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion (HRE) mutation within the C9ORF72 gene has recently been identified as the most frequent known cause of ALS. The expansion leads to partial heterochromatinization of the locus, yet mutant RNAs and dipeptide repeat proteins (DPRs) are still produced in sufficient quantities to confer neurotoxicity. The levels of these toxic HRE products positively correlate with cellular toxicity and phenotypic severity across multiple disease models. Moreover, the degree of epigenetic repression inversely correlates with some facets of clinical presentation in C9-ALS patients. Recently, bacterial artificial chromosomes (BAC) have been used to generate transgenic mice that harbor the HRE mutation, complementing other relevant model systems such as patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). While epigenetic features of the HRE have been investigated in various model systems and post-mortem tissues, epigenetic dysregulation at the expanded locus in C9-BAC mice remains unexplored. METHODS AND RESULTS: Here, we sought to determine whether clinically relevant epigenetic perturbations caused by the HRE are mirrored in a C9-BAC mouse model. We used complementary DNA methylation assessment and immunoprecipitation methods to demonstrate that epigenetic aberrations caused by the HRE, such as DNA and histone methylation, are recapitulated in the C9-BAC mice. Strikingly, we found that cytosine hypermethylation within the promoter region of the human transgene occurred in a subset of C9-BAC mice similar to what is observed in patient populations. Moreover, we show that partial heterochromatinization of the C9 HRE occurs during the first weeks of the mouse lifespan, indicating age-dependent epigenetic repression. Using iPSC neurons, we found that preventing R-loop formation did not impede heterochromatinization of the HRE. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these observations provide further insight into mechanism and developmental time-course of epigenetic perturbations conferred by the C9ORF72 HRE. Finally, we suggest that epigenetic repression of the C9ORF72 HRE and nearby gene promoter could impede or delay motor neuron degeneration in C9-BAC mouse models of ALS/FTD. PMID: 28606110 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient iPSC-derived astrocytes impair autophagy via non-cell autonomous mechanisms. Mol Brain. 2017 06 13;10(1):22 Authors: Madill M, McDonagh K, Ma J, Vajda A, McLoughlin P, O'Brien T, Hardiman O, Shen S Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a devastating neurodegenerative disease, is characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons and the accumulation of misfolded protein aggregates. The latter suggests impaired proteostasis may be a key factor in disease pathogenesis, though the underlying mechanisms leading to the accumulation of aggregates is unclear. Further, recent studies have indicated that motor neuron cell death may be mediated by astrocytes. Herein we demonstrate that ALS patient iPSC-derived astrocytes modulate the autophagy pathway in a non-cell autonomous manner. We demonstrate cells treated with patient derived astrocyte conditioned medium demonstrate decreased expression of LC3-II, a key adapter protein required for the selective degradation of p62 and ubiquitinated proteins targeted for degradation. We observed an increased accumulation of p62 in cells treated with patient conditioned medium, with a concomitant increase in the expression of SOD1, a protein associated with the development of ALS. Activation of autophagic mechanisms with Rapamycin reduces the accumulation of p62 puncta in cells treated with patient conditioned medium. These data suggest that patient astrocytes may modulate motor neuron cell death by impairing autophagic mechanisms, and the autophagy pathway may be a useful target in the development of novel therapeutics. PMID: 28610619 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Therapeutic opportunities and challenges of induced pluripotent stem cells-derived motor neurons for treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and motor neuron disease. Neural Regen Res. 2017 May;12(5):723-736 Authors: Jaiswal MK Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are progressive neurodegenerative diseases that affect nerve cells in the brain affecting upper and lower motor neurons (UMNs/LMNs), brain stem and spinal cord. The clinical phenotype is characterized by loss of motor neurons (MNs), muscular weakness and atrophy eventually leading to paralysis and death due to respiratory failure within 3-5 years after disease onset. No effective treatment or cure is currently available that halts or reverses ALS and MND except FDA approved drug riluzole that only modestly slows the progression of ALS in some patients. Recent advances in human derived induced pluripotent stem cells have made it possible for the first time to obtain substantial amounts of human cells to recapitulate in vitro "disease in dish" and test some of the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms involved in ALS and MNDs. In this review, I discussed the opportunities and challenges of induced pluropotent stem cells-derived motor neurons for treatment of ALS and MND patients with special emphasis on their implications in finding a cure for ALS and MNDs. PMID: 28616022 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Targeting Astrocytes for Treatment in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(33):5037-5044 Authors: Peric M, Mitrecic D, Andjus PR Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurological disorder affecting upper and lower motoneurons. The two types, sporadic and familial differ in the aetiopathogenesis but have a similar neuropathology characterized by oxidative stress, excitotoxicity and inflammation. The disease is also characterized by a non-cell autonomous mechanism with astrocytes playing a central role by affecting synaptic glutamate, the blood-brain barrier, and metabolic and trophic support. Two types of therapeutic approaches focusing on astrocytes are presented: a) emerging molecular targets (potassium inward rectifier channels and aquaporins at the astrocyte endfeet, and IP3 receptor signaling pathway), and b) cell therapy with stem cell - generated and transplanted astrocytes. PMID: 28619002 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Role and Therapeutic Potential of Astrocytes in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(33):5010-5021 Authors: Pehar M, Harlan BA, Killoy KM, Vargas MR Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by the progressive degeneration of motor neurons in the spinal cord, brain stem, and motor cortex. The molecular mechanism underlying the progressive degeneration of motor neuron remains uncertain but involves a non-cell autonomous process. In acute injury or degenerative diseases astrocytes adopt a reactive phenotype known as astrogliosis. Astrogliosis is a complex remodeling of astrocyte biology and most likely represents a continuum of potential phenotypes that affect neuronal function and survival in an injury-specific manner. In ALS patients, reactive astrocytes surround both upper and lower degenerating motor neurons and play a key role in the pathology. It has become clear that astrocytes play a major role in ALS pathology. Through loss of normal function or acquired new characteristics, astrocytes are able to influence motor neuron fate and the progression of the disease. The use of different cell culture models indicates that ALS-astrocytes are able to induce motor neuron death by secreting a soluble factor(s). Here, we discuss several pathogenic mechanisms that have been proposed to explain astrocyte-mediated motor neuron death in ALS. In addition, examples of strategies that revert astrocyte-mediated motor neuron toxicity are reviewed to illustrate the therapeutic potential of astrocytes in ALS. Due to the central role played by astrocytes in ALS pathology, therapies aimed at modulating astrocyte biology may contribute to the development of integral therapeutic approaches to halt ALS progression. PMID: 28641533 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Autologous intramuscular transplantation of engineered satellite cells induces exosome-mediated systemic expression of Fukutin-related protein and rescues disease phenotype in a murine model of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2I. Hum Mol Genet. 2017 10 01;26(19):3682-3698 Authors: Frattini P, Villa C, De Santis F, Meregalli M, Belicchi M, Erratico S, Bella P, Raimondi MT, Lu Q, Torrente Y Abstract α-Dystroglycanopathies are a group of muscular dystrophies characterized by α-DG hypoglycosylation and reduced extracellular ligand-binding affinity. Among other genes involved in the α-DG glycosylation process, fukutin related protein (FKRP) gene mutations generate a wide range of pathologies from mild limb girdle muscular dystrophy 2I (LGMD2I), severe congenital muscular dystrophy 1C (MDC1C), to Walker-Warburg Syndrome and Muscle-Eye-Brain disease. FKRP gene encodes for a glycosyltransferase that in vivo transfers a ribitol phosphate group from a CDP -ribitol present in muscles to α-DG, while in vitro it can be secreted as monomer of 60kDa. Consistently, new evidences reported glycosyltransferases in the blood, freely circulating or wrapped within vesicles. Although the physiological function of blood stream glycosyltransferases remains unclear, they are likely released from blood borne or distant cells. Thus, we hypothesized that freely or wrapped FKRP might circulate as an extracellular glycosyltransferase, able to exert a "glycan remodelling" process, even at distal compartments. Interestingly, we firstly demonstrated a successful transduction of MDC1C blood-derived CD133+ cells and FKRP L276IKI mouse derived satellite cells by a lentiviral vector expressing the wild-type of human FKRP gene. Moreover, we showed that LV-FKRP cells were driven to release exosomes carrying FKRP. Similarly, we observed the presence of FKRP positive exosomes in the plasma of FKRP L276IKI mice intramuscularly injected with engineered satellite cells. The distribution of FKRP protein boosted by exosomes determined its restoration within muscle tissues, an overall recovery of α-DG glycosylation and improved muscle strength, suggesting a systemic supply of FKRP protein acting as glycosyltransferase. PMID: 28666318 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Animal and cellular models of familial dysautonomia. Clin Auton Res. 2017 08;27(4):235-243 Authors: Lefcort F, Mergy M, Ohlen SB, Ueki Y, George L Abstract Since Riley and Day first described the clinical phenotype of patients with familial dysautonomia (FD) over 60 years ago, the field has made considerable progress clinically, scientifically, and translationally in treating and understanding the etiology of FD. FD is classified as a hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN type III) and is both a developmental and a progressive neurodegenerative condition that results from an autosomal recessive mutation in the gene IKBKAP, also known as ELP1. FD primarily impacts the peripheral nervous system but also manifests in central nervous system disruption, especially in the retina and optic nerve. While the disease is rare, the rapid progress being made in elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms mediating the demise of neurons in FD should provide insight into degenerative pathways common to many neurological disorders. Interestingly, the protein encoded by IKBKAP/ELP1, IKAP or ELP1, is a key scaffolding subunit of the six-subunit Elongator complex, and variants in other Elongator genes are associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), intellectual disability, and Rolandic epilepsy. Here we review the recent model systems that are revealing the molecular and cellular pathophysiological mechanisms mediating FD. These powerful model systems can now be used to test targeted therapeutics for mitigating neuronal loss in FD and potentially other disorders. PMID: 28667575 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Motoneuron Disease: Clinical. Adv Neurobiol. 2017;15:191-210 Authors: Ilieva H, Maragakis NJ Abstract ALS is a neurodegenerative disease in which the primary symptoms result in progressive neuromuscular weakness. Recent studies have highlighted that there is significant heterogeneity with regard to anatomical and temporal disease progression. Importantly, more recent advances in genetics have revealed new causative genes to the disease. New efforts have focused on the development of biomarkers that could aid in diagnosis, prognosis, and serve as pharmacodynamics markers. Although traditional pharmaceuticals continue to undergo trials for ALS, new therapeutic strategies including stem cell transplantation studies, gene therapies, and antisense therapies targeting some of the familial forms of ALS are gaining momentum. PMID: 28674982 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Combined intranasal nerve growth factor and ventricle neural stem cell grafts prolong survival and improve disease outcome in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis transgenic mice. Neurosci Lett. 2017 Aug 24;656:1-8 Authors: Zhong SJ, Gong YH, Lin YC Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal disease that selectively involves motor neurons. Neurotrophic factor supplementation and neural stem cell (NSC) alternative therapy have been used to treat ALS. The two approaches can affect each other in their pathways of action, and there is a possibility for synergism. However, to date, there have been no studies demonstrating the effects of combined therapy in the treatment of ALS. In this study, for the first time, we adopted a method involving the intranasal administration of nerve growth factor combined with lateral ventricle NSC transplantation using G93A-SOD1 transgenic mice as experimental subjects to explore the treatment effect of this combined therapy in ALS. We discover that the combined therapy increase the quantity of TrkA receptors, broaden the migration of exogenous NSCs, further promote active proliferation in neurogenic regions of the brain and enhance the preservation of motor neurons in the spinal cord. Regarding physical activity, the combined therapy improved motor functions, further postponed ALS onset and extended the survival time of the mice. PMID: 28694091 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Pericytes Extend Survival of ALS SOD1 Mice and Induce the Expression of Antioxidant Enzymes in the Murine Model and in IPSCs Derived Neuronal Cells from an ALS Patient. Stem Cell Rev. 2017 10;13(5):686-698 Authors: Coatti GC, Frangini M, Valadares MC, Gomes JP, Lima NO, Cavaçana N, Assoni AF, Pelatti MV, Birbrair A, de Lima ACP, Singer JM, Rocha FMM, Da Silva GL, Mantovani MS, Macedo-Souza LI, Ferrari MFR, Zatz M Abstract Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is one of the most common adult-onset motor neuron disease causing a progressive, rapid and irreversible degeneration of motor neurons in the cortex, brain stem and spinal cord. No effective treatment is available and cell therapy clinical trials are currently being tested in ALS affected patients. It is well known that in ALS patients, approximately 50% of pericytes from the spinal cord barrier are lost. In the central nervous system, pericytes act in the formation and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier, a natural defense that slows the progression of symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases. Here we evaluated, for the first time, the therapeutic effect of human pericytes in vivo in SOD1 mice and in vitro in motor neurons and other neuronal cells derived from one ALS patient. Pericytes and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) were derived from the same adipose tissue sample and were administered to SOD1 mice intraperitoneally. The effect of the two treatments was compared. Treatment with pericytes extended significantly animals survival in SOD1 males, but not in females that usually have a milder phenotype with higher survival rates. No significant differences were observed in the survival of mice treated with MSCs. Gene expression analysis in brain and spinal cord of end-stage animals showed that treatment with pericytes can stimulate the host antioxidant system. Additionally, pericytes induced the expression of SOD1 and CAT in motor neurons and other neuronal cells derived from one ALS patient carrying a mutation in FUS. Overall, treatment with pericytes was more effective than treatment with MSCs. Our results encourage further investigations and suggest that pericytes may be a good option for ALS treatment in the future. Graphical Abstract ᅟ. PMID: 28710685 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Atomic structure of a toxic, oligomeric segment of SOD1 linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 08 15;114(33):8770-8775 Authors: Sangwan S, Zhao A, Adams KL, Jayson CK, Sawaya MR, Guenther EL, Pan AC, Ngo J, Moore DM, Soriaga AB, Do TD, Goldschmidt L, Nelson R, Bowers MT, Koehler CM, Shaw DE, Novitch BG, Eisenberg DS Abstract Fibrils and oligomers are the aggregated protein agents of neuronal dysfunction in ALS diseases. Whereas we now know much about fibril architecture, atomic structures of disease-related oligomers have eluded determination. Here, we determine the corkscrew-like structure of a cytotoxic segment of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) in its oligomeric state. Mutations that prevent formation of this structure eliminate cytotoxicity of the segment in isolation as well as cytotoxicity of the ALS-linked mutants of SOD1 in primary motor neurons and in a Danio rerio (zebrafish) model of ALS. Cytotoxicity assays suggest that toxicity is a property of soluble oligomers, and not large insoluble aggregates. Our work adds to evidence that the toxic oligomeric entities in protein aggregation diseases contain antiparallel, out-of-register β-sheet structures and identifies a target for structure-based therapeutics in ALS. PMID: 28760994 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Elimination of Toxic Microsatellite Repeat Expansion RNA by RNA-Targeting Cas9. Cell. 2017 Aug 24;170(5):899-912.e10 Authors: Batra R, Nelles DA, Pirie E, Blue SM, Marina RJ, Wang H, Chaim IA, Thomas JD, Zhang N, Nguyen V, Aigner S, Markmiller S, Xia G, Corbett KD, Swanson MS, Yeo GW Abstract Microsatellite repeat expansions in DNA produce pathogenic RNA species that cause dominantly inherited diseases such as myotonic dystrophy type 1 and 2 (DM1/2), Huntington's disease, and C9orf72-linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (C9-ALS). Means to target these repetitive RNAs are required for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Here, we describe the development of a programmable CRISPR system capable of specifically visualizing and eliminating these toxic RNAs. We observe specific targeting and efficient elimination of microsatellite repeat expansion RNAs both when exogenously expressed and in patient cells. Importantly, RNA-targeting Cas9 (RCas9) reverses hallmark features of disease including elimination of RNA foci among all conditions studied (DM1, DM2, C9-ALS, polyglutamine diseases), reduction of polyglutamine protein products, relocalization of repeat-bound proteins to resemble healthy controls, and efficient reversal of DM1-associated splicing abnormalities in patient myotubes. Finally, we report a truncated RCas9 system compatible with adeno-associated viral packaging. This effort highlights the potential of RCas9 for human therapeutics. PMID: 28803727 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Conserved DNA methylation combined with differential frontal cortex and cerebellar expression distinguishes C9orf72-associated and sporadic ALS, and implicates SERPINA1 in disease. Acta Neuropathol. 2017 11;134(5):715-728 Authors: Ebbert MTW, Ross CA, Pregent LJ, Lank RJ, Zhang C, Katzman RB, Jansen-West K, Song Y, da Rocha EL, Palmucci C, Desaro P, Robertson AE, Caputo AM, Dickson DW, Boylan KB, Rademakers R, Ordog T, Li H, Belzil VV Abstract We previously found C9orf72-associated (c9ALS) and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sALS) brain transcriptomes comprise thousands of defects, among which, some are likely key contributors to ALS pathogenesis. We have now generated complementary methylome data and combine these two data sets to perform a comprehensive "multi-omic" analysis to clarify the molecular mechanisms initiating RNA misregulation in ALS. We found that c9ALS and sALS patients have generally distinct but overlapping methylome profiles, and that the c9ALS- and sALS-affected genes and pathways have similar biological functions, indicating conserved pathobiology in disease. Our results strongly implicate SERPINA1 in both C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers and non-carriers, where expression levels are greatly increased in both patient groups across the frontal cortex and cerebellum. SERPINA1 expression is particularly pronounced in C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers for both brain regions, where SERPINA1 levels are strictly down regulated across most human tissues, including the brain, except liver and blood, and are not measurable in E18 mouse brain. The altered biological networks we identified contain critical molecular players known to contribute to ALS pathology, which also interact with SERPINA1. Our comprehensive combined methylation and transcription study identifies new genes and highlights that direct genetic and epigenetic changes contribute to c9ALS and sALS pathogenesis. PMID: 28808785 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles A proteomics-based investigation on the anticancer activity of alisertib, an Aurora kinase A inhibitor, in hepatocellular carcinoma Hep3B cells. Am J Transl Res. 2017;9(8):3558-3572 Authors: Zhu Q, Luo M, Zhou C, Zhou Z, He Z, Yu X, Zhou S Abstract Targeted therapy may provide survival benefit for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and Aurora A kinase (AURKA) represents a feasible target in cancer treatment. The purpose of this study is to investigate the anticancer activity of alisertib (ALS) on Hep3B cells based on a proteomic study conducted with the stable-isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC). The proteomic response to ALS was obtained with SILAC-based proteomic study. Cell cycle distribution and apoptosis were assessed using flow cytometry and autophagy was determined using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. ALS inhibited the proliferation of Hep3B cells, with IC50 values for 24- and 48-h exposure of 46.8 and 28.0 μM, respectively. Our SILAC study demonstrated that there were at least 565 proteins responding to ALS treatment, with 256 upregulated, 275 downregulated and 35 stable. Ninety-four signaling pathways, majority of which involved cell proliferation and survival, programmed cell death, and nutrition and energy metabolism, were regulated by ALS. ALS significantly inhibited the phosphorylation of AURKA at Thr288 in a concentration-dependent manner. Subsequent study showed that ALS remarkably arrested Hep3B cells in G2/M phase via regulating the expression of key cell cycle regulators, and induced a marked autophagy via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis. Inhibition of autophagy enhanced the anticancer activity of ALS in Hep3B cells. Overall, ALS leads to comprehensive proteomic response, inhibits cellular proliferation, and induces cell cycle arrest and autophagy in Hep3B cells. Further studies are warranted to explore the role of ALS in the treatment of HCC. PMID: 28861148 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Role of Neuroinflammation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Cellular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications. Front Immunol. 2017;8:1005 Authors: Liu J, Wang F Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects upper motor neurons (MNs) comprising the corticospinal tract and lower MNs arising from the brain stem nuclei and ventral roots of the spinal cord, leading to fatal paralysis. Currently, there are no effective therapies for ALS. Increasing evidence indicates that neuroinflammation plays an important role in ALS pathogenesis. The neuroinflammation in ALS is characterized by infiltration of lymphocytes and macrophages, activation of microglia and reactive astrocytes, as well as the involvement of complement. In this review, we focus on the key cellular players of neuroinflammation during the pathogenesis of ALS by discussing not only their detrimental roles but also their immunomodulatory actions. We will summarize the pharmacological therapies for ALS that target neuroinflammation, as well as recent advances in the field of stem cell therapy aimed at modulating the inflammatory environment to preserve the remaining MNs in ALS patients and animal models of the disease. PMID: 28871262 [PubMed]
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Related Articles PACAP and PAC1R are differentially expressed in motor cortex of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and support survival of iPSC-derived motor neurons. J Cell Physiol. 2018 04;233(4):3343-3351 Authors: Bonaventura G, Iemmolo R, D'Amico AG, La Cognata V, Costanzo E, Zappia M, D'Agata V, Conforti FL, Aronica E, Cavallaro S Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal and disabling neurodegenerative disease characterized by upper and lower motor neurons depletion. In our previous work, comprehensive genomic profiling of 41 motor cortex samples enabled to discriminate controls from sporadic ALS patients, and segregated these latter into two distinct subgroups (SALS1 and SALS2), each associated with different deregulated genes. In the present study, we focused our attention on two of them, Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide (PACAP) and its type 1 receptor (PAC1R), and validated the results of the transcriptome experiments by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. To assess the functional role of PACAP and PAC1R in ALS, we developed an in vitro model of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)-derived motor neurons and examined the trophic effects of exogenous PACAP following neurodegenerative stimuli. Treatment with 100 nm PACAP was able to effectively rescue iPSC-derived motor neurons from apoptosis, as shown by cell viability assay and protein dosage of the apoptotic marker (BAX). All together, these data suggest that perturbations in the PACAP-PAC1R pathway may be involved in ALS pathology and represent a potential drug target to enhance motor neuron viability. PMID: 28926110 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Als and Ftd: Insights into the disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets. Eur J Pharmacol. 2017 Dec 15;817:2-6 Authors: Liscic RM Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) are neurodegenerative disorders, related by signs of deteriorating motor and cognitive functions, and short survival. The causes are still largely unknown and no effective treatment currently exists. It has been shown that FTLD may coexist with ALS. The overlap between ALS and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the clinical syndrome associated with FTLD, occurs at clinical, genetic, and pathological levels. The hallmark proteins of the pathognomonic inclusions are SOD-1, TDP-43 or FUS, rarely the disease is caused by mutations in the respective genes. Frontotemporal lobar degenerations (FTLD) is genetically, neuropathologically and clinically heterogeneous and may present with behavioural, language and occasionally motor disorder, respectively. Almost all cases of ALS, as well as tau-negative FTLD share a common neuropathology, neuronal and glial inclusion bodies containing abnormal TDP-43 protein, collectively called TDP-43 proteinopathy. Recent discoveries in genetics (e.g. C9orf72 hexanucleotide expansion) and the subsequent neuropathological characterization have revealed remarkable overlap between ALS and FTLD-TDP indicating common pathways in pathogenesis. For ALS, an anti-glutamate agent riluzole may be offered to slow disease progression (Level A), and a promising molecule, arimoclomol, is currently in clinical trials. Other compounds, however, are being trailed and some have shown encouraging results. As new therapeutic approaches continue to emerge by targeting SOD1, TDP-43, or GRN, we present some advances that are being made in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of these diseases, which together with gene and stem cell therapies may translate into new treatment options. PMID: 29031901 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Drug therapy: On the treatment trail for ALS. Nature. 2017 10 18;550(7676):S120-S121 Authors: Scott A PMID: 29045376 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Impeding Transcription of Expanded Microsatellite Repeats by Deactivated Cas9. Mol Cell. 2017 Nov 02;68(3):479-490.e5 Authors: Pinto BS, Saxena T, Oliveira R, Méndez-Gómez HR, Cleary JD, Denes LT, McConnell O, Arboleda J, Xia G, Swanson MS, Wang ET Abstract Transcription of expanded microsatellite repeats is associated with multiple human diseases, including myotonic dystrophy, Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, and C9orf72-ALS/FTD. Reducing production of RNA and proteins arising from these expanded loci holds therapeutic benefit. Here, we tested the hypothesis that deactivated Cas9 enzyme impedes transcription across expanded microsatellites. We observed a repeat length-, PAM-, and strand-dependent reduction of repeat-containing RNAs upon targeting dCas9 directly to repeat sequences; targeting the non-template strand was more effective. Aberrant splicing patterns were rescued in DM1 cells, and production of RAN peptides characteristic of DM1, DM2, and C9orf72-ALS/FTD cells was drastically decreased. Systemic delivery of dCas9/gRNA by adeno-associated virus led to reductions in pathological RNA foci, rescue of chloride channel 1 protein expression, and decreased myotonia. These observations suggest that transcription of microsatellite repeat-containing RNAs is more sensitive to perturbation than transcription of other RNAs, indicating potentially viable strategies for therapeutic intervention. PMID: 29056323 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Neuroprotective Potential of Cell-Based Therapies in ALS: From Bench to Bedside. Front Neurosci. 2017;11:591 Authors: Forostyak S, Sykova E Abstract Motor neurons (MN) degeneration is a main feature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurological disorder with a progressive course. The diagnosis of ALS is essentially a clinical one. Most common symptoms include a gradual neurological deterioration that reflect the impairment and subsequent loss of muscle functions. Up-to-date ALS has no therapy that would prevent or cure a disease. Modern therapeutic strategies comprise of neuroprotective treatment focused on antiglutamatergic, antioxidant, antiapoptotic, and anti-inflammatory molecules. Stem cells application and gene therapy has provided researchers with a powerful tool for discovery of new mechanisms and therapeutic agents, as well as opened new perspectives for patients and family members. Here, we review latest progress made in basic, translational and clinical stem cell research related to the ALS. We overviewed results of preclinical and clinical studies employing cell-based therapy to treat neurodegenerative disorders. A special focus has been made on the neuroprotective properties of adult mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) application into ALS patients. Finally, we overviewed latest progress in the field of embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells used for the modeling and application during neurodegeneration in general and in ALS in particular. PMID: 29114200 [PubMed]
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Related Articles miRNA profiling of NurOwn®: mesenchymal stem cells secreting neurotrophic factors. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2017 Nov 07;8(1):249 Authors: Gothelf Y, Kaspi H, Abramov N, Aricha R Abstract BACKGROUND: MSC-NTF cells are Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSC) induced to express high levels of neurotrophic factors (NTFs) using a culture-medium based approach. MSC-NTF cells have been successfully studied in clinical trials for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are short non-coding RNA molecules that coordinate post-transcriptional regulation of multiple gene targets. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the miRNA profile could provide a tool for MSC-NTF cell characterization and to distinguish them from the matched MSC from which they are derived. METHODS: NTF secretion in the culture supernatant of MSC-NTF cells was evaluated by ELISA assays. The Agilent microarray miRNA platform was used for pairwise comparisons of MSC-NTF cells to MSC. The differentially expressed miRNAs and putative mRNA targets were validated using qPCR analyses. RESULTS: Principal component analysis revealed two distinct clusters based on cell type (MSC and MSC-NTFs). Nineteen miRNAs were found to be upregulated and 22 miRNAs were downregulated in MSC-NTF cells relative to the MSC cells of origin. Further validation of differentially expressed miRNAs confirmed that miR-3663 and miR-132 were increased 18.5- and 4.06-fold, respectively while hsa-miR-503 was reduced more than 15-fold, suggesting that miRNAs could form the basis of an MSC-NTF cell characterization assay. In an analysis of the miRNA mRNA targets, three mRNA targets of hsa-miR-132-3p (HN-1, RASA1 and KLH-L11) were found to be significantly downregulated. CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated that MSC-NTF cells can be distinguished from their MSCs of origin by a unique miRNA expression profile. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrial.gov identifier NCT01777646 . Registered 12 December 2012. PMID: 29116031 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Advances, challenges and future directions for stem cell therapy in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Mol Neurodegener. 2017 Nov 13;12(1):85 Authors: Ciervo Y, Ning K, Jun X, Shaw PJ, Mead RJ Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative condition where loss of motor neurons within the brain and spinal cord leads to muscle atrophy, weakness, paralysis and ultimately death within 3-5 years from onset of symptoms. The specific molecular mechanisms underlying the disease pathology are not fully understood and neuroprotective treatment options are minimally effective. In recent years, stem cell transplantation as a new therapy for ALS patients has been extensively investigated, becoming an intense and debated field of study. In several preclinical studies using the SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS, stem cells were demonstrated to be neuroprotective, effectively delayed disease onset and extended survival. Despite substantial improvements in stem cell technology and promising results in preclinical studies, several questions still remain unanswered, such as the identification of the most suitable and beneficial cell source, cell dose, route of delivery and therapeutic mechanisms. This review will cover publications in this field and comprehensively discuss advances, challenges and future direction regarding the therapeutic potential of stem cells in ALS, with a focus on mesenchymal stem cells. In summary, given their high proliferation activity, immunomodulation, multi-differentiation potential, and the capacity to secrete neuroprotective factors, adult mesenchymal stem cells represent a promising candidate for clinical translation. However, technical hurdles such as optimal dose, differentiation state, route of administration, and the underlying potential therapeutic mechanisms still need to be assessed. PMID: 29132389 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Whole-exome sequencing in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis suggests NEK1 is a risk gene in Chinese. Genome Med. 2017 Nov 17;9(1):97 Authors: Gratten J, Zhao Q, Benyamin B, Garton F, He J, Leo PJ, Mangelsdorf M, Anderson L, Zhang ZH, Chen L, Chen XD, Cremin K, Deng HW, Edson J, Han YY, Harris J, Henders AK, Jin ZB, Li Z, Lin Y, Liu X, Marshall M, Mowry BJ, Ran S, Reutens DC, Song S, Tan LJ, Tang L, Wallace RH, Wheeler L, Wu J, Yang J, Xu H, Visscher PM, Bartlett PF, Brown MA, Wray NR, Fan D Abstract BACKGROUND: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurological disease characterised by the degeneration of motor neurons, which are responsible for voluntary movement. There remains limited understanding of disease aetiology, with median survival of ALS of three years and no effective treatment. Identifying genes that contribute to ALS susceptibility is an important step towards understanding aetiology. The vast majority of published human genetic studies, including for ALS, have used samples of European ancestry. The importance of trans-ethnic studies in human genetic studies is widely recognised, yet a dearth of studies of non-European ancestries remains. Here, we report analyses of novel whole-exome sequencing (WES) data from Chinese ALS and control individuals. METHODS: WES data were generated for 610 ALS cases and 460 controls drawn from Chinese populations. We assessed evidence for an excess of rare damaging mutations at the gene level and the gene set level, considering only singleton variants filtered to have allele frequency less than 5 × 10-5 in reference databases. To meta-analyse our results with a published study of European ancestry, we used a Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test to compare gene-level variant counts in cases vs controls. RESULTS: No gene passed the genome-wide significance threshold with ALS in Chinese samples alone. Combining rare variant counts in Chinese with those from the largest WES study of European ancestry resulted in three genes surpassing genome-wide significance: TBK1 (p = 8.3 × 10-12), SOD1 (p = 8.9 × 10-9) and NEK1 (p = 1.1 × 10-9). In the Chinese data alone, SOD1 and NEK1 were nominally significantly associated with ALS (p = 0.04 and p = 7 × 10-3, respectively) and the case/control frequencies of rare coding variants in these genes were similar in Chinese and Europeans (SOD1: 1.5%/0.2% vs 0.9%/0.1%, NEK1 1.8%/0.4% vs 1.9%/0.8%). This was also true for TBK1 (1.2%/0.2% vs 1.4%/0.4%), but the association with ALS in Chinese was not significant (p = 0.14). CONCLUSIONS: While SOD1 is already recognised as an ALS-associated gene in Chinese, we provide novel evidence for association of NEK1 with ALS in Chinese, reporting variants in these genes not previously found in Europeans. PMID: 29149916 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles SpinoBot: An MRI-Guided Needle Positioning System for Spinal Cellular Therapeutics. Ann Biomed Eng. 2018 Mar;46(3):475-487 Authors: Squires A, Oshinski JN, Boulis NM, Tse ZTH Abstract The neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) results in the death of motor neurons in voluntary muscles. There are no cures for ALS and few available treatments. In studies with small animal models, injection of cellular therapeutics into the anterior horn of the spinal cord has been shown to inhibit the progression of ALS. It was hypothesized that spinal injection could be made faster and less invasive with the aid of a robot. The robotic system presented-SpinoBot-uses MRI guidance to position a needle for percutaneous injection into the spinal cord. With four degrees of freedom (DOF) provided by two translation stages and two rotational axes, SpinoBot proved capable of advanced targeting with a mean error of 1.12 mm and standard deviation of 0.97 mm in bench tests, and a mean error of 2.2 mm and standard deviation of 0.85 mm in swine cadaver tests. SpinoBot has shown less than 3% signal-to-noise ratio reduction in 3T MR imaging quality, demonstrating its compliance to the MRI environment. With the aid of SpinoBot, the length of the percutaneous injection procedure is reduced to less than 60 min with 10 min for each additional insertion. Although SpinoBot is designed for ALS treatment, it could potentially be used for other procedures that require precise access to the spine. PMID: 29150766 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Multiple intracerebroventricular injections of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells delay motor neurons loss but not disease progression of SOD1G93A mice. Stem Cell Res. 2017 12;25:166-178 Authors: Sironi F, Vallarola A, Violatto MB, Talamini L, Freschi M, De Gioia R, Capelli C, Agostini A, Moscatelli D, Tortarolo M, Bigini P, Introna M, Bendotti C Abstract Stem cell therapy is considered a promising approach in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) seem to be the most effective in ALS animal models. The umbilical cord (UC) is a source of highly proliferating fetal MSCs, more easily collectable than other MSCs. Recently we demonstrated that human (h) UC-MSCs, double labeled with fluorescent nanoparticles and Hoechst-33258 and transplanted intracerebroventricularly (ICV) into SOD1G93A transgenic mice, partially migrated into the spinal cord after a single injection. This prompted us to assess the effect of repeated ICV injections of hUC-MSCs on disease progression in SOD1G93A mice. Although no transplanted cells migrated to the spinal cord, a partial but significant protection of motor neurons (MNs) was found in the lumbar spinal cord of hUC-MSCs-treated SOD1G93A mice, accompanied by a shift from a pro-inflammatory (IL-6, IL-1β) to anti-inflammatory (IL-4, IL-10) and neuroprotective (IGF-1) environment in the lumbar spinal cord, probably linked to the activation of p-Akt survival pathway in both motor neurons and reactive astrocytes. However, this treatment neither prevented the muscle denervation nor delayed the disease progression of mice, emphasizing the growing evidence that protecting the motor neuron perikarya is not sufficient to delay the ALS progression. PMID: 29154076 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Neuroleptics as therapeutic compounds stabilizing neuromuscular transmission in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. JCI Insight. 2017 Nov 16;2(22): Authors: Patten SA, Aggad D, Martinez J, Tremblay E, Petrillo J, Armstrong GA, La Fontaine A, Maios C, Liao M, Ciura S, Wen XY, Rafuse V, Ichida J, Zinman L, Julien JP, Kabashi E, Robitaille R, Korngut L, Parker JA, Drapeau P Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing, fatal disorder with no effective treatment. We used simple genetic models of ALS to screen phenotypically for potential therapeutic compounds. We screened libraries of compounds in C. elegans, validated hits in zebrafish, and tested the most potent molecule in mice and in a small clinical trial. We identified a class of neuroleptics that restored motility in C. elegans and in zebrafish, and the most potent was pimozide, which blocked T-type Ca2+ channels in these simple models and stabilized neuromuscular transmission in zebrafish and enhanced it in mice. Finally, a short randomized controlled trial of sporadic ALS subjects demonstrated stabilization of motility and evidence of target engagement at the neuromuscular junction. Simple genetic models are, thus, useful in identifying promising compounds for the treatment of ALS, such as neuroleptics, which may stabilize neuromuscular transmission and prolong survival in this disease. PMID: 29202456 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Related Articles Rare Neurodegenerative Diseases: Clinical and Genetic Update. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;1031:443-496 Authors: Matilla-Dueñas A, Corral-Juan M, Rodríguez-Palmero Seuma A, Vilas D, Ispierto L, Morais S, Sequeiros J, Alonso I, Volpini V, Serrano-Munuera C, Pintos-Morell G, Álvarez R, Sánchez I Abstract More than 600 human disorders afflict the nervous system. Of these, neurodegenerative diseases are usually characterised by onset in late adulthood, progressive clinical course, and neuronal loss with regional specificity in the central nervous system. They include Alzheimer's disease and other less frequent dementias, brain cancer, degenerative nerve diseases, encephalitis, epilepsy, genetic brain disorders, head and brain malformations, hydrocephalus, stroke, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease), Huntington's disease, and Prion diseases, among others. Neurodegeneration usually affects, but is not limited to, the cerebral cortex, intracranial white matter, basal ganglia, thalamus, hypothalamus, brain stem, and cerebellum. Although the majority of neurodegenerative diseases are sporadic, Mendelian inheritance is well documented. Intriguingly, the clinical presentations and neuropathological findings in inherited neurodegenerative forms are often indistinguishable from those of sporadic cases, suggesting that converging genomic signatures and pathophysiologic mechanisms underlie both hereditary and sporadic neurodegenerative diseases. Unfortunately, effective therapies for these diseases are scarce to non-existent. In this chapter, we highlight the clinical and genetic features associated with the rare inherited forms of neurodegenerative diseases, including ataxias, multiple system atrophy, spastic paraplegias, Parkinson's disease, dementias, motor neuron diseases, and rare metabolic disorders. PMID: 29214587 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Riluzole: a potential therapeutic intervention in human brain tumor stem-like cells. Oncotarget. 2017 Nov 14;8(57):96697-96709 Authors: Sperling S, Aung T, Martin S, Rohde V, Ninkovic M Abstract A small subpopulation of tumor stem-like cells has the capacity to initiate tumors and mediate radio- and chemoresistance in diverse cancers hence also in glioblastoma (GBM). It has been reported that this capacity of tumor initiation in the brain is mainly dependent on the body's nutrient supply. This population of so-called brain tumor initiating or brain tumor stem-like cells (BTSCs) is able to extract nutrients like glucose with a higher affinity. Riluzole, a drug approved for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was reported to possess anticancer properties, affecting the glutamate metabolism. We report that riluzole treatment inhibits the growth of brain tumor stem-like cells enriched cultures isolated from two human glioblastomas. The effects of riluzole on these cells were associated with an inhibition of a poor prognostic indicator: glucose transporter 3 (GLUT3). A decrease in GLUT3 is associated with a decrease in the p-Akt/HIF1α pathway. Further, downregulation of the DNA (Cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) gene that causes hypermethylation of various tumor-suppressor genes and leads to a poor prognosis in GBM, was detected. Two hallmarks of cancer cells-proliferation and cell death-were positively influenced by riluzole treatment. Finally, we observed that riluzole reduced the tumor growth in in vivo CAM assay, suggesting it could be a possible synergistic drug for the treatment of glioblastoma. PMID: 29228563 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Concise Review: The Cellular Conspiracy of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Stem Cells. 2018 03;36(3):293-303 Authors: Serio A, Patani R Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is incurable and devastating. A dearth of therapies has galvanized experimental focus onto the cellular and molecular mechanisms that both initiate and subsequently drive motor neuron degeneration. A traditional view of ALS pathogenesis posits that disease-specific injury to a subtype of neurons is mechanistically cell-autonomous. This "neuron-centric" view has biased past research efforts. However, a wealth of accumulating evidence now strongly implicates non-neuronal cells as being major determinants of ALS. Although animal models have proven invaluable in basic neuroscience research, a growing number of studies confirm fundamental interspecies differences between popular model organisms and the human condition. This may in part explain the failure of therapeutic translation from rodent preclinical models. It follows that integration of a human experimental model using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells may be necessary to capture the complexity of human neurodegeneration with fidelity. Integration of enriched human neuronal and glial experimental platforms into the existing repertoire of preclinical models might prove transformational for clinical trial outcomes in ALS. Such reductionist and integrated cross-modal approaches allow systematic elucidation of cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous mechanisms of disease, which may then provide novel cellular targets for therapeutic intervention. Stem Cells 2018;36:293-303. PMID: 29235200 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles An open label study of a novel immunosuppression intervention for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2018 05;19(3-4):242-249 Authors: Fournier CN, Schoenfeld D, Berry JD, Cudkowicz ME, Chan J, Quinn C, Brown RH, Salameh JS, Tansey MG, Beers DR, Appel SH, Glass JD Abstract Neuroinflammation is increasingly tied to disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Participants in the first-in-human trial of intra-spinal allogeneic stem cell therapy for ALS received immunosuppression, and one participant saw dramatic improvement across multiple outcome measures. The primary objective of this study (NCT01884571) was to assess the rate of clinical response to the same immunosuppressive regimen using basiliximab, tacrolimus, mycophenolate, and prednisone in people with ALS. A clinical response was defined as an improvement on the revised ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS-R) by six points over a 6-month period. Thirty-one participants were enrolled in this 15-month open label study and received an identical immunosuppression regimen. Clinical outcome measures and biospecimens were collected before, during, and after the treatment regimen. No patients met the pre-defined responder criteria. No difference in mean ALSFRS-R slope was seen in the treatment period compared to the pretreatment period (p = 0.200). The regimen was generally safe in an ALS population, although only 18 out of 31 patients completed the full 6 months of immunosuppression. Analyses of immune markers showed no change in peripheral regulatory T-cell populations during treatment compared to pretreatment (p = 0.200). Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytokine levels showed an increase in IL-2 levels with immunosuppression (p = 0.004) followed by decrease during post-treatment follow-up (p = 0.031). Further studies are needed to understand how manipulation of the immune system may affect disease progression in ALS. PMID: 29308669 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as a protein level, non-genomic disease: Therapy with S2RM exosome released molecules. World J Stem Cells. 2017 Nov 26;9(11):187-202 Authors: Maguire G Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing neurodegenerative disease that leads to death. No effective treatments are currently available. Based on data from epidemiological, etiological, laboratory, and clinical studies, I offer a new way of thinking about ALS and its treatment. This paper describes a host of extrinsic factors, including the exposome, that disrupt the extracellular matrix and protein function such that a spreading, prion-like disease leads to neurodegeneration in the motor tracts. A treatment regimen is described using the stem cell released molecules from a number of types of adult stem cells to provide tissue dependent molecules that restore homeostasis, including proteostasis, in the ALS patient. Because stem cells themselves as a therapeutic are cumbersome and expensive, and when implanted in a host cause aging of the host tissue and often fail to engraft or remain viable, only the S2RM molecules are used. Rebuilding of the extracellular matrix and repair of the dysfunctional proteins in the ALS patient ensues. PMID: 29312526 [PubMed]
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Related Articles The TGF-β System As a Potential Pathogenic Player in Disease Modulation of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Front Neurol. 2017;8:669 Authors: Peters S, Zitzelsperger E, Kuespert S, Iberl S, Heydn R, Johannesen S, Petri S, Aigner L, Thal DR, Hermann A, Weishaupt JH, Bruun TH, Bogdahn U Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) represents a fatal orphan disease with high unmet medical need, and a life time risk of approx. 1/400 persons per population. Based on increasing knowledge on pathophysiology including genetic and molecular changes, epigenetics, and immune dysfunction, inflammatory as well as fibrotic processes may contribute to the heterogeneity and dynamics of ALS. Animal and human studies indicate dysregulations of the TGF-β system as a common feature of neurodegenerative disorders in general and ALS in particular. The TGF-β system is involved in different essential developmental and physiological processes and regulates immunity and fibrosis, both affecting neurogenesis and neurodegeneration. Therefore, it has emerged as a potential therapeutic target for ALS: a persistent altered TGF-β system might promote disease progression by inducing an imbalance of neurogenesis and neurodegeneration. The current study assessed the activation state of the TGF-β system within the periphery/in life disease stage (serum samples) and a late stage of disease (central nervous system tissue samples), and a potential influence upon neuronal stem cell (NSC) activity, immune activation, and fibrosis. An upregulated TGF-β system was suggested with significantly increased TGF-β1 protein serum levels, enhanced TGF-β2 mRNA and protein levels, and a strong trend toward an increased TGF-β1 protein expression within the spinal cord (SC). Stem cell activity appeared diminished, reflected by reduced mRNA expression of NSC markers Musashi-1 and Nestin within SC-paralleled by enhanced protein contents of Musashi-1. Doublecortin mRNA and protein expression was reduced, suggesting an arrested neurogenesis at late stage ALS. Chemokine/cytokine analyses suggest a shift from a neuroprotective toward a more neurotoxic immune response: anti-inflammatory chemokines/cytokines were unchanged or reduced, expression of proinflammatory chemokines/cytokines were enhanced in ALS sera and SC postmortem tissue. Finally, we observed upregulated mRNA and protein expression for fibronectin in motor cortex of ALS patients which might suggest increased fibrotic changes. These data suggest that there is an upregulated TGF-β system in specific tissues in ALS that might lead to a "neurotoxic" immune response, promoting disease progression and neurodegeneration. The TGF-β system therefore may represent a promising target in treatment of ALS patients. PMID: 29326641 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Isogenic FUS-eGFP iPSC Reporter Lines Enable Quantification of FUS Stress Granule Pathology that Is Rescued by Drugs Inducing Autophagy. Stem Cell Reports. 2018 02 13;10(2):375-389 Authors: Marrone L, Poser I, Casci I, Japtok J, Reinhardt P, Janosch A, Andree C, Lee HO, Moebius C, Koerner E, Reinhardt L, Cicardi ME, Hackmann K, Klink B, Poletti A, Alberti S, Bickle M, Hermann A, Pandey UB, Hyman AA, Sterneckert JL Abstract Perturbations in stress granule (SG) dynamics may be at the core of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Since SGs are membraneless compartments, modeling their dynamics in human motor neurons has been challenging, thus hindering the identification of effective therapeutics. Here, we report the generation of isogenic induced pluripotent stem cells carrying wild-type and P525L FUS-eGFP. We demonstrate that FUS-eGFP is recruited into SGs and that P525L profoundly alters their dynamics. With a screening campaign, we demonstrate that PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibition increases autophagy and ameliorates SG phenotypes linked to P525L FUS by reducing FUS-eGFP recruitment into SGs. Using a Drosophila model of FUS-ALS, we corroborate that induction of autophagy significantly increases survival. Finally, by screening clinically approved drugs for their ability to ameliorate FUS SG phenotypes, we identify a number of brain-penetrant anti-depressants and anti-psychotics that also induce autophagy. These drugs could be repurposed as potential ALS treatments. PMID: 29358088 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Induced pluripotent stem cells in modeling and cell-based therapy of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2017 Oct;68(5):649-657 Authors: Csobonyeiova M, Polak S, Nicodemou A, Danisovic L Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurological disease characterized by neuromuscular degeneration and the progressive loss of upper and lower motor neurons (MNs), causing weakness and paralysis. However, the underlying mechanisms of this disease are still unknown and there is no cure, or even treatment to stop or reverse its pathology. Consequently, most ALS patients die within 3 - 5 years after disease onset. While considerable progress has been made in studying animal models of ALS, they lack clinical suitability due to genetic differences. However, the recent development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has made it possible to study human disease-specific neuronal and glial cells to identify disease mechanisms and develop phenotypic screens for drug discovery. iPSCs provide researchers with a model of naturally occurring pathology under the human genetic background and MNs differentiated from human iPSCs bearing ALS-associated mutations offer a powerful model to study disease pathology. This paper reviews recent methods of differentiating iPSCs into neuronal cells and suggests further applications of these iPSCs-derived cells for ALS disease modeling, drug screening, and possible cell-based therapy. PMID: 29375039 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles ALS-related human cortical and motor neurons survival is differentially affected by Sema3A. Cell Death Dis. 2018 Feb 15;9(3):256 Authors: Birger A, Ottolenghi M, Perez L, Reubinoff B, Behar O Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by cell death of upper and lower motor neurons (MNs). The cause of MN cell loss is not completely understood but involves both cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous mechanisms. Numerous molecules have been implicated to be involved in the death of MNs. One such candidate is semaphorin 3A (Sema3A). In ALS patients, Sema3A was shown to be significantly upregulated in the motor cortex and downregulated in the spinal cord. In the mouse, Sema3A was shown to be an axon repellent molecule for MNs. Sema3A could also induce death of different neuronal types that are also repelled by it, including sensory, sympathetic, retinal, and cortical neurons. In contrast, astrocyte-specific knockout of Sema3A results in motor neuron cell death, consistent with the idea that Sema3A is a survival factor for mouse motor neurons. Here, we tested the response of human cortical neurons and spinal cord MNs to Sema3A. We found that Sema3A enhances the survival of spinal cord MNs. In contrast, Sema3A reduces the survival of cortical neurons. Thus, both upregulation of Sema3A in the cortex, or downregulation in the spinal cord of ALS patients is likely to directly contribute to MNs cell loss in ALS patients. PMID: 29449528 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Representing Diversity in the Dish: Using Patient-Derived in Vitro Models to Recreate the Heterogeneity of Neurological Disease. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:56 Authors: Ghaffari LT, Starr A, Nelson AT, Sattler R Abstract Neurological diseases, including dementias such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) and degenerative motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), are responsible for an increasing fraction of worldwide fatalities. Researching these heterogeneous diseases requires models that endogenously express the full array of genetic and epigenetic factors which may influence disease development in both familial and sporadic patients. Here, we discuss the two primary methods of developing patient-derived neurons and glia to model neurodegenerative disease: reprogramming somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are differentiated into neurons or glial cells, or directly converting (DC) somatic cells into neurons (iNeurons) or glial cells. Distinct differentiation techniques for both models result in a variety of neuronal and glial cell types, which have been successful in displaying unique hallmarks of a variety of neurological diseases. Yield, length of differentiation, ease of genetic manipulation, expression of cell-specific markers, and recapitulation of disease pathogenesis are presented as determining factors in how these methods may be used separately or together to ascertain mechanisms of disease and identify therapeutics for distinct patient populations or for specific individuals in personalized medicine projects. PMID: 29479303 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Characterisation of mesenchymal stem cells from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Clin Pathol. 2018 Aug;71(8):735-742 Authors: Matejckova N, Zajicova A, Hermankova B, Kossl J, Bohacova P, Holan V, Javorkova E Abstract AIMS: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have recently been tested in clinical trials to treat severe diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Since autologous MSCs are frequently used for therapy, we aimed to evaluate the possible influence of the disease on characteristics and function of these cells. METHODS: MSCs were isolated from the bone marrow of patients with ALS and compared with MSCs from healthy controls (HC). The cells were tested for phenotype, growth properties, differentiation ability, metabolic activity, secretory potential, expression of genes for immunomodulatory molecules and for the ability to regulate proliferation of mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood leucocytes. MSCs from patients with ALS and HC were either unstimulated or treated with proinflammatory cytokines for 24 hours before testing. RESULTS: MSCs isolated from patients with ALS have a higher differentiation potential into adipocytes, express elevated levels of mRNA for interleukin-6, but produce less hepatocyte growth factor than MSCs from HC. On the other hand, there were no significant differences between MSCs from patients with ALS and HC in the expression of phenotypic markers, growth properties, metabolic activity, osteogenic differentiation potential and immunoregulatory properties. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that, in spite of some differences in cytokine production, MSCs from patients with ALS can be useful as autologous cells in therapy of ALS. PMID: 29523587 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Reduction of microhemorrhages in the spinal cord of symptomatic ALS mice after intravenous human bone marrow stem cell transplantation accompanies repair of the blood-spinal cord barrier. Oncotarget. 2018 Feb 13;9(12):10621-10634 Authors: Eve DJ, Steiner G, Mahendrasah A, Sanberg PR, Kurien C, Thomson A, Borlongan CV, Garbuzova-Davis S Abstract Blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) alterations, including capillary rupture, have been demonstrated in animal models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and ALS patients. To date, treatment to restore BSCB in ALS is underexplored. Here, we evaluated whether intravenous transplantation of human bone marrow CD34+ (hBM34+) cells into symptomatic ALS mice leads to restoration of capillary integrity in the spinal cord as determined by detection of microhemorrhages. Three different doses of hBM34+ cells (5 × 104, 5 × 105 or 1 × 106) or media were intravenously injected into symptomatic G93A SOD1 mice at 13 weeks of age. Microhemorrhages were determined in the cervical and lumbar spinal cords of mice at 4 weeks post-treatment, as revealed by Perls' Prussian blue staining for ferric iron. Numerous microhemorrhages were observed in the gray and white matter of the spinal cords in media-treated mice, with a greater number of capillary ruptures within the ventral horn of both segments. In cell-treated mice, microhemorrhage numbers in the cervical and lumbar spinal cords were inversely related to administered cell doses. In particular, the pervasive microvascular ruptures determined in the spinal cords in late symptomatic ALS mice were significantly decreased by the highest cell dose, suggestive of BSCB repair by grafted hBM34+ cells. The study results provide translational outcomes supporting transplantation of hBM34+ cells at an optimal dose as a potential therapeutic strategy for BSCB repair in ALS patients. PMID: 29535831 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Intramuscular transplantation of bone marrow cells prolongs the lifespan of SOD1G93A mice and modulates expression of prognosis biomarkers of the disease. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2018 04 06;9(1):90 Authors: Rando A, Pastor D, Viso-León MC, Martínez A, Manzano R, Navarro X, Osta R, Martínez S Abstract BACKGROUND: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive muscle weakness, paralysis and death. There is no effective treatment for ALS and stem cell therapy has arisen as a potential therapeutic approach. METHODS: SOD1 mutant mice were used to study the potential neurotrophic effect of bone marrow cells grafted into quadriceps femoris muscle. RESULTS: Bone marrow intramuscular transplants resulted in increased longevity with improved motor function and decreased motoneuron degeneration in the spinal cord. Moreover, the increment of the glial-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin 4 observed in the grafted muscles suggests that this partial neuroprotective effect is mediated by neurotrophic factor release at the neuromuscular junction level. Finally, certain neurodegeneration and muscle disease-specific markers, which are altered in the SOD1G93A mutant mouse and may serve as molecular biomarkers for the early detection of ALS in patients, have been studied with encouraging results. CONCLUSIONS: This work demonstrates that stem cell transplantation in the muscle prolonged the lifespan, increased motoneuron survival and slowed disease progression, which was also assessed by genetic expression analysis. PMID: 29625589 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Transplantation of Neural Progenitor Cells Expressing Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor into the Motor Cortex as a Strategy to Treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Stem Cells. 2018 Jul;36(7):1122-1131 Authors: Thomsen GM, Avalos P, Ma AA, Alkaslasi M, Cho N, Wyss L, Vit JP, Godoy M, Suezaki P, Shelest O, Bankiewicz KS, Svendsen CN Abstract Early dysfunction of cortical motor neurons may underlie the initiation of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As such, the cortex represents a critical area of ALS research and a promising therapeutic target. In the current study, human cortical-derived neural progenitor cells engineered to secrete glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) were transplanted into the SOD1G93A ALS rat cortex, where they migrated, matured into astrocytes, and released GDNF. This protected motor neurons, delayed disease pathology and extended survival of the animals. These same cells injected into the cortex of cynomolgus macaques survived and showed robust GDNF expression without adverse effects. Together this data suggests that introducing cortical astrocytes releasing GDNF represents a novel promising approach to treating ALS. Stem Cells 2018;36:1122-1131. PMID: 29656478 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Safety and Feasibility of Lin- Cells Administration to ALS Patients: A Novel View on Humoral Factors and miRNA Profiles. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Apr 27;19(5): Authors: Sobuś A, Baumert B, Litwińska Z, Gołąb-Janowska M, Stępniewski J, Kotowski M, Pius-Sadowska E, Kawa MP, Gródecka-Szwajkiewicz D, Peregud-Pogorzelski J, Dulak J, Nowacki P, Machaliński B Abstract Therapeutic options for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are still limited. Great hopes, however, are placed in growth factors that show neuroprotective abilities (e.g., nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)) and in the immune modulating features, in particular, the anti-inflammatory effects. In our study we aimed to investigate whether a bone marrow-derived lineage-negative (Lin-) cells population, after autologous application into cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), is able to produce noticeable concentrations of trophic factors and inflammatory-related proteins and thus influence the clinical course of ALS. To our knowledge, the evaluation of Lin- cells transplantation for ALS treatment has not been previously reported. Early hematopoietic Lin- cells were isolated from twelve ALS patients&rsquo; bone marrow, and later, the suspension of cells was administered into the subarachnoid space by lumbar puncture. Concentrations of selected proteins in the CSF and plasma were quantified by multiplex fluorescent bead-based immunoassays at different timepoints post-transplantation. We also chose microRNAs (miRNAs) related to muscle biology (miRNA-1, miRNA-133a, and miRNA-206) and angiogenesis and inflammation (miRNA-155 and miRNA-378) and tested, for the first time, their expression profiles in the CSF and plasma of ALS patients after Lin- cells transplantation. The injection of bone marrow cells resulted in decreased concentration of selected inflammatory proteins (C3) after Lin- cells injection, particularly in patients who had a better clinical outcome. Moreover, several analyzed miRNAs have changed expression levels in the CSF and plasma of ALS patients subsequent to Lin- cells administration. Interestingly, the expression of miR-206 increased in ALS patients, while miR-378 decreased both in the CSF and plasma one month after the cells&rsquo; injection. We propose that autologous lineage-negative early hematopoietic cells injected intrathecally may be a safe and feasible source of material for transplantations to the central nervous system (CNS) environment aimed at anti-inflammatory support provision for ALS adjuvant treatment strategies. Further research is needed to evaluate whether the observed effects could significantly influence the ALS progression. PMID: 29702606 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Patient-Derived iPSCs and iNs-Shedding New Light on the Cellular Etiology of Neurodegenerative Diseases. Cells. 2018 May 08;7(5): Authors: Tang BL Abstract Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and induced neuronal (iN) cells are very much touted in terms of their potential promises in therapeutics. However, from a more fundamental perspective, iPSCs and iNs are invaluable tools for the postnatal generation of specific diseased cell types from patients, which may offer insights into disease etiology that are otherwise unobtainable with available animal or human proxies. There are two good recent examples of such important insights with diseased neurons derived via either the iPSC or iN approaches. In one, induced motor neurons (iMNs) derived from iPSCs of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD) patients with a C9orf72 repeat expansion revealed a haploinsufficiency of protein function resulting from the intronic expansion and deficiencies in motor neuron vesicular trafficking and lysosomal biogenesis that were not previously obvious in knockout mouse models. In another, striatal medium spinal neurons (MSNs) derived directly from fibroblasts of Huntington&rsquo;s disease (HD) patients recapitulated age-associated disease signatures of mutant Huntingtin (mHTT) aggregation and neurodegeneration that were not prominent in neurons differentiated indirectly via iPSCs from HD patients. These results attest to the tremendous potential for pathologically accurate and mechanistically revealing disease modelling with advances in the derivation of iPSCs and iNs. PMID: 29738460 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Motor neuron differentiation of iPSCs obtained from peripheral blood of a mutant TARDBP ALS patient. Stem Cell Res. 2018 07;30:61-68 Authors: Bossolasco P, Sassone F, Gumina V, Peverelli S, Garzo M, Silani V Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a severe neurodegenerative disease, mainly affecting the motor neurons (MNs) and without effective therapy. Drug screening is hampered by the lack of satisfactory experimental and pre-clinical models. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) could help to define disease mechanisms and therapeutic strategies as they could be differentiated into MNs, otherwise inaccessible from living humans. In this study, given the seminal role of TDP-43 in ALS pathophysiology, MNs were obtained from peripheral blood mononuclear cells-derived iPSCs of an ALS patient carrying a p.A382T TARDBP mutation and a healthy donor. Venous samples were preferred to fibroblasts for their ease of collection and no requirement for time consuming extended cultures before experimentation. iPSCs were characterized for expression of specific markers, spontaneously differentiated into primary germ layers and, finally, into MNs. No differences were observed between the mutated ALS patient and the control MNs with most of the cells displaying a nuclear localization of the TDP-43 protein. In conclusion, we here demonstrated for the first time that human TARDBP mutated MNs can be successfully obtained exploiting the reprogramming and differentiation ability of peripheral blood cells, an easily accessible source from any patient. PMID: 29800782 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Safety and efficacy of human embryonic stem cell-derived astrocytes following intrathecal transplantation in SOD1G93A and NSG animal models. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2018 06 06;9(1):152 Authors: Izrael M, Slutsky SG, Admoni T, Cohen L, Granit A, Hasson A, Itskovitz-Eldor J, Krush Paker L, Kuperstein G, Lavon N, Yehezkel Ionescu S, Solmesky LJ, Zaguri R, Zhuravlev A, Volman E, Chebath J, Revel M Abstract BACKGROUND: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron (MN) disease characterized by the loss of MNs in the central nervous system. As MNs die, patients progressively lose their ability to control voluntary movements, become paralyzed and eventually die from respiratory/deglutition failure. Despite the selective MN death in ALS, there is growing evidence that malfunctional astrocytes play a crucial role in disease progression. Thus, transplantation of healthy astrocytes may compensate for the diseased astrocytes. METHODS: We developed a good manufacturing practice-grade protocol for generation of astrocytes from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The first stage of our protocol is derivation of astrocyte progenitor cells (APCs) from hESCs. These APCs can be expanded in large quantities and stored frozen as cell banks. Further differentiation of the APCs yields an enriched population of astrocytes with more than 90% GFAP expression (hES-AS). hES-AS were injected intrathecally into hSOD1G93A transgenic mice and rats to evaluate their therapeutic potential. The safety and biodistribution of hES-AS were evaluated in a 9-month study conducted in immunodeficient NSG mice under good laboratory practice conditions. RESULTS: In vitro, hES-AS possess the activities of functional healthy astrocytes, including glutamate uptake, promotion of axon outgrowth and protection of MNs from oxidative stress. A secretome analysis shows that these hES-AS also secrete several inhibitors of metalloproteases as well as a variety of neuroprotective factors (e.g. TIMP-1, TIMP-2, OPN, MIF and Midkine). Intrathecal injections of the hES-AS into transgenic hSOD1G93A mice and rats significantly delayed disease onset and improved motor performance compared to sham-injected animals. A safety study in immunodeficient mice showed that intrathecal transplantation of hES-AS is safe. Transplanted hES-AS attached to the meninges along the neuroaxis and survived for the entire duration of the study without formation of tumors or teratomas. Cell-injected mice gained similar body weight to the sham-injected group and did not exhibit clinical signs that could be related to the treatment. No differences from the vehicle control were observed in hematological parameters or blood chemistry. CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate the safety and potential therapeutic benefits of intrathecal injection of hES-AS for the treatment of ALS. PMID: 29871694 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Cryptic exon splicing function of TARDBP interacts with autophagy in nervous tissue. Autophagy. 2018;14(8):1398-1403 Authors: Torres P, Ramírez-Núñez O, Romero-Guevara R, Barés G, Granado-Serrano AB, Ayala V, Boada J, Fontdevila L, Povedano M, Sanchís D, Pamplona R, Ferrer I, Portero-Otín M Abstract TARDBP (TAR DNA binding protein) is one of the components of neuronal aggregates in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. We have developed a simple quantitative method to evaluate TARDBP splicing function that was applied to spinal cord, brainstem, motor cortex, and occipital cortex in ALS (n = 8) cases compared to age- and gender-matched control (n = 17). Then, we quantified the abundance of a TARDBP-spliced cryptic exon present in ATG4B (autophagy related 4B cysteine peptidase) mRNA. Results of these analyses demonstrated that the loss of this TARDBP function in spinal cord, brainstem, motor cortex, and occipital cortex differentiated ALS from controls (area under the curve of receiver operating characteristic: 0.85). Significant correlations were also observed between cryptic exon levels, age, disease duration, and aberrant mRNA levels. To test if TARDBP function in splicing is relevant in ATG4B major function (autophagy) we downregulated TARDBP expression in human neural tissue and in HeLa cells, demonstrating that TARDBP is required for maintaining the expression of ATG4B. Further, ATG4B overexpression alone is sufficient to completely prevent the increase of SQSTM1 induced by TARDBP downregulation in human neural tissue cells and in cell lines. In conclusion, the present findings demonstrate abnormal alternative splicing of ATG4B transcripts in ALS neural tissue in agreement with TARDBP loss of function, leading to impaired autophagy. ABBREVIATIONS: ALS: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ATG4B: autophagy related 4B cysteine peptidase; AUC: area under the curve; FTLD: frontotemporal lobar degeneration; iPSC: induced pluripotent stem cells; ROC: receiver operating characteristic; TARDBP: TAR DNA binding protein; RT-qPCR: quantitative RT-PCR. PMID: 29912613 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Long-term Phase 1/2 intraspinal stem cell transplantation outcomes in ALS. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2018 Jun;5(6):730-740 Authors: Goutman SA, Brown MB, Glass JD, Boulis NM, Johe K, Hazel T, Cudkowicz M, Atassi N, Borges L, Patil PG, Sakowski SA, Feldman EL Abstract Objective: Intraspinal human spinal cord-derived neural stem cell (HSSC) transplantation is a potential therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); however, previous trials lack controls. This post hoc analysis compared ambulatory limb-onset ALS participants in Phase 1 and 2 (Ph1/2) open-label intraspinal HSSC transplantation studies up to 3 years after transplant to matched participants in Pooled Resource Open-Access ALS Clinical Trials (PRO-ACT) and ceftriaxone datasets to provide required analyses to inform future clinical trial designs. Methods: Survival, ALSFRS-R, and a composite statistic (ALS/SURV) combining survival and ALS Functional Rating Scale revised (ALSFRS-R) functional status were assessed for matched participant subsets: PRO-ACT n = 1108, Ph1/2 n = 21 and ceftriaxone n = 177, Ph1/2 n = 20. Results: Survival did not differ significantly between cohorts: Ph1/2 median survival 4.7 years, 95% CI (1.2, ∞) versus PRO-ACT 2.3 years (1.9, 2.5), P = 1.0; Ph1/2 3.0 years (1.2, 5.6) versus ceftriaxone 2.3 years (1.8, 2.8), P = 0.88. Mean ALSFRS-R at 24 months significantly differed between Ph1/2 and both comparison cohorts (Ph1/2 30.1 ± 8.6 vs. PRO-ACT 24.0 ± 10.2, P = 0.048; Ph1/2 30.7 ± 8.8 vs. ceftriaxone 19.2 ± 9.5, P = 0.0023). Using ALS/SURV, median PRO-ACT and ceftriaxone participants died by 24 months, whereas median Ph1/2 participant ALSFRS-Rs were 23 (P = 0.0038) and 19 (P = 0.14) in PRO-ACT and ceftriaxone comparisons at 24 months, respectively, supporting improved functional outcomes in the Ph1/2 study. Interpretation: Comparison of Ph1/2 studies to historical datasets revealed significantly improved survival and function using ALS/SURV versus PRO-ACT controls. While results are encouraging, comparison against historical populations demonstrate limitations in noncontrolled studies. These findings support continued evaluation of HSSC transplantation in ALS, support the benefit of control populations, and enable necessary power calculations to design a randomized, sham surgery-controlled efficacy study. PMID: 29928656 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Dipeptide repeat proteins activate a heat shock response found in C9ORF72-ALS/FTLD patients. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2018 Jul 04;6(1):55 Authors: Mordes DA, Prudencio M, Goodman LD, Klim JR, Moccia R, Limone F, Pietilainen O, Chowdhary K, Dickson DW, Rademakers R, Bonini NM, Petrucelli L, Eggan K Abstract A hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is the most common genetic contributor to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Reduced expression of the C9ORF72 gene product has been proposed as a potential contributor to disease pathogenesis. Additionally, repetitive RNAs and dipeptide repeat proteins (DPRs), such as poly-GR, can be produced by this hexanucleotide expansion that disrupt a number of cellular processes, potentially contributing to neural degeneration. To better discern which of these mechanisms leads to disease-associated changes in patient brains, we analyzed gene expression data generated from the cortex and cerebellum. We found that transcripts encoding heat shock proteins (HSPs) regulated by the HSF1 transcription factor were significantly induced in C9ORF72-ALS/FTLD patients relative to both sporadic ALS/FTLD cases and controls. Treatment of human neurons with chemically synthesized DPRs was sufficient to activate a similar transcriptional response. Expression of GGGGCC repeats and also poly-GR in the brains of Drosophila lead to the upregulation of HSF1 and the same highly-conserved HSPs. Additionally, HSF1 was a modifier of poly-GR toxicity in Drosophila. Our results suggest that the expression of DPRs are associated with upregulation of HSF1 and activation of a heat shock response in C9ORF72-ALS/FTLD. PMID: 29973287 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles A small-molecule inhibitor of SOD1-Derlin-1 interaction ameliorates pathology in an ALS mouse model. Nat Commun. 2018 07 10;9(1):2668 Authors: Tsuburaya N, Homma K, Higuchi T, Balia A, Yamakoshi H, Shibata N, Nakamura S, Nakagawa H, Ikeda SI, Umezawa N, Kato N, Yokoshima S, Shibuya M, Shimonishi M, Kojima H, Okabe T, Nagano T, Naguro I, Imamura K, Inoue H, Fujisawa T, Ichijo H Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder. Despite its severity, there are no effective treatments because of the complexity of its pathogenesis. As one of the underlying mechanisms of Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene mutation-induced ALS, SOD1 mutants (SOD1mut) commonly interact with an endoplasmic reticulum-resident membrane protein Derlin-1, triggering motoneuron death. However, the importance of SOD1-Derlin-1 interaction in in vitro human model and in vivo mouse model remains to be elucidated. Here, we identify small-molecular-weight compounds that inhibit the SOD1-Derlin-1 interaction by screening approximately 160,000 compounds. The inhibitor prevents 122 types of SOD1mut from interacting with Derlin-1, and significantly ameliorates the ALS pathology both in motoneurons derived from patient induced pluripotent stem cells and in model mice. Our data suggest that the SOD1-Derlin-1 interaction contributes to the pathogenesis of ALS and is a promising drug target for ALS treatment. PMID: 29991716 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Adipose-derived stem cell conditioned medium impacts asymptomatic peripheral neuromuscular denervation in the mutant superoxide dismutase (G93A) transgenic mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2018;36(5):621-627 Authors: Walker CL, Meadows RM, Merfeld-Clauss S, Du Y, March KL, Jones KJ Abstract BACKGROUND: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is devastating, leading to paralysis and death. Disease onset begins pre-symptomatically through spinal motor neuron (MN) axon die-back from musculature at ∼47 days of age in the mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (mSOD1G93A) transgenic ALS mouse model. This period may be optimal to assess potential therapies. We previously demonstrated that post-symptomatic adipose-derived stem cell conditioned medium (ASC-CM) treatment is neuroprotective in mSOD1G93A mice. We hypothesized that early disease onset treatment could ameliorate neuromuscular junction (NMJ) disruption. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether pre-symptom administration of ASC-CM prevents early NMJ disconnection. METHODS: We confirmed the NMJ denervation time course in mSOD1G93A mice using co-labeling of neurofilament and post-synaptic acetylcholine receptors (AchR) by α-bungarotoxin. We determined whether ASC-CM ameliorates early NMJ loss in mSOD1G93A mice by systemically administering 200μl ASC-CM or vehicle medium daily from post-natal days 35 to 47 and quantifying intact NMJs through co-labeling of neurofilament and synaptophysin with α-bungarotoxin in gastrocnemius muscle. RESULTS: Intact NMJs were significantly decreased in 47 day old mSOD1G93A mice (p < 0.05), and daily systemic ASC-CM prevented disease-induced NMJ denervation compared to vehicle treated mice (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Our results lay the foundation for testing the long-term neurological benefits of systemic ASC-CM therapy in the mSOD1G93A mouse model of ALS. PMID: 30010155 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Advances in stem cell therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2018 08;18(8):865-881 Authors: Mazzini L, Ferrari D, Andjus PR, Buzanska L, Cantello R, De Marchi F, Gelati M, Giniatullin R, Glover JC, Grilli M, Kozlova EN, Maioli M, Mitrečić D, Pivoriunas A, Sanchez-Pernaute R, Sarnowska A, Vescovi AL, BIONECA COST ACTION WG Neurology Abstract INTRODUCTION: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, incurable neurodegenerative disease that targets motoneurons. Cell-based therapies have generated widespread interest as a potential therapeutic approach but no conclusive results have yet been reported either from pre-clinical or clinical studies. Areas covered: This is an integrated review of pre-clinical and clinical studies focused on the development of cell-based therapies for ALS. We analyze the biology of stem cell treatments and results obtained from pre-clinical models of ALS and examine the methods and the results obtained to date from clinical trials. We discuss scientific, clinical, and ethical issues and propose some directions for future studies. Expert opinion: While data from individual studies are encouraging, stem-cell-based therapies do not yet represent a satisfactory, reliable clinical option. The field will critically benefit from the introduction of well-designed, randomized and reproducible, powered clinical trials. Comparative studies addressing key issues such as the nature, properties, and number of donor cells, the delivery mode and the selection of proper patient populations that may benefit the most from cell-based therapies are now of the essence. Multidisciplinary networks of experts should be established to empower effective translation of research into the clinic. PMID: 30025485 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Advances in Patient-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Shed Light on Drug Discovery for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Cell Transplant. 2018 Sep;27(9):1301-1312 Authors: Lee JH, Liu JW, Lin SZ, Harn HJ, Chiou TW Abstract Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are generated through reprogramming adult somatic cells by expressing specific transcription factors, can differentiate into derivatives of the three embryonic germ layers and accelerate rapid advances in stem cell research. Neurological diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have benefited enormously from iPSC technology. This approach can be particularly important for creating iPSCs from patients with familial or sporadic forms of ALS. Motor neurons differentiated from the ALS-patient-derived iPSC can help to determine the relationship between cellular phenotype and genotype. Patient-derived iPSCs facilitate the development of new drugs and/or drug screening for ALS treatment and allow the exploration of the possible mechanism of ALS disease. In this article, we reviewed ALS-patient-specific iPSCs with various genetic mutations, progress in drug development for ALS disease, functional assays showing the differentiation of iPSCs into mature motor neurons, and promising biomarkers in ALS patients for the evaluation of drug candidates. PMID: 30033758 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Repeated Intrathecal Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Ann Neurol. 2018 Sep;84(3):361-373 Authors: Oh KW, Noh MY, Kwon MS, Kim HY, Oh SI, Park J, Kim HJ, Ki CS, Kim SH Abstract OBJECTIVE: To assess the safety and efficacy of 2 repeated intrathecal injections of autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). METHODS: In a phase 2 randomized controlled trial (NCT01363401), 64 participants with ALS were randomly assigned treatments (1:1) of riluzole alone (control group, n = 31) or combined with 2 BM-MSC injections (MSC group, n = 33). Safety was assessed based on the occurrence of adverse events. The primary efficacy outcome was changes in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R) score from baseline to 4 and 6 months postinjection. Post hoc analysis includes investigation of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers and long-term survival analysis. RESULTS: Safety rating showed no groupwise difference with absence of serious treatment-related adverse events. Mean changes in ALSFRS-R scores from baseline to 4 and 6 months postinjection were reduced in the MSC group compared with the control group (4 months: 2.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.48-4.47, p < 0.001; 6 months: 3.38, 95% CI = 1.23-5.54, p = 0.003). The MSC group showed decreased proinflammatory and increased anti-inflammatory cytokines. In good responders, transforming growth factor β1 significantly showed inverse correlation with monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. There was no significant difference in long-term survival between groups. INTERPRETATION: Repeated intrathecal injections of BM-MSCs demonstrated a possible clinical benefit lasting at least 6 months, with safety, in ALS patients. A plausible action mechanism is that BM-MSCs mediate switching from pro- to anti-inflammatory conditions. A future randomized, double-blind, large-scale phase 3 clinical trial with additional BM-MSC treatments is required to evaluate long-term efficacy and safety. Ann Neurol 2018;84:361-373. PMID: 30048006 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Stem cell transplantation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Curr Opin Neurol. 2018 Oct;31(5):655-661 Authors: Baloh RH, Glass JD, Svendsen CN Abstract PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review analyses the recent efforts to develop therapeutics using transplantation of stem cells for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). RECENT FINDINGS: Stem cells are considered as a potential therapeutic for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, in an effort to either replace cells that are lost, or to enhance the survival of the remaining cells. In ALS, meaningful attempts to verify the safety and feasibility of many cell transplantation approaches have only recently been completed or are underway. Due to the complexities of reconstructing complete motor neuron circuits in adult patients, current approaches aim rather to prolong the survival and function of existing motor neurons through paracrine effects or production of new interneurons or astrocytes. Recent trials showed that autologous mesenchymal stem cells can be safely injected intrathecally, transiently enhancing growth factor concentrations and anti-inflammatory cytokines into the cerebrospinal fluid. Likewise, a small pilot study investigating safety of autologous transplantation of regulatory T-cells for immunomodulation was recently completed. Finally, early phase trials demonstrated safety of direct surgical transplantation of heterologous fetal-derived neural progenitor cells into the spinal cord of ALS patients, as an attempt to provide a lasting source of local trophic support for motor neurons. SUMMARY: With clinical trials recently demonstrating that stem cell transplantation can be safe and well tolerated in ALS, the field is positioned to complete pivotal controlled trials to determine efficacy. PMID: 30080719 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Safety, Feasibility of Intravenous and Intrathecal Injection of Autologous Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: An Open Label Phase I Clinical Trial. Cell J. 2019 Jan;20(4):592-598 Authors: Nabavi SM, Arab L, Jarooghi N, Bolurieh T, Abbasi F, Mardpour S, Azimyian V, Moeininia F, Maroufizadeh S, Sanjari L, Hosseini SE, Aghdami N Abstract Objective: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most severe disorder within the spectrum of motor neuron diseases (MND) that has no effective treatment and a progressively fatal outcome. We have conducted two clinical trials to assess the safety and feasibility of intravenous (IV) and intrathecal (IT) injections of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs) in patients with ALS. Materials and Methods: This is an interventional/experimental study. We enrolled 14 patients that met the following inclusion criteria: definitive diagnosis of sporadic ALS, ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALS-FRS) ≥24, and ≥40% predicted forced vital capacity (FVC). All patients underwent bone marrow (BM) aspiration to obtain an adequate sample for cell isolation and culture. Patients in group 1 (n=6) received an IV and patients in group 2 (n=8) received an IT injection of the cell suspension. All patients in both groups were followed at 24 hours and 2, 4, 6, and 12 months after the injection with ALS-FRS, FVC, laboratory tests, check list of side effects and brain/spinal cord magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In each group, one patient was lost to follow up one month after cell injection and one patient from IV group died due to severe respiratory insufficiency and infection. Results: During the follow up there were no reports of adverse events in terms of clinical and laboratory assessments. In MRI, there was not any new abnormal finding. The ALS-FRS score and FVC percentage significantly reduced in all patients from both groups. Conclusion: This study has shown that IV and IT transplantation of BM-derived stromal cells is safe and feasible (Registration numbers: NCT01759797 and NCT01771640). PMID: 30124008 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Modeling sporadic ALS in iPSC-derived motor neurons identifies a potential therapeutic agent. Nat Med. 2018 Oct;24(10):1579-1589 Authors: Fujimori K, Ishikawa M, Otomo A, Atsuta N, Nakamura R, Akiyama T, Hadano S, Aoki M, Saya H, Sobue G, Okano H Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a heterogeneous motor neuron disease for which no effective treatment is available, despite decades of research into SOD1-mutant familial ALS (FALS). The majority of ALS patients have no familial history, making the modeling of sporadic ALS (SALS) essential to the development of ALS therapeutics. However, as mutations underlying ALS pathogenesis have not yet been identified, it remains difficult to establish useful models of SALS. Using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to generate stem and differentiated cells retaining the patients' full genetic information, we have established a large number of in vitro cellular models of SALS. These models showed phenotypic differences in their pattern of neuronal degeneration, types of abnormal protein aggregates, cell death mechanisms, and onset and progression of these phenotypes in vitro among cases. We therefore developed a system for case clustering capable of subdividing these heterogeneous SALS models by their in vitro characteristics. We further evaluated multiple-phenotype rescue of these subclassified SALS models using agents selected from non-SOD1 FALS models, and identified ropinirole as a potential therapeutic candidate. Integration of the datasets acquired in this study permitted the visualization of molecular pathologies shared across a wide range of SALS models. PMID: 30127392 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Intraspinal Transplantation of the Adipose Tissue-Derived Regenerative Cells in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in Accordance with the Current Experts' Recommendations: Choosing Optimal Monitoring Tools. Stem Cells Int. 2018;2018:4392017 Authors: Kuzma-Kozakiewicz M, Marchel A, Kaminska A, Gawel M, Sznajder J, Figiel-Dabrowska A, Nowak A, Maj E, Krzesniak NE, Noszczyk BH, Domanska-Janik K, Sarnowska A Abstract Stem cells (SCs) may constitute a perspective alternative to pharmacological treatment in neurodegenerative diseases. Although the safety of SC transplantation has been widely shown, their clinical efficiency in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is still to be proved. It is not only due to a limited number of studies, small treatment groups, and fast but nonlinear disease progression but also due to lack of objective methods able to show subtle clinical changes. Preliminary guidelines for cell therapy have recently been proposed by a group of ALS experts. They combine clinical, neurophysiological, and functional assessment together with monitoring of the cytokine level. Here, we describe a pilot study on transplantation of autologous adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRC) into the spinal cord of the patients with ALS and monitoring of the results in accordance with the current recommendations. To show early and/or subtle changes within the muscles of interest, a wide range of clinical and functional tests were used and compared in order to choose the most sensitive and optimal set. Additionally, an analysis of transplanted ADRC was provided to develop standards ensuring the derivation and verification of adequate quality of transplanted cells and to correlate ADRC properties with clinical outcome. PMID: 30158984 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Maximizing the Survival of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients: Current Perspectives. Neurol Res Int. 2018;2018:6534150 Authors: Khairoalsindi OA, Abuzinadah AR Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to loss of the upper and lower motor neurons. Almost 90% of all cases occur in the sporadic form, with the rest occurring in the familial form. The disease has a poor prognosis, with only two disease-modifying drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approved drugs for the disease have very limited survival benefits. Edaravone is a new FDA-approved medication that may slow the disease progression by 33% in a selected subgroup of ALS patients. This paper covers the various interventions that may provide survival benefits, such as early diagnosis, medications, gene therapy, stem cell therapy, diet, nutritional supplements, multidisciplinary clinics, and mechanical invasive and noninvasive ventilation. The recent data on masitinib, the role of enteral feeding, gene therapy, and stem cell therapy is discussed. PMID: 30159171 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Transplantation of human bone marrow stem cells into symptomatic ALS mice enhances structural and functional blood-spinal cord barrier repair. Exp Neurol. 2018 Dec;310:33-47 Authors: Garbuzova-Davis S, Haller E, Navarro S, Besong TE, Boccio KJ, Hailu S, Khatib M, Sanberg PR, Appel SH, Borlongan CV Abstract Accumulating evidence shows alterations in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) in ALS patients and in animal models of disease, mainly by endothelial cell (EC) damage. Repair of the altered barrier in the CNS by replacement of ECs via cell transplantation may be a new therapeutic approach for ALS. Recently, we demonstrated positive effects towards BSCB repair by intravenous administration of unmodified human bone marrow CD34+ (hBM34+) cells at different doses into symptomatic ALS mice. However, particular benefits of these transplanted cells on microvascular integrity in symptomatic ALS mice are still unclear. The aim of the present study was to determine the structural and functional spinal cord capillary integrity in symptomatic ALS mice after intravenous administration of hBM34+ cells. The G93A mice at 13 weeks of age intravenously received one of three different cell doses (5 × 104, 5 × 105, or 1 × 106) and were euthanized at 17 weeks of age (4 weeks post-transplant). Control groups were media-treated and non-carrier mutant SOD1 gene mice. Capillary ultrastructural (electron microscopy), immunohistochemical (laminin and HuNu), and histological (myelin and capillary density) analyses were performed in the cervical and lumbar spinal cords. Capillary permeability in the spinal cords was determined by Evans Blue (EB) injection. Results showed significant restoration of ultrastructural capillary morphology, improvement of basement membrane integrity, enhancement of axonal myelin coherence, and stabilization of capillary density in the spinal cords primarily of ALS mice receiving the high dose of 1 × 106 cells. Moreover, substantial reduction of parenchymal EB levels was determined in these mice, confirming our previous results on capillary permeability. Additionally, transplanted cells were detected in blood smears of sacrificed late symptomatic mice by HuNu marker. Altogether, these results provide novel evidence that unmodified bone marrow hematopoietic stem cell treatment at optimal dose might be beneficial for structural and functional repair of the damaged BSCB in advanced stage of ALS, potentially resulting in delayed disease progression by increased motor neuron survival. PMID: 30172620 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Establishment of stable iPS-derived human neural stem cell lines suitable for cell therapies. Cell Death Dis. 2018 Sep 17;9(10):937 Authors: Rosati J, Ferrari D, Altieri F, Tardivo S, Ricciolini C, Fusilli C, Zalfa C, Profico DC, Pinos F, Bernardini L, Torres B, Manni I, Piaggio G, Binda E, Copetti M, Lamorte G, Mazza T, Carella M, Gelati M, Valente EM, Simeone A, Vescovi AL Abstract Establishing specific cell lineages from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) is vital for cell therapy approaches in regenerative medicine, particularly for neurodegenerative disorders. While neural precursors have been induced from hiPSCs, the establishment of hiPSC-derived human neural stem cells (hiNSCs), with characteristics that match foetal hNSCs and abide by cGMP standards, thus allowing clinical applications, has not been described. We generated hiNSCs by a virus-free technique, whose properties recapitulate those of the clinical-grade hNSCs successfully used in an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) phase I clinical trial. Ex vivo, hiNSCs critically depend on exogenous mitogens for stable self-renewal and amplification and spontaneously differentiate into astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons upon their removal. In the brain of immunodeficient mice, hiNSCs engraft and differentiate into neurons and glia, without tumour formation. These findings now warrant the establishment of clinical-grade, autologous and continuous hiNSC lines for clinical trials in neurological diseases such as Huntington's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, among others. PMID: 30224709 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Immunomodulatory Properties of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Healthy Donors. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2018 Sep 21;: Authors: Javorkova E, Matejckova N, Zajicova A, Hermankova B, Hajkova M, Bohacova P, Kossl J, Krulova M, Holan V Abstract Pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) involves several mechanisms resulting in a shift from a neuroprotective to a neurotoxic immune reaction. A promising tool for ALS treatment is represented by mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which possess both regenerative potential and immunomodulatory properties. In this study, we aimed to compare the immunomodulatory properties of MSCs isolated from the bone marrow of patients suffering from ALS and healthy donors. Moreover, the influence of proinflammatory cytokines on the immunoregulatory functions of MSCs was also evaluated. We found that MSCs from ALS patients and healthy donors comparably affected mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells and reduced the percentage of T helper (Th)1, Th17 and CD8+CD25+ lymphocytes. These MSCs also equally increased the percentage of Th2 and CD4+FOXP3+ T lymphocytes. On the other hand, MSCs from ALS patients decreased more strongly the production of tumour necrosis factor-α than MSCs from healthy donors, but this difference was abrogated in the case of MSCs stimulated with cytokines. Significant differences between cytokine-treated MSCs from ALS patients and healthy donors were detected in the effects on the percentage of CD8+CD25+ and CD4+FOXP3+ T lymphocytes. In general, treatment of MSCs with cytokines results in a potentiation of their effects, but in the case of MSCs from ALS patients, it causes stagnation or even restriction of some of their immunomodulatory properties. We conclude that MSCs from ALS patients exert comparable immunomodulatory effects to MSCs from healthy donors, but respond differently to stimulation with proinflammatory cytokines. Graphical Abstract Treatment of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with cytokines results in a potentiation of their effects, but in the case of MSCs from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients, it causes stagnation (an equal reduction of the percentage of CD8+CD25+ T lymphocytes) or even restriction (no increase of proportion of CD4+FOXP3+ T lymphocytes) of some of their immunomodulatory properties. It means that MSCs from ALS patients exert comparable immunomodulatory effects to MSCs from healthy donors, but respond differently to stimulation with proinflammatory cytokines. PMID: 30242613 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Related Articles Astrocyte-based cell therapy: new hope for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients? Stem Cell Res Ther. 2018 Sep 26;9(1):241 Authors: Barbeito L Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal paralytic disease with no cure or treatment to stop disease progression. Because ALS represents an urgent unmet medical need, a significant number of therapeutics are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies. A recent publication in Stem Cell Research & Therapy by Izrael and colleagues reports about embryonic stem cell-derived astrocytes as a potential cell therapy for ALS. Such cells behave as highly trophic "young astrocytes", being able to delay disease onset and prolong survival when injected intrathechally in murine models of ALS overexpressing the SOD1G93A mutation. The safety and therapeutic potential of these cells are currently being evaluated in a clinical trial in ALS patients. This commentary discusses the mechanisms of action and potential therapeutic effects of these "young astrocytes" in ALS. PMID: 30257722 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Microphysiological 3D model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) from human iPS-derived muscle cells and optogenetic motor neurons. Sci Adv. 2018 Oct;4(10):eaat5847 Authors: Osaki T, Uzel SGM, Kamm RD Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease involving loss of motor neurons (MNs) and muscle atrophy, still has no effective treatment, despite much research effort. To provide a platform for testing drug candidates and investigating the pathogenesis of ALS, we developed an ALS-on-a-chip technology (i.e., an ALS motor unit) using three-dimensional skeletal muscle bundles along with induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived and light-sensitive channelrhodopsin-2-induced MN spheroids from a patient with sporadic ALS. Each tissue was cultured in a different compartment of a microfluidic device. Axon outgrowth formed neuromuscular junctions on the muscle fiber bundles. Light was used to activate muscle contraction, which was measured on the basis of pillar deflections. Compared to a non-ALS motor unit, the ALS motor unit generated fewer muscle contractions, there was MN degradation, and apoptosis increased in the muscle. Furthermore, the muscle contractions were recovered by single treatments and cotreatment with rapamycin (a mechanistic target of rapamycin inhibitor) and bosutinib (an Src/c-Abl inhibitor). This recovery was associated with up-regulation of autophagy and degradation of TAR DNA binding protein-43 in the MNs. Moreover, administering the drugs via an endothelial cell barrier decreased the expression of P-glycoprotein (an efflux pump that transports bosutinib) in the endothelial cells, indicating that rapamycin and bosutinib cotreatment has considerable potential for ALS treatment. This ALS-on-a-chip and optogenetics technology could help to elucidate the pathogenesis of ALS and to screen for drug candidates. PMID: 30324134 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: An Update for 2018. Mayo Clin Proc. 2018 Nov;93(11):1617-1628 Authors: Oskarsson B, Gendron TF, Staff NP Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease affecting motor neurons and other neuronal cells, leading to severe disability and eventually death from ventilatory failure. It has a prevalence of 5 in 100,000, with an incidence of 1.7 per 100,000, reflecting short average survival. The pathogenesis is incompletely understood, but defects of RNA processing and protein clearance may be fundamental. Repeat expansions in the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 gene (C9orf72) are the most common known genetic cause of ALS and are seen in approximately 40% of patients with a family history and approximately 10% of those without. No environmental risk factors are proved to be causative, but many have been proposed, including military service. The diagnosis of ALS rests on a history of painless progressive weakness coupled with examination findings of upper and lower motor dysfunction. No diagnostic test is yet available, but electromyography and genetic tests can support the diagnosis. Care for patients is best provided by a multidisciplinary team, and most interventions are directed at managing symptoms. Two medications with modest benefits have Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of ALS: riluzole, a glutamate receptor antagonist, and, new in 2017, edaravone, a free radical scavenger. Many other encouraging treatment strategies are being explored in clinical trials for ALS; herein we review stem cell and antisense oligonucleotide gene therapies. PMID: 30401437 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Aggregated SOD1 causes selective death of cultured human motor neurons. Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 06;8(1):16393 Authors: Benkler C, O'Neil AL, Slepian S, Qian F, Weinreb PH, Rubin LL Abstract Most human neurodegenerative diseases share a phenotype of neuronal protein aggregation. In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the abundant protein superoxide dismutase (SOD1) or the TAR-DNA binding protein TDP-43 can aggregate in motor neurons. Recently, numerous studies have highlighted the ability of aggregates to spread from neuron to neuron in a prion-like fashion. These studies have typically focused on the use of neuron-like cell lines or neurons that are not normally affected by the specific aggregated protein being studied. Here, we have investigated the uptake of pre-formed SOD1 aggregates by cultures containing pluripotent stem cell-derived human motor neurons. We found that all cells take up aggregates by a process resembling fluid-phase endocytosis, just as found in earlier studies. However, motor neurons, despite taking up smaller amounts of SOD1, were much more vulnerable to the accumulating aggregates. Thus, the propagation of disease pathology depends less on selective uptake than on selective response to intracellular aggregates. We further demonstrate that anti-SOD1 antibodies, being considered as ALS therapeutics, can act by blocking the uptake of SOD1, but also by blocking the toxic effects of intracellular SOD1. This work demonstrates the importance of using disease relevant cells even in studying phenomena such as aggregate propagation. PMID: 30401824 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Immune inflammatory modulation as a potential therapeutic strategy of stem cell therapy for ALS and neurodegenerative diseases. BMB Rep. 2018 Nov;51(11):545-546 Authors: Kim SH, Oh KW, Jin HK, Bae JS Abstract With emerging evidence on the importance of non-cell autonomous toxicity in neurodegenerative diseases, therapeutic strategies targeting modulation of key immune cells. including microglia and Treg cells, have been designed for treatment of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. Strategy switching the patient's environment from a pro-inflammatory toxic to an anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective condition, could be potential therapy for neurodegenerative diseases. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) regulate innate and adaptive immune cells, through release of soluble factors such as TGF-β and elevation of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and T helper-2 cells (Th2 cells), would play important roles, in the neuroprotective effect on motor neuronal cell death mechanisms in ALS. Single cycle of repeated intrathecal injections of BM-MSCs demonstrated a clinical benefit lasting at least 6 months, with safety, in ALS patients. Cytokine profiles of CSF provided evidence that BM-MSCs, have a role in switching from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory conditions. Inverse correlation of TGF-β1 and MCP-1 levels, could be a potential biomarker to responsiveness. Thus, additional cycles of BM-MSC treatment are required, to confirm long-term efficacy and safety. [BMB Reports 2018; 51(11): 545-546]. PMID: 30463642 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Reduced sirtuin 1/adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient-derived mesenchymal stem cells can be restored by resveratrol. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2019 Jan;13(1):110-115 Authors: Yun YC, Jeong SG, Kim SH, Cho GW Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting motor neuron system. Our previous study has shown that bone marrow-mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) from ALS patients have functional limitations in releasing neurotrophic factors and exhibit the senescence phenotype. In this study, we examined sirtuin 1/adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (SIRT1/AMPK) activities and identified significant decreases in the ALS-MSCs compared with normal healthy control originated BM-MSCs. This decline was restored by pretreatment with resveratrol (RSV), measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction, NAD/NADH assay, and immunoblot analysis. Neuroprogenitor markers were increased in RSV-treated ALS-MSCs (RSV/ALS-MSCs). The differentiated ALS-MSCs (ALS-dMSCs) exhibited a cell body and dendritic shape similar to neurons. RSV/ALS-MSCs showed significantly increased differentiation rate as compared with the untreated ALS-dMSCs. The neurite numbers and lengths were also significantly increased. This was confirmed with immunoblot analysis using neuron specific markers such as nestin, NF-M, Tuj-1, and Map-2 in RSV/ALS-dMSCs. Thus, this study shows that ALS-MSCs showed down-regulation of AMPK/SIRT1 signalling, which was recovered by treatment with RSV. This data suggest that RSV can be one of the candidate agents for improving therapeutic efficacy of ALS patients' originated MSCs. PMID: 30479062 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Biomarker Supervised G-CSF (Filgrastim) Response in ALS Patients. Front Neurol. 2018;9:971 Authors: Johannesen S, Budeus B, Peters S, Iberl S, Meyer AL, Kammermaier T, Wirkert E, Bruun TH, Samara VC, Schulte-Mattler W, Herr W, Schneider A, Grassinger J, Bogdahn U Abstract Objective: To evaluate safety, tolerability and feasibility of long-term treatment with Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), a well-known hematopoietic stem cell factor, guided by assessment of mobilized bone marrow derived stem cells and cytokines in the serum of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) treated on a named patient basis. Methods: 36 ALS patients were treated with subcutaneous injections of G-CSF on a named patient basis and in an outpatient setting. Drug was dosed by individual application schemes (mean 464 Mio IU/month, range 90-2160 Mio IU/month) over a median of 13.7 months (range from 2.7 to 73.8 months). Safety, tolerability, survival and change in ALSFRS-R were observed. Hematopoietic stem cells were monitored by flow cytometry analysis of circulating CD34+ and CD34+CD38- cells, and peripheral cytokines were assessed by electrochemoluminescence throughout the intervention period. Analysis of immunological and hematological markers was conducted. Results: Long term and individually adapted treatment with G-CSF was well tolerated and safe. G-CSF led to a significant mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells into the peripheral blood. Higher mobilization capacity was associated with prolonged survival. Initial levels of serum cytokines, such as MDC, TNF-beta, IL-7, IL-16, and Tie-2 were significantly associated with survival. Continued application of G-CSF led to persistent alterations in serum cytokines and ongoing measurements revealed the multifaceted effects of G-CSF. Conclusions: G-CSF treatment is feasible and safe for ALS patients. It may exert its beneficial effects through neuroprotective and -regenerative activities, mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells and regulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines as well as angiogenic factors. These cytokines may serve as prognostic markers when measured at the time of diagnosis. Hematopoietic stem cell numbers and cytokine levels are altered by ongoing G-CSF application and may potentially serve as treatment biomarkers for early monitoring of G-CSF treatment efficacy in ALS in future clinical trials. PMID: 30534107 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Perfluorocarbon Labeling of Human Glial-Restricted Progenitors for 19 F Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2019 Jan 07;: Authors: Richard JP, Hussain U, Gross S, Taga A, Kouser M, Almad A, Campanelli JT, Bulte JWM, Maragakis NJ Abstract One of the fundamental limitations in assessing potential efficacy in Central Nervous System (CNS) transplantation of stem cells is the capacity for monitoring cell survival and migration noninvasively and longitudinally. Human glial-restricted progenitor (hGRP) cells (Q-Cells) have been investigated for their utility in providing neuroprotection following transplantation into models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and have been granted a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Investigational New Drug (IND) for intraspinal transplantation in ALS patients. Furthermore, clinical development of these cells for therapeutic use will rely on the ability to track the cells using noninvasive imaging methodologies as well as the verification that the transplanted GRPs have disease-relevant activity. As a first step in development, we investigated the use of a perfluorocarbon (PFC) dual-modal (19 F magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and fluorescence) tracer agent to label Q-Cells in culture and following spinal cord transplantation. PFCs have a number of potential benefits that make them appealing for clinical use. They are quantitative, noninvasive, biologically inert, and highly specific. In this study, we developed optimized PFC labeling protocols for Q-Cells and demonstrate that PFCs do not significantly alter the glial identity of Q-Cells. We also show that PFCs do not interfere with the capacity for differentiation into astrocytes either in vitro or following transplantation into the ventral horn of the mouse spinal cord, and can be visualized in vivo by hot spot 19 F MRI. These studies provide a foundation for further preclinical development of PFCs within the context of evaluating Q-Cell transplantation in the brain and spinal cord of future ALS patients using 19 F MRI. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2019. PMID: 30618148 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Related Articles Chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil increases survival of SOD1 mouse model of ALS. PLoS One. 2019;14(1):e0210752 Authors: Rando A, de la Torre M, Martinez-Muriana A, Zaragoza P, Musaro A, Hernández S, Navarro X, Toivonen JM, Osta R Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a lethal motor neuron disease with no cure. Currently there are only two ALS drugs approved by the FDA, both with a limited therapeutic effect. In the search for drug candidates for ALS, we studied the effect of known stem cell mobilizing agents (treatment) and antimetabolite 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) (anti-treatment) in SOD1G93A model of ALS. Surprisingly, we found that anti-cancer drug 5-FU increases lifespan, delays the disease onset and improves motor performance in ALS mice. Although we were not able to demonstrate the mechanistic basis of the beneficial 5-FU action in ALS mice, our findings suggest that 5-FU or similar drugs are possible drug candidates for the treatment of motor neuron diseases through drug repurposing. PMID: 30640943 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles SOD1/Rag2 Mice with Low Copy Number of SOD1 Gene as a New Long-Living Immunodeficient Model of ALS. Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 28;9(1):799 Authors: Majchrzak M, Drela K, Andrzejewska A, Rogujski P, Figurska S, Fiedorowicz M, Walczak P, Janowski M, Lukomska B, Stanaszek L Abstract The most recent research concerning amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) emphasizes the role of glia in disease development. Thus, one can suspect that the effective therapeutic strategy in treatment of ALS would be replacement of defective glia. One of the basic problems with human glial progenitors (hGRPs) replacement strategies is the time needed for the cells to become fully functional in vivo. The lifespan of most popular high copy number SOD1 mutant mice might be too short to acknowledge benefits of transplanted cells. We focused on developing immunodeficient rag2-/- model of ALS with lower number of transgene copies and longer lifespan. The obtained hSOD1/rag2 double mutant mice have been characterized. QPCR analysis revealed that copy number of hSOD1 transgene varied in our colony (4-8 copies). The difference in transgene copy number may be translated to significant impact on the lifespan. The death of long- and short-living hSOD1/rag2 mice is preceded by muscular weakness as early as one month before death. Importantly, based on magnetic resonance imaging we identified that mutant mice demonstrated abnormalities within the medullar motor nuclei. To conclude, we developed long-living double mutant hSOD1/rag2 mice, which could be a promising model for testing therapeutic utility of human stem cells. PMID: 30692571 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles MAP4K4 Activation Mediates Motor Neuron Degeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Cell Rep. 2019 Jan 29;26(5):1143-1156.e5 Authors: Wu C, Watts ME, Rubin LL Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting both upper and lower motor neurons (MNs). To date, its underlying mechanisms have yet to be clarified completely, and there are no truly effective treatments. Here, we show that MAP4K4, a MAP kinase family member, regulates MN death, with its suppression not only promoting survival but preventing neurite degeneration and decreasing mutant SOD1 levels through autophagy activation. Moreover, we report that MAP4K4 signaling specifically modulates MN viability via phosphorylated JNK3 and activation of the canonical c-Jun apoptotic pathway. Finally, we show the feasibility of MAP4K4 as a drug target by using an available MAP4K4-specific inhibitor, which improves survival of ESC and/or iPSC-derived MNs and MNs cultured from mouse spinal cords. In summary, our studies highlight a MAP4K4-initiated signaling cascade that induces MN degeneration, shedding light on the mechanism underlying MN degeneration and providing a druggable target for ALS therapeutics. PMID: 30699345 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Implications of Microglia in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Dementia. J Mol Biol. 2019 Feb 11;: Authors: Haukedal H, Freude K Abstract Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are neurodegenerative disorders with clear similarities regarding their clinical, genetic and pathological features. Both are progressive, lethal disorders, with no current curative treatment available. Several genes correlated with ALS and FTD are implicated in the same molecular pathways. Strikingly, many of these genes are not exclusively expressed in neurons, but also in glial cells, suggesting a multicellular pathogenesis. Moreover, chronic inflammation is a common feature observed in ALS and FTD, indicating an essential role of microglia, the resident immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS), in disease development and progression. In this review, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the implications of microglia in ALS and FTD. Specifically, we will focus on the role of impaired phagocytosis and increased inflammatory responses and their impact on microglial function. Several genes associated with the disorders can directly be linked to microglial activation, phagocytosis and neuroinflammation. Other genes associated with the disorders are implicated in biological pathways involved in protein degradation and autophagy. In general such mutations have been shown to cause abnormal protein accumulation and impaired autophagy. These impairments have previously been linked to affect the innate immune system in the CNS through inappropriate activation of microglia and neuroinflammation, highlighted in this review. Although it has been well established that microglia play essential roles in neurodegenerative disorders, the precise underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. PMID: 30763568 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Related Articles Artificial MicroRNAs Targeting C9orf72 Can Reduce Accumulation of Intra-nuclear Transcripts in ALS and FTD Patients. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2019 Jan 30;14:593-608 Authors: Martier R, Liefhebber JM, Miniarikova J, van der Zon T, Snapper J, Kolder I, Petry H, van Deventer SJ, Evers MM, Konstantinova P Abstract The most common pathogenic mutation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is an intronic GGGGCC (G4C2) repeat in the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) gene. Cellular toxicity due to RNA foci and dipeptide repeat (DPR) proteins produced by the sense and antisense repeat-containing transcripts is thought to underlie the pathogenesis of both diseases. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data of C9orf72-ALS patients and controls were analyzed to better understand the sequence conservation of C9orf72 in patients. MicroRNAs were developed in conserved regions to silence C9orf72 (miC), and the feasibility of different silencing approaches was demonstrated in reporter overexpression systems. In addition, we demonstrated the feasibility of a bidirectional targeting approach by expressing two concatenated miC hairpins. The efficacy of miC was confirmed by the reduction of endogenously expressed C9orf72 mRNA, in both nucleus and cytoplasm, and an ∼50% reduction of nuclear RNA foci in (G4C2)44-expressing cells. Ultimately, two miC candidates were incorporated in adeno-associated virus vector serotype 5 (AAV5), and silencing of C9orf72 was demonstrated in HEK293T cells and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons. These data support the feasibility of microRNA (miRNA)-based and AAV-delivered gene therapy that could alleviate the gain of toxicity seen in ALS and FTD patients. PMID: 30776581 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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