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Sample records for motor neurons

  1. Motor Neuron Diseases

    MedlinePlus

    ... Enhancing Diversity Find People About NINDS NINDS Motor Neuron Diseases Information Page Condensed from Motor Neuron Diseases ... and Information Publicaciones en Español What are Motor Neuron Diseases? The motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are a ...

  2. Motor Neuron Diseases

    MedlinePlus

    ... called upper motor neurons ) are transmitted to nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord (called lower motor neurons ) and from them to particular muscles. Upper motor neurons direct the lower motor neurons ...

  3. [Motor neuron disease: metabolic evaluation].

    PubMed

    Godoy, J M; Skacel, M; Balassiano, S L; Neves, J R

    1992-03-01

    The authors studied serum and urinary calcium and phosphorus levels, as well as abnormalities on the spine of 30 patients with motor neuron disease. The authors believe in multifactorial aspects in the pathogenesis of motor neuron disease, calling special attention to toxic and metabolic factors. PMID:1307483

  4. Acute lower motor neuron tetraparesis.

    PubMed

    Añor, Sònia

    2014-11-01

    Flaccid nonambulatory tetraparesis or tetraplegia is an infrequent neurologic presentation; it is characteristic of neuromuscular disease (lower motor neuron [LMN] disease) rather than spinal cord disease. Paresis beginning in the pelvic limbs and progressing to the thoracic limbs resulting in flaccid tetraparesis or tetraplegia within 24 to 72 hours is a common presentation of peripheral nerve or neuromuscular junction disease. Complete body flaccidity develops with severe decrease or complete loss of spinal reflexes in pelvic and thoracic limbs. Animals with acute generalized LMN tetraparesis commonly show severe motor dysfunction in all limbs and severe generalized weakness in all muscles. PMID:25441630

  5. Quo vadis motor neuron disease?

    PubMed

    Balendra, Rubika; Patani, Rickie

    2016-03-26

    Motor neuron disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a relentlessly progressive neurodegenerative condition that is invariably fatal, usually within 3 to 5 years of diagnosis. The aetio-pathogenesis of MND remains unresolved and no effective treatments exist. The only Food and Drug Administration approved disease modifying therapy is riluzole, a glutamate antagonist, which prolongs survival by up to 3 mo. Current management is largely symptomatic/supportive. There is therefore a desperate and unmet clinical need for discovery of disease mechanisms to guide novel therapeutic strategy. In this review, we start by introducing the organizational anatomy of the motor system, before providing a clinical overview of its dysfunction specifically in MND. We then summarize insights gained from pathological, genetic and animal models and conclude by speculating on optimal strategies to drive the step change in discovery, which is so desperately needed in this arena. PMID:27019797

  6. Quo vadis motor neuron disease?

    PubMed Central

    Balendra, Rubika; Patani, Rickie

    2016-01-01

    Motor neuron disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a relentlessly progressive neurodegenerative condition that is invariably fatal, usually within 3 to 5 years of diagnosis. The aetio-pathogenesis of MND remains unresolved and no effective treatments exist. The only Food and Drug Administration approved disease modifying therapy is riluzole, a glutamate antagonist, which prolongs survival by up to 3 mo. Current management is largely symptomatic/supportive. There is therefore a desperate and unmet clinical need for discovery of disease mechanisms to guide novel therapeutic strategy. In this review, we start by introducing the organizational anatomy of the motor system, before providing a clinical overview of its dysfunction specifically in MND. We then summarize insights gained from pathological, genetic and animal models and conclude by speculating on optimal strategies to drive the step change in discovery, which is so desperately needed in this arena. PMID:27019797

  7. Multidisciplinary Interventions in Motor Neuron Disease

    PubMed Central

    Williams, U. E.; Philip-Ephraim, E. E.; Oparah, S. K.

    2014-01-01

    Motor neuron disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of upper motor neuron in the motor cortex and lower motor neurons in the brain stem and spinal cord. Death occurs 2–4 years after the onset of the disease. A complex interplay of cellular processes such as mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, and impaired axonal transport are proposed pathogenetic processes underlying neuronal cell loss. Currently evidence exists for the use of riluzole as a disease modifying drug; multidisciplinary team care approach to patient management; noninvasive ventilation for respiratory management; botulinum toxin B for sialorrhoea treatment; palliative care throughout the course of the disease; and Modafinil use for fatigue treatment. Further research is needed in management of dysphagia, bronchial secretion, pseudobulbar affect, spasticity, cramps, insomnia, cognitive impairment, and communication in motor neuron disease. PMID:26317009

  8. Animal models for motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Green, S L; Tolwani, R J

    1999-10-01

    Motor neuron disease is a general term applied to a broad class of neurodegenerative diseases that are characterized by fatally progressive muscular weakness, atrophy, and paralysis attributable to loss of motor neurons. At present, there is no cure for most motor neuron diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common human motor neuron disease--the cause of which remains largely unknown. Animal models of motor neuron disease (MND) have significantly contributed to the remarkable recent progress in understanding the cause, genetic factors, and pathologic mechanisms proposed for this class of human neurodegenerative disorders. Largely driven by ALS research, animal models of MND have proven their usefulness in elucidating potential causes and specific pathogenic mechanisms, and have helped to advance promising new treatments from "benchside to bedside." This review summarizes important features of selected established animal models of MND: genetically engineered mice and inherited or spontaneously occurring MND in the murine, canine, and equine species. PMID:10551448

  9. Motor neurons and the generation of spinal motor neuron diversity

    PubMed Central

    Stifani, Nicolas

    2014-01-01

    Motor neurons (MNs) are neuronal cells located in the central nervous system (CNS) controlling a variety of downstream targets. This function infers the existence of MN subtypes matching the identity of the targets they innervate. To illustrate the mechanism involved in the generation of cellular diversity and the acquisition of specific identity, this review will focus on spinal MNs (SpMNs) that have been the core of significant work and discoveries during the last decades. SpMNs are responsible for the contraction of effector muscles in the periphery. Humans possess more than 500 different skeletal muscles capable to work in a precise time and space coordination to generate complex movements such as walking or grasping. To ensure such refined coordination, SpMNs must retain the identity of the muscle they innervate. Within the last two decades, scientists around the world have produced considerable efforts to elucidate several critical steps of SpMNs differentiation. During development, SpMNs emerge from dividing progenitor cells located in the medial portion of the ventral neural tube. MN identities are established by patterning cues working in cooperation with intrinsic sets of transcription factors. As the embryo develop, MNs further differentiate in a stepwise manner to form compact anatomical groups termed pools connecting to a unique muscle target. MN pools are not homogeneous and comprise subtypes according to the muscle fibers they innervate. This article aims to provide a global view of MN classification as well as an up-to-date review of the molecular mechanisms involved in the generation of SpMN diversity. Remaining conundrums will be discussed since a complete understanding of those mechanisms constitutes the foundation required for the elaboration of prospective MN regeneration therapies. PMID:25346659

  10. Trophic Factor Expression in Phrenic Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Mantilla, Carlos B.; Sieck, Gary C.

    2008-01-01

    The function of a motor neuron and the muscle fibers it innervates (i.e., a motor unit) determines neuromotor output. Unlike other skeletal muscles, respiratory muscles (e.g., the diaphragm, DIAm) must function from birth onwards in sustaining ventilation. DIAm motor units are capable of both ventilatory and non-ventilatory behaviors, including expulsive behaviors important for airway clearance. There is significant diversity in motor unit properties across different types of motor units in the DIAm. The mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of motor unit diversity in respiratory muscles (including the DIAm) are not well understood. Recent studies suggest that trophic factor influences contribute to this diversity. Remarkably little is known about the expression of trophic factors and their receptors in phrenic motor neurons. This review will focus on the contribution of trophic factors to the establishment and maintenance of motor unit diversity in the DIAm, during development and in response to injury or disease. PMID:18708170

  11. Variable Neuronal Participation in Stereotypic Motor Programs

    PubMed Central

    Hill, Evan S.; Vasireddi, Sunil K.; Bruno, Angela M.; Wang, Jean; Frost, William N.

    2012-01-01

    To what extent are motor networks underlying rhythmic behaviors rigidly hard-wired versus fluid and dynamic entities? Do the members of motor networks change from moment-to-moment or from motor program episode-to-episode? These are questions that can only be addressed in systems where it is possible to monitor the spiking activity of networks of neurons during the production of motor programs. We used large-scale voltage-sensitive dye (VSD) imaging followed by Independent Component Analysis spike-sorting to examine the extent to which the neuronal network underlying the escape swim behavior of Tritonia diomedea is hard-wired versus fluid from a moment-to-moment perspective. We found that while most neurons were dedicated to the swim network, a small but significant proportion of neurons participated in a surprisingly variable manner. These neurons joined the swim motor program late, left early, burst only on some cycles or skipped cycles of the motor program. We confirmed that this variable neuronal participation was not due to effects of the VSD by finding such neurons with intracellular recording in dye-free saline. Further, these neurons markedly varied their level of participation in the network from swim episode-to-episode. The generality of such unreliably bursting neurons was confirmed by their presence in the rhythmic escape networks of two other molluscan species, Tritonia festiva and Aplysia californica. Our observations support a view that neuronal networks, even those underlying rhythmic and stereotyped motor programs, may be more variable in structure than widely appreciated. PMID:22815768

  12. A COMPUTATIONAL MODEL OF MOTOR NEURON DEGENERATION

    PubMed Central

    Le Masson, Gwendal; Przedborski, Serge; Abbott, L.F.

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY To explore the link between bioenergetics and motor neuron degeneration, we used a computational model in which detailed morphology and ion conductance are paired with intracellular ATP production and consumption. We found that reduced ATP availability increases the metabolic cost of a single action potential and disrupts K+/Na+ homeostasis, resulting in a chronic depolarization. The magnitude of the ATP shortage at which this ionic instability occurs depends on the morphology and intrinsic conductance characteristic of the neuron. If ATP shortage is confined to the distal part of the axon, the ensuing local ionic instability eventually spreads to the whole neuron and involves fasciculation-like spiking events. A shortage of ATP also causes a rise in intracellular calcium. Our modeling work supports the notion that mitochondrial dysfunction can account for salient features of the paralytic disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, including motor neuron hyperexcitability, fasciculation, and differential vulnerability of motor neuron subpopulations. PMID:25088365

  13. Lower motor neuron dysfunction in ALS.

    PubMed

    de Carvalho, Mamede; Swash, Michael

    2016-07-01

    In the motor system there is a complex interplay between cortical structures and spinal cord lower motor neurons (LMN). In this system both inhibitory and excitatory neurons have relevant roles. LMN loss is a marker of motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (MND/ALS). Conventional needle electromyography (EMG) does not allow LMN loss to be quantified. Measurement of compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude or area, and the neurophysiological index, provide a surrogate estimate of the number of functional motor units. Increased motor neuronal excitability is a neurophysiological marker of ALS in the context of a suspected clinical and electrophysiological diagnosis. In the LMN system, fasciculation potentials (FPs) are the earliest changes observed in affected muscles, a feature of LMN hyperexcitability. Reinnervation is best investigated by needle EMG although other methods can be explored. Moreover needle EMG give information about the temporal profile of the reinnervation process, important ancillary data. Quantitative motor unit potential analysis is a valuable method of evaluating reinnervation. The importance of FPs has been recognized in the Awaji criteria for the electrodiagnosis of ALS, criteria that are a sensitive adjunct to the revised El Escorial criteria. Finally, functionality of LMN's, and perhaps excitability studies in motor nerves, aids understanding of the disease process, allowing measurement of potential treatment effects in clinical trials. Other investigational techniques, such as electrical impedance myography, muscle and nerve ultrasound, and spinal cord imaging methods may prove useful in future. PMID:27117334

  14. Lower Motor Neuron Findings after Upper Motor Neuron Injury: Insights from Postoperative Supplementary Motor Area Syndrome

    PubMed Central

    Florman, Jeffrey E.; Duffau, Hugues; Rughani, Anand I.

    2013-01-01

    Hypertonia and hyperreflexia are classically described responses to upper motor neuron injury. However, acute hypotonia and areflexia with motor deficit are hallmark findings after many central nervous system insults such as acute stroke and spinal shock. Historic theories to explain these contradictory findings have implicated a number of potential mechanisms mostly relying on the loss of descending corticospinal input as the underlying etiology. Unfortunately, these simple descriptions consistently fail to adequately explain the pathophysiology and connectivity leading to acute hyporeflexia and delayed hyperreflexia that result from such insult. This article highlights the common observation of acute hyporeflexia after central nervous system insults and explores the underlying anatomy and physiology. Further, evidence for the underlying connectivity is presented and implicates the dominant role of supraspinal inhibitory influence originating in the supplementary motor area descending through the corticospinal tracts. Unlike traditional explanations, this theory more adequately explains the findings of postoperative supplementary motor area syndrome in which hyporeflexia motor deficit is observed acutely in the face of intact primary motor cortex connections to the spinal cord. Further, the proposed connectivity can be generalized to help explain other insults including stroke, atonic seizures, and spinal shock. PMID:23508473

  15. Motor neuron death in ALS – programmed by astrocytes?

    PubMed Central

    Pirooznia, Sheila K.; Dawson, Valina L.; Dawson, Ted M.

    2014-01-01

    Motor neurons in ALS die via cell-autonomous and non-cell autonomous mechanisms. Using adult human astrocytes and motor neurons, Re et al (2014) discover that familial and sporadic ALS derived human adult astrocytes secrete neurotoxic factors that selectively kill motor neurons through necroptosis, suggesting a new therapeutic avenue. PMID:24607221

  16. The frontotemporal dementia-motor neuron disease continuum.

    PubMed

    Burrell, James R; Halliday, Glenda M; Kril, Jillian J; Ittner, Lars M; Götz, Jürgen; Kiernan, Matthew C; Hodges, John R

    2016-08-27

    Early reports of cognitive and behavioural deficits in motor neuron disease might have been overlooked initially, but the concept of a frontotemporal dementia-motor neuron disease continuum has emerged during the past decade. Frontotemporal dementia-motor neuron disease is now recognised as an important dementia syndrome, which presents substantial challenges for diagnosis and management. Frontotemporal dementia, motor neuron disease, and frontotemporal dementia-motor neuron disease are characterised by overlapping patterns of TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43) pathology, while the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) repeat expansion is common across the disease spectrum. Indeed, the C9orf72 repeat expansion provides important clues to disease pathogenesis and suggests potential therapeutic targets. Variable diagnostic criteria identify motor, cognitive, and behavioural deficits, but further refinement is needed to define the clinical syndromes encountered in frontotemporal dementia-motor neuron disease. PMID:26987909

  17. Iterative Role of Notch Signaling in Spinal Motor Neuron Diversification.

    PubMed

    Tan, G Christopher; Mazzoni, Esteban O; Wichterle, Hynek

    2016-07-26

    The motor neuron progenitor domain in the ventral spinal cord gives rise to multiple subtypes of motor neurons and glial cells. Here, we examine whether progenitors found in this domain are multipotent and which signals contribute to their cell-type-specific differentiation. Using an in vitro neural differentiation model, we demonstrate that motor neuron progenitor differentiation is iteratively controlled by Notch signaling. First, Notch controls the timing of motor neuron genesis by repressing Neurogenin 2 (Ngn2) and maintaining Olig2-positive progenitors in a proliferative state. Second, in an Ngn2-independent manner, Notch contributes to the specification of median versus hypaxial motor column identity and lateral versus medial divisional identity of limb-innervating motor neurons. Thus, motor neuron progenitors are multipotent, and their diversification is controlled by Notch signaling that iteratively increases cellular diversity arising from a single neural progenitor domain. PMID:27425621

  18. Cytoskeleton Molecular Motors: Structures and Their Functions in Neuron

    PubMed Central

    Xiao, Qingpin; Hu, Xiaohui; Wei, Zhiyi; Tam, Kin Yip

    2016-01-01

    Cells make use of molecular motors to transport small molecules, macromolecules and cellular organelles to target region to execute biological functions, which is utmost important for polarized cells, such as neurons. In particular, cytoskeleton motors play fundamental roles in neuron polarization, extension, shape and neurotransmission. Cytoskeleton motors comprise of myosin, kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein. F-actin filaments act as myosin track, while kinesin and cytoplasmic dynein move on microtubules. Cytoskeleton motors work together to build a highly polarized and regulated system in neuronal cells via different molecular mechanisms and functional regulations. This review discusses the structures and working mechanisms of the cytoskeleton motors in neurons. PMID:27570482

  19. Outputs of radula mechanoafferent neurons in Aplysia are modulated by motor neurons, interneurons, and sensory neurons.

    PubMed

    Rosen, S C; Miller, M W; Cropper, E C; Kupfermann, I

    2000-03-01

    The gain of sensory inputs into the nervous system can be modulated so that the nature and intensity of afferent input is variable. Sometimes the variability is a function of other sensory inputs or of the state of motor systems that generate behavior. A form of sensory modulation was investigated in the Aplysia feeding system at the level of a radula mechanoafferent neuron (B21) that provides chemical synaptic input to a group of motor neurons (B8a/b, B15) that control closure and retraction movements of the radula, a food grasping structure. B21 has been shown to receive both excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs from a variety of neuron types. The current study investigated the morphological basis of these heterosynaptic inputs, whether the inputs could serve to modulate the chemical synaptic outputs of B21, and whether the neurons producing the heterosynaptic inputs were periodically active during feeding motor programs that might modulate B21 outputs in a phase-specific manner. Four cell types making monosynaptic connections to B21 were found capable of heterosynaptically modulating the chemical synaptic output of B21 to motor neurons B8a and B15. These included the following: 1) other sensory neurons, e.g. , B22; 2) interneurons, e.g., B19; 3) motor neurons, e.g., B82; and 4) multifunction neurons that have sensory, motor, and interneuronal functions, e.g., B4/5. Each cell type was phasically active in one or more feeding motor programs driven by command-like interneurons, including an egestive motor program driven by CBI-1 and an ingestive motor program driven by CBI-2. Moreover, the phase of activity differed for each of the modulator cells. During the motor programs, shifts in B21 membrane potential were related to the activity patterns of some of the modulator cells. Inhibitory chemical synapses mediated the modulation produced by B4/5, whereas excitatory and/or electrical synapses were involved in the other instances. The data indicate that

  20. Mimics and chameleons in motor neurone disease

    PubMed Central

    Turner, Martin R; Talbot, Kevin

    2013-01-01

    The progression of motor neurone disease (MND) is currently irreversible, and the grave implications of diagnosis naturally fuels concern among neurologists over missing a potential mimic disorder. There is no diagnostic test for MND but in reality there are few plausible mimics in routine clinical practice. In the presence of a progressive pure motor disorder, signs such as florid fasciculations, bilateral tongue wasting, the ‘split hand’, head drop, emotionality, and cognitive or behavioural impairment carry high positive predictive value. MND is clinically heterogeneous, however, with some important chameleon-like presentations and considerable variation in clinical course. Lack of confidence about the scope of such variation, or an approach to diagnosis emphasising investigations over clinical common sense, has the potential to exacerbate diagnostic delay in MND and impede timely planning of the care which is essential to maximising quality of life. PMID:23616620

  1. Excitation BolsTORs motor neurons in ALS mice.

    PubMed

    Mattson, Mark P

    2013-10-01

    It is unclear why motor neurons selectively degenerate in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Saxena et al. (2013) demonstrate that excitation of motor neurons can prevent their demise in a mouse model of inherited ALS by a mechanism involving the mTOR pathway. PMID:24094096

  2. Gamma and alpha motor neurons distinguished by expression of transcription factor Err3.

    PubMed

    Friese, Andreas; Kaltschmidt, Julia A; Ladle, David R; Sigrist, Markus; Jessell, Thomas M; Arber, Silvia

    2009-08-11

    Spinal motor neurons are specified to innervate different muscle targets through combinatorial programs of transcription factor expression. Whether transcriptional programs also establish finer aspects of motor neuron subtype identity, notably the prominent functional distinction between alpha and gamma motor neurons, remains unclear. In this study, we identify DNA binding proteins with complementary expression profiles in alpha and gamma motor neurons, providing evidence for molecular distinctions in these two motor neuron subtypes. The transcription factor Err3 is expressed at high levels in gamma but not alpha motor neurons, whereas the neuronal DNA binding protein NeuN marks alpha but not gamma motor neurons. Signals from muscle spindles are needed to support the differentiation of Err3(on)/NeuN(off) presumptive gamma motor neurons, whereas direct proprioceptive sensory input to a motor neuron pool is apparently dispensable. Together, these findings provide evidence that transcriptional programs define functionally distinct motor neuron subpopulations, even within anatomically defined motor pools. PMID:19651609

  3. [The mirror neuron system in motor and sensory rehabilitation].

    PubMed

    Oouchida, Yutaka; Izumi, Shinichi

    2014-06-01

    The discovery of the mirror neuron system has dramatically changed the study of motor control in neuroscience. The mirror neuron system provides a conceptual framework covering the aspects of motor as well as sensory functions in motor control. Previous studies of motor control can be classified as studies of motor or sensory functions, and these two classes of studies appear to have advanced independently. In rehabilitation requiring motor learning, such as relearning movement after limb paresis, however, sensory information of feedback for motor output as well as motor command are essential. During rehabilitation from chronic pain, motor exercise is one of the most effective treatments for pain caused by dysfunction in the sensory system. In rehabilitation where total intervention unifying the motor and sensory aspects of motor control is important, learning through imitation, which is associated with the mirror neuron system can be effective and suitable. In this paper, we introduce the clinical applications of imitated movement in rehabilitation from motor impairment after brain damage and phantom limb pain after limb amputation. PMID:24899347

  4. Beta-band intermuscular coherence: a novel biomarker of upper motor neuron dysfunction in motor neuron disease

    PubMed Central

    Fisher, Karen M.; Zaaimi, Boubker; Williams, Timothy L.; Baker, Stuart N.

    2012-01-01

    In motor neuron disease, the focus of therapy is to prevent or slow neuronal degeneration with neuroprotective pharmacological agents; early diagnosis and treatment are thus essential. Incorporation of needle electromyographic evidence of lower motor neuron degeneration into diagnostic criteria has undoubtedly advanced diagnosis, but even earlier diagnosis might be possible by including tests of subclinical upper motor neuron disease. We hypothesized that beta-band (15–30 Hz) intermuscular coherence could be used as an electrophysiological marker of upper motor neuron integrity in such patients. We measured intermuscular coherence in eight patients who conformed to established diagnostic criteria for primary lateral sclerosis and six patients with progressive muscular atrophy, together with 16 age-matched controls. In the primary lateral sclerosis variant of motor neuron disease, there is selective destruction of motor cortical layer V pyramidal neurons and degeneration of the corticospinal tract, without involvement of anterior horn cells. In progressive muscular atrophy, there is selective degeneration of anterior horn cells but a normal corticospinal tract. All patients with primary lateral sclerosis had abnormal motor-evoked potentials as assessed using transcranial magnetic stimulation, whereas these were similar to controls in progressive muscular atrophy. Upper and lower limb intermuscular coherence was measured during a precision grip and an ankle dorsiflexion task, respectively. Significant beta-band coherence was observed in all control subjects and all patients with progressive muscular atrophy tested, but not in the patients with primary lateral sclerosis. We conclude that intermuscular coherence in the 15–30 Hz range is dependent on an intact corticospinal tract but persists in the face of selective anterior horn cell destruction. Based on the distributions of coherence values measured from patients with primary lateral sclerosis and control

  5. Reduced endplate currents underlie motor unit dysfunction in canine motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Rich, Mark M; Waldeck, Robert F; Cork, Linda C; Balice-Gordon, Rita J; Fyffe, Robert E W; Wang, Xueyong; Cope, Timothy C; Pinter, Martin J

    2002-12-01

    Hereditary canine spinal muscular atrophy (HCSMA) is an autosomal dominant degenerative disorder of motor neurons. In homozygous animals, motor units produce decreased force output and fail during repetitive activity. Previous studies suggest that decreased efficacy of neuromuscular transmission underlies these abnormalities. To examine this, we recorded muscle fiber endplate currents (EPCs) and found reduced amplitudes and increased failures during nerve stimulation in homozygotes compared with wild-type controls. Comparison of EPC amplitudes with muscle fiber current thresholds indicate that many EPCs from homozygotes fall below threshold for activating muscle fibers but can be raised above threshold following potentiation. To determine whether axonal abnormalities might play a role in causing motor unit dysfunction, we examined the postnatal maturation of axonal conduction velocity in relation to the appearance of tetanic failure. We also examined intracellularly labeled motor neurons for evidence of axonal neurofilament accumulations, which are found in many instances of motor neuron disease including HCSMA. Despite the appearance of tetanic failure between 90 and 120 days, average motor axon conduction velocity increased with age in homozygotes and achieved adult levels. Normal correlations between motor neuron properties (including conduction velocity) and motor unit properties were also observed. Labeled proximal motor axons of several motor neurons that supplied failing motor units exhibited little or no evidence of axonal swellings. We conclude that decreased release of transmitter from motor terminals underlies motor unit dysfunction in HCSMA and that the mechanisms determining the maturation of axonal conduction velocity and the pattern of correlation between motor neuron and motor unit properties do not contribute to the appearance or evolution of motor unit dysfunction. PMID:12466447

  6. Genetics of Pediatric-Onset Motor Neuron and Neuromuscular Diseases

    ClinicalTrials.gov

    2015-08-24

    Spinal Muscular Atrophy; Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease; Muscular Dystrophy; Spinal Muscular Atrophy With Respiratory Distress 1; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; Motor Neuron Disease; Neuromuscular Disease; Peroneal Muscular Atrophy; Fragile X Syndrome

  7. Assessment of the upper motor neuron in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Huynh, William; Simon, Neil G; Grosskreutz, Julian; Turner, Martin R; Vucic, Steve; Kiernan, Matthew C

    2016-07-01

    Clinical signs of upper motor neuron (UMN) involvement are an important component in supporting the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but are often not easily appreciated in a limb that is concurrently affected by muscle wasting and lower motor neuron degeneration, particularly in the early symptomatic stages of ALS. Whilst recent criteria have been proposed to facilitate improved detection of lower motor neuron impairment through electrophysiological features that have improved diagnostic sensitivity, assessment of upper motor neuron involvement remains essentially clinical. As a result, there is often a significant diagnostic delay that in turn may impact institution of disease-modifying therapy and access to other optimal patient management. Biomarkers of pathological UMN involvement are also required to ensure patients with suspected ALS have timely access to appropriate therapeutic trials. The present review provides an analysis of current and recently developed assessment techniques, including novel imaging and electrophysiological approaches used to study corticomotoneuronal pathology in ALS. PMID:27291884

  8. MSC p43 required for axonal development in motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Xiaodong; Liu, Yang; Yin, Yanqing; Shao, Aiyun; Zhang, Bo; Kim, Sunghoon; Zhou, Jiawei

    2009-01-01

    Neuron connectivity and correct neural function largely depend on axonal integrity. Neurofilaments (NFs) constitute the main cytoskeletal network maintaining the structural integrity of neurons and exhibit dynamic changes during axonal and dendritic growth. However, the mechanisms underlying axonal development and maintenance remain poorly understood. Here, we identify that multisynthetase complex p43 (MSC p43) is essential for NF assembly and axon maintenance. The MSC p43 protein was predominantly expressed in central neurons and interacted with NF light subunit in vivo. Mice lacking MSC p43 exhibited axon degeneration in motor neurons, defective neuromuscular junctions, muscular atrophy, and motor dysfunction. Furthermore, MSC p43 depletion in mice caused disorganization of the axonal NF network. Mechanistically, MSC p43 is required for maintaining normal phosphorylation levels of NFs. Thus, MSC p43 is indispensable in maintaining axonal integrity. Its dysfunction may underlie the NF disorganization and axon degeneration associated with motor neuron degenerative diseases. PMID:19717447

  9. Motor neuron-immune interactions: the vicious circle of ALS.

    PubMed

    Barbeito, Ana G; Mesci, Pinar; Boillée, Séverine

    2010-08-01

    Because microglial cells, the resident macrophages of the CNS, react to any lesion of the nervous system, they have for long been regarded as potential players in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative disorders including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the most common motor neuron disease in the adult. In recent years, this microglial reaction to motor neuron injury, in particular, and the innate immune response, in general, has been implicated in the progression of the disease, in mouse models of ALS. The mechanisms by which microglial cells influence motor neuron death in ALS are still largely unknown. Microglial activation increases over the course of the disease and is associated with an alteration in the production of toxic factors and also neurotrophic factors. Adding to the microglial/macrophage response to motor neuron degeneration, the adaptive immune system can likewise influence the disease process. Exploring these motor neuron-immune interactions could lead to a better understanding in the physiopathology of ALS to find new pathways to slow down motor neuron degeneration. PMID:20552235

  10. Intrinsic Membrane Hyperexcitability of ALS Patient-Derived Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Wainger, Brian J.; Kiskinis, Evangelos; Mellin, Cassidy; Wiskow, Ole; Han, Steve S.W.; Sandoe, Jackson; Perez, Numa P.; Williams, Luis A.; Lee, Seungkyu; Boulting, Gabriella; Berry, James D.; Brown, Robert H.; Cudkowicz, Merit E.; Bean, Bruce P.; Eggan, Kevin; Woolf, Clifford J.

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease of the motor nervous system. We show using multi-electrode array and patch clamp recordings that hyperexcitability detected by clinical neurophysiological studies of ALS patients is recapitulated in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived motor neurons from ALS patients harboring superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), C9orf72 and fused-in-sarcoma mutations. Motor neurons produced from a genetically corrected, but otherwise isogenic, SOD1+/+ stem cell line do not display the hyperexcitability phenotype. SOD1A4V/+ ALS patient-derived motor neurons have reduced delayed-rectifier potassium current amplitudes relative to control-derived motor neurons, a deficit that may underlie their hyperexcitability. The Kv7 channel activator retigabine both blocks the hyperexcitability and improves motor neuron survival in vitro when tested in SOD1 mutant ALS cases. Therefore, electrophysiological characterization of human stem cell-derived neurons can reveal disease-related mechanisms and identify therapeutic candidates. PMID:24703839

  11. Role of skeletal muscle in motor neuron development.

    PubMed

    Baguma-Nibasheka, Mark; Fracassi, Anna; Costain, Willard J; Moreno, Sandra; Kablar, Boris

    2016-07-01

    The current paper is a continuation of our work most recently described in Kablar, 2011. Here, we show lists of up- and down-regulated genes obtained by a cDNA microarray analysis that compared developing mouse MyoD-/- limb musculature (MyoD-dependent, innervated by Lateral Motor Column motor neurons) and Myf5-/- back (epaxial) musculature (Myf5-dependent, innervated by Medial Motor Column motor neurons) to the control and to each other, at embryonic day 13.5 which coincides with the robust programmed cell death of motor neurons and the inability of myogenesis to undergo its normal progression in the absence of Myf5 and MyoD that at this embryonic day cannot substitute for each other. We wanted to see if/how the myogenic program couples with the neurotrophic one, and also to separate Lateral from Medial column trophic requirements, potentially relevant to Motor Neuron Diseases with the predilection for the Lateral column. Several follow-up steps revealed that Kif5c, Stxbp1 and Polb, differentially expressed in the MyoD-/- limb muscle, and Ppargc1a, Glrb and Hoxd10, differentially expressed in the Myf5-/- back muscle, are actually regulators of motor neuron numbers. We propose a series of follow-up experiments and various ways to consider our current data. PMID:26892388

  12. Extracellularly Identifying Motor Neurons for a Muscle Motor Pool in Aplysia californica

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Hui; McManus, Jeffrey M.; Chiel, Hillel J.

    2013-01-01

    In animals with large identified neurons (e.g. mollusks), analysis of motor pools is done using intracellular techniques1,2,3,4. Recently, we developed a technique to extracellularly stimulate and record individual neurons in Aplysia californica5. We now describe a protocol for using this technique to uniquely identify and characterize motor neurons within a motor pool. This extracellular technique has advantages. First, extracellular electrodes can stimulate and record neurons through the sheath5, so it does not need to be removed. Thus, neurons will be healthier in extracellular experiments than in intracellular ones. Second, if ganglia are rotated by appropriate pinning of the sheath, extracellular electrodes can access neurons on both sides of the ganglion, which makes it easier and more efficient to identify multiple neurons in the same preparation. Third, extracellular electrodes do not need to penetrate cells, and thus can be easily moved back and forth among neurons, causing less damage to them. This is especially useful when one tries to record multiple neurons during repeating motor patterns that may only persist for minutes. Fourth, extracellular electrodes are more flexible than intracellular ones during muscle movements. Intracellular electrodes may pull out and damage neurons during muscle contractions. In contrast, since extracellular electrodes are gently pressed onto the sheath above neurons, they usually stay above the same neuron during muscle contractions, and thus can be used in more intact preparations. To uniquely identify motor neurons for a motor pool (in particular, the I1/I3 muscle in Aplysia) using extracellular electrodes, one can use features that do not require intracellular measurements as criteria: soma size and location, axonal projection, and muscle innervation4,6,7. For the particular motor pool used to illustrate the technique, we recorded from buccal nerves 2 and 3 to measure axonal projections, and measured the contraction

  13. The Effects of Motor Neurone Disease on Language: Further Evidence

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bak, Thomas H.; Hodges, John R.

    2004-01-01

    It might sound surprising that Motor Neurone Disease (MND), regarded still by many as the very example of a neurodegenerative disease affecting selectively the motor system and sparing the sensory functions as well as cognition, can have a significant influence on language. In this article we hope to demonstrate that language dysfunction is not…

  14. Experience-dependent development of spinal motor neurons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Inglis, F. M.; Zuckerman, K. E.; Kalb, R. G.; Walton, K. D. (Principal Investigator)

    2000-01-01

    Locomotor activity in many species undergoes pronounced alterations in early postnatal life, and environmental cues may be responsible for modifying this process. To determine how these events are reflected in the nervous system, we studied rats reared under two different conditions-the presence or absence of gravity-in which the performance of motor operations differed. We found a significant effect of rearing environment on the size and complexity of dendritic architecture of spinal motor neurons, particularly those that are likely to participate in postural control. These results provide evidence that neurons subserving motor function undergo activity-dependent maturation in early postnatal life in a manner analogous to sensory systems.

  15. Overexpression of survival motor neuron improves neuromuscular function and motor neuron survival in mutant SOD1 mice

    PubMed Central

    Turner, Bradley J.; Alfazema, Neza; Sheean, Rebecca K.; Sleigh, James N.; Davies, Kay E.; Horne, Malcolm K.; Talbot, Kevin

    2014-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy results from diminished levels of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein in spinal motor neurons. Low levels of SMN also occur in models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) caused by mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and genetic reduction of SMN levels exacerbates the phenotype of transgenic SOD1G93A mice. Here, we demonstrate that SMN protein is significantly reduced in the spinal cords of patients with sporadic ALS. To test the potential of SMN as a modifier of ALS, we overexpressed SMN in 2 different strains of SOD1G93A mice. Neuronal overexpression of SMN significantly preserved locomotor function, rescued motor neurons, and attenuated astrogliosis in spinal cords of SOD1G93A mice. Despite this, survival was not prolonged, most likely resulting from SMN mislocalization and depletion of gems in motor neurons of symptomatic mice. Our results reveal that SMN upregulation slows locomotor deficit onset and motor neuron loss in this mouse model of ALS. However, disruption of SMN nuclear complexes by high levels of mutant SOD1, even in the presence of SMN overexpression, might limit its survival promoting effects in this specific mouse model. Studies in emerging mouse models of ALS are therefore warranted to further explore the potential of SMN as a modifier of ALS. PMID:24210254

  16. Hyperactivation of B-type motor neurons results in aberrant synchrony of the C. elegans motor circuit

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Yingchuan B.; Po, Michelle D.; Mac, Patrick; Kawano, Taizo; Jorgensen, Erik M.; Zhen, Mei; Jin, Yishi

    2013-01-01

    Excitatory acetylcholine motor neurons drive C. elegans locomotion. Coordinating the activation states of the backward-driving A and forward-driving B class motor neurons is critical for generating sinusoidal and directional locomotion. Here, we show by in vivo calcium imaging that expression of a hyperactive, somatodendritic ionotropic acetylcholine receptor ACR-2(gf) in A and B class motor neurons induces aberrant synchronous activity in both ventral- and dorsal-innervating B and A class motor neurons. Expression of ACR-2(gf) in either ventral- or dorsal-innervating B neurons is sufficient for triggering the aberrant synchrony that results in arrhythmic convulsions. Silencing of AVB, the pre-motor interneurons that innervate B motor neurons suppresses ACR-2(gf)-dependent convulsion; activating AVB by channelrhodopsin induces the onset of convulsion. These results support that the activity state of B motor neurons plays an instructive role for the coordination of motor circuit. PMID:23516296

  17. Motor imagery muscle contraction strength influences spinal motor neuron excitability and cardiac sympathetic nerve activity

    PubMed Central

    Bunno, Yoshibumi; Suzuki, Toshiaki; Iwatsuki, Hiroyasu

    2015-01-01

    [Purpose] The aim of this study was to investigate the changes in spinal motor neuron excitability and autonomic nervous system activity during motor imagery of isometric thenar muscle activity at 10% and 50% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). [Methods] The F-waves and low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF) ratio were recorded at rest, during motor imagery, and post-trial. For motor imagery trials, subjects were instructed to imagine thenar muscle activity at 10% and 50% MVC while holding the sensor of a pinch meter for 5 min. [Results] The F-waves and LF/HF ratio during motor imagery at 50% MVC were significantly increased compared with those at rest, whereas those during motor imagery at 10% MVC were not significantly different from those at rest. The relative values of the F/M amplitude ratio during motor imagery at 50% MVC were significantly higher than those at 10% MVC. The relative values of persistence and the LF/HF ratio during motor imagery were similar during motor imagery at the two muscle contraction strengths. [Conclusion] Motor imagery can increase the spinal motor neuron excitability and cardiac sympathetic nerve activity. Motor imagery at 50% MVC may be more effective than motor imagery at 10% MVC. PMID:26834354

  18. KIF5C, a novel neuronal kinesin enriched in motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Kanai, Y; Okada, Y; Tanaka, Y; Harada, A; Terada, S; Hirokawa, N

    2000-09-01

    Kinesin superfamily proteins (KIFs) are the molecular motors conveying cargos along microtubules. KIF5s, the heavy chains of conventional kinesin (KHC), are originally identified members of KIFs, and neuronal KIF5A and ubiquitous KIF5B have been identified so far. In the present work, we cloned a novel member of KIF5, KIF5C, and generated specific antibodies against three KIF5s to investigate their distribution and functions. KIF5A showed pan-neuronal distribution in the nervous system. KIF5B showed a glial cell distribution pattern in general; however, interestingly, its expression was strongly upregulated in axon-elongating neurons, such as olfactory primary neurons and mossy fibers. KIF5C was also a neuronal KIF5 like KIF5A but was highly expressed in lower motor neurons in 2-week-old or older mice, suggesting its important roles in the maintenance of motor neurons rather than in their formation, such as axonal elongation. Because a large part of KIF5s in adult motor neurons were expected to be KIF5C, we generated mice lacking the kif5C gene to investigate the functions of KIF5C in neurons in living animals. The mutant mice showed smaller brain size but were viable and did not show gross changes in the nervous system. Closer examinations revealed the relative loss of motor neurons to sensory neurons. Because three KIF5s showed high similarity in the amino acid sequence, could rescue the KIF5B mutant cells, and could form heterodimers, we think that there are functional redundancy among the three KIF5s and that KIF5A and KIF5B prevented the KIF5C null mice from the severe phenotype. PMID:10964943

  19. Molecular motors in neuronal development, intracellular transport and diseases.

    PubMed

    Hirokawa, Nobutaka; Takemura, Reiko

    2004-10-01

    Molecular motors such as kinesin superfamily proteins (KIFs), dynein superfamily proteins and myosin superfamily proteins have diverse and fundamental roles in many cellular processes, including neuronal development and the pathogenesis of neuronal diseases. During neuronal development, KIFs take significant roles in the regulation of axon-collateral branch extension, which is essential for brain wiring. Cytoplasmic dynein together with LIS1 takes pivotal roles in neocortical layer formation. In axons, anterograde transport is mediated by KIFs, whereas retrograde transport is mediated mainly by cytoplasmic dynein, and dysfunction of motors results in neurodegenerative diseases. In dendrites, the transport of NMDA and AMPA receptors is mediated by KIFs, and the motor has been shown to play a significant part in establishing learning and memory. PMID:15464889

  20. Protracted elevation of neuronal nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity in axotomised adult pudendal motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    PULLEN, A. H.; HUMPHREYS, P.

    1999-01-01

    Neuronal nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity (NOS1-ir) in sacral motor neurons of normal adult cats was compared with that in cats surviving 1–10 wk after unilateral transection and ligation of the pudendal nerve. Levels of immunostaining were measured by microdensitometry. In nonoperated cats 60% of motor neurons in the ventrolateral nucleus (VL) and Onuf's nucleus (ON) showed high levels of NOS1-ir with lower NOS1-ir in 40%. Following axotomy, motor neurons in ON on both sides of the cord showed an acute rise in mean level of NOS1-ir at 1 wk, with a further increase at 2 wk. Mean levels of NOS1-ir in the ipsilateral and contralateral ON remained elevated at 10 wk after axotomy. Elevation of NOS1-ir occurred in the VL with a similar time-course to that in ON, implying a wider response in motor nuclei synaptically coupled to ON. Measurements of neuronal size in ON and VL revealed an increase in neuronal size in ON but not VL, indicating increased NOS1-ir in ON was not an artifact of neuronal atrophy. The proportion of motor neurons in ON and VL possessing higher levels of NOS1-ir increased from 60% in controls to 100% at 2–3 wk postaxotomy. The proportion slightly declined by 8 wk due to re-emergence of motor neurons exhibiting low NOS1-ir, but remained greater than normal at 10 wk in both nuclei. Based on evidence from related analyses of synaptology, we argue that acute axotomy induced alterations in presynaptic complement which increased overall Ca2+ influx and thereby stimulated NOS1-ir. PMID:10445823

  1. Motor neuron disease: current management and future prospects.

    PubMed

    Simon, N G; Huynh, W; Vucic, S; Talbot, K; Kiernan, M C

    2015-10-01

    Motor neuron disease (MND) is characterised by progressive neurological deterioration and coexistence of upper and lower motor neuron signs. Over the past decade, evidence has emerged of unique pathophysiological processes, including glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity, which has resulted in the development of novel diagnostic investigations and uncovered potential therapeutic targets. Advances in genetics, including the recently discovered C9orf72 gene, have radically changed the pathological mindset, from MND being classified as a neuromuscular disease to one that MND forms a continuum with other primary neurodegenerative disorders, including frontotemporal dementia. The present review will highlight the improvements that have occurred in clinical care, in conjunction with recent scientific developments. PMID:26429216

  2. Analyzing kinesin motor domain translocation in cultured hippocampal neurons

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Chung-Fang; Banker, Gary

    2016-01-01

    Neuronal microtubules are subject to extensive posttranslational modifications and are bound by MAPs, tip-binding proteins, and other accessory proteins. All of these features, which are difficult to replicate in vitro, are likely to influence the translocation of kinesin motors. Here we describe assays for evaluating the translocation of a population of fluorescently labeled kinesin motor domains, based on their accumulation in regions of the cell enriched in microtubule plus ends. Neurons lend themselves to these experiments because of their microtubule organization. In axons, microtubules are oriented with their plus ends out; dendrites contain a mixed population of microtubules, but those near the tips are also plus end out. The assays involve the expression of constitutively active kinesins that can walk processively, but that lack the autoinhibitory domain in the tail that normally prevents their binding to microtubules until they attach to vesicles. The degree to which such motor domains accumulate at neurite tips serves as a measure of the efficiency of their translocation. Although these assays cannot provide the kind of quantitative kinetic information obtained from in vitro assays, they offer a simple way to examine kinesin translocation in living neurons. They can be used to compare the translocation efficiency of different kinesin motors and to evaluate how mutations or posttranslational modifications within the motor domain influence kinesin translocation. Changes to motor domain accumulation in these assays can also serve as readout for changes in the microtubule cytoskeleton that affect kinesin translocation. PMID:26794516

  3. Motor neuron abiotrophy in a saluki.

    PubMed

    Kent, M; Knowles, K; Glass, E; deLahunta, A; Braund, K; Alroy, J

    1999-01-01

    A nine-week-old saluki puppy was presented to Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine for progressive, generalized weakness and bilateral forelimb deformities. Examination suggested a diffuse neuromuscular lesion. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis showed normal nucleated cell count and protein level; however, many macrophages had vacuolated cytoplasm. Electromyography (EMG) recordings suggested denervation in paraspinal and appendicular muscles. Tibial motor nerve conduction velocity was normal, but direct evoked muscle potential had reduced amplitude. Histopathology revealed diffuse, symmetrical, degenerative motor neuronopathy of the ventral horn of the spinal cord with associated lesions in nerves and muscles. Histopathology was consistent with an abiotrophy that was likely inherited. PMID:10493421

  4. Multiple neuropeptides in cholinergic motor neurons of Aplysia: evidence for modulation intrinsic to the motor circuit

    SciTech Connect

    Cropper, E.C.; Lloyd, P.E.; Reed, W.; Tenenbaum, R.; Kupfermann, I.; Weiss, K.R.

    1987-05-01

    Changes in Aplysia biting responses during food arousal are partially mediated by the serotonergic metacerebral cells (MCCs). The MCCs potentiate contractions of a muscle utilized in biting, the accessory radula closer (ARCM), when contractions are elicited by stimulation of either of the two cholinergic motor neurons B15 or B16 that innervate the muscle. The authors have now shown that ARCM contractions may also be potentiated by peptide cotransmitters in the ARCM motor neurons. They found that motor neuron B15 contains small cardioactive peptides A and B (SCP/sub A/ and SCP/sub B/) i.e., whole B15 neurons were bioactive on the SCP-sensitive Helix heart, as were reverse-phase HPLC fractions of B15 neurons that eluted like synthetic SCP/sub A/ and SCP/sub B/. Furthermore, (/sup 35/S)methionine-labeled B15 peptides precisely coeluted with synthetic SCP/sub A/ and SCP/sub B/. SCP/sub B/-like immunoreactivity was associated with dense-core vesicles in the soma of B15 and in neuritic varicosities and terminals in the ARCM. B16 motor neurons did not contain SCP/sub A/ or SCP/sub B/ but contained an unidentified bioactive peptide. RP-HPLC of (/sup 35/S)methionine-labeled B16s resulted in one major peak of radioactivity that did not coelute with either SCP and which, when subject to Edman degradation, yielded (/sup 35/S)methionine in positions where there is no methionine in the SCPs. Exogenously applied B16 peptide potentiated ARCM contractions elicited by stimulation of B15 or B16 neurons. Thus, in this system there appear to be two types of modulation; one type arises from the MCCs and is extrinsic to the motor system, whereas the second type arises from the motor neurons themselves and hence is intrinsic.

  5. Axonal Dysfunction Precedes Motor Neuronal Death in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Iwai, Yuta; Shibuya, Kazumoto; Misawa, Sonoko; Sekiguchi, Yukari; Watanabe, Keisuke; Amino, Hiroshi; Kuwabara, Satoshi

    2016-01-01

    Wide-spread fasciculations are a characteristic feature in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), suggesting motor axonal hyperexcitability. Previous excitability studies have shown increased nodal persistent sodium conductances and decreased potassium currents in motor axons of ALS patients, both of the changes inducing hyperexcitability. Altered axonal excitability potentially contributes to motor neuron death in ALS, but the relationship of the extent of motor neuronal death and abnormal excitability has not been fully elucidated. We performed multiple nerve excitability measurements in the median nerve at the wrist of 140 ALS patients and analyzed the relationship of compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude (index of motor neuronal loss) and excitability indices, such as strength-duration time constant, threshold electrotonus, recovery cycle and current-threshold relationships. Compared to age-matched normal controls (n = 44), ALS patients (n = 140) had longer strength-duration time constant (SDTC: a measure of nodal persistent sodium current; p < 0.05), greater threshold changes in depolarizing threshold electrotonus (p < 0.05) and depolarizing current threshold relationship (i.e. less accommodation; (p < 0.05), greater superexcitability (a measure of fast potassium current; p < 0.05) and reduced late subexcitability (a measure of slow potassium current; p < 0.05), suggesting increased persistent sodium currents and decreased potassium currents. The reduced potassium currents were found even in the patient subgroups with normal CMAP (> 5mV). Regression analyses showed that SDTC (R = -0.22) and depolarizing threshold electrotonus (R = -0.22) increased with CMAP decline. These findings suggest that motor nerve hyperexcitability occurs in the early stage of the disease, and precedes motor neuronal loss in ALS. Modulation of altered ion channel function could be a treatment option for ALS. PMID:27383069

  6. Axonal Dysfunction Precedes Motor Neuronal Death in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Iwai, Yuta; Shibuya, Kazumoto; Misawa, Sonoko; Sekiguchi, Yukari; Watanabe, Keisuke; Amino, Hiroshi; Kuwabara, Satoshi

    2016-01-01

    Wide-spread fasciculations are a characteristic feature in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), suggesting motor axonal hyperexcitability. Previous excitability studies have shown increased nodal persistent sodium conductances and decreased potassium currents in motor axons of ALS patients, both of the changes inducing hyperexcitability. Altered axonal excitability potentially contributes to motor neuron death in ALS, but the relationship of the extent of motor neuronal death and abnormal excitability has not been fully elucidated. We performed multiple nerve excitability measurements in the median nerve at the wrist of 140 ALS patients and analyzed the relationship of compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude (index of motor neuronal loss) and excitability indices, such as strength-duration time constant, threshold electrotonus, recovery cycle and current-threshold relationships. Compared to age-matched normal controls (n = 44), ALS patients (n = 140) had longer strength-duration time constant (SDTC: a measure of nodal persistent sodium current; p < 0.05), greater threshold changes in depolarizing threshold electrotonus (p < 0.05) and depolarizing current threshold relationship (i.e. less accommodation; (p < 0.05), greater superexcitability (a measure of fast potassium current; p < 0.05) and reduced late subexcitability (a measure of slow potassium current; p < 0.05), suggesting increased persistent sodium currents and decreased potassium currents. The reduced potassium currents were found even in the patient subgroups with normal CMAP (> 5mV). Regression analyses showed that SDTC (R = -0.22) and depolarizing threshold electrotonus (R = -0.22) increased with CMAP decline. These findings suggest that motor nerve hyperexcitability occurs in the early stage of the disease, and precedes motor neuronal loss in ALS. Modulation of altered ion channel function could be a treatment option for ALS. PMID:27383069

  7. Spatial organization of cortical and spinal neurons controlling motor behavior

    PubMed Central

    Levine, Ariel J; Lewallen, Kathryn A; Pfaff, Samuel L

    2013-01-01

    A major task of the central nervous system (CNS) is to control behavioral actions, which necessitates a precise regulation of muscle activity. The final components of the circuitry controlling muscles are the motorneurons, which settle into pools in the ventral horn of the spinal cord in positions that mirror the musculature organization within the body. This ‘musculotopic’ motor-map then becomes the internal CNS reference for the neuronal circuits that control motor commands. This review describes recent progress in defining the neuroanatomical organization of the higher-order motor circuits in the cortex and spinal cord, and our current understanding of the integrative features that contribute to complex motor behaviors. We highlight emerging evidence that cortical and spinal motor command centers are loosely organized with respect to the musculotopic spatial-map, but these centers also incorporate organizational features that associate with the function of different muscle groups during commonly enacted behaviors. PMID:22841417

  8. Activity of motor cortex neurons during backward locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Deliagina, T. G.; Orlovsky, G. N.; Karayannidou, A.; Stout, E. E.; Sirota, M. G.; Beloozerova, I. N.

    2011-01-01

    Forward walking (FW) and backward walking (BW) are two important forms of locomotion in quadrupeds. Participation of the motor cortex in the control of FW has been intensively studied, whereas cortical activity during BW has never been investigated. The aim of this study was to analyze locomotion-related activity of the motor cortex during BW and compare it with that during FW. For this purpose, we recorded activity of individual neurons in the cat during BW and FW. We found that the discharge frequency in almost all neurons was modulated in the rhythm of stepping during both FW and BW. However, the modulation patterns during BW and FW were different in 80% of neurons. To determine the source of modulating influences (forelimb controllers vs. hindlimb controllers), the neurons were recorded not only during quadrupedal locomotion but also during bipedal locomotion (with either forelimbs or hindlimbs walking), and their modulation patterns were compared. We found that during BW (like during FW), modulation in some neurons was determined by inputs from limb controllers of only one girdle, whereas the other neurons received inputs from both girdles. The combinations of inputs could depend on the direction of locomotion. Most often (in 51% of forelimb-related neurons and in 34% of the hindlimb-related neurons), the neurons received inputs only from their own girdle when this girdle was leading and from both girdles when this girdle was trailing. This reconfiguration of inputs suggests flexibility of the functional roles of individual cortical neurons during different forms of locomotion. PMID:21430283

  9. Decreased function of survival motor neuron protein impairs endocytic pathways.

    PubMed

    Dimitriadi, Maria; Derdowski, Aaron; Kalloo, Geetika; Maginnis, Melissa S; O'Hern, Patrick; Bliska, Bryn; Sorkaç, Altar; Nguyen, Ken C Q; Cook, Steven J; Poulogiannis, George; Atwood, Walter J; Hall, David H; Hart, Anne C

    2016-07-26

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by depletion of the ubiquitously expressed survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, with 1 in 40 Caucasians being heterozygous for a disease allele. SMN is critical for the assembly of numerous ribonucleoprotein complexes, yet it is still unclear how reduced SMN levels affect motor neuron function. Here, we examined the impact of SMN depletion in Caenorhabditis elegans and found that decreased function of the SMN ortholog SMN-1 perturbed endocytic pathways at motor neuron synapses and in other tissues. Diminished SMN-1 levels caused defects in C. elegans neuromuscular function, and smn-1 genetic interactions were consistent with an endocytic defect. Changes were observed in synaptic endocytic proteins when SMN-1 levels decreased. At the ultrastructural level, defects were observed in endosomal compartments, including significantly fewer docked synaptic vesicles. Finally, endocytosis-dependent infection by JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) was reduced in human cells with decreased SMN levels. Collectively, these results demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, that SMN depletion causes defects in endosomal trafficking that impair synaptic function, even in the absence of motor neuron cell death. PMID:27402754

  10. Spinal motor neuron excitability during the cutaneous silent period.

    PubMed

    Leis, A A; Stĕtkárová, I; Berić, A; Stokić, D S

    1995-12-01

    The physiologic mechanisms generating the cutaneous silent period (CSP) remain uncertain. It is not known whether the CSP occurs because of inexcitability of the spinal motor neuron. We therefore, assessed excitability of the motor neuron during the CSP using F-wave responses. H-reflexes were also elicited during the CSP. Electrical stimulation to the fifth digit produced the CSP in the voluntarily contracting abductor pollicis brevis muscle (APB). Median nerve stimulation at the wrist elicited control F or H responses during isometric APB contraction (condition 1) and in resting muscle (condition 2). Control amplitudes were compared to those elicited in the midst of the CSP. In Condition 1, F-wave amplitudes and frequency during the CSP were unchanged compared with controls. However, F-waves were increased in amplitude and frequency during the CSP (P < 0.001) relative to responses elicited in resting muscle (condition 2). H-reflexes during the CSP were suppressed (P < 0.001) compared with controls elicited during contraction (condition 1), but facilitated relative to the resting state (condition 2) in which no H-reflexes were elicitable. We conclude that spinal motor neurons remain excitable to antidromic volleys at the same time that the corticospinal volley is inhibited to produce the CSP. Moreover, motor neuron excitability appears to be increased during the CSP compared to the relaxed state. PMID:7477071

  11. Dysarthria of Motor Neuron Disease: Clinician Judgments of Severity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seikel, J. Anthony; And Others

    1990-01-01

    This study investigated the relationship between the temporal-acoustic parameters of the speech of 15 adults with motor neuron disease. Differences in predictions of the progression of the disease and clinician judgments of dysarthria severity were found to relate to the linguistic systems of both speaker and judge. (Author/JDD)

  12. Equine motor neuron disease in 2 horses from Saskatchewan.

    PubMed

    Husulak, Michelle L; Lohmann, Katharina L; Gabadage, Kamal; Wojnarowicz, Chris; Marqués, Fernando J

    2016-07-01

    Two horses from Saskatchewan were presented with signs of sweating, muscle fasciculations, weight loss, and generalized weakness. The horses were diagnosed with equine motor neuron disease (EMND), by histological assessment of a spinal accessory nerve or sacrocaudalis dorsalis medialis muscle biopsy. This is the first report of EMND in western Canada. PMID:27429468

  13. Neuronal mechanisms of motor learning and motor memory consolidation in healthy old adults.

    PubMed

    Berghuis, K M M; Veldman, M P; Solnik, S; Koch, G; Zijdewind, I; Hortobágyi, T

    2015-06-01

    It is controversial whether or not old adults are capable of learning new motor skills and consolidate the performance gains into motor memory in the offline period. The underlying neuronal mechanisms are equally unclear. We determined the magnitude of motor learning and motor memory consolidation in healthy old adults and examined if specific metrics of neuronal excitability measured by magnetic brain stimulation mediate the practice and retention effects. Eleven healthy old adults practiced a wrist extension-flexion visuomotor skill for 20 min (MP, 71.3 years), while a second group only watched the templates without movements (attentional control, AC, n = 11, 70.5 years). There was 40 % motor learning in MP but none in AC (interaction, p < 0.001) with the skill retained 24 h later in MP and a 16 % improvement in AC. Corticospinal excitability at rest and during task did not change, but when measured during contraction at 20 % of maximal force, it strongly increased in MP and decreased in AC (interaction, p = 0.002). Intracortical inhibition at rest and during the task decreased and facilitation at rest increased in MP, but these metrics changed in the opposite direction in AC. These neuronal changes were especially profound at retention. Healthy old adults can learn a new motor skill and consolidate the learned skill into motor memory, processes that are most likely mediated by disinhibitory mechanisms. These results are relevant for the increasing number of old adults who need to learn and relearn movements during motor rehabilitation. PMID:25956604

  14. Genetic Deficiency of GABA Differentially Regulates Respiratory and Non-Respiratory Motor Neuron Development

    PubMed Central

    Yanagawa, Yuchio; Obata, Kunihiko; Bellingham, Mark C.; Noakes, Peter G.

    2013-01-01

    Central nervous system GABAergic and glycinergic synaptic activity switches from postsynaptic excitation to inhibition during the stage when motor neuron numbers are being reduced, and when synaptic connections are being established onto and by motor neurons. In mice this occurs between embryonic (E) day 13 and birth (postnatal day 0). Our previous work on mice lacking glycinergic transmission suggested that altered motor neuron activity levels correspondingly regulated motor neuron survival and muscle innervation for all respiratory and non respiratory motor neuron pools, during this period of development [1]. To determine if GABAergic transmission plays a similar role, we quantified motor neuron number and the extent of muscle innervation in four distinct regions of the brain stem and spinal cord; hypoglossal, phrenic, brachial and lumbar motor pools, in mice lacking the enzyme GAD67. These mice display a 90% drop in CNS GABA levels ( [2]; this study). For respiratory-based motor neurons (hypoglossal and phrenic motor pools), we have observed significant drops in motor neuron number (17% decline for hypoglossal and 23% decline for phrenic) and muscle innervations (55% decrease). By contrast for non-respiratory motor neurons of the brachial lateral motor column, we have observed an increase in motor neuron number (43% increase) and muscle innervations (99% increase); however for more caudally located motor neurons within the lumbar lateral motor column, we observed no change in either neuron number or muscle innervation. These results show in mice lacking physiological levels of GABA, there are distinct regional changes in motor neuron number and muscle innervation, which appear to be linked to their physiological function and to their rostral-caudal position within the developing spinal cord. Our results also suggest that for more caudal (lumbar) regions of the spinal cord, the effect of GABA is less influential on motor neuron development compared to that of

  15. Spinal Muscular Atrophy Patient iPSC-Derived Motor Neurons Have Reduced Expression of Proteins Important in Neuronal Development

    PubMed Central

    Fuller, Heidi R.; Mandefro, Berhan; Shirran, Sally L.; Gross, Andrew R.; Kaus, Anjoscha S.; Botting, Catherine H.; Morris, Glenn E.; Sareen, Dhruv

    2016-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disease primarily characterized by degeneration of spinal motor neurons, and caused by reduced levels of the SMN protein. Previous studies to understand the proteomic consequences of reduced SMN have mostly utilized patient fibroblasts and animal models. We have derived human motor neurons from type I SMA and healthy controls by creating their induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Quantitative mass spectrometry of these cells revealed increased expression of 63 proteins in control motor neurons compared to respective fibroblasts, whereas 30 proteins were increased in SMA motor neurons vs. their fibroblasts. Notably, UBA1 was significantly decreased in SMA motor neurons, supporting evidence for ubiquitin pathway defects. Subcellular distribution of UBA1 was predominantly cytoplasmic in SMA motor neurons in contrast to nuclear in control motor neurons; suggestive of neurodevelopmental abnormalities. Many of the proteins that were decreased in SMA motor neurons, including beta III-tubulin and UCHL1, were associated with neurodevelopment and differentiation. These neuron-specific consequences of SMN depletion were not evident in fibroblasts, highlighting the importance of iPSC technology. The proteomic profiles identified here provide a useful resource to explore the molecular consequences of reduced SMN in motor neurons, and for the identification of novel biomarker and therapeutic targets for SMA. PMID:26793058

  16. Spinal Muscular Atrophy Patient iPSC-Derived Motor Neurons Have Reduced Expression of Proteins Important in Neuronal Development.

    PubMed

    Fuller, Heidi R; Mandefro, Berhan; Shirran, Sally L; Gross, Andrew R; Kaus, Anjoscha S; Botting, Catherine H; Morris, Glenn E; Sareen, Dhruv

    2015-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disease primarily characterized by degeneration of spinal motor neurons, and caused by reduced levels of the SMN protein. Previous studies to understand the proteomic consequences of reduced SMN have mostly utilized patient fibroblasts and animal models. We have derived human motor neurons from type I SMA and healthy controls by creating their induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Quantitative mass spectrometry of these cells revealed increased expression of 63 proteins in control motor neurons compared to respective fibroblasts, whereas 30 proteins were increased in SMA motor neurons vs. their fibroblasts. Notably, UBA1 was significantly decreased in SMA motor neurons, supporting evidence for ubiquitin pathway defects. Subcellular distribution of UBA1 was predominantly cytoplasmic in SMA motor neurons in contrast to nuclear in control motor neurons; suggestive of neurodevelopmental abnormalities. Many of the proteins that were decreased in SMA motor neurons, including beta III-tubulin and UCHL1, were associated with neurodevelopment and differentiation. These neuron-specific consequences of SMN depletion were not evident in fibroblasts, highlighting the importance of iPSC technology. The proteomic profiles identified here provide a useful resource to explore the molecular consequences of reduced SMN in motor neurons, and for the identification of novel biomarker and therapeutic targets for SMA. PMID:26793058

  17. Evidence of motor neuron involvement in chronic respiratory insufficiency.

    PubMed Central

    Valli, G; Barbieri, S; Sergi, P; Fayoumi, Z; Berardinelli, P

    1984-01-01

    Nineteen patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency, mean age 61.4 +/- 12.2, have been investigated with pulmonary function tests, clinical neurological examination and neurophysiological methods including motor and sensory conduction studies and needle electromyography. None of them had conditions known to affect the peripheral nervous system such as diabetes, alcoholism, or uraemia. The motor and sensory conduction studies showed only a reduced mean amplitude of the ulnar nerve SAP and of the compound muscle action potential of the APB and EDB muscles. The EMG was abnormal in 94.7% of the cases and showed an increased percentage of polyphasic potentials and a reduced recruitment pattern of motor units firing at high frequency. The data seem to support the hypothesis of an involvement of motor neurons in this condition although the evidence for a neuropathy is lacking. PMID:6094730

  18. Human endogenous retrovirus-K contributes to motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Li, Wenxue; Lee, Myoung-Hwa; Henderson, Lisa; Tyagi, Richa; Bachani, Muzna; Steiner, Joseph; Campanac, Emilie; Hoffman, Dax A; von Geldern, Gloria; Johnson, Kory; Maric, Dragan; Morris, H Douglas; Lentz, Margaret; Pak, Katherine; Mammen, Andrew; Ostrow, Lyle; Rothstein, Jeffrey; Nath, Avindra

    2015-09-30

    The role of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) in disease pathogenesis is unclear. We show that HERV-K is activated in a subpopulation of patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and that its envelope (env) protein may contribute to neurodegeneration. The virus was expressed in cortical and spinal neurons of ALS patients, but not in neurons from control healthy individuals. Expression of HERV-K or its env protein in human neurons caused retraction and beading of neurites. Transgenic animals expressing the env gene developed progressive motor dysfunction accompanied by selective loss of volume of the motor cortex, decreased synaptic activity in pyramidal neurons, dendritic spine abnormalities, nucleolar dysfunction, and DNA damage. Injury to anterior horn cells in the spinal cord was manifested by muscle atrophy and pathological changes consistent with nerve fiber denervation and reinnervation. Expression of HERV-K was regulated by TAR (trans-activation responsive) DNA binding protein 43, which binds to the long terminal repeat region of the virus. Thus, HERV-K expression within neurons of patients with ALS may contribute to neurodegeneration and disease pathogenesis. PMID:26424568

  19. Mutant TDP-43 in motor neurons promotes the onset and progression of ALS in rats

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Cao; Tong, Jianbin; Bi, Fangfang; Zhou, Hongxia; Xia, Xu-Gang

    2011-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by progressive motor neuron degeneration, which ultimately leads to paralysis and death. Mutation of TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) has been linked to the development of an inherited form of ALS. Existing TDP-43 transgenic animals develop a limited loss of motor neurons and therefore do not faithfully reproduce the core phenotype of ALS. Here, we report the creation of multiple lines of transgenic rats in which expression of ALS-associated mutant human TDP-43 is restricted to either motor neurons or other types of neurons and skeletal muscle and can be switched on and off. All of these rats developed progressive paralysis reminiscent of ALS when the transgene was switched on. Rats expressing mutant TDP-43 in motor neurons alone lost more spinal motor neurons than rats expressing the disease gene in varying neurons and muscle cells, although these rats all developed remarkable denervation atrophy of skeletal muscles. Intriguingly, progression of the disease was halted after transgene expression was switched off; in rats with limited loss of motor neurons, we observed a dramatic recovery of motor function, but in rats with profound loss of motor neurons, we only observed a moderate recovery of motor function. Our finding suggests that mutant TDP-43 in motor neurons is sufficient to promote the onset and progression of ALS and that motor neuron degeneration is partially reversible, at least in mutant TDP-43 transgenic rats. PMID:22156203

  20. Spinal muscular atrophy patient-derived motor neurons exhibit hyperexcitability

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Huisheng; Lu, Jianfeng; Chen, Hong; Du, Zhongwei; Li, Xue-Jun; Zhang, Su-Chun

    2015-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) presents severe muscle weakness with limited motor neuron (MN) loss at an early stage, suggesting potential functional alterations in MNs that contribute to SMA symptom presentation. Using SMA induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), we found that SMA MNs displayed hyperexcitability with increased membrane input resistance, hyperpolarized threshold, and larger action potential amplitude, which was mimicked by knocking down full length survival motor neuron (SMN) in non-SMA MNs. We further discovered that SMA MNs exhibit enhanced sodium channel activities with increased current amplitude and facilitated recovery, which was corrected by restoration of SMN1 in SMA MNs. Together we propose that SMN reduction results in MN hyperexcitability and impaired neurotransmission, the latter of which exacerbate each other via a feedback loop, thus contributing to severe symptoms at an early stage of SMA. PMID:26190808

  1. Motor Neuron Diseases Accompanying Spinal Stenosis: A Case Study.

    PubMed

    Shin, HyeonJu; Park, Sun Kyung; HaeJin, Suh; Choi, Yun Suk

    2016-03-01

    A 75-year-old man, who was healthy, visited the hospital because of shooting pain and numbness in both lower limbs (right > left). The patient had an L4/5 moderate right foraminal stenosis and right subarticular disc protrusion and received a lumbar epidural block. The patient experienced severe weakness in the right lower limb after 2 days. Lumbar and cervical magnetic resonance images were taken and electromyography and a nerve conduction study were performed to arrive at the diagnosis of a motor neuron disease. The patient expired 4 months later with respiratory failure due to motor neuron disease. This case suggests that any abnormal neurological symptoms that occur after an epidural block should be examined thoroughly via testing and consultations to identify the cause of the symptoms. PMID:27008301

  2. Decreased spinal synaptic inputs to phrenic motor neurons elicit localized inactivity-induced phrenic motor facilitation

    PubMed Central

    Streeter, K.A.; Baker-Herman, T.L.

    2014-01-01

    Phrenic motor neurons receive rhythmic synaptic inputs throughout life. Since even brief disruption in phrenic neural activity is detrimental to life, on-going neural activity may play a key role in shaping phrenic motor output. To test the hypothesis that spinal mechanisms sense and respond to reduced phrenic activity, anesthetized, ventilated rats received micro-injections of procaine in the C2 ventrolateral funiculus (VLF) to transiently (~30 min) block axon conduction in bulbospinal axons from medullary respiratory neurons that innervate one phrenic motor pool; during procaine injections, contralateral phrenic neural activity was maintained. Once axon conduction resumed, a prolonged increase in phrenic burst amplitude was observed in the ipsilateral phrenic nerve, demonstrating inactivity-induced phrenic motor facilitation (iPMF). Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and atypical PKC (aPKC) activity in spinal segments containing the phrenic motor nucleus impaired ipsilateral iPMF, suggesting a key role for spinal TNFα and aPKC in iPMF following unilateral axon conduction block. A small phrenic burst amplitude facilitation was also observed contralateral to axon conduction block, indicating crossed spinal phrenic motor facilitation (csPMF). csPMF was independent of spinal TNFα and aPKC. Ipsilateral iPMF and csPMF following unilateral withdrawal of phrenic synaptic inputs were associated with proportional increases in phrenic responses to chemoreceptor stimulation (hypercapnia), suggesting iPMF and csPMF increase phrenic dynamic range. These data suggest that local, spinal mechanisms sense and respond to reduced synaptic inputs to phrenic motor neurons. We hypothesize that iPMF and csPMF may represent compensatory mechanisms that assure adequate motor output is maintained in a physiological system in which prolonged inactivity ends life. PMID:24681155

  3. Decreased spinal synaptic inputs to phrenic motor neurons elicit localized inactivity-induced phrenic motor facilitation.

    PubMed

    Streeter, K A; Baker-Herman, T L

    2014-06-01

    Phrenic motor neurons receive rhythmic synaptic inputs throughout life. Since even brief disruption in phrenic neural activity is detrimental to life, on-going neural activity may play a key role in shaping phrenic motor output. To test the hypothesis that spinal mechanisms sense and respond to reduced phrenic activity, anesthetized, ventilated rats received micro-injections of procaine in the C2 ventrolateral funiculus (VLF) to transiently (~30min) block axon conduction in bulbospinal axons from medullary respiratory neurons that innervate one phrenic motor pool; during procaine injections, contralateral phrenic neural activity was maintained. Once axon conduction resumed, a prolonged increase in phrenic burst amplitude was observed in the ipsilateral phrenic nerve, demonstrating inactivity-induced phrenic motor facilitation (iPMF). Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and atypical PKC (aPKC) activity in spinal segments containing the phrenic motor nucleus impaired ipsilateral iPMF, suggesting a key role for spinal TNFα and aPKC in iPMF following unilateral axon conduction block. A small phrenic burst amplitude facilitation was also observed contralateral to axon conduction block, indicating crossed spinal phrenic motor facilitation (csPMF). csPMF was independent of spinal TNFα and aPKC. Ipsilateral iPMF and csPMF following unilateral withdrawal of phrenic synaptic inputs were associated with proportional increases in phrenic responses to chemoreceptor stimulation (hypercapnia), suggesting iPMF and csPMF increase phrenic dynamic range. These data suggest that local, spinal mechanisms sense and respond to reduced synaptic inputs to phrenic motor neurons. We hypothesize that iPMF and csPMF may represent compensatory mechanisms that assure adequate motor output is maintained in a physiological system in which prolonged inactivity ends life. PMID:24681155

  4. Specific Inhibition of Cyclin-dependent Kinase 5 Activity Induces Motor Neuron Development in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Kanungo, Jyotshnabala; Zheng, Ya-Li; Amin, Niranjana D.; Kaur, Sukhbir; Ramchandran, Ramani; Pant, Harish C.

    2009-01-01

    Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (cdk5) is a ubiquitous protein activated by specific activators, p35 and p39. Cdk5 regulates neuronal migration, differentiation, axonogenesis, synaptic transmission and apoptosis. However, its role in motor neuron development remains unexplored. Here, using gain and loss-of-function analyses in developing zebrafish embryos, we report that cdk5 plays a critical role in spinal and cranial motor neuron development. Cdk5 knockdown results in supernumerary spinal and cranial motor neurons. While a dominant negative, kinase-dead cdk5 promotes the generation of supernumerary motor neurons; over-expression of cdk5 suppresses motor neuron development. Thus, modulating cdk5 activity seems promising in inducing motor neuron development in vivo. PMID:19523926

  5. Biphasic plasticity of dendritic fields in layer V motor neurons in response to motor learning.

    PubMed

    Gloor, C; Luft, A R; Hosp, J A

    2015-11-01

    Motor learning is associated with plastic reorganization of neural networks in primary motor cortex (M1) that advances through stages. An initial increment in spine formation is followed by pruning and maturation one week after training ended. A similar biphasic course was described for the size of the forelimb representation in M1. This study investigates the evolution of the dendritic architecture in response to motor skill training using Golgy-Cox silver impregnation in rat M1. After learning of a unilateral forelimb-reaching task to plateau performance, an increase in dendritic length of layer V pyramidal neurons (i.e. motor neurons) was observed that peaked one month after training ended. This increment in dendritic length reflected an expansion of the distal dendritic compartment. After one month dendritic arborization shrinks even though animals retain task performance. This pattern of evolution was observed for apical and basal dendrites alike - although the increase in dendritic length occurs faster in basal than in apical dendrites. Dendritic plasticity in response to motor training follows a biphasic course with initial expansion and subsequent shrinkage. This evolution takes fourth as long as the biphasic reorganization of spines or motor representations. PMID:26318492

  6. Targeting Motor End Plates for Delivery of Adenoviruses: An Approach to Maximize Uptake and Transduction of Spinal Cord Motor Neurons.

    PubMed

    Tosolini, Andrew Paul; Morris, Renée

    2016-01-01

    Gene therapy can take advantage of the skeletal muscles/motor neurons anatomical relationship to restrict gene expression to the spinal cord ventral horn. Furthermore, recombinant adenoviruses are attractive viral-vectors as they permit spatial and temporal modulation of transgene expression. In the literature, however, several inconsistencies exist with regard to the intramuscular delivery parameters of adenoviruses. The present study is an evaluation of the optimal injection sites on skeletal muscle, time course of expression and mice's age for maximum transgene expression in motor neurons. Targeting motor end plates yielded a 2.5-fold increase in the number of transduced motor neurons compared to injections performed away from this region. Peak adenoviral transgene expression in motor neurons was detected after seven days. Further, greater numbers of transduced motor neurons were found in juvenile (3-7 week old) mice as compared with adults (8+ weeks old). Adenoviral injections produced robust transgene expression in motor neurons and skeletal myofibres. In addition, dendrites of transduced motor neurons were shown to extend well into the white matter where the descending motor pathways are located. These results also provide evidence that intramuscular delivery of adenovirus can be a suitable gene therapy approach to treat spinal cord injury. PMID:27619631

  7. Localization of Motor Neurons and Central Pattern Generators for Motor Patterns Underlying Feeding Behavior in Drosophila Larvae.

    PubMed

    Hückesfeld, Sebastian; Schoofs, Andreas; Schlegel, Philipp; Miroschnikow, Anton; Pankratz, Michael J

    2015-01-01

    Motor systems can be functionally organized into effector organs (muscles and glands), the motor neurons, central pattern generators (CPG) and higher control centers of the brain. Using genetic and electrophysiological methods, we have begun to deconstruct the motor system driving Drosophila larval feeding behavior into its component parts. In this paper, we identify distinct clusters of motor neurons that execute head tilting, mouth hook movements, and pharyngeal pumping during larval feeding. This basic anatomical scaffold enabled the use of calcium-imaging to monitor the neural activity of motor neurons within the central nervous system (CNS) that drive food intake. Simultaneous nerve- and muscle-recordings demonstrate that the motor neurons innervate the cibarial dilator musculature (CDM) ipsi- and contra-laterally. By classical lesion experiments we localize a set of CPGs generating the neuronal pattern underlying feeding movements to the subesophageal zone (SEZ). Lesioning of higher brain centers decelerated all feeding-related motor patterns, whereas lesioning of ventral nerve cord (VNC) only affected the motor rhythm underlying pharyngeal pumping. These findings provide a basis for progressing upstream of the motor neurons to identify higher regulatory components of the feeding motor system. PMID:26252658

  8. Localization of Motor Neurons and Central Pattern Generators for Motor Patterns Underlying Feeding Behavior in Drosophila Larvae

    PubMed Central

    Hückesfeld, Sebastian; Schoofs, Andreas; Schlegel, Philipp; Miroschnikow, Anton; Pankratz, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Motor systems can be functionally organized into effector organs (muscles and glands), the motor neurons, central pattern generators (CPG) and higher control centers of the brain. Using genetic and electrophysiological methods, we have begun to deconstruct the motor system driving Drosophila larval feeding behavior into its component parts. In this paper, we identify distinct clusters of motor neurons that execute head tilting, mouth hook movements, and pharyngeal pumping during larval feeding. This basic anatomical scaffold enabled the use of calcium-imaging to monitor the neural activity of motor neurons within the central nervous system (CNS) that drive food intake. Simultaneous nerve- and muscle-recordings demonstrate that the motor neurons innervate the cibarial dilator musculature (CDM) ipsi- and contra-laterally. By classical lesion experiments we localize a set of CPGs generating the neuronal pattern underlying feeding movements to the subesophageal zone (SEZ). Lesioning of higher brain centers decelerated all feeding-related motor patterns, whereas lesioning of ventral nerve cord (VNC) only affected the motor rhythm underlying pharyngeal pumping. These findings provide a basis for progressing upstream of the motor neurons to identify higher regulatory components of the feeding motor system. PMID:26252658

  9. Aluminum hydroxide injections lead to motor deficits and motor neuron degeneration.

    PubMed

    Shaw, Christopher A; Petrik, Michael S

    2009-11-01

    Gulf War Syndrome is a multi-system disorder afflicting many veterans of Western armies in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. A number of those afflicted may show neurological deficits including various cognitive dysfunctions and motor neuron disease, the latter expression virtually indistinguishable from classical amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) except for the age of onset. This ALS "cluster" represents the second such ALS cluster described in the literature to date. Possible causes of GWS include several of the adjuvants in the anthrax vaccine and others. The most likely culprit appears to be aluminum hydroxide. In an initial series of experiments, we examined the potential toxicity of aluminum hydroxide in male, outbred CD-1 mice injected subcutaneously in two equivalent-to-human doses. After sacrifice, spinal cord and motor cortex samples were examined by immunohistochemistry. Aluminum-treated mice showed significantly increased apoptosis of motor neurons and increases in reactive astrocytes and microglial proliferation within the spinal cord and cortex. Morin stain detected the presence of aluminum in the cytoplasm of motor neurons with some neurons also testing positive for the presence of hyper-phosphorylated tau protein, a pathological hallmark of various neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia. A second series of experiments was conducted on mice injected with six doses of aluminum hydroxide. Behavioural analyses in these mice revealed significant impairments in a number of motor functions as well as diminished spatial memory capacity. The demonstrated neurotoxicity of aluminum hydroxide and its relative ubiquity as an adjuvant suggest that greater scrutiny by the scientific community is warranted. PMID:19740540

  10. Motor neuron degeneration in a mouse model of seipinopathy

    PubMed Central

    Guo, J; Qiu, W; Soh, S L Y; Wei, S; Radda, G K; Ong, W-Y; Pang, Z P; Han, W

    2013-01-01

    Heterozygosity for missense mutations (N88S/S90L) in BSCL2 (Berardinelli–Seip congenital lipodystrophy type 2)/Seipin is associated with a broad spectrum of motoneuron diseases. To understand the underlying mechanisms how the mutations lead to motor neuropathy, we generated transgenic mice with neuron-specific expression of wild-type (tgWT) or N88S/S90L mutant (tgMT) human Seipin. Transgenes led to the broad expression of WT or mutant Seipin in the brain and spinal cord. TgMT, but not tgWT, mice exhibited late-onset altered locomotor activities and gait abnormalities that recapitulate symptoms of seipinopathy patients. We found loss of alpha motor neurons in tgMT spinal cord. Mild endoreticular stress was present in both tgMT and tgWT neurons; however, only tgMT mice exhibited protein aggregates and disrupted Golgi apparatus. Furthermore, autophagosomes were significantly increased, along with elevated light chain 3 (LC3)-II level in tgMT spinal cord, consistent with the activation of autophagy pathway in response to mutant Seipin expression and protein aggregation. These results suggest that induction of autophagy pathway is involved in the cellular response to mutant Seipin in seipinopathy and that motoneuron loss is a key pathogenic process underlying the development of locomotor abnormalities. PMID:23470542

  11. Motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia: sometimes related, sometimes not.

    PubMed

    Hardy, John; Rogaeva, Ekaterina

    2014-12-01

    Over the last 5 years, several new genes have been described for both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). While it has long been clear that there are many kindreds in which the two diseases co-occur, there are also many in which the diseases segregate alone. In this brief review, we suggest that keeping the loci which lead to both diseases separate from those which lead to just one gives a clearer conclusion about disease mechanisms than lumping them together. The hypothesis that this separation leads to is that loci which cause both ALS and FTD affect the autophagic machinery leading to damaged protein aggregation and those which lead to just ALS are mainly involved in RNA/DNA metabolism. Two of the genes causing FTD alone (CHMP2B and GRN) are associated with damaged autophagy/lysosomal pathway. However, the third FTD gene (MAPT) maps to a different pathway, which perhaps is not surprising, since it is associated with a different (not p62-related) brain pathology characterized by abnormal tau filaments. We conclude that the current state of knowledge points to common mechanisms responsible for susceptibilities specific to neuronal classes. This includes the disruption of RNA metabolism in motor neurons and protein clearance, which is common between cortical and motor neurons. PMID:24246281

  12. Motor neuron degeneration in a mouse model of seipinopathy.

    PubMed

    Guo, J; Qiu, W; Soh, S L Y; Wei, S; Radda, G K; Ong, W-Y; Pang, Z P; Han, W

    2013-01-01

    Heterozygosity for missense mutations (N88S/S90L) in BSCL2 (Berardinelli-Seip congenital lipodystrophy type 2)/Seipin is associated with a broad spectrum of motoneuron diseases. To understand the underlying mechanisms how the mutations lead to motor neuropathy, we generated transgenic mice with neuron-specific expression of wild-type (tgWT) or N88S/S90L mutant (tgMT) human Seipin. Transgenes led to the broad expression of WT or mutant Seipin in the brain and spinal cord. TgMT, but not tgWT, mice exhibited late-onset altered locomotor activities and gait abnormalities that recapitulate symptoms of seipinopathy patients. We found loss of alpha motor neurons in tgMT spinal cord. Mild endoreticular stress was present in both tgMT and tgWT neurons; however, only tgMT mice exhibited protein aggregates and disrupted Golgi apparatus. Furthermore, autophagosomes were significantly increased, along with elevated light chain 3 (LC3)-II level in tgMT spinal cord, consistent with the activation of autophagy pathway in response to mutant Seipin expression and protein aggregation. These results suggest that induction of autophagy pathway is involved in the cellular response to mutant Seipin in seipinopathy and that motoneuron loss is a key pathogenic process underlying the development of locomotor abnormalities. PMID:23470542

  13. Respiratory function after selective respiratory motor neuron death from intrapleural CTB–saporin injections

    PubMed Central

    Nichols, Nicole L.; Vinit, Stéphane; Bauernschmidt, Lorene; Mitchell, Gordon S.

    2015-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) causes progressive motor neuron degeneration, paralysis and death by ventilatory failure. In rodent ALS models: 1) breathing capacity is preserved until late in disease progression despite major respiratory motor neuron death, suggesting unknown forms of compensatory respiratory plasticity; and 2) spinal microglia become activated in association with motor neuron cell death. Here, we report a novel experimental model to study the impact of respiratory motor neuron death on compensatory responses without many complications attendant to spontaneous motor neuron disease. In specific, we used intrapleural injections of cholera toxin B fragment conjugated to saporin (CTB–SAP) to selectively kill motor neurons with access to the pleural space. Motor neuron survival, CD11b labeling (microglia), ventilatory capacity and phrenic motor output were assessed in rats 3–28 days after intrapleural injections of: 1) CTB–SAP (25 and 50 μg), or 2) unconjugated CTB and SAP (i.e. control; (CTB + SAP). CTB–SAP elicited dose-dependent phrenic and intercostal motor neuron death; 7 days post-25 μg CTB–SAP, motor neuron survival approximated that in end-stage ALS rats (phrenic: 36 ± 7%; intercostal: 56 ± 10% of controls; n = 9; p < 0.05). CTB–SAP caused minimal cell death in other brainstem or spinal cord regions. CTB–SAP: 1) increased CD11b fractional area in the phrenic motor nucleus, indicating microglial activation; 2) decreased breathing during maximal chemoreceptor stimulation; and 3) diminished phrenic motor output in anesthetized rats (7 days post-25 μg, CTB–SAP: 0.3 ± 0.07 V; CTB + SAP: 1.5 ± 0.3; n = 9; p < 0.05). Intrapleural CTB–SAP represents a novel, inducible model of respiratory motor neuron death and provides an opportunity to study compensation for respiratory motor neuron loss. PMID:25476493

  14. Spinal motor neurons are regenerated after mechanical lesion and genetic ablation in larval zebrafish.

    PubMed

    Ohnmacht, Jochen; Yang, Yujie; Maurer, Gianna W; Barreiro-Iglesias, Antón; Tsarouchas, Themistoklis M; Wehner, Daniel; Sieger, Dirk; Becker, Catherina G; Becker, Thomas

    2016-05-01

    In adult zebrafish, relatively quiescent progenitor cells show lesion-induced generation of motor neurons. Developmental motor neuron generation from the spinal motor neuron progenitor domain (pMN) sharply declines at 48 hours post-fertilisation (hpf). After that, mostly oligodendrocytes are generated from the same domain. We demonstrate here that within 48 h of a spinal lesion or specific genetic ablation of motor neurons at 72 hpf, the pMN domain reverts to motor neuron generation at the expense of oligodendrogenesis. By contrast, generation of dorsal Pax2-positive interneurons was not altered. Larval motor neuron regeneration can be boosted by dopaminergic drugs, similar to adult regeneration. We use larval lesions to show that pharmacological suppression of the cellular response of the innate immune system inhibits motor neuron regeneration. Hence, we have established a rapid larval regeneration paradigm. Either mechanical lesions or motor neuron ablation is sufficient to reveal a high degree of developmental flexibility of pMN progenitor cells. In addition, we show an important influence of the immune system on motor neuron regeneration from these progenitor cells. PMID:26965370

  15. Spinal motor neurons are regenerated after mechanical lesion and genetic ablation in larval zebrafish

    PubMed Central

    Ohnmacht, Jochen; Yang, Yujie; Maurer, Gianna W.; Barreiro-Iglesias, Antón; Tsarouchas, Themistoklis M.; Wehner, Daniel; Sieger, Dirk; Becker, Catherina G.; Becker, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT In adult zebrafish, relatively quiescent progenitor cells show lesion-induced generation of motor neurons. Developmental motor neuron generation from the spinal motor neuron progenitor domain (pMN) sharply declines at 48 hours post-fertilisation (hpf). After that, mostly oligodendrocytes are generated from the same domain. We demonstrate here that within 48 h of a spinal lesion or specific genetic ablation of motor neurons at 72 hpf, the pMN domain reverts to motor neuron generation at the expense of oligodendrogenesis. By contrast, generation of dorsal Pax2-positive interneurons was not altered. Larval motor neuron regeneration can be boosted by dopaminergic drugs, similar to adult regeneration. We use larval lesions to show that pharmacological suppression of the cellular response of the innate immune system inhibits motor neuron regeneration. Hence, we have established a rapid larval regeneration paradigm. Either mechanical lesions or motor neuron ablation is sufficient to reveal a high degree of developmental flexibility of pMN progenitor cells. In addition, we show an important influence of the immune system on motor neuron regeneration from these progenitor cells. PMID:26965370

  16. Motor neurons in the escape response circuit of white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus)

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Many decapod crustaceans perform escape tailflips with a neural circuit involving giant interneurons, a specialized fast flexor motor giant (MoG) neuron, populations of larger, less specialized fast flexor motor neurons, and fast extensor motor neurons. These escape-related neurons are well described in crayfish (Reptantia), but not in more basal decapod groups. To clarify the evolution of the escape circuit, I examined the fast flexor and fast extensor motor neurons of white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus; Dendrobranchiata) using backfilling. In crayfish, the MoGs in each abdominal ganglion are a bilateral pair of separate neurons. In L. setiferus, the MoGs have massive, possibly syncytial, cell bodies and fused axons. The non-MoG fast flexor motor neurons and fast extensor motor neurons are generally found in similar locations to where they are found in crayfish, but the number of motor neurons in both the flexor and extensor pools is smaller than in crayfish. The loss of fusion in the MoGs and increased number of fast motor neurons in reptantian decapods may be correlated with an increased reliance on non-giant mediated tailflipping. PMID:26244117

  17. Identification of motor neurons and a mechanosensitive sensory neuron in the defecation circuitry of Drosophila larvae

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Wei; Yan, Zhiqiang; Li, Bingxue; Jan, Lily Yeh; Jan, Yuh Nung

    2014-01-01

    Defecation allows the body to eliminate waste, an essential step in food processing for animal survival. In contrast to the extensive studies of feeding, its obligate counterpart, defecation, has received much less attention until recently. In this study, we report our characterizations of the defecation behavior of Drosophila larvae and its neural basis. Drosophila larvae display defecation cycles of stereotypic frequency, involving sequential contraction of hindgut and anal sphincter. The defecation behavior requires two groups of motor neurons that innervate hindgut and anal sphincter, respectively, and can excite gut muscles directly. These two groups of motor neurons fire sequentially with the same periodicity as the defecation behavior, as revealed by in vivo Ca2+ imaging. Moreover, we identified a single mechanosensitive sensory neuron that innervates the anal slit and senses the opening of the intestine terminus. This anus sensory neuron relies on the TRP channel NOMPC but not on INACTIVE, NANCHUNG, or PIEZO for mechanotransduction. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03293.001 PMID:25358089

  18. Monitoring tectal neuronal activities and motor behavior in zebrafish larvae.

    PubMed

    Sumbre, Germán; Poo, Mu-Ming

    2013-09-01

    To understand how visuomotor behaviors are controlled by the nervous system, it is necessary to monitor the activity of large populations of neurons with single-cell resolution over a large area of the brain in a relatively simple, behaving organism. The zebrafish larva, a small lower vertebrate with transparent skin, serves as an excellent model for this purpose. Immediately after the larva hatches, it needs to catch prey and avoid predators. This strong evolutionary pressure leads to the rapid development of functional sensory systems, particularly vision. By 5 d postfertilization (dpf), tectal cells show distinct visually evoked patterns of activation, and the larvae are able to perform a variety of visuomotor behaviors. During the early larval stage, zebrafish breathe mainly through the skin and can be restrained under the microscope using a drop of low-melting-point agarose, without the use of anesthetics. Moreover, the transparency of the skin, the small diameter of the neurons (4-5 µm), and the high-neuronal density enable the use of in vivo noninvasive imaging techniques to monitor neuronal activities of up to ∼500 cells within the central nervous system, still with single-cell resolution. This article describes a method for simultaneously monitoring spontaneous and visually evoked activities of large populations of neurons in the optic tectum of the zebrafish larva, using a synthetic calcium dye (Oregon Green BAPTA-1 AM) and a conventional confocal or two-photon scanning fluorescence microscope, together with a method for measuring the tail motor behavior of the head-immobilized zebrafish larva. PMID:24003199

  19. Segmental distribution of the motor neuron columns that supply the rat hindlimb: A muscle/motor neuron tract-tracing analysis targeting the motor end plates.

    PubMed

    Mohan, R; Tosolini, A P; Morris, R

    2015-10-29

    Spinal cord injury (SCI) that disrupts input from higher brain centers to the lumbar region of the spinal cord results in paraplegia, one of the most debilitating conditions affecting locomotion. Non-human primates have long been considered to be the most appropriate animal to model lower limb dysfunction. More recently, however, there has been a wealth of scientific information gathered in the rat regarding the central control of locomotion. Moreover, rodent models of SCI at lumbar levels have been widely used to validate therapeutic scenarios aimed at the restoration of locomotor activities. Despite the growing use of the rat as a model of locomotor dysfunction, knowledge regarding the anatomical relationship between spinal cord motor neurons and the hindlimb muscles that they innervate is incomplete. Previous studies performed in our laboratory have shown the details of the muscle/motor neuron topographical relationship for the mouse forelimb and hindlimb as well as for the rat forelimb. The present analysis aims to characterize the segmental distribution of the motor neuron pools that innervate the muscles of the rat hindlimb, hence completing this series of studies. The location of the motor end plate (MEP) regions on the main muscles of the rat hindlimb was first revealed with acetylcholinesterase histochemistry. For each muscle under scrutiny, injections of Fluoro-Gold were then performed along the length of the MEP region. Targeting the MEPs gave rise to columns of motor neurons that span more spinal cord segments than previously reported. The importance of this study is discussed in terms of its application to gene therapy for SCI. PMID:26304758

  20. Fishing for causes and cures of motor neuron disorders.

    PubMed

    Patten, Shunmoogum A; Armstrong, Gary A B; Lissouba, Alexandra; Kabashi, Edor; Parker, J Alex; Drapeau, Pierre

    2014-07-01

    Motor neuron disorders (MNDs) are a clinically heterogeneous group of neurological diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurons, and share some common pathological pathways. Despite remarkable advances in our understanding of these diseases, no curative treatment for MNDs exists. To better understand the pathogenesis of MNDs and to help develop new treatments, the establishment of animal models that can be studied efficiently and thoroughly is paramount. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is increasingly becoming a valuable model for studying human diseases and in screening for potential therapeutics. In this Review, we highlight recent progress in using zebrafish to study the pathology of the most common MNDs: spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). These studies indicate the power of zebrafish as a model to study the consequences of disease-related genes, because zebrafish homologues of human genes have conserved functions with respect to the aetiology of MNDs. Zebrafish also complement other animal models for the study of pathological mechanisms of MNDs and are particularly advantageous for the screening of compounds with therapeutic potential. We present an overview of their potential usefulness in MND drug discovery, which is just beginning and holds much promise for future therapeutic development. PMID:24973750

  1. Fishing for causes and cures of motor neuron disorders

    PubMed Central

    Patten, Shunmoogum A.; Armstrong, Gary A. B.; Lissouba, Alexandra; Kabashi, Edor; Parker, J. Alex; Drapeau, Pierre

    2014-01-01

    Motor neuron disorders (MNDs) are a clinically heterogeneous group of neurological diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurons, and share some common pathological pathways. Despite remarkable advances in our understanding of these diseases, no curative treatment for MNDs exists. To better understand the pathogenesis of MNDs and to help develop new treatments, the establishment of animal models that can be studied efficiently and thoroughly is paramount. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is increasingly becoming a valuable model for studying human diseases and in screening for potential therapeutics. In this Review, we highlight recent progress in using zebrafish to study the pathology of the most common MNDs: spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). These studies indicate the power of zebrafish as a model to study the consequences of disease-related genes, because zebrafish homologues of human genes have conserved functions with respect to the aetiology of MNDs. Zebrafish also complement other animal models for the study of pathological mechanisms of MNDs and are particularly advantageous for the screening of compounds with therapeutic potential. We present an overview of their potential usefulness in MND drug discovery, which is just beginning and holds much promise for future therapeutic development. PMID:24973750

  2. Reduced motor neuron excitability is an important contributor to weakness in a rat model of sepsis.

    PubMed

    Nardelli, Paul; Vincent, Jacob A; Powers, Randall; Cope, Tim C; Rich, Mark M

    2016-08-01

    The mechanisms by which sepsis triggers intensive care unit acquired weakness (ICUAW) remain unclear. We previously identified difficulty with motor unit recruitment in patients as a novel contributor to ICUAW. To study the mechanism underlying poor recruitment of motor units we used the rat cecal ligation and puncture model of sepsis. We identified striking dysfunction of alpha motor neurons during repetitive firing. Firing was more erratic, and often intermittent. Our data raised the possibility that reduced excitability of motor neurons was a significant contributor to weakness induced by sepsis. In this study we quantified the contribution of reduced motor neuron excitability and compared its magnitude to the contributions of myopathy, neuropathy and failure of neuromuscular transmission. We injected constant depolarizing current pulses (5s) into the soma of alpha motor neurons in the lumbosacral spinal cord of anesthetized rats to trigger repetitive firing. In response to constant depolarization, motor neurons in untreated control rats fired at steady and continuous firing rates and generated smooth and sustained tetanic motor unit force as expected. In contrast, following induction of sepsis, motor neurons were often unable to sustain firing throughout the 5s current injection such that force production was reduced. Even when firing, motor neurons from septic rats fired erratically and discontinuously, leading to irregular production of motor unit force. Both fast and slow type motor neurons had similar disruption of excitability. We followed rats after recovery from sepsis to determine the time course of resolution of the defect in motor neuron excitability. By one week, rats appeared to have recovered from sepsis as they had no piloerection and appeared to be in no distress. The defects in motor neuron repetitive firing were still striking at 2weeks and, although improved, were present at one month. We infer that rats suffered from weakness due to reduced

  3. Decay in survival motor neuron and plastin 3 levels during differentiation of iPSC-derived human motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Boza-Morán, María G; Martínez-Hernández, Rebeca; Bernal, Sara; Wanisch, Klaus; Also-Rallo, Eva; Le Heron, Anita; Alías, Laura; Denis, Cécile; Girard, Mathilde; Yee, Jiing-Kuan; Tizzano, Eduardo F.; Yáñez-Muñoz, Rafael J

    2015-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disease caused by mutations in Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1), leading to degeneration of alpha motor neurons (MNs) but also affecting other cell types. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived human MN models from severe SMA patients have shown relevant phenotypes. We have produced and fully characterized iPSCs from members of a discordant consanguineous family with chronic SMA. We differentiated the iPSC clones into ISL-1+/ChAT+ MNs and performed a comparative study during the differentiation process, observing significant differences in neurite length and number between family members. Analyses of samples from wild-type, severe SMA type I and the type IIIa/IV family showed a progressive decay in SMN protein levels during iPSC-MN differentiation, recapitulating previous observations in developmental studies. PLS3 underwent parallel reductions at both the transcriptional and translational levels. The underlying, progressive developmental decay in SMN and PLS3 levels may lead to the increased vulnerability of MNs in SMA disease. Measurements of SMN and PLS3 transcript and protein levels in iPSC-derived MNs show limited value as SMA biomarkers. PMID:26114395

  4. Excitability of spinal motor neurons during motor imagery of thenar muscle activity under maximal voluntary contractions of 50% and 100%

    PubMed Central

    Bunno, Yoshibumi; Onigata, Chieko; Suzuki, Toshiaki

    2015-01-01

    [Purpose] We often perform physical therapy using motor imagery of muscle contraction to improve motor function for healthy subjects and central nerve disorders. This study aimed to determine the differences in the excitability of spinal motor neurons during motor imagery of a muscle contraction at different contraction strengths. [Subjects] We recorded the F-wave in 15 healthy subjects. [Methods] In resting trial, the muscle was relaxed during F-wave recording. For motor imagery trial, subjects were instructed to imagine maximal voluntary contractions of 50% and 100% while holding the sensor of a pinch meter, and F-waves were recorded for each contraction. The F-wave was recorded immediately after motor imagery. [Results] Persistence and F/M amplitude ratio during motor imagery under maximal voluntary contractions of 50% and 100% were significantly higher than that at rest. In addition, the relative values of persistence, F/M amplitude ratio, and latency were similar during motor imagery under the two muscle contraction strengths. [Conclusion] Motor imagery under maximal voluntary contractions of 50% and 100% can increase the excitability of spinal motor neurons. Differences in the imagined muscle contraction strengths are not involved in changes in the excitability of spinal motor neurons. PMID:26504291

  5. Motor neurons and oligodendrocytes arise from distinct cell lineages by progenitor recruitment

    PubMed Central

    Ravanelli, Andrew M.; Appel, Bruce

    2015-01-01

    During spinal cord development, ventral neural progenitor cells that express the transcription factors Olig1 and Olig2, called pMN progenitors, produce motor neurons and then oligodendrocytes. Whether motor neurons and oligodendrocytes arise from common or distinct progenitors in vivo is not known. Using zebrafish, we found that motor neurons and oligodendrocytes are produced sequentially by distinct progenitors that have distinct origins. When olig2+ cells were tracked during the peak period of motor neuron formation, most differentiated as motor neurons without further cell division. Using time-lapse imaging, we found that, as motor neurons differentiated, more dorsally positioned neuroepithelial progenitors descended to the pMN domain and initiated olig2 expression. Inhibition of Hedgehog signaling during motor neuron differentiation blocked the ventral movement of progenitors, the progressive initiation of olig2 expression, and oligodendrocyte formation. We therefore propose that the motor neuron-to-oligodendrocyte switch results from Hedgehog-mediated recruitment of glial-fated progenitors to the pMN domain subsequent to neurogenesis. PMID:26584621

  6. Repetitive acute intermittent hypoxia increases growth/neurotrophic factor expression in non-respiratory motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Satriotomo, I; Nichols, N L; Dale, E A; Emery, A T; Dahlberg, J M; Mitchell, G S

    2016-05-13

    Repetitive acute intermittent hypoxia (rAIH) increases growth/trophic factor expression in respiratory motor neurons, thereby eliciting spinal respiratory motor plasticity and/or neuroprotection. Here we demonstrate that rAIH effects are not unique to respiratory motor neurons, but are also expressed in non-respiratory, spinal alpha motor neurons and upper motor neurons of the motor cortex. In specific, we used immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence to assess growth/trophic factor protein expression in spinal sections from rats exposed to AIH three times per week for 10weeks (3×wAIH). 3×wAIH increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), its high-affinity receptor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), and phosphorylated TrkB (pTrkB) immunoreactivity in putative alpha motor neurons of spinal cervical 7 (C7) and lumbar 3 (L3) segments, as well as in upper motor neurons of the primary motor cortex (M1). 3×wAIH also increased immunoreactivity of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA), the high-affinity VEGFA receptor (VEGFR-2) and an important VEGF gene regulator, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). Thus, rAIH effects on growth/trophic factors are characteristic of non-respiratory as well as respiratory motor neurons. rAIH may be a useful tool in the treatment of disorders causing paralysis, such as spinal injury and motor neuron disease, as a pretreatment to enhance motor neuron survival during disease, or as preconditioning for cell-transplant therapies. PMID:26944605

  7. Motor neuron pathology and behavioral alterations at late stages in a SMA mouse model.

    PubMed

    Fulceri, Federica; Bartalucci, Alessia; Paparelli, Silvio; Pasquali, Livia; Biagioni, Francesca; Ferrucci, Michela; Ruffoli, Riccardo; Fornai, Francesco

    2012-03-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neurogenetic autosomal recessive disorder characterized by degeneration of lower motor neurons. The validation of appropriate animal models is key in fostering SMA research. Recent studies set up an animal model showing long survival and slow disease progression. This model is knocked out for mouse SMN (Smn(-/-)) gene and carries a human mutation of the SMN1 gene (SMN1A2G), along with human SMN2 gene. In the present study we used this knock out double transgenic mouse model (SMN2(+/+); Smn(-/-); SMN1A2G(+/-)) to characterize the spinal cord pathology along with motor deficit at prolonged survival times. In particular, motor neuron loss was established stereologically (44.77%) after motor deficit reached a steady state. At this stage, spared motor neurons showed significant cell body enlargement. Moreover, similar to what was described in patients affected by SMA we found neuronal heterotopy (almost 4% of total motor neurons) in the anterior white matter. The delayed disease progression was likely to maintain fair motor activity despite a dramatic loss of large motor neurons. This provides a wonderful tool to probe novel drugs finely tuning the survival of motor neurons. In fact, small therapeutic effects protracted over considerable time intervals (even more than a year) are expected to be magnified. PMID:22306031

  8. Acute lower motor neuron syndrome and spinal cord gray matter hyperintensities in HIV infection

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Michael R.; Chad, David A.; Venna, Nagagopal

    2015-01-01

    Objective: To describe a novel manifestation of lower motor neuron disease in patients with well-controlled HIV infection. Methods: A retrospective study was performed to identify HIV-positive individuals with acute, painful lower motor neuron diseases. Results: Six patients were identified with HIV and lower motor neuron disease. Two patients met the inclusion criteria of well-controlled, chronic HIV infection and an acute, painful, unilateral lower motor neuron paralytic syndrome affecting the distal portion of the upper limb. These patients had segmental T2-hyperintense lesions in the central gray matter of the cervical spinal cord on MRI. One patient stabilized and the second patient improved with immunomodulatory therapy. Conclusions: This newly described syndrome expands the clinical spectrum of lower motor neuron diseases in HIV. PMID:26015990

  9. Serotonin Promotes Development and Regeneration of Spinal Motor Neurons in Zebrafish

    PubMed Central

    Barreiro-Iglesias, Antón; Mysiak, Karolina S.; Scott, Angela L.; Reimer, Michell M.; Yang (杨宇婕), Yujie; Becker, Catherina G.; Becker, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Summary In contrast to mammals, zebrafish regenerate spinal motor neurons. During regeneration, developmental signals are re-deployed. Here, we show that, during development, diffuse serotonin promotes spinal motor neuron generation from pMN progenitor cells, leaving interneuron numbers unchanged. Pharmacological manipulations and receptor knockdown indicate that serotonin acts at least in part via 5-HT1A receptors. In adults, serotonin is supplied to the spinal cord mainly (90%) by descending axons from the brain. After a spinal lesion, serotonergic axons degenerate caudal to the lesion but sprout rostral to it. Toxin-mediated ablation of serotonergic axons also rostral to the lesion impaired regeneration of motor neurons only there. Conversely, intraperitoneal serotonin injections doubled numbers of new motor neurons and proliferating pMN-like progenitors caudal to the lesion. Regeneration of spinal-intrinsic serotonergic interneurons was unaltered by these manipulations. Hence, serotonin selectively promotes the development and adult regeneration of motor neurons in zebrafish. PMID:26565906

  10. Mitochondrial DNA variations in Madras motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Govindaraj, Periyasamy; Nalini, Atchayaram; Krishna, Nithin; Sharath, Anugula; Khan, Nahid Akhtar; Tamang, Rakesh; Gourie-Devi, M; Brown, Robert H; Thangaraj, Kumarasamy

    2013-11-01

    Although the Madras motor neuron disease (MMND) was found three decades ago, its genetic basis has not been elucidated, so far. The symptom at onset was impaired hearing, upper limb weakness and atrophy. Since some clinical features of MMND overlap with mitochondrial disorders, we analyzed the complete mitochondrial genome of 45 MMND patients and found 396 variations, including 13 disease-associated, 2 mt-tRNA and 33 non-synonymous (16 MT-ND, 10 MT-CO, 3 MT-CYB and 4 MT-ATPase). A rare variant (m.8302A>G) in mt-tRNA(Leu) was found in three patients. We predict that these variation(s) may influence the disease pathogenesis along with some unknown factor(s). PMID:23419391

  11. Nutritional pathway for people with motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Marsden, Rachael; Allan, Philip; Blackwell, Victoria; East, James; Lawson, Clare; Nickol, Annabel H; Millard, Emma; Talbot, Kevin; Thompson, Alexander G; Turner, Martin R

    2016-07-01

    This paper provides an overview of the nutritional management and care of people living with motor neurone disease (MND) in a specialist nutrition clinic. A specialist pathway of care has been developed to enable people living with MND to undergo a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) procedure in a safe way; the pathway incorporates attendance at a dedicated nutrition clinic, a stratification tool to identify patients with a high periprocedural risk and a PEG insertion team with significant experience in the MND population. Since this pathway has been in place, gastrostomies have been successfully placed in patients with a forced vital capacity (FVC) of less than 50%; previously, this would not have been possible. PMID:27401201

  12. Mitochondrial DNA variations in Madras motor neuron disease

    PubMed Central

    Govindaraj, Periyasamy; Nalini, Atchayaram; Krishna, Nithin; Sharath, Anugula; Khan, Nahid Akhtar; Tamang, Rakesh; Devi, M. Gourie; Brown, Robert H.; Thangaraj, Kumarasamy

    2013-01-01

    Although the Madras Motor Neuron Disease (MMND) was found three decades ago, its genetic basis has not been elucidated, so far. The symptom at onset was impaired hearing, upper limb weakness and atrophy. Since some clinical features of MMND overlap with mitochondrial disorders, we analyzed the complete mitochondrial genome of 45 MMND patients and found 396 variations, including 13 disease-associated, 2 mt-tRNA and 33 non-synonymous (16 MT-ND, 10 MT-CO, 3 MT-CYB and 4 MT-ATPase). A rare variant (m.8302A>G) in mt-tRNALeu was found in three patients. We predict that these variation(s) may influence the disease pathogenesis along with some unknown factor(s). PMID:23419391

  13. Functional Diversification of Motor Neuron-specific Isl1 Enhancers during Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Namhee; Park, Chungoo; Jeong, Yongsu; Song, Mi-Ryoung

    2015-01-01

    Functional diversification of motor neurons has occurred in order to selectively control the movements of different body parts including head, trunk and limbs. Here we report that transcription of Isl1, a major gene necessary for motor neuron identity, is controlled by two enhancers, CREST1 (E1) and CREST2 (E2) that allow selective gene expression of Isl1 in motor neurons. Introduction of GFP reporters into the chick neural tube revealed that E1 is active in hindbrain motor neurons and spinal cord motor neurons, whereas E2 is active in the lateral motor column (LMC) of the spinal cord, which controls the limb muscles. Genome-wide ChIP-Seq analysis combined with reporter assays showed that Phox2 and the Isl1-Lhx3 complex bind to E1 and drive hindbrain and spinal cord-specific expression of Isl1, respectively. Interestingly, Lhx3 alone was sufficient to activate E1, and this may contribute to the initiation of Isl1 expression when progenitors have just developed into motor neurons. E2 was induced by onecut 1 (OC-1) factor that permits Isl1 expression in LMCm neurons. Interestingly, the core region of E1 has been conserved in evolution, even in the lamprey, a jawless vertebrate with primitive motor neurons. All E1 sequences from lamprey to mouse responded equally well to Phox2a and the Isl1-Lhx3 complex. Conversely, E2, the enhancer for limb-innervating motor neurons, was only found in tetrapod animals. This suggests that evolutionarily-conserved enhancers permit the diversification of motor neurons. PMID:26447474

  14. Functional Diversification of Motor Neuron-specific Isl1 Enhancers during Evolution.

    PubMed

    Kim, Namhee; Park, Chungoo; Jeong, Yongsu; Song, Mi-Ryoung

    2015-10-01

    Functional diversification of motor neurons has occurred in order to selectively control the movements of different body parts including head, trunk and limbs. Here we report that transcription of Isl1, a major gene necessary for motor neuron identity, is controlled by two enhancers, CREST1 (E1) and CREST2 (E2) that allow selective gene expression of Isl1 in motor neurons. Introduction of GFP reporters into the chick neural tube revealed that E1 is active in hindbrain motor neurons and spinal cord motor neurons, whereas E2 is active in the lateral motor column (LMC) of the spinal cord, which controls the limb muscles. Genome-wide ChIP-Seq analysis combined with reporter assays showed that Phox2 and the Isl1-Lhx3 complex bind to E1 and drive hindbrain and spinal cord-specific expression of Isl1, respectively. Interestingly, Lhx3 alone was sufficient to activate E1, and this may contribute to the initiation of Isl1 expression when progenitors have just developed into motor neurons. E2 was induced by onecut 1 (OC-1) factor that permits Isl1 expression in LMCm neurons. Interestingly, the core region of E1 has been conserved in evolution, even in the lamprey, a jawless vertebrate with primitive motor neurons. All E1 sequences from lamprey to mouse responded equally well to Phox2a and the Isl1-Lhx3 complex. Conversely, E2, the enhancer for limb-innervating motor neurons, was only found in tetrapod animals. This suggests that evolutionarily-conserved enhancers permit the diversification of motor neurons. PMID:26447474

  15. Non-viral gene therapy that targets motor neurons in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Rogers, Mary-Louise; Smith, Kevin S.; Matusica, Dusan; Fenech, Matthew; Hoffman, Lee; Rush, Robert A.; Voelcker, Nicolas H.

    2014-01-01

    A major challenge in neurological gene therapy is safe delivery of transgenes to sufficient cell numbers from the circulation or periphery. This is particularly difficult for diseases involving spinal cord motor neurons such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have examined the feasibility of non-viral gene delivery to spinal motor neurons from intraperitoneal injections of plasmids carried by “immunogene” nanoparticles targeted for axonal retrograde transport using antibodies. PEGylated polyethylenimine (PEI-PEG12) as DNA carrier was conjugated to an antibody (MLR2) to the neurotrophin receptor p75 (p75NTR). We used a plasmid (pVIVO2) designed for in vivo gene delivery that produces minimal immune responses, has improved nuclear entry into post mitotic cells and also expresses green fluorescent protein (GFP). MLR2-PEI-PEG12 carried pVIVO2 and was specific for mouse motor neurons in mixed cultures containing astrocytes. While only 8% of motor neurons expressed GFP 72 h post transfection in vitro, when the immunogene was given intraperitonealy to neonatal C57BL/6J mice, GFP specific motor neuron expression was observed in 25.4% of lumbar, 18.3% of thoracic and 17.0% of cervical motor neurons, 72 h post transfection. PEI-PEG12 carrying pVIVO2 by itself did not transfect motor neurons in vivo, demonstrating the need for specificity via the p75NTR antibody MLR2. This is the first time that specific transfection of spinal motor neurons has been achieved from peripheral delivery of plasmid DNA as part of a non-viral gene delivery agent. These results stress the specificity and feasibility of immunogene delivery targeted for p75NTR expressing motor neurons, but suggests that further improvements are required to increase the transfection efficiency of motor neurons in vivo. PMID:25352776

  16. BDNF heightens the sensitivity of motor neurons to excitotoxic insults through activation of TrkB

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hu, Peter; Kalb, Robert G.; Walton, K. D. (Principal Investigator)

    2003-01-01

    The survival promoting and neuroprotective actions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are well known but under certain circumstances this growth factor can also exacerbate excitotoxic insults to neurons. Prior exploration of the receptor through which BDNF exerts this action on motor neurons deflects attention away from p75. Here we investigated the possibility that BDNF acts through the receptor tyrosine kinase, TrkB, to confer on motor neurons sensitivity to excitotoxic challenge. We blocked BDNF activation of TrkB using a dominant negative TrkB mutant or a TrkB function blocking antibody, and found that this protected motor neurons against excitotoxic insult in cultures of mixed spinal cord neurons. Addition of a function blocking antibody to BDNF to mixed spinal cord neuron cultures is also neuroprotective indicating that endogenously produced BDNF participates in vulnerability to excitotoxicity. We next examined the intracellular signaling cascades that are engaged upon TrkB activation. Previously we found that inhibition of the phosphatidylinositide-3'-kinase (PI3'K) pathway blocks BDNF-induced excitotoxic sensitivity. Here we show that expression of a constitutively active catalytic subunit of PI3'K, p110, confers excitotoxic sensitivity (ES) upon motor neurons not incubated with BDNF. Parallel studies with purified motor neurons confirm that these events are likely to be occuring specifically within motor neurons. The abrogation of BDNF's capacity to accentuate excitotoxic insults may make it a more attractive neuroprotective agent.

  17. Growth of primary motor neurons on horizontally aligned carbon nanotube thin films and striped patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, Megan J.; Leach, Michelle K.; Bedewy, Mostafa; Meshot, Eric R.; Copic, Davor; Corey, Joseph M.; Hart, A. John

    2014-06-01

    Objective. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are attractive for use in peripheral nerve interfaces because of their unique combination of strength, flexibility, electrical conductivity and nanoscale surface texture. Here we investigated the growth of motor neurons on thin films of horizontally aligned CNTs (HACNTs). Approach. We cultured primary embryonic rat motor neurons on HACNTs and performed statistical analysis of the length and orientation of neurites. We next presented motor neurons with substrates of alternating stripes of HACNTs and SiO2. Main results. The neurons survived on HACNT substrates for up to eight days, which was the full duration of our experiments. Statistical analysis of the length and orientation of neurites indicated that the longest neurites on HACNTs tended to align with the CNT direction, although the average neurite length was similar between HACNTs and glass control substrates. We observed that when motor neurons were presented with alternating stripes of HACNTs and SiO2, the proportion of neurons on HACNTs increases over time, suggesting that neurons selectively migrate toward and adhere to the HACNT surface. Significance. The behavior of motor neurons on CNTs has not been previously investigated, and we show that aligned CNTs could provide a viable interface material to motor neurons. Combined with emerging techniques to build complex hierarchical structures of CNTs, our results suggest that organised CNTs could be incorporated into nerve grafts that use physical and electrical cues to guide regenerating axons.

  18. Motor neurones in culture as a model to study ALS.

    PubMed

    Silani, V; Braga, M; Ciammola, A; Cardin, V; Scarlato, G

    2000-03-01

    Defining the basis of the selective cell vulnerability of motor neurones (MN) represents the key issue in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and tissue culture models are the ideal system for the identification of the MN specific features at the single cell level. Neurone-astrocyte metabolic interactions, which have a critical role in MN through glutamatergic toxicity, have been mostly defined in vitro. Ca++ metabolism, which appears to play a critical role in inducing MN loss in ALS, has been successfully studied using in vitro cell models. Furthermore, primary cultures demonstrated that apoptotic or necrotic death of neurones after injury depends upon the cell energetic status. Superoxide dismutase- (SOD-1) mutations were successfully expressed in cultured rodent MNs, providing a critical assay to sequence the molecular processes responsible for MN degeneration due to the identified genetic defect. The recent identification of genes that separate humans from apes further increases the value of the human in vitro models to better understand specific human cellular properties. Purified human MNs and astrocytes can today be obtained from the human embryonic spinal cord anterior horns. Interactions at the single cell level can be dissected using the cDNA amplification techniques. The effects of molecules affecting MN survival, neurite extension, and metabolism can easily be defined in vitro, gaining a critical mass of information of immediate clinical application in the treatment of patients affected by ALS. Understanding the properties of human MNs in vitro represents today a significant and critical tool that can easily be reached after extension of the available knowledge from non-primate to human research. Human MN culture studies can greatly contribute to identifying the primitive critical cellular events responsible for the MN degeneration observed in ALS and to gaining crucial information on new therapeutical agents. PMID:10795884

  19. Dopamine-Dependent Compensation Maintains Motor Behavior in Mice with Developmental Ablation of Dopaminergic Neurons

    PubMed Central

    DeMaro, Joseph A.; Knoten, Amanda; Hoshi, Masato; Pehek, Elizabeth; Johnson, Eugene M.; Gereau, Robert W.

    2013-01-01

    The loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and consequent depletion of striatal dopamine are known to underlie the motor deficits observed in Parkinson's disease (PD). Adaptive changes in dopaminergic terminals and in postsynaptic striatal neurons can compensate for significant losses of striatal dopamine, resulting in preservation of motor behavior. In addition, compensatory changes independent of striatal dopamine have been proposed based on PD therapies that modulate nondopaminergic circuits within the basal ganglia. We used a genetic strategy to selectively destroy dopaminergic neurons in mice during development to determine the necessity of these neurons for the maintenance of normal motor behavior in adult and aged mice. We find that loss of 90% of SNc dopaminergic neurons and consequent depletion of >95% of striatal dopamine does not result in changes in motor behavior in young-adult or aged mice as evaluated by an extensive array of motor behavior tests. Treatment of aged mutant mice with the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol precipitated motor behavior deficits in aged mutant mice, indicating that <5% of striatal dopamine is sufficient to maintain motor function in these mice. We also found that mutant mice exhibit an exaggerated response to l-DOPA compared with control mice, suggesting that preservation of motor function involves sensitization of striatal dopamine receptors. Our results indicate that congenital loss of dopaminergic neurons induces remarkable adaptions in the nigrostriatal system where limited amounts of dopamine in the dorsal striatum can maintain normal motor function. PMID:24155314

  20. Human neural progenitors differentiate into astrocytes and protect motor neurons in aging rats.

    PubMed

    Das, Melanie M; Avalos, Pablo; Suezaki, Patrick; Godoy, Marlesa; Garcia, Leslie; Chang, Christine D; Vit, Jean-Philippe; Shelley, Brandon; Gowing, Genevieve; Svendsen, Clive N

    2016-06-01

    Age-associated health decline presents a significant challenge to healthcare, although there are few animal models that can be used to test potential treatments. Here, we show that there is a significant reduction in both spinal cord motor neurons and motor function over time in the aging rat. One explanation for this motor neuron loss could be reduced support from surrounding aging astrocytes. Indeed, we have previously shown using in vitro models that aging rat astrocytes are less supportive to rat motor neuron function and survival over time. Here, we test whether rejuvenating the astrocyte niche can improve the survival of motor neurons in an aging spinal cord. We transplanted fetal-derived human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) into the aging rat spinal cord and found that the cells survive and differentiate into astrocytes with a much higher efficiency than when transplanted into younger animals, suggesting that the aging environment stimulates astrocyte maturation. Importantly, the engrafted astrocytes were able to protect against motor neuron loss associated with aging, although this did not result in an increase in motor function based on behavioral assays. We also transplanted hNPCs genetically modified to secrete glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) into the aging rat spinal cord, as this combination of cell and protein delivery can protect motor neurons in animal models of ALS. During aging, GDNF-expressing hNPCs protected motor neurons, though to the same extent as hNPCs alone, and again had no effect on motor function. We conclude that hNPCs can survive well in the aging spinal cord, protect motor neurons and mature faster into astrocytes when compared to transplantation into the young spinal cord. While there was no functional improvement, there were no functional deficits either, further supporting a good safety profile of hNPC transplantation even into the older patient population. PMID:27032721

  1. Sensitivity of transformed (phasic to tonic) motor neurons to the neuromodulator 5-HT.

    PubMed

    Griffis, B; Bonner, P; Cooper, R L

    2000-12-01

    Long-term adaptation resulting in a 'tonic-like' state can be induced in phasic motor neurons of the crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, by daily low-frequency stimulation [Lnenicka, G.A., Atwood, H.L., 1985b. Long-term facilitation and long-term adaptation at synapses of a crayfish phasic motoneuron. J. Neurobiol. 16, 97-110]. To test the hypothesis that motor neurons undergoing adaptation show increased responses to the neuromodulator serotonin (5-HT), phasic motor neurons innervating the deep abdominal extensor muscles of crayfish were stimulated at 2.5 Hz, 2 h/day, for 7 days. One day after cessation of conditioning, contralateral control and conditioned motor neurons of the same segment were stimulated at 1 Hz and the induced excitatory post-synaptic potentials (EPSPs) were recorded from DEL(1) muscle fibers innervated by each motor neuron type. Recordings were made in saline without and with 100 nM 5-HT. EPSP amplitudes were increased by 5-HT exposure in all cases. Conditioned muscles exposed to 5-HT showed a 2-fold higher percentage of increase in EPSP amplitude than did control muscles. Thus, the conditioned motor neurons behaved like intrinsically tonic motoneurons in their response to 5-HT. While these results show that long-term adaptation (LTA) extends to 5-HT neuromodulation, no phenotype switch could be detected in the postsynaptic muscle. Protein isoform profiles, including the myosin heavy chains, do not change after 1 week of conditioning their innervating motor neurons. PMID:11154946

  2. More than a bystander: the contributions of intrinsic skeletal muscle defects in motor neuron diseases

    PubMed Central

    Boyer, Justin G.; Ferrier, Andrew; Kothary, Rashmi

    2013-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) are devastating diseases characterized by the degeneration of motor neurons. Although the molecular causes underlying these diseases differ, recent findings have highlighted the contribution of intrinsic skeletal muscle defects in motor neuron diseases. The use of cell culture and animal models has led to the important finding that muscle defects occur prior to and independently of motor neuron degeneration in motor neuron diseases. In SMA for instance, the muscle specific requirements of the SMA disease-causing gene have been demonstrated by a series of genetic rescue experiments in SMA models. Conditional ALS mouse models expressing a muscle specific mutant SOD1 gene develop atrophy and muscle degeneration in the absence of motor neuron pathology. Treating SBMA mice by over-expressing IGF-1 in a skeletal muscle-specific manner attenuates disease severity and improves motor neuron pathology. In the present review, we provide an in depth description of muscle intrinsic defects, and discuss how they impact muscle function in these diseases. Furthermore, we discuss muscle-specific therapeutic strategies used to treat animal models of SMA, ALS, and SBMA. The study of intrinsic skeletal muscle defects is crucial for the understanding of the pathophysiology of these diseases and will open new therapeutic options for the treatment of motor neuron diseases. PMID:24391590

  3. Cell-Specific Survival Motor Neuron Gene Expression during Human Development of the Central Nervous System

    PubMed Central

    Tizzano, Eduardo F.; Cabot, Carmen; Baiget, Montserrat

    1998-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by the progressive loss or degeneration of the motor neurons. To investigate the expression of survival motor neuron (SMN), the spinal muscular atrophy-determining gene, and its relationship with the pathogenesis of the disease, we analyzed by means of in situ hybridization the location of SMN mRNA in fetal, newborn, infant, and adult human central nervous system tissues. The large motor neurons of the spinal cord are the main cells that express SMN together with the neurons of the medulla oblongata, the pyramidal cells of the cortex, and the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum. Some sensory neurons from the posterior horn and dorsal root ganglia express SMN to a lesser degree. Furthermore, strong SMN expression is detected in the ependymal cells of the central canal. The expression is present in the spinal cord at 8 weeks of fetal life throughout postnatal and adult life. The sharp expression of SMN in the motor neurons of the human spinal cord, the target cells in spinal muscular atrophy, suggests that this gene is implicated in neuronal development and in the pathogenesis of the disease. The location of the SMN gene expression in other neuronal structures not clearly or directly associated with clinical manifestations or pathological findings of spinal muscular atrophy may indicate a varying sensitivity to the absence or dysfunction of the SMN gene in motor neurons. PMID:9708795

  4. Phrenic Long-Term Facilitation Requires PKCθ Activity within Phrenic Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Devinney, Michael J.; Fields, Daryl P.; Huxtable, Adrianne G.; Peterson, Timothy J.; Dale, Erica A.

    2015-01-01

    Acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) induces a form of spinal motor plasticity known as phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF); pLTF is a prolonged increase in phrenic motor output after AIH has ended. In anesthetized rats, we demonstrate that pLTF requires activity of the novel PKC isoform, PKCθ, and that the relevant PKCθ is within phrenic motor neurons. Whereas spinal PKCθ inhibitors block pLTF, inhibitors targeting other PKC isoforms do not. PKCθ is highly expressed in phrenic motor neurons, and PKCθ knockdown with intrapleural siRNAs abolishes pLTF. Intrapleural siRNAs targeting PKCζ, an atypical PKC isoform expressed in phrenic motor neurons that underlies a distinct form of phrenic motor plasticity, does not affect pLTF. Thus, PKCθ plays a critical role in spinal AIH-induced respiratory motor plasticity, and the relevant PKCθ is localized within phrenic motor neurons. Intrapleural siRNA delivery has considerable potential as a therapeutic tool to selectively manipulate plasticity in vital respiratory motor neurons. PMID:26019328

  5. Phrenic long-term facilitation requires PKCθ activity within phrenic motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Devinney, Michael J; Fields, Daryl P; Huxtable, Adrianne G; Peterson, Timothy J; Dale, Erica A; Mitchell, Gordon S

    2015-05-27

    Acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) induces a form of spinal motor plasticity known as phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF); pLTF is a prolonged increase in phrenic motor output after AIH has ended. In anesthetized rats, we demonstrate that pLTF requires activity of the novel PKC isoform, PKCθ, and that the relevant PKCθ is within phrenic motor neurons. Whereas spinal PKCθ inhibitors block pLTF, inhibitors targeting other PKC isoforms do not. PKCθ is highly expressed in phrenic motor neurons, and PKCθ knockdown with intrapleural siRNAs abolishes pLTF. Intrapleural siRNAs targeting PKCζ, an atypical PKC isoform expressed in phrenic motor neurons that underlies a distinct form of phrenic motor plasticity, does not affect pLTF. Thus, PKCθ plays a critical role in spinal AIH-induced respiratory motor plasticity, and the relevant PKCθ is localized within phrenic motor neurons. Intrapleural siRNA delivery has considerable potential as a therapeutic tool to selectively manipulate plasticity in vital respiratory motor neurons. PMID:26019328

  6. Development of the Motor Neuron Disease Carer Questionnaire.

    PubMed

    Mockford, Carole; Jenkinson, Crispin; Fitzpatrick, Raymond

    2009-01-01

    Our objective was to develop a validated questionnaire that can measure the extent to which dimensions of caring affect the health of carers of patients with motor neuron disease. An initial 190-item questionnaire was developed from in-depth interviews, focus groups and two pilot studies with carers. Factor analysis was applied to the data obtained from a large survey in the UK that identified the underlying dimensions of caring. The newly formed scales were tested for reliability using Cronbach's alpha, and for construct validity. The SF36-v2 was the benchmark instrument on which correlations were made to ascertain the relationship with carers' health. A 34-item instrument was developed which has demonstrated promising evidence of internal reliability and validity for six scales: emotional well-being, physical well-being, self care, disturbed sleep, carers' support needs and statutory services. High correlations were found with the Mental Component Score summary scale of the SF-36v2 (0.40-0.66). The development and testing of the MNDCQ indicates that as the carers' score on the MNDCQ increases, suggesting a higher level of burden, they are more likely to report poor health. Further longitudinal studies are needed to further test the instruments' ability to detect change over time. PMID:19922141

  7. Joining forces: Motor control meets mirror neurons. Comment on "Grasping synergies: A motor-control approach to the mirror neuron mechanism" by D'Ausilio, Bartoli, and Maffongelli

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Casile, Antonino

    2015-03-01

    Several consistent and compelling experimental findings suggest that in primates the observation of actions or movements activates the observer's motor cortex (for a recent and very thorough review see [1]). One important piece of evidence was the discovery of mirror neurons, that are neurons in the macaque ventral pre-motor (area F5), motor and parietal cortices (area PFG) that respond both when the monkey executes a goal-directed motor act (e.g. breaking a peanut) or when it sees a similar action executed by others [2-5]. A similar system has been later reported also in humans ([6-8] but see also [9,10] for negative results).

  8. Moving forward in clinical trials for ALS: motor neurons lead the way please

    PubMed Central

    Genç, Barış; Özdinler, P. Hande

    2014-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is one of the most complex motor neuron diseases. Even though scientific discoveries are accelerating with an unprecedented pace, to date more than 30 clinical trials have ended with failure and staggering frustration. There are too many compounds that increase life span in mice, but too little evidence that they will improve human condition. Increasing the chances of success for future clinical trials requires advancement of preclinical tests. Recent developments, which enable the visualization of diseased motor neurons, have the potential to bring novel insight. As we change our focus from mice to motor neurons, it is possible to foster a new vision that translates into effective and long-term treatment strategies in ALS and related motor neuron disorders (MND). PMID:24171950

  9. Direct lineage reprogramming reveals disease-specific phonotypes of motor neurons from human ALS patients

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Meng-Lu; Zang, Tong; Zhang, Chun-Li

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY Subtype-specific neurons obtained from adult humans will be critical to modeling neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here we show that adult human skin fibroblasts can be directly and efficiently converted into highly pure motor neurons without passing through an induced pluripotent stem cell stage. These adult human induced motor neurons (hiMNs) exhibit the cytological and electrophysiological features of spinal motor neurons and form functional neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) with skeletal muscles. Importantly, hiMNs converted from ALS-patient fibroblasts show disease-specific degeneration manifested through poor survival, soma shrinkage, hypoactivity, and an inability to form NMJs. A chemical screen revealed that the degenerative features of ALS-hiMNs can be remarkably rescued by the small molecule kenpaullone. Taken together, our results define a direct and efficient strategy to obtain disease-relevant neuronal subtypes from adult human patients and reveal their promising value in disease modeling and drug identification. PMID:26725112

  10. Chronic motor neuron disease possibly related to intoxication with organochlorine insecticides.

    PubMed

    Fonseca, R G; Resende, L A; Silva, M D; Camargo, A

    1993-07-01

    We report on two patients with a history of chronic exposure to organochlorine insecticides who developed clinical and electromyographic signs and symptoms of chronic motor neuron disease. Measurements of aldrin, lindane and heptachlor confirmed the intoxication. We emphasize the importance of searching for toxic and environmental factors in cases of motor neuron disease especially in Third World countries, where workers usually wear no adequate protective equipment. PMID:7690513

  11. The alluring but misleading analogy between mirror neurons and the motor theory of speech.

    PubMed

    Holt, Lori L; Lotto, Andrew J

    2014-04-01

    Speech is commonly claimed to relate to mirror neurons because of the alluring surface analogy of mirror neurons to the Motor Theory of speech perception, which posits that perception and production draw upon common motor-articulatory representations. We argue that the analogy fails and highlight examples of systems-level developmental approaches that have been more fruitful in revealing perception-production associations. PMID:24775161

  12. Fezf2 expression in layer 5 projection neurons of mature mouse motor cortex.

    PubMed

    Tantirigama, Malinda L S; Oswald, Manfred J; Clare, Alison J; Wicky, Hollie E; Day, Robert C; Hughes, Stephanie M; Empson, Ruth M

    2016-03-01

    The mature cerebral cortex contains a wide diversity of neuron phenotypes. This diversity is specified during development by neuron-specific expression of key transcription factors, some of which are retained for the life of the animal. One of these key developmental transcription factors that is also retained in the adult is Fezf2, but the neuron types expressing it in the mature cortex are unknown. With a validated Fezf2-Gfp reporter mouse, whole-cell electrophysiology with morphology reconstruction, cluster analysis, in vivo retrograde labeling, and immunohistochemistry, we identify a heterogeneous population of Fezf2(+) neurons in both layer 5A and layer 5B of the mature motor cortex. Functional electrophysiology identified two distinct subtypes of Fezf2(+) neurons that resembled pyramidal tract projection neurons (PT-PNs) and intratelencephalic projection neurons (IT-PNs). Retrograde labeling confirmed the former type to include corticospinal projection neurons (CSpPNs) and corticothalamic projection neurons (CThPNs), whereas the latter type included crossed corticostriatal projection neurons (cCStrPNs) and crossed-corticocortical projection neurons (cCCPNs). The two Fezf2(+) subtypes expressed either CTIP2 or SATB2 to distinguish their physiological identity and confirmed that specific expression combinations of key transcription factors persist in the mature motor cortex. Our findings indicate a wider role for Fezf2 within gene expression networks that underpin the diversity of layer 5 cortical projection neurons. PMID:26234885

  13. Is Spinal Muscular Atrophy a disease of the motor neurons only: pathogenesis and therapeutic implications?

    PubMed Central

    Simone, Chiara; Ramirez, Agnese; Bucchia, Monica; Rinchetti, Paola; Rideout, Hardy; Papadimitriou, Dimitra; Re, Diane B.; Corti, Stefania

    2016-01-01

    Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a genetic neurological disease that causes infant mortality; no effective therapies are currently available. SMA is due to homozygous mutations and/or deletions in the Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) gene and subsequent reduction of the SMN protein, leading to the death of motor neurons. However, there is increasing evidence that in addition to motor neurons, other cell types are contributing to SMA pathology. In this review, we will discuss the involvement of non-motor neuronal cells, located both inside and outside the central nervous system, in disease onset and progression. These contribution of non-motor neuronal cells to disease pathogenesis has important therapeutic implications: in fact, even if SMN restoration in motor neurons is needed, it has been shown that optimal phenotypic amelioration in animal models of SMA requires a more widespread SMN correction. It will be crucial to take this evidence into account before clinical translation of the novel therapeutic approaches that are currently under development. PMID:26681261

  14. Is spinal muscular atrophy a disease of the motor neurons only: pathogenesis and therapeutic implications?

    PubMed

    Simone, Chiara; Ramirez, Agnese; Bucchia, Monica; Rinchetti, Paola; Rideout, Hardy; Papadimitriou, Dimitra; Re, Diane B; Corti, Stefania

    2016-03-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic neurological disease that causes infant mortality; no effective therapies are currently available. SMA is due to homozygous mutations and/or deletions in the survival motor neuron 1 gene and subsequent reduction of the SMN protein, leading to the death of motor neurons. However, there is increasing evidence that in addition to motor neurons, other cell types are contributing to SMA pathology. In this review, we will discuss the involvement of non-motor neuronal cells, located both inside and outside the central nervous system, in disease onset and progression. Even if SMN restoration in motor neurons is needed, it has been shown that optimal phenotypic amelioration in animal models of SMA requires a more widespread SMN correction. It has been demonstrated that non-motor neuronal cells are also involved in disease pathogenesis and could have important therapeutic implications. For these reasons it will be crucial to take this evidence into account for the clinical translation of the novel therapeutic approaches. PMID:26681261

  15. Intrinsic membrane hyperexcitability of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient-derived motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Wainger, Brian J; Kiskinis, Evangelos; Mellin, Cassidy; Wiskow, Ole; Han, Steve S W; Sandoe, Jackson; Perez, Numa P; Williams, Luis A; Lee, Seungkyu; Boulting, Gabriella; Berry, James D; Brown, Robert H; Cudkowicz, Merit E; Bean, Bruce P; Eggan, Kevin; Woolf, Clifford J

    2014-04-10

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease of the motor nervous system. We show using multielectrode array and patch-clamp recordings that hyperexcitability detected by clinical neurophysiological studies of ALS patients is recapitulated in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived motor neurons from ALS patients harboring superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), C9orf72, and fused-in-sarcoma mutations. Motor neurons produced from a genetically corrected but otherwise isogenic SOD1(+/+) stem cell line do not display the hyperexcitability phenotype. SOD1(A4V/+) ALS patient-derived motor neurons have reduced delayed-rectifier potassium current amplitudes relative to control-derived motor neurons, a deficit that may underlie their hyperexcitability. The Kv7 channel activator retigabine both blocks the hyperexcitability and improves motor neuron survival in vitro when tested in SOD1 mutant ALS cases. Therefore, electrophysiological characterization of human stem cell-derived neurons can reveal disease-related mechanisms and identify therapeutic candidates. PMID:24703839

  16. Pro-NGF secreted by astrocytes promotes motor neuron cell death

    PubMed Central

    Domeniconi, Marco; Hempstead, Barbara L.; Chao, Moses V.

    2007-01-01

    It is well established that motor neurons depend for their survival on many trophic factors. In this study, we show that the precursor form of NGF (proNGF) can induce the death of motor neurons via engagement of the p75 neurotrophin receptor. The pro-apoptotic activity was dependent upon the presence of sortilin, a p75 co-receptor expressed on motor neurons. One potential source of proNGF is reactive astrocytes, which upregulate the levels of proNGF in response to peroxynitrite, an oxidant and producer of free radicals. Indeed, motor neuron viability was sensitive to conditioned media from cultured astrocytes treated with peroxynitrite and this effect could be reversed using a specific antibody against the pro-domain of proNGF. These results are consistent with a role for activated astrocytes and proNGF in the induction of motor neuron death and suggest a possible therapeutic target for the treatment of motor neuron disease. PMID:17188890

  17. The Onecut Transcription Factor HNF-6 Regulates in Motor Neurons the Formation of the Neuromuscular Junctions

    PubMed Central

    Audouard, Emilie; Schakman, Olivier; René, Frédérique; Huettl, Rosa-Eva; Huber, Andrea B.; Loeffler, Jean-Philippe; Gailly, Philippe; Clotman, Frédéric

    2012-01-01

    The neuromuscular junctions are the specialized synapses whereby spinal motor neurons control the contraction of skeletal muscles. The formation of the neuromuscular junctions is controlled by a complex interplay of multiple mechanisms coordinately activated in motor nerve terminals and in their target myotubes. However, the transcriptional regulators that control in motor neurons the genetic programs involved in neuromuscular junction development remain unknown. Here, we provide evidence that the Onecut transcription factor HNF-6 regulates in motor neurons the formation of the neuromuscular junctions. Indeed, adult Hnf6 mutant mice exhibit hindlimb muscle weakness and abnormal locomotion. This results from defects of hindlimb neuromuscular junctions characterized by an abnormal morphology and defective localization of the synaptic vesicle protein synaptophysin at the motor nerve terminals. These defects are consequences of altered and delayed formation of the neuromuscular junctions in newborn mutant animals. Furthermore, we show that the expression level of numerous regulators of neuromuscular junction formation, namely agrin, neuregulin-2 and TGF-ß receptor II, is downregulated in the spinal motor neurons of Hnf6 mutant newborn animals. Finally, altered formation of neuromuscular junction-like structures in a co-culture model of wildtype myotubes with mutant embryonic spinal cord slices is rescued by recombinant agrin and neuregulin, indicating that depletion in these factors contributes to defective neuromuscular junction development in the absence of HNF-6. Thus, HNF-6 controls in spinal motor neurons a genetic program that coordinates the formation of hindlimb neuromuscular junctions. PMID:23227180

  18. Contribution of different limb controllers to modulation of motor cortex neurons during locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Zelenin, P. V.; Deliagina, T. G.; Orlovsky, G. N.; Karayannidou, A.; Dasgupta, N. M.; Sirota, M. G.; Beloozerova, I. N.

    2011-01-01

    During locomotion, neurons in motor cortex exhibit profound step-related frequency modulation. The source of this modulation is unclear. The aim of this study was to reveal the contribution of different limb controllers (locomotor mechanisms of individual limbs) to the periodic modulation of motor cortex neurons during locomotion. Experiments were conducted in chronically instrumented cats. The activity of single neurons was recorded during regular quadrupedal locomotion (control), as well as when only one pair of limbs (fore, hind, right, or left) was walking while another pair was standing. Comparison of the modulation patterns in these neurons (their discharge profile with respect to the step cycle) during control and different bipedal locomotor tasks revealed several groups of neurons that receive distinct combinations of inputs from different limb controllers. In the majority (73%) of neurons from the forelimb area of motor cortex, modulation during control was determined exclusively by forelimb controllers (right, left or both), while in the minority (27%) hindlimb controllers also contributed. By contrast, only in 30% of neurons from the hindlimb area was modulation determined exclusively by hindlimb controllers (right or both), while in 70% of them, the controllers of forelimbs also contributed. We suggest that such organization of inputs allows the motor cortex to contribute to the right-left limbs coordination within each of the girdles during locomotion, and that it also allows hindlimb neurons to participate in coordination of the movements of the hindlimbs with those of the forelimbs. PMID:21430163

  19. A Stem Cell Model of the Motor Circuit Uncouples Motor Neuron Death from Hyperexcitability Induced by SMN Deficiency.

    PubMed

    Simon, Christian M; Janas, Anna M; Lotti, Francesco; Tapia, Juan Carlos; Pellizzoni, Livio; Mentis, George Z

    2016-08-01

    In spinal muscular atrophy, a neurodegenerative disease caused by ubiquitous deficiency in the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, sensory-motor synaptic dysfunction and increased excitability precede motor neuron (MN) loss. Whether central synaptic dysfunction and MN hyperexcitability are cell-autonomous events or they contribute to MN death is unknown. We addressed these issues using a stem-cell-based model of the motor circuit consisting of MNs and both excitatory and inhibitory interneurons (INs) in which SMN protein levels are selectively depleted. We show that SMN deficiency induces selective MN death through cell-autonomous mechanisms, while hyperexcitability is a non-cell-autonomous response of MNs to defects in pre-motor INs, leading to loss of glutamatergic synapses and reduced excitation. Findings from our in vitro model suggest that dysfunction and loss of MNs result from differential effects of SMN deficiency in distinct neurons of the motor circuit and that hyperexcitability does not trigger MN death. PMID:27452470

  20. Reach task-associated excitatory overdrive of motor cortical neurons following infusion with ALS-CSF.

    PubMed

    Sankaranarayani, R; Raghavan, Mohan; Nalini, A; Laxmi, T R; Raju, T R

    2014-01-01

    Converging evidence from transgenic animal models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and human studies suggest alterations in excitability of the motor neurons in ALS. Specifically, in studies on human subjects with ALS the motor cortex was reported to be hyperexcitable. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that infusion of cerebrospinal fluid from patients with sporadic ALS (ALS-CSF) into the rat brain ventricle can induce hyperexcitability and structural changes in the motor cortex leading to motor dysfunction. A robust model of sporadic ALS was developed experimentally by infusing ALS-CSF into the rat ventricle. The effects of ALS-CSF at the single neuron level were examined by recording extracellular single unit activity from the motor cortex while rats were performing a reach to grasp task. We observed an increase in the firing rate of the neurons of the motor cortex in rats infused with ALS-CSF compared to control groups. This was associated with impairment in a specific component of reach with alterations in the morphological characteristics of the motor cortex. It is likely that the increased cortical excitability observed in the present study could be the result of changes in the intrinsic properties of motor cortical neurons, a dysfunctional inhibitory mechanism and/or an underlying structural change culminating in a behavioral deficit. PMID:23900732

  1. Motor neurons are rich in non-phosphorylated neurofilaments: cross-species comparison and alterations in ALS.

    PubMed

    Tsang, Y M; Chiong, F; Kuznetsov, D; Kasarskis, E; Geula, C

    2000-04-01

    The localization and distribution of non-phosphorylated neurofilaments (NP-NF) in the upper and lower motor neurons was investigated in the rat, the common marmoset, the rhesus monkey and man using the SMI-32 antibody. Within the spinal cord of all species studied, the most intense NP-NF immunoreactivity was observed within the ventral horn alpha-motor neurons. Concurrent staining for the cholinergic marker choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) demonstrated that virtually all of the ChAT-positive alpha-motor neurons contain NP-NF immunoreactivity. Although NP-NF staining was also observed in other neurons within the ventral and intermediate horns, these neurons were loosely scattered and contained a considerably lower staining intensity. The only other prominent NP-NF staining in the spinal cord occurred within the neurons of the dorsal nucleus of Clark and the intermediolateral cell column. Phosphorylated neurofilament (P-NF) immunoreactivity was found primarily in neuronal processes. Occasionally, a solitary motor neuron contained weak P-NF immunoreactivity. Within the brainstem, neurons in all cranial nerve motor nuclei contained intense NP-NF immunoreactivity. The distribution and apparent density of NP-NF immunoreactive neurons in these nuclei was virtually identical to that observed for neurons immunoreactive for ChAT. NP-NF immunoreactive neurons of relatively lower intensity were found in many other regions of the brainstem. All of the giant Betz cells of layer (L) V in the motor cortex contained dark NP-NF immunoreactivity. Within the spinal cord of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients, both Nissl and NP-NF staining demonstrated the dramatic loss of alpha-motor neurons characteristic of this disorder. Some of the remaining motor neurons contained intense P-NF immunoreactivity. These observations suggest that NP-NF immunoreactivity is a good marker for motor neurons in health and disease and may be a useful tool for studies of motor neuron degeneration

  2. Antennal mechanosensory neurons mediate wing motor reflexes in flying Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Mamiya, Akira; Dickinson, Michael H

    2015-05-20

    Although many behavioral studies have shown the importance of antennal mechanosensation in various aspects of insect flight control, the identities of the mechanosensory neurons responsible for these functions are still unknown. One candidate is the Johnston's organ (JO) neurons that are located in the second antennal segment and detect phasic and tonic rotations of the third antennal segment relative to the second segment. To investigate how different classes of JO neurons respond to different types of antennal movement during flight, we combined 2-photon calcium imaging with a machine vision system to simultaneously record JO neuron activity and the antennal movement from tethered flying fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). We found that most classes of JO neurons respond strongly to antennal oscillation at the wing beat frequency, but not to the tonic deflections of the antennae. To study how flies use input from the JO neurons during flight, we genetically ablated specific classes of JO neurons and examined their effect on the wing motion. Tethered flies flying in the dark require JO neurons to generate slow antiphasic oscillation of the left and right wing stroke amplitudes. However, JO neurons are not necessary for this antiphasic oscillation when visual feedback is available, indicating that there are multiple pathways for generating antiphasic movement of the wings. Collectively, our results are consistent with a model in which flying flies use JO neurons to detect increases in the wing-induced airflow and that JO neurons are involved in a response that decreases contralateral wing stoke amplitude. PMID:25995481

  3. Thalamocortical Projections onto Behaviorally Relevant Neurons Exhibit Plasticity during Adult Motor Learning.

    PubMed

    Biane, Jeremy S; Takashima, Yoshio; Scanziani, Massimo; Conner, James M; Tuszynski, Mark H

    2016-03-16

    Layer 5 neurons of the neocortex receive direct and relatively strong input from the thalamus. However, the intralaminar distribution of these inputs and their capacity for plasticity in adult animals are largely unknown. In slices of the primary motor cortex (M1), we simultaneously recorded from pairs of corticospinal neurons associated with control of distinct motor outputs: distal forelimb versus proximal forelimb. Activation of ChR2-expressing thalamocortical afferents in M1 before motor learning produced equivalent responses in monosynaptic excitation of neurons controlling the distal and proximal forelimb, suggesting balanced thalamic input at baseline. Following skilled grasp training, however, thalamocortical input shifted to bias activation of corticospinal neurons associated with control of the distal forelimb. This increase was associated with a cell-specific increase in mEPSC amplitude but not presynaptic release probability. These findings demonstrate distinct and highly segregated plasticity of thalamocortical projections during adult learning. PMID:26948893

  4. Lack of Motor Neuron Differentiation is an Intrinsic Property of the Mouse Secondary Neural Tube

    PubMed Central

    Shum, Alisa S.W.; Tang, Louisa S.C.; Copp, Andrew J.; Roelink, Henk

    2016-01-01

    The cranial part of the amniote neural tube is formed by folding and fusion of the ectoderm-derived neural plate (primary neurulation). After posterior neuropore closure, however, the caudal neural tube is formed by cavitation of tail bud mesenchyme (secondary neurulation). In mouse embryos, the secondary neural tube expresses several genes important in early patterning and induction, in restricted domains similar to the primary neural tube, yet it does not undergo neuronal differentiation, but subsequently degenerates. Although the secondary neural tube, isolated from surrounding tissues, is responsive to exogenous Sonic Hedgehog proteins in vitro, motor neuron differentiation is never observed. This cannot be attributed to the properties of the secondary notochord, since it is able to induce motor neuron differentiation in naïve chick neural plate explants. Taken together, these results support that the lack of motor neuron differentiation is an intrinsic property of the mouse secondary neural tube. PMID:20960561

  5. ALS-associated mutant FUS induces selective motor neuron degeneration through toxic gain of function

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Aarti; Lyashchenko, Alexander K.; Lu, Lei; Nasrabady, Sara Ebrahimi; Elmaleh, Margot; Mendelsohn, Monica; Nemes, Adriana; Tapia, Juan Carlos; Mentis, George Z.; Shneider, Neil A.

    2016-01-01

    Mutations in FUS cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), including some of the most aggressive, juvenile-onset forms of the disease. FUS loss-of-function and toxic gain-of-function mechanisms have been proposed to explain how mutant FUS leads to motor neuron degeneration, but neither has been firmly established in the pathogenesis of ALS. Here we characterize a series of transgenic FUS mouse lines that manifest progressive, mutant-dependent motor neuron degeneration preceded by early, structural and functional abnormalities at the neuromuscular junction. A novel, conditional FUS knockout mutant reveals that postnatal elimination of FUS has no effect on motor neuron survival or function. Moreover, endogenous FUS does not contribute to the onset of the ALS phenotype induced by mutant FUS. These findings demonstrate that FUS-dependent motor degeneration is not due to loss of FUS function, but to the gain of toxic properties conferred by ALS mutations. PMID:26842965

  6. Mitochondrial Dysfunction during the Early Stages of Excitotoxic Spinal Motor Neuron Degeneration in Vivo.

    PubMed

    Santa-Cruz, Luz Diana; Guerrero-Castillo, Sergio; Uribe-Carvajal, Salvador; Tapia, Ricardo

    2016-07-20

    Glutamate excitotoxicity and mitochondrial dysfunction are involved in motor neuron degeneration process during amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have previously shown that microdialysis perfusion of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) in the lumbar region of the rat spinal cord produces permanent paralysis of the ipsilateral hindlimb and death of motor neurons by a Ca(2+)-dependent mechanism, in a process that starts 2-3 h after AMPA perfusion. Co-perfusion with different energy metabolic substrates, mainly pyruvate, prevented the paralysis and motor neuron degeneration induced by AMPA, suggesting that mitochondrial energetic deficiencies are involved in this excitotoxic motor neuron death. To test this, in the present work, we studied the functional and ultrastructural characteristics of mitochondria isolated from the ventral horns of lumbar spinal cords of rats, at the beginning of the AMPA-induced degeneration process, when motor neurons are still alive. Animals were divided in four groups: perfused with AMPA, AMPA + pyruvate, and pyruvate alone and Krebs-Ringer medium as controls. Mitochondria from the AMPA-treated group showed decreased oxygen consumption rates, respiratory controls, and transmembrane potentials. Additionally, activities of the respiratory chain complexes I and IV were significantly decreased. Electron microscopy showed that mitochondria from AMPA-treated rats presented swelling, disorganized cristae and disrupted membranes. Remarkably, in the animals co-perfused with AMPA and pyruvate all these abnormalities were prevented. We conclude that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a crucial role in spinal motor neuron degeneration induced by overactivation of AMPA receptors in vivo. These mechanisms could be involved in ALS motor neuron degeneration. PMID:27090876

  7. Injury-Associated PACAP Expression in Rat Sensory and Motor Neurons Is Induced by Endogenous BDNF

    PubMed Central

    Pettersson, Lina M. E.; Geremia, Nicole M.; Ying, Zhengxin; Verge, Valerie M. K.

    2014-01-01

    Peripheral nerve injury results in dramatic upregulation in pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) expression in adult rat dorsal root ganglia and spinal motor neurons mirroring that described for the neurotrophin brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Thus, we posited that injury-associated alterations in BDNF expression regulate the changes in PACAP expression observed in the injured neurons. The role of endogenous BDNF in induction and/or maintenance of PACAP mRNA expression in injured adult rat motor and sensory neurons was examined by intrathecally infusing or intraperitoneally injecting BDNF-specific antibodies or control IgGs immediately at the time of L4-L6 spinal nerve injury, or in a delayed fashion one week later for 3 days followed by analysis of impact on PACAP expression. PACAP mRNA in injured lumbar sensory and motor neurons was detected using in situ hybridization, allowing quantification of relative changes between experimental groups, with ATF-3 immunofluorescence serving to identify the injured subpopulation of motor neurons. Both the incidence and level of PACAP mRNA expression were dramatically reduced in injured sensory and motor neurons in response to immediate intrathecal anti-BDNF treatment. In contrast, neither intraperitoneal injections nor delayed intrathecal infusions of anti-BDNF had any discernible impact on PACAP expression. This impact on PACAP expression in response to BDNF immunoneutralization in DRG was confirmed using qRT-PCR or by using BDNF selective siRNAs to reduce neuronal BDNF expression. Collectively, our findings support that endogenous injury-associated BDNF expression is critically involved in induction, but not maintenance, of injury-associated PACAP expression in sensory and motor neurons. PMID:24968020

  8. Recording from the same neurons chronically in motor cortex.

    PubMed

    Fraser, George W; Schwartz, Andrew B

    2012-04-01

    Two rhesus monkeys were implanted with silicon arrays of 96 microelectrodes. Neural activity was recorded periodically over a period of weeks to months. We have developed a method to determine whether single units in two separate recording sessions represent the same neuron. Pairwise cross-correlograms, the autocorrelogram, waveform shape, and mean firing rate were used together as identifying features of a neuron. When two units recorded on separate days were compared using these features, their similarity scores tended to be either high, indicating two recordings from the same neuron, or low, indicating different neurons. Although these metrics are individually weak, together they produce a strong classifier. Some neurons were recorded for >100 days. These monkeys performed a center-out reaching task, and we found that the firing properties of chronically recorded neurons were stable over time. PMID:22190623

  9. Effect of light on the activity of motor cortex neurons during locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Armer, Madison C.; Nilaweera, Wijitha U.; Rivers, Trevor J.; Dasgupta, Namrata M.; Beloozerova, Irina N.

    2013-01-01

    The motor cortex plays a critical role in accurate visually guided movements such as reaching and target stepping. However, the manner in which vision influences the movement-related activity of neurons in the motor cortex is not well understood. In this study we have investigated how the locomotion-related activity of neurons in the motor cortex is modified when subjects switch between walking in the darkness and in light. Three adult cats were trained to walk through corridors of an experimental chamber for a food reward. On randomly selected trials, lights were extinguished for approximately four seconds when the cat was in a straight portion of the chamber's corridor. Discharges of 146 neurons from layer V of the motor cortex, including 51 pyramidal tract cells (PTNs), were recorded and compared between light and dark conditions. It was found that while cats’ movements during locomotion in light and darkness were similar (as judged from the analysis of three-dimensional limb kinematics and the activity of limb muscles), the firing behavior of 49% (71/146) of neurons was different between the two walking conditions. This included differences in the mean discharge rate (19%, 28/146 of neurons), depth of stride-related frequency modulation (24%, 32/131), duration of the period of elevated firing ([PEF], 19%, 25/131), and number of PEFs among stride-related neurons (26%, 34/131). 20% of responding neurons exhibited more than one type of change. We conclude that visual input plays a very significant role in determining neuronal activity in the motor cortex during locomotion by altering one, or occasionally multiple, parameters of locomotion-related discharges of its neurons. PMID:23680161

  10. eGFP expression under the Uchl1 promoter labels corticospinal motor neurons and a subpopulation of degeneration resistant spinal motor neurons in ALS mouse models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yasvoina, Marina V.

    Current understanding of basic cellular and molecular mechanisms for motor neuron vulnerability during motor neuron disease initiation and progression is incomplete. The complex cytoarchitecture and cellular heterogeneity of the cortex and spinal cord greatly impedes our ability to visualize, isolate, and study specific neuron populations in both healthy and diseased states. We generated a novel reporter line, the Uchl1-eGFP mouse, in which cortical and spinal components of motor neuron circuitry are genetically labeled with eGFP under the Uchl1 promoter. A series of cellular and anatomical analyses combined with retrograde labeling, molecular marker expression, and electrophysiology were employed to determine identity of eGFP expressing cells in the motor cortex and the spinal cord of novel Uchl1-eGFP reporter mice. We conclude that eGFP is expressed in corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN) in the motor cortex and a subset of S-type alpha and gamma spinal motor neurons (SMN) in the spinal cord. hSOD1G93A and Alsin-/- mice, mouse models for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), were bred to Uchl1-eGFP reporter mouse line to investigate the pathophysiology and underlying mechanisms of CSMN degeneration in vivo. Evidence suggests early and progressive degeneration of CSMN and SMN in the hSOD1G93A transgenic mice. We show an early increase of autophagosome formation in the apical dendrites of vulnerable CSMN in hSOD1G93A-UeGFP mice, which is localized to the apical dendrites. In addition, labeling S-type alpha and gamma SMN in the hSOD1G93A-UeGFP mice provide a unique opportunity to study basis of their resistance to degeneration. Mice lacking alsin show moderate clinical phenotype and mild CSMN axon degeneration in the spinal cord, which suggests vulnerability of CSMN. Therefore, we investigated the CSMN cellular and axon defects in aged Alsin-/- mice bred to Uchl1-eGFP reporter mouse line. We show that while CSMN are preserved and lack signs of degeneration, CSMN axons

  11. The utility of cerebral blood flow imaging in patients with the unique syndrome of progressive dementia with motor neuron disease

    SciTech Connect

    Ohnishi, T.; Hoshi, H.; Jinnouchi, S.; Nagamachi, S.; Watanabe, K.; Mituyama, Y. )

    1990-05-01

    Two patients presenting with progressive dementia coupled with motor neuron disease underwent brain SPECT using N-isopropyl-p iodine-123-iodoamphetamine (({sup 123}I)IMP). The characteristic clinical features of progressive dementia and motor neuron disease were noted. IMP SPECT also revealed reduced uptake in the bilateral frontal and temporal regions, with no reduction of uptake in the parietal, parietal-occipital regions. We conclude that IMP SPECT has potential for the evaluation of progressive dementia with motor neuron disease.

  12. Drosophila motor neuron retraction during metamorphosis is mediated by inputs from TGF-β/BMP signaling and orphan nuclear receptors.

    PubMed

    Boulanger, Ana; Farge, Morgane; Ramanoudjame, Christophe; Wharton, Kristi; Dura, Jean-Maurice

    2012-01-01

    Larval motor neurons remodel during Drosophila neuro-muscular junction dismantling at metamorphosis. In this study, we describe the motor neuron retraction as opposed to degeneration based on the early disappearance of β-Spectrin and the continuing presence of Tubulin. By blocking cell dynamics with a dominant-negative form of Dynamin, we show that phagocytes have a key role in this process. Importantly, we show the presence of peripheral glial cells close to the neuro-muscular junction that retracts before the motor neuron. We show also that in muscle, expression of EcR-B1 encoding the steroid hormone receptor required for postsynaptic dismantling, is under the control of the ftz-f1/Hr39 orphan nuclear receptor pathway but not the TGF-β signaling pathway. In the motor neuron, activation of EcR-B1 expression by the two parallel pathways (TGF-β signaling and nuclear receptor) triggers axon retraction. We propose that a signal from a TGF-β family ligand is produced by the dismantling muscle (postsynapse compartment) and received by the motor neuron (presynaptic compartment) resulting in motor neuron retraction. The requirement of the two pathways in the motor neuron provides a molecular explanation for the instructive role of the postsynapse degradation on motor neuron retraction. This mechanism insures the temporality of the two processes and prevents motor neuron pruning before postsynaptic degradation. PMID:22792255

  13. Distinct Muscle Biopsy Findings in Genetically Defined Adult-Onset Motor Neuron Disorders

    PubMed Central

    Jokela, Manu; Huovinen, Sanna; Raheem, Olayinka; Lindfors, Mikaela; Palmio, Johanna; Penttilä, Sini; Udd, Bjarne

    2016-01-01

    The objective of this study was to characterize and compare muscle histopathological findings in 3 different genetic motor neuron disorders. We retrospectively re-assessed muscle biopsy findings in 23 patients with autosomal dominant lower motor neuron disease caused by p.G66V mutation in CHCHD10 (SMAJ), 10 X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) and 11 autosomal dominant c9orf72-mutated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (c9ALS) patients. Distinct large fiber type grouping consisting of non-atrophic type IIA muscle fibers were 100% specific for the late-onset spinal muscular atrophies (SMAJ and SBMA) and were never observed in c9ALS. Common, but less specific findings included small groups of highly atrophic rounded type IIA fibers in SMAJ/SBMA, whereas in c9ALS, small group atrophies consisting of small-caliber angular fibers involving both fiber types were more characteristic. We also show that in the 2 slowly progressive motor neuron disorders (SMAJ and SBMA) the initial neurogenic features are often confused with considerable secondary “myopathic” changes at later disease stages, such as rimmed vacuoles, myofibrillar aggregates and numerous fibers reactive for fetal myosin heavy chain (dMyHC) antibodies. Based on our findings, muscle biopsy may be valuable in the diagnostic work-up of suspected motor neuron disorders in order to avoid a false ALS diagnosis in patients without clear findings of upper motor neuron lesions. PMID:26999347

  14. Muscle Mitochondrial Uncoupling Dismantles Neuromuscular Junction and Triggers Distal Degeneration of Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Dupuis, Luc; Gonzalez de Aguilar, Jose-Luis; Echaniz-Laguna, Andoni; Eschbach, Judith; Rene, Frédérique; Oudart, Hugues; Halter, Benoit; Huze, Caroline; Schaeffer, Laurent; Bouillaud, Frédéric; Loeffler, Jean-Philippe

    2009-01-01

    Background Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most frequent adult onset motor neuron disease, is associated with hypermetabolism linked to defects in muscle mitochondrial energy metabolism such as ATP depletion and increased oxygen consumption. It remains unknown whether muscle abnormalities in energy metabolism are causally involved in the destruction of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and subsequent motor neuron degeneration during ALS. Methodology/Principal Findings We studied transgenic mice with muscular overexpression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), a potent mitochondrial uncoupler, as a model of muscle restricted hypermetabolism. These animals displayed age-dependent deterioration of the NMJ that correlated with progressive signs of denervation and a mild late-onset motor neuron pathology. NMJ regeneration and functional recovery were profoundly delayed following injury of the sciatic nerve and muscle mitochondrial uncoupling exacerbated the pathology of an ALS animal model. Conclusions/Significance These findings provide the proof of principle that a muscle restricted mitochondrial defect is sufficient to generate motor neuron degeneration and suggest that therapeutic strategies targeted at muscle metabolism might prove useful for motor neuron diseases. PMID:19404401

  15. Hypocretinergic neurons are activated in conjunction with goal-oriented survival-related motor behaviors.

    PubMed

    Torterolo, Pablo; Ramos, Oscar V; Sampogna, Sharon; Chase, Michael H

    2011-10-24

    Hypocretinergic neurons are located in the area of the lateral hypothalamus which is responsible for mediating goal-directed, survival-related behaviors. Consequently, we hypothesize that the hypocretinergic system functions to promote these behaviors including those patterns of somatomotor activation upon which they are based. Further, we hypothesize that the hypocretinergic system is not involved with repetitive motor activities unless they occur in conjunction with the goal-oriented behaviors that are governed by the lateral hypothalamus. In order to determine the veracity of these hypotheses, we examined Fos immunoreactivity (as a marker of neuronal activity) in hypocretinergic neurons in the cat during: a) Exploratory Motor Activity; b) Locomotion without Reward; c) Locomotion with Reward; and d) Wakefulness without Motor Activity. Significantly greater numbers of hypocretinergic neurons expressed c-fos when the animals were exploring an unknown environment during Exploratory Motor Activity compared with all other paradigms. In addition, a larger number of Hcrt+Fos+neurons were activated during Locomotion with Reward than during Wakefulness without Motor Activity. Finally, very few hypocretinergic neurons were activated during Locomotion without Reward and Wakefulness without Motor Activity, wherein there was an absence of goal-directed activities. We conclude that the hypocretinergic system does not promote wakefulness per se or motor activity per se but is responsible for mediating specific goal-oriented behaviors that take place during wakefulness. Accordingly, we suggest that the hypocretinergic system is responsible for controlling the somatomotor system and coordinating its activity with other systems in order to produce successful goal-oriented survival-related behaviors that are controlled by the lateral hypothalamus. PMID:21839102

  16. Comparison of commonly used retrograde tracers in rat spinal motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Yu, You-Lai; Li, Hai-Yan; Zhang, Pei-Xun; Yin, Xiao-Feng; Han, Na; Kou, Yu-Hui; Jiang, Bao-Guo

    2015-10-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of four fluorescent dyes, True Blue (TB), Fluoro-Gold (FG), Fluoro-Ruby (FR), and 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI), in retrograde tracing of rat spinal motor neurons. We transected the muscle branch of the rat femoral nerve and applied each tracer to the proximal stump in single labeling experiments, or combinations of tracers (FG-DiI and TB-DiI) in double labeling experiments. In the single labeling experiments, significantly fewer labeled motor neurons were observed after FR labeling than after TB, FG, or DiI, 3 days after tracer application. By 1 week, there were no significant differences in the number of labeled neurons between the four groups. In the double-labeling experiment, the number of double-labeled neurons in the FG-DiI group was not significantly different from that in the TB-DiI group 1 week after tracer application. Our findings indicate that TB, FG, and DiI have similar labeling efficacies in the retrograde labeling of spinal motor neurons in the rat femoral nerve when used alone. Furthermore, combinations of DiI and TB or FG are similarly effective. Therefore, of the dyes studied, TB, FG and DiI, and combinations of DiI with TB or FG, are the most suitable for retrograde labeling studies of motor neurons in the rat femoral nerve. PMID:26692873

  17. Astrocytes expressing ALS-linked mutated SOD1 release factors selectively toxic to motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Nagai, Makiko; Re, Diane B; Nagata, Tetsuya; Chalazonitis, Alcmène; Jessell, Thomas M; Wichterle, Hynek; Przedborski, Serge

    2007-05-01

    Mutations in superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) cause a form of the fatal paralytic disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), presumably by a combination of cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous processes. Here, we show that expression of mutated human SOD1 in primary mouse spinal motor neurons does not provoke motor neuron degeneration. Conversely, rodent astrocytes expressing mutated SOD1 kill spinal primary and embryonic mouse stem cell-derived motor neurons. This is triggered by soluble toxic factor(s) through a Bax-dependent mechanism. However, mutant astrocytes do not cause the death of spinal GABAergic or dorsal root ganglion neurons or of embryonic stem cell-derived interneurons. In contrast to astrocytes, fibroblasts, microglia, cortical neurons and myocytes expressing mutated SOD1 do not cause overt neurotoxicity. These findings indicate that astrocytes may play a role in the specific degeneration of spinal motor neurons in ALS. Identification of the astrocyte-derived soluble factor(s) may have far-reaching implications for ALS from both a pathogenic and therapeutic standpoint. PMID:17435755

  18. Astrocytes expressing ALS-linked mutated SOD1 release factors selectively toxic to motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Nagai, Makiko; Re, Diane B; Nagata, Tetsuya; Chalazonitis, Alcmène; Jessell, Thomas M; Wichterle, Hynek; Przedborski, Serge

    2013-01-01

    Mutations in superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) cause a form of the fatal paralytic disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), presumably by a combination of cell-autonomous and non–cell-autonomous processes. Here, we show that expression of mutated human SOD1 in primary mouse spinal motor neurons does not provoke motor neuron degeneration. Conversely, rodent astrocytes expressing mutated SOD1 kill spinal primary and embryonic mouse stem cell–derived motor neurons. This is triggered by soluble toxic factor(s) through a Bax-dependent mechanism. However, mutant astrocytes do not cause the death of spinal GABAergic or dorsal root ganglion neurons or of embryonic stem cell–derived interneurons. In contrast to astrocytes, fibroblasts, microglia, cortical neurons and myocytes expressing mutated SOD1 do not cause overt neurotoxicity. These findings indicate that astrocytes may play a role in the specific degeneration of spinal motor neurons in ALS. Identification of the astrocyte-derived soluble factor(s) may have far-reaching implications for ALS from both a pathogenic and therapeutic standpoint. PMID:17435755

  19. Innervation pattern of a pool of nine excitatory motor neurons in the flexor tibiae muscle of a locust hind leg

    PubMed

    Sasaki; Burrows

    1998-05-21

    The flexor tibiae muscle of a locust hind leg consists of 10-11 pairs of fibre bundles in the main body of the muscle and a distal pair of bundles that form the accessory flexor muscle, all of which insert onto a common tendon. It is much smaller than the antagonistic extensor tibiae muscle and yet it is innervated by nine excitatory motor neurons, compared with only two for the extensor. To determine the pattern of innervation within the muscle by individual motor neurons, branches of the nerve (N5B2) that supplies the different muscle bundles were backfilled to reveal somata in the metathoracic ganglion. This showed that different muscle bundles are innervated by different numbers of excitatory motor neurons. Physiological mapping of the innervation was then carried out by intracellular recordings from the somata of flexor motor neurons in the metathoracic ganglion using microelectrodes. Spikes were evoked in these neurons by the injection of current, and matching junctional potentials were sought in fibres throughout the muscle using a second intracellular electrode. Each motor neuron innervates only a restricted array of muscle fibres and, although some innervate a larger array than others, none innervates fibres throughout the muscle. Some motor neurons innervate only proximal fibres and others only more distal fibres, so that the most proximal and most distal bundles of muscle fibres are innervated by non-overlapping sets of motor neurons. More motor neurons innervate proximal bundles than distal ones, and there are some asymmetries in the number of motor neurons innervating corresponding bundles on either side of the tendon. Individual motor neurons cause slow, fast or intermediate movements of the tibia, but their patterns of innervation overlap in the different muscle bundles. Furthermore, individual muscle fibres may also be innervated by motor neurons with different properties. PMID:9600870

  20. Nicotine enhances inhibition of mouse vagal motor neurons by modulating excitability of premotor GABAergic neurons in the nucleus tractus solitarii.

    PubMed

    Xu, Hong; Boychuk, Jeffery A; Boychuk, Carie R; Uteshev, Victor V; Smith, Bret N

    2015-02-15

    The caudal nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) serves as the site of the first synapse for visceral sensory inputs to the central nervous system. The NTS sends functional projections to multiple brain nuclei, with gastric-related projections primarily targeting the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV). Previous studies have demonstrated that the majority of caudal NTS neurons that project to the DMV respond robustly to nicotine and express nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). However, the cytochemical identity and relationship with specific viscera of DMV-projecting, nicotine-responsive caudal NTS neurons have not been determined. The present study used transgenic mice that express enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under a GAD67 promoter in a subset of GABAergic neurons, in vivo retrograde pseudorabies viral labeling to identify gastric-related vagal complex neurons, and patch-clamp electrophysiology in acute brain stem slices to test the hypothesis that gastric-related and GABAergic inhibitory synaptic input to the DMV from the caudal NTS is under a robust modulatory control by nAChRs. Our results suggest that activation of nAChRs in the caudal NTS, but not DMV, potentiates GABAergic, but not glutamatergic, input to the DMV. Gastric-related caudal NTS and DMV neurons are directly involved in this nicotine-sensitive circuitry. Understanding the central patterns of nicotinic modulation of visceral sensory-motor circuitry may help develop therapeutic interventions to restore autonomic homeostasis in patients with autonomic impairments. PMID:25429117

  1. Changes in corticospinal facilitation of lower limb spinal motor neurons after spinal cord lesions.

    PubMed Central

    Brouwer, B; Bugaresti, J; Ashby, P

    1992-01-01

    The projections from the cortex to the motor neurons of lower limb muscles were examined in 33 normal subjects and 16 patients with incomplete spinal cord lesions. Corticospinal neurons were excited by transcranial magnetic stimulation and the effects on single spinal motor neurons determined from peristimulus time histograms (PSTHs) of single tibialis anterior (TA) and soleus (SOL) motor units. In normal subjects magnetic stimulation produced a short latency facilitation of TA motor units but had little or no effect on SOL motor units. In the patients with spinal cord lesions magnetic stimulation also produced facilitation of TA but not SOL motor units; however, the mean latency of the TA facilitation was significantly longer (by about 14 ms) in the patient group. The F wave latencies were normal in all patients tested, suggesting that central rather than peripheral conduction was slowed. The duration of the period of increased firing probability (in TA motor units) was also significantly longer in the patients with spinal cord lesions. These changes may reflect the slowing of conduction and dispersal of conduction velocities in the corticospinal pathways as a consequence of the spinal cord lesion. No significant correlations were found between the delay of the TA facilitation and the clinical deficits in this group of patients. Images PMID:1312579

  2. Motor Origin of Precise Synaptic Inputs onto Forebrain Neurons Driving a Skilled Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Vallentin, Daniela

    2015-01-01

    Sensory feedback is crucial for learning and performing many behaviors, but its role in the execution of complex motor sequences is poorly understood. To address this, we consider the forebrain nucleus HVC in the songbird, which contains the premotor circuitry for song production and receives multiple convergent sensory inputs. During singing, projection neurons within HVC exhibit precisely timed synaptic events that may represent the ongoing motor program or song-related sensory feedback. To distinguish between these possibilities, we recorded the membrane potential from identified HVC projection neurons in singing zebra finches. External auditory perturbations during song production did not affect synaptic inputs in these neurons. Furthermore, the systematic removal of three sensory feedback streams (auditory, proprioceptive, and vagal) did not alter the frequency or temporal precision of synaptic activity observed. These findings support a motor origin for song-related synaptic events and suggest an updated circuit model for generating behavioral sequences. PMID:25568122

  3. Impaired Autophagy and Defective Mitochondrial Function: Converging Paths on the Road to Motor Neuron Degeneration

    PubMed Central

    Edens, Brittany M.; Miller, Nimrod; Ma, Yong-Chao

    2016-01-01

    Selective motor neuron degeneration is a hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Around 10% of all cases present as familial ALS (FALS), while sporadic ALS (SALS) accounts for the remaining 90%. Diverse genetic mutations leading to FALS have been identified, but the underlying causes of SALS remain largely unknown. Despite the heterogeneous and incompletely understood etiology, different types of ALS exhibit overlapping pathology and common phenotypes, including protein aggregation and mitochondrial deficiencies. Here, we review the current understanding of mechanisms leading to motor neuron degeneration in ALS as they pertain to disrupted cellular clearance pathways, ATP biogenesis, calcium buffering and mitochondrial dynamics. Through focusing on impaired autophagic and mitochondrial functions, we highlight how the convergence of diverse cellular processes and pathways contributes to common pathology in motor neuron degeneration. PMID:26973461

  4. A plural role for lipids in motor neuron diseases: energy, signaling and structure

    PubMed Central

    Schmitt, Florent; Hussain, Ghulam; Dupuis, Luc; Loeffler, Jean-Philippe; Henriques, Alexandre

    2013-01-01

    Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are characterized by selective death of motor neurons and include mainly adult-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Neurodegeneration is not the single pathogenic event occurring during disease progression. There are multiple lines of evidence for the existence of defects in lipid metabolism at peripheral level. For instance, hypermetabolism is well characterized in ALS, and dyslipidemia correlates with better prognosis in patients. Lipid metabolism plays also a role in other MNDs. In SMA, misuse of lipids as energetic nutrients is described in patients and in related animal models. The composition of structural lipids in the central nervous system is modified, with repercussion on membrane fluidity and on cell signaling mediated by bioactive lipids. Here, we review the main epidemiologic and mechanistic findings that link alterations of lipid metabolism and motor neuron degeneration, and we discuss the rationale of targeting these modifications for therapeutic management of MNDs. PMID:24600344

  5. Cargo-carrying motor vehicles on the neuronal highway: transport pathways and neurodegenerative disease.

    PubMed

    Gunawardena, Shermali; Goldstein, Lawrence S B

    2004-02-01

    Within axons vital cargoes must be transported over great distances along microtubule tracks to maintain neuronal viability. Essential to this system are the molecular motors, kinesin and dynein, which transport a variety of neuronal cargoes. Elucidating the transport pathways, the identity of the cargoes transported, and the regulation of motor-cargo complexes are areas of intense investigation. Evidence suggests that essential components, including signaling proteins, neuroprotective and repair molecules, and vesicular and cytoskeletal components are all transported. In addition newly emerging data indicate that defects in axonal transport pathways may contribute to the initiation or progression of chronic neuronal dysfunction. In this review we concentrate on microtubule-based motor proteins, their linkers, and cargoes and discuss how factors in the axonal transport pathway contribute to disease states. As additional cargo complexes and transport pathways are identified, an understanding of the role these pathways play in the development of human disease will hopefully lead to new diagnostic and treatment strategies. PMID:14704957

  6. Arginase 1 Regulation of Nitric Oxide Production Is Key to Survival of Trophic Factor-Deprived Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Estévez, Alvaro G.; Sahawneh, Mary Anne; Lange, Philipp S.; Bae, Narae; Egea, Mariela; Ratan, Rajiv R.

    2008-01-01

    When deprived of trophic factors, the majority of cultured motor neurons undergo nitric oxide-dependent apoptosis. However, for reasons that have remained unclear, 30–50% of the motor neurons survive for several days without trophic factors. Here we hypothesize that the resistance of this motor neuron subpopulation to trophic factor deprivation can be attributed to diminished nitric oxide production resulting from the activity of the arginine-degrading enzyme arginase. When incubated with nor-NG-hydroxy-nor-l-arginine (NOHA), the normally resistant trophic factor-deprived motor neurons showed a drop in survival rates, whereas trophic factor-treated neurons did not. NOHA-induced motor neuron death was inhibited by blocking nitric oxide synthesis and the scavenging of superoxide and peroxynitrite, suggesting that peroxynitrite mediates NOHA toxicity. When we transfected arginase 1 into motor neurons to see whether it alone could abrogate trophic factor deprivation-induced death, we found that its forced expression did indeed do so. The protection afforded by arginase 1 expression is reversed when cells are incubated with NOHA or with low concentrations of nitric oxide. These results reveal that arginase acts as a central regulator of trophic factor-deprived motor neuron survival by suppressing nitric oxide production and the consequent peroxynitrite toxicity. They also suggest that the resistance of motor neuron subpopulations to trophic factor deprivation may result from increased arginase activity. PMID:16914676

  7. Stem cell-derived motor neurons from spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy patients.

    PubMed

    Grunseich, Christopher; Zukosky, Kristen; Kats, Ilona R; Ghosh, Laboni; Harmison, George G; Bott, Laura C; Rinaldi, Carlo; Chen, Ke-lian; Chen, Guibin; Boehm, Manfred; Fischbeck, Kenneth H

    2014-10-01

    Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA, Kennedy's disease) is a motor neuron disease caused by polyglutamine repeat expansion in the androgen receptor. Although degeneration occurs in the spinal cord and muscle, the exact mechanism is not clear. Induced pluripotent stem cells from spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy patients provide a useful model for understanding the disease mechanism and designing effective therapy. Stem cells were generated from six patients and compared to control lines from three healthy individuals. Motor neurons from four patients were differentiated from stem cells and characterized to understand disease-relevant phenotypes. Stem cells created from patient fibroblasts express less androgen receptor than control cells, but show androgen-dependent stabilization and nuclear translocation. The expanded repeat in several stem cell clones was unstable, with either expansion or contraction. Patient stem cell clones produced a similar number of motor neurons compared to controls, with or without androgen treatment. The stem cell-derived motor neurons had immunoreactivity for HB9, Isl1, ChAT, and SMI-32, and those with the largest repeat expansions were found to have increased acetylated α-tubulin and reduced HDAC6. Reduced HDAC6 was also found in motor neuron cultures from two other patients with shorter repeats. Evaluation of stably transfected mouse cells and SBMA spinal cord showed similar changes in acetylated α-tubulin and HDAC6. Perinuclear lysosomal enrichment, an HDAC6 dependent process, was disrupted in motor neurons from two patients with the longest repeats. SBMA stem cells present new insights into the disease, and the observations of reduced androgen receptor levels, repeat instability, and reduced HDAC6 provide avenues for further investigation of the disease mechanism and development of effective therapy. PMID:24925468

  8. STAT3 modulation to enhance motor neuron differentiation in human neural stem cells.

    PubMed

    Natarajan, Rajalaxmi; Singal, Vinamrata; Benes, Richard; Gao, Junling; Chan, Hoi; Chen, Haijun; Yu, Yongjia; Zhou, Jia; Wu, Ping

    2014-01-01

    Spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis damages spinal motor neurons and forms a glial scar, which prevents neural regeneration. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) plays a critical role in astrogliogenesis and scar formation, and thus a fine modulation of STAT3 signaling may help to control the excessive gliogenic environment and enhance neural repair. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of STAT3 inhibition on human neural stem cells (hNSCs). In vitro hNSCs primed with fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) exhibited a lower level of phosphorylated STAT3 than cells primed by epidermal growth factor (EGF), which correlated with a higher number of motor neurons differentiated from FGF2-primed hNSCs. Treatment with STAT3 inhibitors, Stattic and Niclosamide, enhanced motor neuron differentiation only in FGF2-primed hNSCs, as shown by increased homeobox gene Hb9 mRNA levels as well as HB9+ and microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2)+ co-labeled cells. The increased motor neuron differentiation was accompanied by a decrease in the number of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive astrocytes. Interestingly, Stattic and Niclosamide did not affect the level of STAT3 phosphorylation; rather, they perturbed the nuclear translocation of phosphorylated STAT3. In summary, we demonstrate that FGF2 is required for motor neuron differentiation from hNSCs and that inhibition of STAT3 further increases motor neuron differentiation at the expense of astrogliogenesis. Our study thus suggests a potential benefit of targeting the STAT3 pathway for neurotrauma or neurodegenerative diseases. PMID:24945434

  9. A central pattern generator producing alternative outputs: phase relations of leech heart motor neurons with respect to premotor synaptic input.

    PubMed

    Norris, Brian J; Weaver, Adam L; Wenning, Angela; García, Paul S; Calabrese, Ronald L

    2007-11-01

    The central pattern generator (CPG) for heartbeat in leeches consists of seven identified pairs of segmental heart interneurons and one unidentified pair. Four of the identified pairs and the unidentified pair of interneurons make inhibitory synaptic connections with segmental heart motor neurons. The CPG produces a side-to-side asymmetric pattern of intersegmental coordination among ipsilateral premotor interneurons corresponding to a similarly asymmetric fictive motor pattern in heart motor neurons, and asymmetric constriction pattern of the two tubular hearts: synchronous and peristaltic. Using extracellular techniques, we recorded, in 61 isolated nerve cords, the activity of motor neurons in conjunction with the phase reference premotor heart interneuron, HN(4), and another premotor interneuron that allowed us to assess the coordination mode. These data were then coupled with a previous description of the temporal pattern of premotor interneuron activity in the two coordination modes to synthesize a global phase diagram for the known elements of the CPG and the entire motor neuron ensemble. These average data reveal the stereotypical side-to-side asymmetric patterns of intersegmental coordination among the motor neurons and show how this pattern meshes with the activity pattern of premotor interneurons. Analysis of animal-to-animal variability in this coordination indicates that the intersegmental phase progression of motor neuron activity in the midbody in the peristaltic coordination mode is the most stereotypical feature of the fictive motor pattern. Bilateral recordings from motor neurons corroborate the main features of the asymmetric motor pattern. PMID:17728387

  10. The proportion of common synaptic input to motor neurons increases with an increase in net excitatory input.

    PubMed

    Castronovo, Anna Margherita; Negro, Francesco; Conforto, Silvia; Farina, Dario

    2015-12-01

    α-Motor neurons receive synaptic inputs from spinal and supraspinal centers that comprise components either common to the motor neuron pool or independent. The input shared by motor neurons--common input--determines force control. The aim of the study was to investigate the changes in the strength of common synaptic input delivered to motor neurons with changes in force and with fatigue, two conditions that underlie an increase in the net excitatory drive to the motor neurons. High-density surface electromyogram (EMG) signals were recorded from the tibialis anterior muscle during contractions at 20, 50, and 75% of the maximal voluntary contraction force (in 3 sessions separated by at least 2 days), all sustained until task failure. EMG signal decomposition identified the activity of a total of 1,245 motor units. The coherence values between cumulative motor unit spike trains increased with increasing force, especially for low frequencies. This increase in coherence was not observed when comparing two subsets of motor units having different recruitment thresholds, but detected at the same force level. Moreover, the coherence values for frequencies <5 Hz increased at task failure with respect to the beginning of the contractions for all force levels. In conclusion, the results indicated that the relative strength of common synaptic input to motor neurons increases with respect to independent input when the net excitatory drive to motor neurons increases as a consequence of a change in force and fatigue. PMID:26404614

  11. Bone morphogenetic protein signaling in vertebrate motor neurons and neuromuscular communication

    PubMed Central

    Osses, Nelson; Henríquez, Juan P.

    2015-01-01

    An accurate communication between motor neurons and skeletal muscle fibers is required for the proper assembly, growth and maintenance of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). Several signaling and extracellular matrix molecules play stimulatory and inhibitory roles on the assembly of functional synapses. Studies in Drosophila have revealed crucial functions for early morphogens, such as members of the Wnt and Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMP) signaling pathways, during the assembly and maturation of the NMJ. Here, we bring together recent findings that led us to propose that BMPs also work in vertebrate organisms as diffusible cues to communicate motor neurons and skeletal muscles. PMID:25674047

  12. Diffuse cerebrospinal gliomatosis presenting as motor neuron disease for two years.

    PubMed Central

    Schmidbauer, M; Müller, C; Podreka, I; Mamoli, B; Sluga, E; Deecke, L

    1989-01-01

    A patient with symptoms and signs of motor neuron disease for 2 years finally developed sensory disturbances and increased intracranial pressure. MRI and CT showed enlargement of the right side of the cerebellum, the brainstem and parts of the cerebral hemisphere with focal hyperperfusion demonstrated by SPECT. Necropsy revealed a diffuse cerebrospinal gliomatosis with loss of spinal motor neurons in tumour infiltration of the anterior horns. This type of spinal cord involvement is considered responsible for the unusual clinical presentation of the neoplasm. Images PMID:2703845

  13. Iron insufficiency compromises motor neurons and their mitochondrial function in Irp2-null mice.

    PubMed

    Jeong, Suh Young; Crooks, Daniel R; Wilson-Ollivierre, Hayden; Ghosh, Manik C; Sougrat, Rachid; Lee, Jaekwon; Cooperman, Sharon; Mitchell, James B; Beaumont, Carole; Rouault, Tracey A

    2011-01-01

    Genetic ablation of Iron Regulatory Protein 2 (Irp2, Ireb2), which post-transcriptionally regulates iron metabolism genes, causes a gait disorder in mice that progresses to hind-limb paralysis. Here we have demonstrated that misregulation of iron metabolism from loss of Irp2 causes lower motor neuronal degeneration with significant spinal cord axonopathy. Mitochondria in the lumbar spinal cord showed significantly decreased Complex I and II activities, and abnormal morphology. Lower motor neurons appeared to be the most adversely affected neurons, and we show that functional iron starvation due to misregulation of iron import and storage proteins, including transferrin receptor 1 and ferritin, may have a causal role in disease. We demonstrated that two therapeutic approaches were beneficial for motor neuron survival. First, we activated a homologous protein, IRP1, by oral Tempol treatment and found that axons were partially spared from degeneration. Secondly, we genetically decreased expression of the iron storage protein, ferritin, to diminish functional iron starvation. These data suggest that functional iron deficiency may constitute a previously unrecognized molecular basis for degeneration of motor neurons in mice. PMID:22003390

  14. Major Histocompatibility Complex I Expression by Motor Neurons and Its Implication in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Nardo, Giovanni; Trolese, Maria Chiara; Bendotti, Caterina

    2016-01-01

    Neuronal expression of major histocompatibility complex I (MHCI)-related molecules in adults and during CNS diseases is involved in the synaptic plasticity and axonal regeneration with mechanisms either dependent or independent of their immune functions. Motor neurons are highly responsive in triggering the expression of MHCI molecules during normal aging or following insults and diseases, and this has implications in the synaptic controls, axonal regeneration, and neuromuscular junction stability of these neurons. We recently reported that MHCI and immunoproteasome are strongly activated in spinal motor neurons and their peripheral motor axon in a mouse model of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) during the course of the disease. This response was prominent in ALS mice with slower disease progression in which the axonal structure and function was better preserved than in fast-progressing mice. This review summarizes and discusses our observations in the light of knowledge about the possible role of MHCI in motor neurons providing additional insight into the pathophysiology of ALS. PMID:27379008

  15. Differentiation of neuronal stem cells into motor neurons using electrospun poly-L-lactic acid/gelatin scaffold.

    PubMed

    Binan, Loïc; Tendey, Charlène; De Crescenzo, Gregory; El Ayoubi, Rouwayda; Ajji, Abdellah; Jolicoeur, Mario

    2014-01-01

    Neural stem cells (NSCs) provide promising therapeutic potential for cell replacement therapy in spinal cord injury (SCI). However, high increases of cell viability and poor control of cell differentiation remain major obstacles. In this study, we have developed a non-woven material made of co-electrospun fibers of poly L-lactic acid and gelatin with a degradation rate and mechanical properties similar to peripheral nerve tissue and investigated their effect on cell survival and differentiation into motor neuronal lineages through the controlled release of retinoic acid (RA) and purmorphamine. Engineered Neural Stem-Like Cells (NSLCs) seeded on these fibers, with and without the instructive cues, differentiated into β-III-tubulin, HB-9, Islet-1, and choactase-positive motor neurons by immunostaining, in response to the release of the biomolecules. In addition, the bioactive material not only enhanced the differentiation into motor neuronal lineages but also promoted neurite outgrowth. This study elucidated that a combination of electrospun fiber scaffolds, neural stem cells, and controlled delivery of instructive cues could lead to the development of a better strategy for peripheral nerve injury repair. PMID:24161168

  16. Morphological and electrophysiological features of motor neurons and putative interneurons in the dorsal vagal complex of rats and mice

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Hong; Glatzer, Nicholas R.; Williams, Kevin W.; Derbenev, Andrei V.; Liu, Dan; Smith, Bret N.

    2009-01-01

    The dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) contains preganglionic motor neurons that control viscera along the subdiaphragmatic digestive tract, but may also contain neurons that do not project to the viscera. Neurons that expressed EGFP 60-72 h subsequent to PRV-152 inoculation of vagal terminals in the stomach wall were targeted for whole-cell patch-clamp recording and biocytin filling in transverse brainstem slices from rats and their quantitative morphological and electrophysiological characteristics were compared with uninfected cells. Over 90% of PRV-152 labeled neurons were also labeled subsequent to intraperitoneal injection of FluoroGold, indicating most were preganglionic motor neurons. In reconstructed neurons with an identifiable axon trajectory, two cellular subtypes were distinguished. The axon projected ventrolaterally from the DMV in 44 of 49 cells and these were likely to be vagal motor neurons. Axons of other neurons ramified within the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) or DMV. These cells were smaller and otherwise morphologically distinct from putative motor neurons. Transgenic mice with GFP-expressing inhibitory neurons (i.e., GIN mice) were used to identify a GABAergic subset vagal neurons. These neurons had locally-ramifying axons and formed a morphologically distinct subset of DMV cells, which were similar in size and axon trajectory to GABAergic neurons in the NTS. Most neurons in the DMV therefore possess morphological features of motor neurons, but locally projecting cells and inhibitory neurons with distinct morphological features are also found within the DMV. These cells likely contribute to regulation of vagal function. PMID:19619517

  17. Mitochondrial fission is an acute and adaptive response in injured motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Kiryu-Seo, Sumiko; Tamada, Hiromi; Kato, Yukina; Yasuda, Katsura; Ishihara, Naotada; Nomura, Masatoshi; Mihara, Katsuyoshi; Kiyama, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    Successful recovery from neuronal damage requires a huge energy supply, which is provided by mitochondria. However, the physiological relevance of mitochondrial dynamics in damaged neurons in vivo is poorly understood. To address this issue, we established unique bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic (BAC Tg) mice, which develop and function normally, but in which neuronal injury induces labelling of mitochondria with green fluorescent protein (GFP) and expression of cre recombinase. GFP-labelled mitochondria in BAC Tg mice appear shorter in regenerating motor axons soon after nerve injury compared with mitochondria in non-injured axons, suggesting the importance of increased mitochondrial fission during the early phase of nerve regeneration. Crossing the BAC Tg mice with mice carrying a floxed dynamin-related protein 1 gene (Drp1), which is necessary for mitochondrial fission, ablates mitochondrial fission specifically in injured neurons. Injury-induced Drp1-deficient motor neurons show elongated or abnormally gigantic mitochondria, which have impaired membrane potential and axonal transport velocity during the early phase after injury, and eventually promote neuronal death. Our in vivo data suggest that acute and prominent mitochondrial fission during the early stage after nerve injury is an adaptive response and is involved in the maintenance of mitochondrial and neuronal integrity to prevent neurodegeneration. PMID:27319806

  18. Mitochondrial fission is an acute and adaptive response in injured motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Kiryu-Seo, Sumiko; Tamada, Hiromi; Kato, Yukina; Yasuda, Katsura; Ishihara, Naotada; Nomura, Masatoshi; Mihara, Katsuyoshi; Kiyama, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    Successful recovery from neuronal damage requires a huge energy supply, which is provided by mitochondria. However, the physiological relevance of mitochondrial dynamics in damaged neurons in vivo is poorly understood. To address this issue, we established unique bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic (BAC Tg) mice, which develop and function normally, but in which neuronal injury induces labelling of mitochondria with green fluorescent protein (GFP) and expression of cre recombinase. GFP-labelled mitochondria in BAC Tg mice appear shorter in regenerating motor axons soon after nerve injury compared with mitochondria in non-injured axons, suggesting the importance of increased mitochondrial fission during the early phase of nerve regeneration. Crossing the BAC Tg mice with mice carrying a floxed dynamin-related protein 1 gene (Drp1), which is necessary for mitochondrial fission, ablates mitochondrial fission specifically in injured neurons. Injury-induced Drp1-deficient motor neurons show elongated or abnormally gigantic mitochondria, which have impaired membrane potential and axonal transport velocity during the early phase after injury, and eventually promote neuronal death. Our in vivo data suggest that acute and prominent mitochondrial fission during the early stage after nerve injury is an adaptive response and is involved in the maintenance of mitochondrial and neuronal integrity to prevent neurodegeneration. PMID:27319806

  19. Medullary raphe neurones and baroreceptor modulation of the respiratory motor pattern in the cat

    PubMed Central

    Lindsey, B G; Arata, A; Morris, K F; Hernandez, Y M; Shannon, R

    1998-01-01

    Perturbations of arterial blood pressure change medullary raphe neurone activity and the respiratory motor pattern. This study sought evidence for actions of baroresponsive raphe neurones on the medullary respiratory network.Blood pressure was perturbed by intravenous injection of an α1-adrenergic receptor agonist, unilateral pressure changes in the carotid sinus, or occlusion of the descending aorta in thirty-six Dial-urethane-anaesthetized, vagotomized, paralysed, artificially ventilated cats. Neurones were monitored with microelectrode arrays in two or three of the following domains: nucleus raphe obscurus-nucleus raphe pallidus, nucleus raphe magnus, and rostral and caudal ventrolateral medulla. Data were analysed with cycle-triggered histograms, peristimulus time and cumulative sum histograms, cross-correlograms and spike-triggered averages of efferent phrenic nerve activity.Prolongation of the expiratory phase and decreased peak integrated phrenic amplitude were most frequently observed. Of 707 neurones studied, 310 had altered firing rates during stimulation; changes in opposite directions were monitored simultaneously in fifty-six of eighty-seven data sets with at least two baroresponsive neurones.Short time scale correlations were detected between neurones in 347 of 3388 pairs. Seventeen pairs of baroresponsive raphe neurones exhibited significant offset correlogram features indicative of paucisynaptic interactions. In correlated raphe-ventrolateral medullary neurone pairs with at least one baroresponsive neurone, six of seven ventrolateral medullary decrementing expiratory (E-Decr) neurones increased their firing rate during baroreceptor stimulation. Thirteen of fifteen ventrolateral medullary inspiratory neurones correlated with raphe cells decreased their firing rate during baroreceptor stimulation.The results support the hypothesis that raphe neuronal assemblies transform and transmit information from baroreceptors to neurones in the ventral

  20. Neuronal injury in the motor cortex after chronic stroke and lower limb motor impairment: a voxel-based lesion symptom mapping study

    PubMed Central

    Reynolds, Alexandria M.; Peters, Denise M.; Vendemia, Jennifer M. C.; Smith, Lenwood P.; Sweet, Raymond C.; Baylis, Gordon C.; Krotish, Debra; Fritz, Stacy L.

    2014-01-01

    Many studies have examined motor impairments using voxel-based lesion symptom mapping, but few are reported regarding the corresponding relationship between cerebral cortex injury and lower limb motor impairment analyzed using this technique. This study correlated neuronal injury in the cerebral cortex of 16 patients with chronic stroke based on a voxel-based lesion symptom mapping analysis. Neuronal injury in the corona radiata, caudate nucleus and putamen of patients with chronic stroke could predict walking speed. The behavioral measure scores were consistent with motor deficits expected after damage to the cortical motor system due to stroke. These findings suggest that voxel-based lesion symptom mapping may provide a more accurate prognosis of motor recovery from chronic stroke according to neuronal injury in cerebral motor cortex. PMID:25206888

  1. Cathepsin B-dependent motor neuron death after nerve injury in the adult mouse

    SciTech Connect

    Sun, Li; Wu, Zhou; Baba, Masashi; Peters, Christoph; Uchiyama, Yasuo; Nakanishi, Hiroshi

    2010-08-27

    Research highlights: {yields} Cathepsin B (CB), a lysosomal cysteine protease, is expressed in neuron and glia. {yields} CB increased in hypogrossal nucleus neurons after nerve injury in adult mice. {yields} CB-deficiency significantly increased the mean survival ratio of injured neurons. {yields} Thus, CB plays a critical role in axotomy-induced neuronal death in adult mice. -- Abstract: There are significant differences in the rate of neuronal death after peripheral nerve injury between species. The rate of neuronal death of motor neurons after nerve injury in the adult rats is very low, whereas that in adult mice is relatively high. However, the understanding of the mechanism underlying axotomy-induced motor neuron death in adult mice is limited. Cathepsin B (CB), a typical cysteine lysosomal protease, has been implicated in three major morphologically distinct pathways of cell death; apoptosis, necrosis and autophagic cell death. The possible involvement of CB in the neuronal death of hypogrossal nucleus (HGN) neurons after nerve injury in adult mice was thus examined. Quantitative analyses showed the mean survival ratio of HGN neurons in CB-deficient (CB-/-) adult mice after nerve injury was significantly greater than that in the wild-type mice. At the same time, proliferation of microglia in the injured side of the HGN of CB-/- adult mice was markedly reduced compared with that in the wild-type mice. On the injured side of the HGN in the wild-type adult mice, both pro- and mature forms of CB markedly increased in accordance with the increase in the membrane-bound form of LC3 (LC3-II), a marker protein of autophagy. Furthermore, the increase in CB preceded an increase in the expression of Noxa, a major executor for axotomy-induced motor neuron death in the adult mouse. Conversely, expression of neither Noxa or LC3-II was observed in the HGN of adult CB-/- mice after nerve injury. These observations strongly suggest that CB plays a critical role in axotomy

  2. Progressive Apraxia of Speech as a Sign of Motor Neuron Disease

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Duffy, Joseph R.; Peach, Richard K.; Strand, Edythe A.

    2007-01-01

    Purpose: To document and describe in detail the occurrence of apraxia of speech (AOS) in a group of individuals with a diagnosis of motor neuron disease (MND). Method: Seven individuals with MND and AOS were identified from among 80 patients with a variety of neurodegenerative diseases and AOS (J. R. Duffy, 2006). The history, presenting…

  3. TDP-43 Proteinopathy and Motor Neuron Disease in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

    PubMed Central

    McKee, Ann C.; Gavett, Brandon E.; Stern, Robert A.; Nowinski, Christopher J.; Cantu, Robert C.; Kowall, Neil W.; Perl, Daniel P.; Hedley-Whyte, E. Tessa; Price, Bruce; Sullivan, Chris; Morin, Peter; Lee, Hyo-Soon; Kubilus, Caroline A.; Daneshvar, Daniel H.; Wulff, Megan; Budson, Andrew E.

    2010-01-01

    Epidemiological evidence suggests that the incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is increased in association with head injury. Repetitive head injury is also associated with the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a tauopathy characterized by neurofibrillary tangles throughout the brain in the relative absence of β-amyloid deposits. We examined 12 cases of CTE and, in 10, found a widespread TAR DNA-binding protein of approximately 43 kd (TDP-43) proteinopathy affecting the frontal and temporal cortices, medial temporal lobe, basal ganglia, diencephalon, and brainstem. Three athletes with CTE also developed a progressive motor neuron disease with profound weakness, atrophy, spasticity, and fasciculations several years before death. In these 3 cases, there were abundant TDP-43–positive inclusions and neurites in the spinal cord in addition to tau neurofibrillary changes, motor neuron loss, and corticospinal tract degeneration. The TDP-43 proteinopathy associated with CTE is similar to that found in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions, in that widespread regions of the brain are affected. Akin to frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions, in some individuals with CTE, the TDP-43 proteinopathy extends to involve the spinal cord and is associated with motor neuron disease. This is the first pathological evidence that repetitive head trauma experienced in collision sports might be associated with the development of a motor neuron disease. PMID:20720505

  4. MND2: A new mouse model of inherited motor neuron disease

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, J.M.; Albin, R.L.; Feldman, E.L.; Simin, K.; Schuster, T.G.; Dunnick, W.A.; Collins, J.T.; Chrisp, C.E.; Meisler, M.H. ); Taylor, B.A. )

    1993-06-01

    The autosomal recessive mutation mnd2 results in early onset motor neuron disease with rapidly progressive paralysis, severe muscle wasting, regression of thymus and spleen, and death before 40 days of age. mnd2 has been mapped to mouse chromosome 6 with the gene order: centromere-Tcrb-Ly-2-Sftp-3-D6Mit4-mnd2-D6Mit6, D6Mit9-D6Rck132-Raf-1, D6Mit11-D6Mit12-D6Mit14. mnd2 is located within a conserved linkage group with homologs on human chromosome 2p12-p13. Spinal motor neurons of homozygous affected animals are swollen and stain weakly, and electromyography revealed spontaneous activity characteristic of muscle denervation. Myelin staining was normal throughout the neuraxis. The clinical observations are consistent with a primary abnormality of lower motor neuron function. This new animal model will be of value for identification of a genetic defect responsible for motor neuron disease and for evaluation of new therapies. 36 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs.

  5. The AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 regulates dendritic architecture of motor neurons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Inglis, Fiona M.; Crockett, Richard; Korada, Sailaja; Abraham, Wickliffe C.; Hollmann, Michael; Kalb, Robert G.

    2002-01-01

    The morphology of the mature motor neuron dendritic arbor is determined by activity-dependent processes occurring during a critical period in early postnatal life. The abundance of the AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 in motor neurons is very high during this period and subsequently falls to a negligible level. To test the role of GluR1 in dendrite morphogenesis, we reintroduced GluR1 into rat motor neurons at the end of the critical period and quantitatively studied the effects on dendrite architecture. Two versions of GluR1 were studied that differed by the amino acid in the "Q/R" editing site. The amino acid occupying this site determines single-channel conductance, ionic permeability, and other essential electrophysiologic properties of the resulting receptor channels. We found large-scale remodeling of dendritic architectures in a manner depending on the amino acid occupying the Q/R editing site. Alterations in the distribution of dendritic arbor were not prevented by blocking NMDA receptors. These observations suggest that the expression of GluR1 in motor neurons modulates a component of the molecular substrate of activity-dependent dendrite morphogenesis. The control of these events relies on subunit-specific properties of AMPA receptors.

  6. In vivo labeling of zebrafish motor neurons using an mnx1 enhancer and Gal4/UAS.

    PubMed

    Zelenchuk, Taras A; Brusés, Juan L

    2011-07-01

    The zebrafish spinal cord primary motor neurons are commonly used as an experimental model to study the molecular mechanisms that regulate axonal pathfinding and neuromuscular junction formation, and for the modeling of human neurodegenerative disorders. This study characterized a 125-bp mnx1 enhancer to direct gene expression in spinal cord motor neurons. A promoter containing three copies of the 125-bp mnx1 enhancer was generated in a Tol2 vector and used to drive enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expression either directly or in combination with the Gal4/UAS transcriptional activation system. Both methods induced protein expression for up to 5 days after fertilization, allowing the observation of the dendritic tree and axonal arborization of single motor neurons within a somitic segment in fixed and live animals. The use of the 125-bp mnx1 promoter for transient transgenic expression or for the generation of stable transgenic fish lines will facilitate the study of motor neuron development and neurodegenerative processes. PMID:21538811

  7. Motor Neurone Disease: Disability Profile and Service Needs in an Australian Cohort

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ng, Louisa; Talman, Paul; Khan, Fary

    2011-01-01

    Motor neurone disease (MND) places considerable burden upon patients and caregivers. This is the first study, which describes the disability profile and healthcare needs for persons with MND (pwMND) in an Australian sample from the perspective of the patients and caregivers to identify current gaps in the knowledge and service provision. A…

  8. Bee Venom Protects against Rotenone-Induced Cell Death in NSC34 Motor Neuron Cells.

    PubMed

    Jung, So Young; Lee, Kang-Woo; Choi, Sun-Mi; Yang, Eun Jin

    2015-09-01

    Rotenone, an inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, is known to elevate mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and induce apoptosis via activation of the caspase-3 pathway. Bee venom (BV) extracted from honey bees has been widely used in oriental medicine and contains melittin, apamin, adolapin, mast cell-degranulating peptide, and phospholipase A₂. In this study, we tested the effects of BV on neuronal cell death by examining rotenone-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. NSC34 motor neuron cells were pretreated with 2.5 μg/mL BV and stimulated with 10 μM rotenone to induce cell toxicity. We assessed cell death by Western blotting using specific antibodies, such as phospho-ERK1/2, phospho-JNK, and cleaved capase-3 and performed an MTT assay for evaluation of cell death and mitochondria staining. Pretreatment with 2.5 μg/mL BV had a neuroprotective effect against 10 μM rotenone-induced cell death in NSC34 motor neuron cells. Pre-treatment with BV significantly enhanced cell viability and ameliorated mitochondrial impairment in rotenone-treated cellular model. Moreover, BV treatment inhibited the activation of JNK signaling and cleaved caspase-3 related to cell death and increased ERK phosphorylation involved in cell survival in rotenone-treated NSC34 motor neuron cells. Taken together, we suggest that BV treatment can be useful for protection of neurons against oxidative stress or neurotoxin-induced cell death. PMID:26402700

  9. Generating Diverse Spinal Motor Neuron Subtypes from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

    PubMed Central

    Patani, Rickie

    2016-01-01

    Resolving the mechanisms underlying human neuronal diversification remains a major challenge in developmental and applied neurobiology. Motor neurons (MNs) represent a diverse pool of neuronal subtypes exhibiting differential vulnerability in different human neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The ability to predictably manipulate MN subtype lineage restriction from human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) will form the essential basis to establishing accurate, clinically relevant in vitro disease models. I first overview motor neuron developmental biology to provide some context for reviewing recent studies interrogating pathways that influence the generation of MN diversity. I conclude that motor neurogenesis from PSCs provides a powerful reductionist model system to gain insight into the developmental logic of MN subtype diversification and serves more broadly as a leading exemplar of potential strategies to resolve the molecular basis of neuronal subclass differentiation within the nervous system. These studies will in turn permit greater mechanistic understanding of differential MN subtype vulnerability using in vitro human disease models. PMID:26823667

  10. Bee Venom Protects against Rotenone-Induced Cell Death in NSC34 Motor Neuron Cells

    PubMed Central

    Jung, So Young; Lee, Kang-Woo; Choi, Sun-Mi; Yang, Eun Jin

    2015-01-01

    Rotenone, an inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, is known to elevate mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and induce apoptosis via activation of the caspase-3 pathway. Bee venom (BV) extracted from honey bees has been widely used in oriental medicine and contains melittin, apamin, adolapin, mast cell-degranulating peptide, and phospholipase A2. In this study, we tested the effects of BV on neuronal cell death by examining rotenone-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. NSC34 motor neuron cells were pretreated with 2.5 μg/mL BV and stimulated with 10 μM rotenone to induce cell toxicity. We assessed cell death by Western blotting using specific antibodies, such as phospho-ERK1/2, phospho-JNK, and cleaved capase-3 and performed an MTT assay for evaluation of cell death and mitochondria staining. Pretreatment with 2.5 μg/mL BV had a neuroprotective effect against 10 μM rotenone-induced cell death in NSC34 motor neuron cells. Pre-treatment with BV significantly enhanced cell viability and ameliorated mitochondrial impairment in rotenone-treated cellular model. Moreover, BV treatment inhibited the activation of JNK signaling and cleaved caspase-3 related to cell death and increased ERK phosphorylation involved in cell survival in rotenone-treated NSC34 motor neuron cells. Taken together, we suggest that BV treatment can be useful for protection of neurons against oxidative stress or neurotoxin-induced cell death. PMID:26402700

  11. The Relationship of Neuronal Activity within the Sensori-Motor Region of the Subthalamic Nucleus to Speech

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Watson, Peter; Montgomery, Erwin B., Jr.

    2006-01-01

    Microelectrode recordings of human sensori-motor subthalamic neuronal activity during spoken sentence and syllable-repetition tasks provided an opportunity to evaluate the relationship between changes in neuronal activities and specific aspects of these vocal behaviors. Observed patterns of neuronal activity included a build up of activity in…

  12. Plastic changes in the spinal cord in motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Fornai, Francesco; Ferrucci, Michela; Lenzi, Paola; Falleni, Alessandra; Biagioni, Francesca; Flaibani, Marina; Siciliano, Gabriele; Giannessi, Francesco; Paparelli, Antonio

    2014-01-01

    In the present paper, we analyze the cell number within lamina X at the end stage of disease in a G93A mouse model of ALS; the effects induced by lithium; the stem-cell like phenotype of lamina X cells during ALS; the differentiation of these cells towards either a glial or neuronal phenotype. In summary we found that G93A mouse model of ALS produces an increase in lamina X cells which is further augmented by lithium administration. In the absence of lithium these nestin positive stem-like cells preferentially differentiate into glia (GFAP positive), while in the presence of lithium these cells differentiate towards a neuron-like phenotype ( β III-tubulin, NeuN, and calbindin-D28K positive). These effects of lithium are observed concomitantly with attenuation in disease progression and are reminiscent of neurogenetic effects induced by lithium in the subependymal ventricular zone of the hippocampus. PMID:24829911

  13. Plastic Changes in the Spinal Cord in Motor Neuron Disease

    PubMed Central

    Fornai, Francesco; Ferrucci, Michela; Lenzi, Paola; Falleni, Alessandra; Biagioni, Francesca; Flaibani, Marina; Siciliano, Gabriele; Giannessi, Francesco; Paparelli, Antonio

    2014-01-01

    In the present paper, we analyze the cell number within lamina X at the end stage of disease in a G93A mouse model of ALS; the effects induced by lithium; the stem-cell like phenotype of lamina X cells during ALS; the differentiation of these cells towards either a glial or neuronal phenotype. In summary we found that G93A mouse model of ALS produces an increase in lamina X cells which is further augmented by lithium administration. In the absence of lithium these nestin positive stem-like cells preferentially differentiate into glia (GFAP positive), while in the presence of lithium these cells differentiate towards a neuron-like phenotype (βIII-tubulin, NeuN, and calbindin-D28K positive). These effects of lithium are observed concomitantly with attenuation in disease progression and are reminiscent of neurogenetic effects induced by lithium in the subependymal ventricular zone of the hippocampus. PMID:24829911

  14. Coculture of Primary Motor Neurons and Schwann Cells as a Model for In Vitro Myelination

    PubMed Central

    Hyung, Sujin; Yoon Lee, Bo; Park, Jong-Chul; Kim, Jinseok; Hur, Eun-Mi; Francis Suh, Jun-Kyo

    2015-01-01

    A culture system that can recapitulate myelination in vitro will not only help us better understand the mechanism of myelination and demyelination, but also find out possible therapeutic interventions for treating demyelinating diseases. Here, we introduce a simple and reproducible myelination culture system using mouse motor neurons (MNs) and Schwann cells (SCs). Dissociated motor neurons are plated on a feeder layer of SCs, which interact with and wrap around the axons of MNs as they differentiate in culture. In our MN-SC coculture system, MNs survived over 3 weeks and extended long axons. Both viability and axon growth of MNs in the coculture were markedly enhanced as compared to those of MN monoculture. Co-labeling of myelin basic proteins (MBPs) and neuronal microtubules revealed that SC formed myelin sheaths by wrapping around the axons of MNs. Furthermore, using the coculture system we found that treatment of an antioxidant substance coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10) markedly facilitated myelination. PMID:26456300

  15. Multiplexing of motor information in the discharge of a collision detecting neuron during escape behaviors.

    PubMed

    Fotowat, Haleh; Harrison, Reid R; Gabbiani, Fabrizio

    2011-01-13

    Locusts possess an identified neuron, the descending contralateral movement detector (DCMD), conveying visual information about impending collision from the brain to thoracic motor centers. We built a telemetry system to simultaneously record, in freely behaving animals, the activity of the DCMD and of motoneurons involved in jump execution. Cocontraction of antagonistic leg muscles, a required preparatory phase, was triggered after the DCMD firing rate crossed a threshold. Thereafter, the number of DCMD spikes predicted precisely motoneuron activity and jump occurrence. Additionally, the time of DCMD peak firing rate predicted that of jump. Ablation experiments suggest that the DCMD, together with a nearly identical ipsilateral descending neuron, is responsible for the timely execution of the escape. Thus, three distinct features that are multiplexed in a single neuron's sensory response to impending collision-firing rate threshold, peak firing time, and spike count-probably control three distinct motor aspects of escape behaviors. PMID:21220105

  16. Primary motor cortex neurons classified in a postural task predict muscle activation patterns in a reaching task.

    PubMed

    Heming, Ethan A; Lillicrap, Timothy P; Omrani, Mohsen; Herter, Troy M; Pruszynski, J Andrew; Scott, Stephen H

    2016-04-01

    Primary motor cortex (M1) activity correlates with many motor variables, making it difficult to demonstrate how it participates in motor control. We developed a two-stage process to separate the process of classifying the motor field of M1 neurons from the process of predicting the spatiotemporal patterns of its motor field during reaching. We tested our approach with a neural network model that controlled a two-joint arm to show the statistical relationship between network connectivity and neural activity across different motor tasks. In rhesus monkeys, M1 neurons classified by this method showed preferred reaching directions similar to their associated muscle groups. Importantly, the neural population signals predicted the spatiotemporal dynamics of their associated muscle groups, although a subgroup of atypical neurons reversed their directional preference, suggesting a selective role in antagonist control. These results highlight that M1 provides important details on the spatiotemporal patterns of muscle activity during motor skills such as reaching. PMID:26843605

  17. Physiological basis and image processing in functional magnetic resonance imaging: Neuronal and motor activity in brain

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Rakesh; Sharma, Avdhesh

    2004-01-01

    Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is recently developing as imaging modality used for mapping hemodynamics of neuronal and motor event related tissue blood oxygen level dependence (BOLD) in terms of brain activation. Image processing is performed by segmentation and registration methods. Segmentation algorithms provide brain surface-based analysis, automated anatomical labeling of cortical fields in magnetic resonance data sets based on oxygen metabolic state. Registration algorithms provide geometric features using two or more imaging modalities to assure clinically useful neuronal and motor information of brain activation. This review article summarizes the physiological basis of fMRI signal, its origin, contrast enhancement, physical factors, anatomical labeling by segmentation, registration approaches with examples of visual and motor activity in brain. Latest developments are reviewed for clinical applications of fMRI along with other different neurophysiological and imaging modalities. PMID:15125779

  18. Effects of cerebrolysin on motor-neuron-like NSC-34 cells

    SciTech Connect

    Keilhoff, Gerburg; Lucas, Benjamin; Pinkernelle, Josephine; Steiner, Michael; Fansa, Hisham

    2014-10-01

    Although the peripheral nervous system is capable of regeneration, this capability is limited. As a potential means of augmenting nerve regeneration, the effects of cerebrolysin (CL) – a proteolytic peptide fraction – were tested in vitro on the motor-neuron-like NSC-34 cell line and organotypic spinal cord cultures. Therefore, NSC-34 cells were subjected to mechanical stress by changing media and metabolic stress by oxygen glucose deprivation. Afterwards, cell survival/proliferation using MTT and BrdU-labeling (FACS) and neurite sprouting using ImageJ analysis were evaluated. Calpain-1, Src and α-spectrin protein expression were analyzed by Western blot. In organotypic cultures, the effect of CL on motor neuron survival and neurite sprouting was tested by immunohistochemistry. CL had a temporary anti-proliferative but initially neuroprotective effect on OGD-stressed NSC-34 cells. High-dosed or repeatedly applied CL was deleterious for cell survival. CL amplified neurite reconstruction to limited extent, affected calpain-1 protein expression and influenced calpain-mediated spectrin cleavage as a function of Src expression. In organotypic spinal cord slice cultures, CL was not able to support motor neuron survival/neurite sprouting. Moreover, it hampered astroglia and microglia activities. The data suggest that CL may have only isolated positive effects on injured spinal motor neurons. High-dosed or accumulated CL seemed to have adverse effects in treatment of spinal cord injury. Further experiments are required to optimize the conditions for a safe clinical administration of CL in spinal cord injuries. - Highlights: • Cerebrolysin (CL) is anti-proliferative but initially neuroprotective in OGD-stressed NSC-34 cells. • CL amplified neurite reconstruction of NSC-34 cells. • CL affected calpain-1 expression and calpain-mediated spectrin cleavage as function of Src expression. • In organotypic spinal cord cultures, CL hampered motor neuron survival and

  19. Actions of motor neurons and leg muscles in jumping by planthopper insects (hemiptera, issidae).

    PubMed

    Burrows, Malcolm; Bräunig, Peter

    2010-04-15

    To understand the catapult mechanism that propels jumping in a planthopper insect, the innervation and action of key muscles were analyzed. The large trochanteral depressor muscle, M133b,c, is innervated by two motor neurons and by two dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurons, all with axons in N3C. A smaller depressor muscle, M133a, is innervated by two neurons, one with a large-diameter cell body, a large, blind-ending dendrite, and a giant ovoid, axon measuring 50 microm by 30 microm in nerve N5A. The trochanteral levator muscles (M132) and (M131) are innervated by N4 and N3B, respectively. The actions of these muscles in a restrained jump were divisible into a three-phase pattern. First, both hind legs were moved into a cocked position by high-frequency bursts of spikes in the levator muscles lasting about 0.5 seconds. Second, and once both legs were cocked, M133b,c received a long continuous sequence of motor spikes, but the two levators spiked only sporadically. The spikes in the two motor neurons to M133b,c on one side were closely coupled to each other and to the spikes on the other side. If one hind leg was cocked then the spikes only occurred in motor neurons to that side. The final phase was the jump movement itself, which occurred when the depressor spikes ceased and which lasted 1 ms. Muscles 133b,c activated synchronously on both sides, are responsible for generating the power, and M133a and its giant neuron may play a role in triggering the release of a jump. PMID:20151364

  20. Motor control may support mirror neuron research with new hypotheses and methods. Reply to comments on "Grasping synergies: A motor-control approach to the mirror neuron mechanism"

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Ausilio, Alessandro; Bartoli, Eleonora; Maffongelli, Laura

    2015-03-01

    We are grateful to all commentators for their insightful commentaries and observations that enrich our proposal. One of our aims was indeed to bridge the gap between fields of research that, progressing independently, are facing similar issues regarding the neural representation of motor knowledge. In this respect, we were pleased to receive feedback from eminent researchers on both the mirror neuron as well as the motor control fields. Their expertise covers animal and human neurophysiology, as well as the computational modeling of neural and behavioral processes. Given their heterogeneous cultural perspectives and research approaches, a number of important open questions were raised. For simplicity we separated these issues into four sections. In the first section we present methodological aspects regarding how synergies can be measured in paradigms investigating the human mirror system. The second section regards the fundamental definition of what exactly synergies might be. The third concerns how synergies can generate testable predictions in mirror neuron research. Finally, the fourth section deals with the ultimate question regarding the function of the mirror neuron system.

  1. Motor Training Promotes Both Synaptic and Intrinsic Plasticity of Layer II/III Pyramidal Neurons in the Primary Motor Cortex

    PubMed Central

    Kida, Hiroyuki; Tsuda, Yasumasa; Ito, Nana; Yamamoto, Yui; Owada, Yuji; Kamiya, Yoshinori; Mitsushima, Dai

    2016-01-01

    Motor skill training induces structural plasticity at dendritic spines in the primary motor cortex (M1). To further analyze both synaptic and intrinsic plasticity in the layer II/III area of M1, we subjected rats to a rotor rod test and then prepared acute brain slices. Motor skill consistently improved within 2 days of training. Voltage clamp analysis showed significantly higher α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid/N-methyl-d-aspartate (AMPA/NMDA) ratios and miniature EPSC amplitudes in 1-day trained rats compared with untrained rats, suggesting increased postsynaptic AMPA receptors in the early phase of motor learning. Compared with untrained controls, 2-days trained rats showed significantly higher miniature EPSC amplitude and frequency. Paired-pulse analysis further demonstrated lower rates in 2-days trained rats, suggesting increased presynaptic glutamate release during the late phase of learning. One-day trained rats showed decreased miniature IPSC frequency and increased paired-pulse analysis of evoked IPSC, suggesting a transient decrease in presynaptic γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) release. Moreover, current clamp analysis revealed lower resting membrane potential, higher spike threshold, and deeper afterhyperpolarization in 1-day trained rats—while 2-days trained rats showed higher membrane potential, suggesting dynamic changes in intrinsic properties. Our present results indicate dynamic changes in glutamatergic, GABAergic, and intrinsic plasticity in M1 layer II/III neurons after the motor training. PMID:27193420

  2. Coexpression of neurotrophic growth factors and their receptors in human facial motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Li, J M; Brackmann, D E; Hitselberger, W E; Linthicum, F H; Lim, D J

    1999-09-01

    Neuronal development and maintenance of facial motor neurons is believed to be regulated by neurotrophic growth factors. Using celloidin-embedded sections, we evaluated immunoreactivity of 11 neurotrophic factors and their receptors in facial nuclei of human brain stems (4 normal cases, and 1 from a patient with facial palsy and synkinesis). In the normal subjects, positive immunoreactivity of the growth factor neurotrophin-4 and acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) was observed in facial motor neurons, as was positive immunoreactivity against ret, the receptor shared by glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor and neurturin. Immunoreactivity was moderate for the receptor trkB and strong for trkC. In the case of partial facial palsy, surviving cells failed to show immunoreactivity against neurotrophins. However, immunoreactivity of aFGF was up-regulated in both neuronal and non-neuronal cells in this patient. Results suggest that these trophic growth factors and their receptors may protect facial neurons from secondary degeneration and promote regrowth of the facial nerve after axotomy or injury. PMID:10527284

  3. Global gene expression profiling of somatic motor neuron populations with different vulnerability identify molecules and pathways of degeneration and protection

    PubMed Central

    Karlsson, Martin; Osborn, Teresia; Ludwig, Wesley

    2010-01-01

    Different somatic motor neuron subpopulations show a differential vulnerability to degeneration in diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy and spinobulbar muscular atrophy. Studies in mutant superoxide dismutase 1 over-expressing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis model mice indicate that initiation of disease is intrinsic to motor neurons, while progression is promoted by astrocytes and microglia. Therefore, analysis of the normal transcriptional profile of motor neurons displaying differential vulnerability to degeneration in motor neuron disease could give important clues to the mechanisms of relative vulnerability. Global gene expression profiling of motor neurons isolated by laser capture microdissection from three anatomical nuclei of the normal rat, oculomotor/trochlear (cranial nerve 3/4), hypoglossal (cranial nerve 12) and lateral motor column of the cervical spinal cord, displaying differential vulnerability to degeneration in motor neuron disorders, identified enriched transcripts for each neuronal subpopulation. There were striking differences in the regulation of genes involved in endoplasmatic reticulum and mitochondrial function, ubiquitination, apoptosis regulation, nitrogen metabolism, calcium regulation, transport, growth and RNA processing; cellular pathways that have been implicated in motor neuron diseases. Confirmation of genes of immediate biological interest identified differential localization of insulin-like growth factor II, guanine deaminase, peripherin, early growth response 1, soluble guanylate cyclase 1A3 and placental growth factor protein. Furthermore, the cranial nerve 3/4-restricted genes insulin-like growth factor II and guanine deaminase protected spinal motor neurons from glutamate-induced toxicity (P < 0.001, ANOVA), indicating that our approach can identify factors that protect or make neurons more susceptible to degeneration. PMID:20826431

  4. Morphology and Intrinsic Excitability of Regenerating Sensory and Motor Neurons Grown on a Line Micropattern

    PubMed Central

    Benzina, Ouafa; Cloitre, Thierry; Martin, Marta; Raoul, Cédric; Gergely, Csilla; Scamps, Frédérique

    2014-01-01

    Axonal regeneration is one of the greatest challenges in severe injuries of peripheral nerve. To provide the bridge needed for regeneration, biological or synthetic tubular nerve constructs with aligned architecture have been developed. A key point for improving axonal regeneration is assessing the effects of substrate geometry on neuronal behavior. In the present study, we used an extracellular matrix-micropatterned substrate comprising 3 µm wide lines aimed to physically mimic the in vivo longitudinal axonal growth of mice peripheral sensory and motor neurons. Adult sensory neurons or embryonic motoneurons were seeded and processed for morphological and electrical activity analyses after two days in vitro. We show that micropattern-guided sensory neurons grow one or two axons without secondary branching. Motoneurons polarity was kept on micropattern with a long axon and small dendrites. The micro-patterned substrate maintains the growth promoting effects of conditioning injury and demonstrates, for the first time, that neurite initiation and extension could be differentially regulated by conditioning injury among DRG sensory neuron subpopulations. The micro-patterned substrate impacts the excitability of sensory neurons and promotes the apparition of firing action potentials characteristic for a subclass of mechanosensitive neurons. The line pattern is quite relevant for assessing the regenerative and developmental growth of sensory and motoneurons and offers a unique model for the analysis of the impact of geometry on the expression and the activity of mechanosensitive channels in DRG sensory neurons. PMID:25329060

  5. IPLEX Administration Improves Motor Neuron Survival and Ameliorates Motor Functions in a Severe Mouse Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    PubMed Central

    Murdocca, Michela; Malgieri, Arianna; Luchetti, Andrea; Saieva, Luciano; Dobrowolny, Gabriella; de Leonibus, Elvira; Filareto, Antonio; Quitadamo, Maria Chiara; Novelli, Giuseppe; Musarò, Antonio; Sangiuolo, Federica

    2012-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder and the first genetic cause of death in childhood. SMA is caused by low levels of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein that induce selective loss of α-motor neurons (MNs) in the spinal cord, resulting in progressive muscle atrophy and consequent respiratory failure. To date, no effective treatment is available to counteract the course of the disease. Among the different therapeutic strategies with potential clinical applications, the evaluation of trophic and/or protective agents able to antagonize MNs degeneration represents an attractive opportunity to develop valid therapies. Here we investigated the effects of IPLEX (recombinant human insulinlike growth factor 1 [rhIGF-1] complexed with recombinant human IGF-1 binding protein 3 [rhIGFBP-3]) on a severe mouse model of SMA. Interestingly, molecular and biochemical analyses of IGF-1 carried out in SMA mice before drug administration revealed marked reductions of IGF-1 circulating levels and hepatic mRNA expression. In this study, we found that perinatal administration of IPLEX, even if does not influence survival and body weight of mice, results in reduced degeneration of MNs, increased muscle fiber size and in amelioration of motor functions in SMA mice. Additionally, we show that phenotypic changes observed are not SMN-dependent, since no significant SMN modification was addressed in treated mice. Collectively, our data indicate IPLEX as a good therapeutic candidate to hinder the progression of the neurodegenerative process in SMA. PMID:22669476

  6. Network feedback regulates motor output across a range of modulatory neuron activity.

    PubMed

    Spencer, Robert M; Blitz, Dawn M

    2016-06-01

    Modulatory projection neurons alter network neuron synaptic and intrinsic properties to elicit multiple different outputs. Sensory and other inputs elicit a range of modulatory neuron activity that is further shaped by network feedback, yet little is known regarding how the impact of network feedback on modulatory neurons regulates network output across a physiological range of modulatory neuron activity. Identified network neurons, a fully described connectome, and a well-characterized, identified modulatory projection neuron enabled us to address this issue in the crab (Cancer borealis) stomatogastric nervous system. The modulatory neuron modulatory commissural neuron 1 (MCN1) activates and modulates two networks that generate rhythms via different cellular mechanisms and at distinct frequencies. MCN1 is activated at rates of 5-35 Hz in vivo and in vitro. Additionally, network feedback elicits MCN1 activity time-locked to motor activity. We asked how network activation, rhythm speed, and neuron activity levels are regulated by the presence or absence of network feedback across a physiological range of MCN1 activity rates. There were both similarities and differences in responses of the two networks to MCN1 activity. Many parameters in both networks were sensitive to network feedback effects on MCN1 activity. However, for most parameters, MCN1 activity rate did not determine the extent to which network output was altered by the addition of network feedback. These data demonstrate that the influence of network feedback on modulatory neuron activity is an important determinant of network output and feedback can be effective in shaping network output regardless of the extent of network modulation. PMID:27030739

  7. Crosstalk between p38, Hsp25 and Akt in spinal motor neurons after sciatic nerve injury

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murashov, A. K.; Ul Haq, I.; Hill, C.; Park, E.; Smith, M.; Wang, X.; Wang, X.; Goldberg, D. J.; Wolgemuth, D. J.

    2001-01-01

    The p38 stress-activated protein kinase pathway is involved in regulation of phosphorylation of Hsp25, which in turn regulates actin filament dynamic in non-neuronal cells. We report that p38, Hsp25 and Akt signaling pathways were specifically activated in spinal motor neurons after sciatic nerve axotomy. The activation of the p38 kinase was required for induction of Hsp25 expression. Furthermore, Hsp25 formed a complex with Akt, a member of PI-3 kinase pathway that prevents neuronal cell death. Together, our observations implicate Hsp25 as a central player in a complex system of signaling that may both promote regeneration of nerve fibers and prevent neuronal cell death in the injured spinal cord.

  8. Specification of individual adult motor neuron morphologies by combinatorial transcription factor codes

    PubMed Central

    Enriquez, Jonathan; Venkatasubramanian, Lalanti; Baek, Myungin; Peterson, Meredith; Aghayeva, Ulkar; Mann, Richard S.

    2015-01-01

    Summary How the highly stereotyped morphologies of individual neurons are genetically specified is not well understood. We identify six transcription factors (TFs) expressed in a combinatorial manner in seven post-mitotic adult leg motor neurons (MNs) that are derived from a single neuroblast in Drosophila. Unlike TFs expressed in mitotically active neuroblasts, these TFs do not regulate each other's expression. Removing the activity of a single TF resulted in specific morphological defects, including muscle targeting and dendritic arborization, and in a highly specific walking defect in adult flies. In contrast, when the expression of multiple TFs was modified nearly complete transformations in MN morphologies were generated. These results show that the morphological characteristics of a single neuron are dictated by a combinatorial code of morphology TFs (mTFs). mTFs function at a previously unidentified regulatory tier downstream of factors acting in the NB, but independently of factors that act in terminally differentiated neurons. PMID:25959734

  9. The effects of 5-HT on sensory, central and motor neurons driving the abdominal superficial flexor muscles in the crayfish.

    PubMed

    Strawn, J R; Neckameyer, W S; Cooper, R L

    2000-12-01

    Serotonin (5-HT) induces a variety of physiological and behavioral effects in crustaceans. However, the mechanisms employed by 5-HT to effect behavioral changes are not fully understood. Among the mechanisms by which these changes might occur are alterations in synaptic drive and efficacy of sensory, interneurons and motor neurons, as well as direct effects on muscles. We investigated these aspects with the use of a defined sensory-motor system, which is entirely contained within a single abdominal segment and consists of a 'cuticular sensory neurons segmental ganglia abdominal superficial flexor motor neurons-muscles' circuit. Our studies address the role of 5-HT in altering (1) the activity of motor neurons induced by sensory stimulation; (2) the inherent excitability of superficial flexor motor neurons; (3) transmitter release properties of the motor nerve terminal and (4) input resistance of the muscle. Using en passant recordings from the motor nerve, with and without sensory stimulation, and intracellular recordings from the muscle, we show that 5-HT enhances sensory drive and output from the ventral nerve cord resulting in an increase in the firing frequency of the motor neurons. Also, 5-HT increases transmitter release at the neuromuscular junction, and alters input resistance of the muscle fibers. PMID:11281271

  10. Spontaneous degenerative polioencephalomyelopathy in feeder pigs--a new motor neuron disease?

    PubMed

    Wohlsein, Peter; Brügmann, Michael; Pfeiffer, Ina; Ammer, Hermann; Wolf, Petra; Baumgartner, Wolfgang; Peters, Martin

    2012-01-01

    A central nervous disorder occurred spontaneously in a herd of feeder pigs characterized by muscle fasciculations, convulsions, squealing, and acute death in numerous animals. Histopathology revealed a degenerative poliomyeloencephalopathy of brain stem and spinal cord consisting of neuronal hypertrophy, chromatolysis, neuronophagia, and satellitosis associated with Wallerian degeneration of ventral rootlets and neurogenic muscle atrophy of limb musculature. The sudden onset of clinical signs and the pattern of morphological findings were suggestive of intoxication. Though parathion was found in two animals, serum acetylcholine esterase activity and morphological findings were not compatible with an organophosphate poisoning. A hereditary disorder was excluded by genetic analysis. Summarized findings in the present cases are reminiscent of changes observed in ruminants suffering from patulin poisoning, a neuromycotoxicosis caused by Aspergillus clavatus. However, toxicological and microbiological investigations failed to identify the cause of this unusual and so far not described disease in pigs. Morphologically, lesion distribution and alterations of motor neurons resemble changes observed in equine motor neuron disease, spinal muscular atrophy of certain canine breeds, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) in man. Therefore, the term spontaneous porcine motor neuron disease (SPMND) is proposed for this new and unique entitiy. PMID:23227771

  11. Absence of alsin function leads to corticospinal motor neuron vulnerability via novel disease mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Gautam, Mukesh; Jara, Javier H; Sekerkova, Gabriella; Yasvoina, Marina V; Martina, Marco; Özdinler, P Hande

    2016-03-15

    Mutations in the ALS2 gene result in early-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, infantile-onset ascending hereditary spastic paraplegia and juvenile primary lateral sclerosis, suggesting prominent upper motor neuron involvement. However, the importance of alsin function for corticospinal motor neuron (CSMN) health and stability remains unknown. To date, four separate alsin knockout (Alsin(KO)) mouse models have been generated, and despite hopes of mimicking human pathology, none displayed profound motor function defects. This, however, does not rule out the possibility of neuronal defects within CSMN, which is not easy to detect in these mice. Detailed cellular analysis of CSMN has been hampered due to their limited numbers and the complex and heterogeneous structure of the cerebral cortex. In an effort to visualize CSMN in vivo and to investigate precise aspects of neuronal abnormalities in the absence of alsin function, we generated Alsin(KO)-UeGFP mice, by crossing Alsin(KO) and UCHL1-eGFP mice, a CSMN reporter line. We find that CSMN display vacuolated apical dendrites with increased autophagy, shrinkage of soma size and axonal pathology even in the pons region. Immunocytochemistry coupled with electron microscopy reveal that alsin is important for maintaining cellular cytoarchitecture and integrity of cellular organelles. In its absence, CSMN displays selective defects both in mitochondria and Golgi apparatus. UCHL1-eGFP mice help understand the underlying cellular factors that lead to CSMN vulnerability in diseases, and our findings reveal unique importance of alsin function for CSMN health and stability. PMID:26755825

  12. Absence of alsin function leads to corticospinal motor neuron vulnerability via novel disease mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Gautam, Mukesh; Jara, Javier H.; Sekerkova, Gabriella; Yasvoina, Marina V.; Martina, Marco; Özdinler, P. Hande

    2016-01-01

    Mutations in the ALS2 gene result in early-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, infantile-onset ascending hereditary spastic paraplegia and juvenile primary lateral sclerosis, suggesting prominent upper motor neuron involvement. However, the importance of alsin function for corticospinal motor neuron (CSMN) health and stability remains unknown. To date, four separate alsin knockout (AlsinKO) mouse models have been generated, and despite hopes of mimicking human pathology, none displayed profound motor function defects. This, however, does not rule out the possibility of neuronal defects within CSMN, which is not easy to detect in these mice. Detailed cellular analysis of CSMN has been hampered due to their limited numbers and the complex and heterogeneous structure of the cerebral cortex. In an effort to visualize CSMN in vivo and to investigate precise aspects of neuronal abnormalities in the absence of alsin function, we generated AlsinKO-UeGFP mice, by crossing AlsinKO and UCHL1-eGFP mice, a CSMN reporter line. We find that CSMN display vacuolated apical dendrites with increased autophagy, shrinkage of soma size and axonal pathology even in the pons region. Immunocytochemistry coupled with electron microscopy reveal that alsin is important for maintaining cellular cytoarchitecture and integrity of cellular organelles. In its absence, CSMN displays selective defects both in mitochondria and Golgi apparatus. UCHL1-eGFP mice help understand the underlying cellular factors that lead to CSMN vulnerability in diseases, and our findings reveal unique importance of alsin function for CSMN health and stability. PMID:26755825

  13. Robust neuronal dynamics in premotor cortex during motor planning.

    PubMed

    Li, Nuo; Daie, Kayvon; Svoboda, Karel; Druckmann, Shaul

    2016-04-28

    Neural activity maintains representations that bridge past and future events, often over many seconds. Network models can produce persistent and ramping activity, but the positive feedback that is critical for these slow dynamics can cause sensitivity to perturbations. Here we use electrophysiology and optogenetic perturbations in the mouse premotor cortex to probe the robustness of persistent neural representations during motor planning. We show that preparatory activity is remarkably robust to large-scale unilateral silencing: detailed neural dynamics that drive specific future movements were quickly and selectively restored by the network. Selectivity did not recover after bilateral silencing of the premotor cortex. Perturbations to one hemisphere are thus corrected by information from the other hemisphere. Corpus callosum bisections demonstrated that premotor cortex hemispheres can maintain preparatory activity independently. Redundancy across selectively coupled modules, as we observed in the premotor cortex, is a hallmark of robust control systems. Network models incorporating these principles show robustness that is consistent with data. PMID:27074502

  14. Corticocortical synaptic influences on morphologically identified pyramidal neurones in the motor cortex of the monkey.

    PubMed Central

    Ghosh, S; Porter, R

    1988-01-01

    1. Corticocortical synaptic influences on pyramidal neurones in the precentral motor cortex of monkeys were examined using intracellular recordings. Corticocortical afferents from the postarcuate premotor area and the somatic sensory cortical areas were activated by bifocal stimulation of the cortical surface. Neurones that were found to respond orthodromically to such stimuli were labelled by intracellular ionophoresis of horseradish peroxidase. 2. Almost all neurones that were penetrated satisfactorily and labelled successfully were found to be pyramidal neurones located in lamina III or lamina V. Some labelled neurones in lamina V were also characterized as pyramidal tract neurones (PTNs) by antidromic activation from the cerebral peduncles or medullary pyramids. 3. Pyramidal neurones located in lamina III and lamina V (including PTNs) were excited at short latency by stimulation of the premotor cortex (1.1-4.0 ms) and somatosensory cortex (1.1-6.5 ms). There were no statistical differences in the distributions of latencies of corticocortical EPSPs between those evoked in lamina III neurones and those recorded in lamina V neurones, or between corticocortical EPSPs evoked from the premotor cortex in comparison with those from the somatosensory cortex. Excitatory responses to stimulation of the premotor area were usually more difficult to evoke and smaller in amplitude than those produced by stimulation of the somatosensory areas. 4. Corticocortical EPSPs were often followed by IPSPs. The amplitudes of the EPSPs and IPSPs could be increased by increasing the stimulus intensity. In a few neurones IPSPs that were not preceded by EPSPs were recorded. Images Plate 1 PMID:3418539

  15. Development and Maturation of Embryonic Cortical Neurons Grafted into the Damaged Adult Motor Cortex

    PubMed Central

    Ballout, Nissrine; Frappé, Isabelle; Péron, Sophie; Jaber, Mohamed; Zibara, Kazem; Gaillard, Afsaneh

    2016-01-01

    Injury to the human central nervous system can lead to devastating consequences due to its poor ability to self-repair. Neural transplantation aimed at replacing lost neurons and restore functional circuitry has proven to be a promising therapeutical avenue. We previously reported in adult rodent animal models with cortical lesions that grafted fetal cortical neurons could effectively re-establish specific patterns of projections and synapses. The current study was designed to provide a detailed characterization of the spatio-temporal in vivo development of fetal cortical transplanted cells within the lesioned adult motor cortex and their corresponding axonal projections. We show here that as early as 2 weeks after grafting, cortical neuroblasts transplanted into damaged adult motor cortex developed appropriate projections to cortical and subcortical targets. Grafted cells initially exhibited characteristics of immature neurons, which then differentiated into mature neurons with appropriate cortical phenotypes where most were glutamatergic and few were GABAergic. All cortical subtypes identified with the specific markers CTIP2, Cux1, FOXP2, and Tbr1 were generated after grafting as evidenced with BrdU co-labeling. The set of data provided here is of interest as it sets biological standards for future studies aimed at replacing fetal cells with embryonic stem cells as a source of cortical neurons. PMID:27536221

  16. Process Extension from Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Motor Neurons through Synthetic Extracellular Matrix Mimics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKinnon, Daniel Devaud

    This thesis focuses on studying the extension of motor axons through synthetic poly(ethylene glycol) PEG hydrogels that have been modified with biochemical functionalities to render them more biologically relevant. Specifically, the research strategy is to encapsulate embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons (ESMNs) in synthetic PEG hydrogels crosslinked through three different chemistries providing three mechanisms for dynamically tuning material properties. First, a covalently crosslinked, enzymatically degradable hydrogel is developed and exploited to study the biophysical dynamics of axon extension and matrix remodeling. It is demonstrated that dispersed motor neurons require a battery of adhesive peptides and growth factors to maintain viability and extend axons while those in contact with supportive neuroglial cells do not. Additionally, cell-degradable crosslinker peptides and a soft modulus mimicking that of the spinal cord are requirements for axon extension. However, because local degradation of the hydrogel results in a cellular environment significantly different than that of the bulk, enzymatically degradable peptide crosslinkers were replaced with reversible covalent hydrazone bonds to study the effect of hydrogel modulus on axon extension. This material is characterized in detail and used to measure forces involved in axon extension. Finally, a hydrogel with photocleavable linkers incorporated into the network structure is exploited to explore motor axon response to physical channels. This system is used to direct the growth of motor axons towards co-cultured myotubes, resulting in the formation of an in vitro neural circuit.

  17. F-spondin is a contact-repellent molecule for embryonic motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Tzarfati-Majar, Vered; Burstyn-Cohen, Tal; Klar, Avihu

    2001-01-01

    The floor plate plays a key role in patterning axonal trajectory in the embryonic spinal cord by providing both long-range and local guidance cues that promote or inhibit axonal growth toward and across the ventral midline of the spinal cord, thus acting as an intermediate target for a number of crossing (commissural) and noncrossing (motor) axons. F-spondin, a secreted adhesion molecule expressed in the embryonic floor plate and the caudal somite of birds, plays a dual role in patterning the nervous system. It promotes adhesion and outgrowth of commissural axons and inhibits adhesion of neural crest cells. In the current study, we demonstrate that outgrowth of embryonic motor axons also is inhibited by F-spondin protein in a contact-repulsion fashion. Three independent lines of evidence support our hypothesis: substrate-attached F-spondin inhibits outgrowth of dissociated motor neurons in an outgrowth assay; F-spondin elicits acute growth cone collapse when applied to cultured motor neurons; and challenging ventral spinal cord explants with aggregates of HEK 293 cells expressing F-spondin, causes contact-repulsion of motor neurites. Structural–functional studies demonstrate that the processed carboxyl-half protein that contains the thrombospondin type 1 repeats is more prominent in inhibiting outgrowth, suggesting that the processing of F-spondin is important for enhancing its inhibitory activity. PMID:11287656

  18. Triheptanoin Protects Motor Neurons and Delays the Onset of Motor Symptoms in a Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Tefera, Tesfaye W; Wong, Yide; Barkl-Luke, Mallory E; Ngo, Shyuan T; Thomas, Nicola K; McDonald, Tanya S; Borges, Karin

    2016-01-01

    There is increasing evidence that energy metabolism is disturbed in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients and animal models. Treatment with triheptanoin, the triglyceride of heptanoate, is a promising approach to provide alternative fuel to improve oxidative phosphorylation and aid ATP generation. Heptanoate can be metabolized to propionyl-CoA, which after carboxylation can produce succinyl-CoA and thereby re-fill the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle (anaplerosis). Here we tested the hypothesis that treatment with triheptanoin prevents motor neuron loss and delays the onset of disease symptoms in female mice overexpressing the mutant human SOD1G93A (hSOD1G93A) gene. When oral triheptanoin (35% of caloric content) was initiated at P35, motor neuron loss at 70 days of age was attenuated by 33%. In untreated hSOD1G93A mice, the loss of hind limb grip strength began at 16.7 weeks. Triheptanoin maintained hind limb grip strength for 2.8 weeks longer (p<0.01). Loss of balance on the rotarod and reduction of body weight were delayed by 13 and 11 days respectively (both p<0.01). Improved motor function occurred in parallel with alterations in the expression of genes associated with muscle metabolism. In gastrocnemius muscles, the mRNA levels of pyruvate, 2-oxoglutarate and succinate dehydrogenases and methyl-malonyl mutase were reduced by 24-33% in 10 week old hSOD1G93A mice when compared to wild-type mice, suggesting that TCA cycling in skeletal muscle may be slowed in this ALS mouse model at a stage when muscle strength is still normal. At 25 weeks of age, mRNA levels of succinate dehydrogenases, glutamic pyruvic transaminase 2 and the propionyl carboxylase β subunit were reduced by 69-84% in control, but not in triheptanoin treated hSOD1G93A animals. Taken together, our results suggest that triheptanoin slows motor neuron loss and the onset of motor symptoms in ALS mice by improving TCA cycling. PMID:27564703

  19. Triheptanoin Protects Motor Neurons and Delays the Onset of Motor Symptoms in a Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Barkl-Luke, Mallory E.; Ngo, Shyuan T.; Thomas, Nicola K.; McDonald, Tanya S.; Borges, Karin

    2016-01-01

    There is increasing evidence that energy metabolism is disturbed in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients and animal models. Treatment with triheptanoin, the triglyceride of heptanoate, is a promising approach to provide alternative fuel to improve oxidative phosphorylation and aid ATP generation. Heptanoate can be metabolized to propionyl-CoA, which after carboxylation can produce succinyl-CoA and thereby re-fill the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle (anaplerosis). Here we tested the hypothesis that treatment with triheptanoin prevents motor neuron loss and delays the onset of disease symptoms in female mice overexpressing the mutant human SOD1G93A (hSOD1G93A) gene. When oral triheptanoin (35% of caloric content) was initiated at P35, motor neuron loss at 70 days of age was attenuated by 33%. In untreated hSOD1G93A mice, the loss of hind limb grip strength began at 16.7 weeks. Triheptanoin maintained hind limb grip strength for 2.8 weeks longer (p<0.01). Loss of balance on the rotarod and reduction of body weight were delayed by 13 and 11 days respectively (both p<0.01). Improved motor function occurred in parallel with alterations in the expression of genes associated with muscle metabolism. In gastrocnemius muscles, the mRNA levels of pyruvate, 2-oxoglutarate and succinate dehydrogenases and methyl-malonyl mutase were reduced by 24–33% in 10 week old hSOD1G93A mice when compared to wild-type mice, suggesting that TCA cycling in skeletal muscle may be slowed in this ALS mouse model at a stage when muscle strength is still normal. At 25 weeks of age, mRNA levels of succinate dehydrogenases, glutamic pyruvic transaminase 2 and the propionyl carboxylase β subunit were reduced by 69–84% in control, but not in triheptanoin treated hSOD1G93A animals. Taken together, our results suggest that triheptanoin slows motor neuron loss and the onset of motor symptoms in ALS mice by improving TCA cycling. PMID:27564703

  20. Konzo: a distinct disease entity with selective upper motor neuron damage.

    PubMed Central

    Tylleskär, T; Howlett, W P; Rwiza, H T; Aquilonius, S M; Stålberg, E; Lindén, B; Mandahl, A; Larsen, H C; Brubaker, G R; Rosling, H

    1993-01-01

    Two Tanzanian patients with konzo were severely disabled by a non-progressive spastic paraparesis, since the sudden onset during an epidemic six years earlier. At the time of onset they had a high dietary intake of cyanide from exclusive consumption of insufficiently processed bitter cassava roots. MRI of brain and spinal cord were normal but motor evoked potentials on magnetic brain stimulation were absent, even in the only slightly affected upper limbs. Other neurophysiological investigations were largely normal but the more affected patient had central visual field defects. Konzo is a distinct disease entity with selective type upper motor neuron damage. Images PMID:8509777

  1. Risk factors for motor neuron disease: a case-control study based on patients from the Scottish Motor Neuron Disease Register.

    PubMed Central

    Chancellor, A M; Slattery, J M; Fraser, H; Warlow, C P

    1993-01-01

    In order to identify risk factors for the subsequent development of motor neuron disease (MND) we have carried out a case-control study of incident patients in Scotland, identified using the Scottish Motor Neuron Disease Register. A standard questionnaire was given to 103 patients and the same number of community controls matched on a one to one basis using the general practitioner's (GP) age and sex register. Recall bias was minimised by using GP records to verify the subject's report. There was an overall lifetime excess of fractures in patients, odds ratio (OR) = 1.3 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.7-2.5) and this was highest in the 5 years before symptom onset (OR = 15, 95% CI, 3.3-654). There was no association with non-fracture trauma but the OR for a manual occupation in patients was 2.6 (95% CI, 1.1-6.3). Both occupational exposure to lead (OR = 5.7, 95% CI, 1.6-30) and solvents/chemicals (OR = 3.3, 95% CI 1.3-10) were significantly more common in patients. No consistent association was found between MND and factors reflecting socioeconomic deprivation in childhood; childhood infections or social class. Our results identify a number of different factors which may contribute to the aetiology of MND. PMID:8229031

  2. A central pattern generator producing alternative outputs: pattern, strength, and dynamics of premotor synaptic input to leech heart motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Norris, Brian J; Weaver, Adam L; Wenning, Angela; García, Paul S; Calabrese, Ronald L

    2007-11-01

    The central pattern generator (CPG) for heartbeat in medicinal leeches consists of seven identified pairs of segmental heart interneurons and one unidentified pair. Four of the identified pairs and the unidentified pair of interneurons make inhibitory synaptic connections with segmental heart motor neurons. The CPG produces a side-to-side asymmetric pattern of intersegmental coordination among ipsilateral premotor interneurons corresponding to a similarly asymmetric fictive motor pattern in heart motor neurons, and asymmetric constriction pattern of the two tubular hearts, synchronous and peristaltic. Using extracellular recordings from premotor interneurons and voltage-clamp recordings of ipsilateral segmental motor neurons in 69 isolated nerve cords, we assessed the strength and dynamics of premotor inhibitory synaptic output onto the entire ensemble of heart motor neurons and the associated conduction delays in both coordination modes. We conclude that premotor interneurons establish a stereotypical pattern of intersegmental synaptic connectivity, strengths, and dynamics that is invariant across coordination modes, despite wide variations among preparations. These data coupled with a previous description of the temporal pattern of premotor interneuron activity and relative phasing of motor neuron activity in the two coordination modes enable a direct assessment of how premotor interneurons through their temporal pattern of activity and their spatial pattern of synaptic connectivity, strengths, and dynamics coordinate segmental motor neurons into a functional pattern of activity. PMID:17804574

  3. Motor Neuron Activation in Peripheral Nerves Using Infrared Neural Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, EJ; Tyler, DJ

    2014-01-01

    Objective Localized activation of peripheral axons may improve selectivity of peripheral nerve interfaces. Infrared neural stimulation (INS) employs localized delivery to activate neural tissue. This study investigated INS to determine whether localized delivery limited functionality in larger mammalian nerves. Approach The rabbit sciatic nerve was stimulated extraneurally with 1875 nm-wavelength infrared light, electrical stimulation, or a combination of both. Infrared-sensitive regions (ISR) of the nerve surface and electromyogram (EMG) recruitment of the Medial Gastrocnemius, Lateral Gastrocnemius, Soleus, and Tibialis Anterior were the primary output measures. Stimulation applied included infrared-only, electrical-only, and combined infrared and electrical. Main results 81% of nerves tested were sensitive to INS, with 1.7± 0.5 ISR detected per nerve. INS was selective to a single muscle within 81% of identified ISR. Activation energy threshold did not change significantly with stimulus power, but motor activation decreased significantly when radiant power was decreased. Maximum INS levels typically recruited up to 2–9% of any muscle. Combined infrared and electrical stimulation differed significantly from electrical recruitment in 7% of cases. Significance The observed selectivity of INS indicates it may be useful in augmenting rehabilitation, but significant challenges remain in increasing sensitivity and response magnitude to improve the functionality of INS. PMID:24310923

  4. Motor neuron activation in peripheral nerves using infrared neural stimulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, E. J.; Tyler, D. J.

    2014-02-01

    Objective. Localized activation of peripheral axons may improve selectivity of peripheral nerve interfaces. Infrared neural stimulation (INS) employs localized delivery to activate neural tissue. This study investigated INS to determine whether localized delivery limited functionality in larger mammalian nerves. Approach. The rabbit sciatic nerve was stimulated extraneurally with 1875 nm wavelength infrared light, electrical stimulation, or a combination of both. Infrared-sensitive regions (ISR) of the nerve surface and electromyogram (EMG) recruitment of the Medial Gastrocnemius, Lateral Gastrocnemius, Soleus, and Tibialis Anterior were the primary output measures. Stimulation applied included infrared-only, electrical-only, and combined infrared and electrical. Main results. 81% of nerves tested were sensitive to INS, with 1.7 ± 0.5 ISR detected per nerve. INS was selective to a single muscle within 81% of identified ISR. Activation energy threshold did not change significantly with stimulus power, but motor activation decreased significantly when radiant power was decreased. Maximum INS levels typically recruited up to 2-9% of any muscle. Combined infrared and electrical stimulation differed significantly from electrical recruitment in 7% of cases. Significance. The observed selectivity of INS indicates that it may be useful in augmenting rehabilitation, but significant challenges remain in increasing sensitivity and response magnitude to improve the functionality of INS.

  5. BMP4 Is a Peripherally-Derived Factor for Motor Neurons and Attenuates Glutamate-Induced Excitotoxicity In Vitro

    PubMed Central

    Chou, Hui-Ju; Lai, Dar-Ming; Huang, Cheng-Wen; McLennan, Ian S.; Wang, Horng-Dar; Wang, Pei-Yu

    2013-01-01

    Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) superfamily, have been shown to play important roles in the nervous system, including neuronal survival and synaptogenesis. However, the physiological functions of BMP signaling in the mammalian neuromuscular system are not well understood. In this study, we found that proteins of the type II bone morphogenetic receptors (BMPRII) were detected at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), and one of its ligands, BMP4, was expressed by Schwann cells and skeletal muscle fibers. In double-ligated nerves, BMP4 proteins accumulated at the proximal and distal portions of the axons, suggesting that Schwann cell- and muscle fiber-derived BMP4 proteins were anterogradely and retrogradely transported by motor neurons. Furthermore, BMP4 mRNA was down-regulated in nerves but up-regulated in skeletal muscles following nerve ligation. The motor neuron-muscle interactions were also demonstrated using differentiated C2C12 muscle cells and NG108-15 neurons in vitro. BMP4 mRNA and immunoreactivity were significantly up-regulated in differentiated C2C12 muscle cells when the motor neuron-derived factor, agrin, was present in the culture. Peripherally-derived BMP4, on the other hand, promotes embryonic motor neuron survival and protects NG108-15 neurons from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. Together, these data suggest that BMP4 is a peripherally-derived factor that may regulate the survival of motor neurons. PMID:23472198

  6. Motor neurons in Drosophila flight control: could b1 be the one?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitehead, Samuel; Shirangi, Troy; Cohen, Itai

    Similar to balancing a stick on one's fingertip, flapping flight is inherently unstable; maintaining stability is a delicate balancing act made possible only by near-constant, often-subtle corrective actions. For fruit flies, such corrective responses need not only be robust, but also fast: the Drosophila flight control reflex has a response latency time of ~5 ms, ranking it among the fastest reflexes in the animal kingdom. How is such rapid, robust control implemented physiologically? Here we present an analysis of a putatively crucial component of the Drosophila flight control circuit: the b1 motor neuron. Specifically, we apply mechanical perturbations to freely-flying Drosophila and analyze the differences in kinematics patterns between flies with manipulated and un-manipulated b1 motor neurons. Ultimately, we hope to identify the functional role of b1 in flight stabilization, with the aim of linking it to previously-proposed, reduced-order models for reflexive control.

  7. Multiplexing of Motor Information in the Discharge of a Collision Detecting Neuron during Escape Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Fotowat, Haleh; Harrison, Reid R; Gabbiani, Fabrizio

    2010-01-01

    Locusts possess an identified neuron, the descending contralateral movement detector (DCMD), conveying visual information about impending collision from the brain to thoracic motor centers. We built a telemetry system to simultaneously record, in freely behaving animals, the activity of the DCMD and of motoneurons involved in jump execution. Co-contraction of antagonistic leg muscles, a required preparatory phase, was triggered after the DCMD firing rate crossed a threshold. Thereafter, the number of DCMD spikes predicted precisely motoneuron activity and jump occurrence. Additionally, the time of DCMD peak firing rate predicted that of jump. Ablation experiments suggest that the DCMD, together with a nearly identical ipsilateral descending neuron, is responsible for the timely execution of the escape. Thus, three distinct features that are multiplexed in a single neuron’s sensory response to impending collision – firing rate threshold, peak firing time, and spike count – likely control three distinct motor aspects of escape behaviors. PMID:21220105

  8. The use of fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography for imaging human motor neuronal activation in the brain

    PubMed Central

    PAHK, KISOO; PARK, KUN-WOO; PYUN, SUNG BOM; LEE, JAE SUNG; KIM, SUNGEUN; CHOE, JAE GOL

    2015-01-01

    The present study aimed to visualize human motor neuronal activation in the brain using fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET), and to develop an FDG-PET procedure for imaging neuronal activation. A male volunteer underwent 20 min periods of rest and motor activation, whilst being assessed using FDG-PET on two consecutive days. The motor task, which involved repetitively grasping and releasing the right hand, was performed during the initial 5 min of the activation period. Subtraction of the rest period signal from the activation PET images was performed using the subtraction ictal single-photon emission computed tomography co-registered to magnetic resonance imaging method. The subtracted image detected activation of the contralateral (left) primary motor cortex, supplementary motor area, and ipsilateral (right) cerebellum. In the present study, FDG-PET detected significantly increased motor-associated activation of the brain in a subject performing a motor task. PMID:26668604

  9. Effects of cerebrolysin on motor-neuron-like NSC-34 cells.

    PubMed

    Keilhoff, Gerburg; Lucas, Benjamin; Pinkernelle, Josephine; Steiner, Michael; Fansa, Hisham

    2014-10-01

    Although the peripheral nervous system is capable of regeneration, this capability is limited. As a potential means of augmenting nerve regeneration, the effects of cerebrolysin (CL)--a proteolytic peptide fraction--were tested in vitro on the motor-neuron-like NSC-34 cell line and organotypic spinal cord cultures. Therefore, NSC-34 cells were subjected to mechanical stress by changing media and metabolic stress by oxygen glucose deprivation. Afterwards, cell survival/proliferation using MTT and BrdU-labeling (FACS) and neurite sprouting using ImageJ analysis were evaluated. Calpain-1, Src and α-spectrin protein expression were analyzed by Western blot. In organotypic cultures, the effect of CL on motor neuron survival and neurite sprouting was tested by immunohistochemistry. CL had a temporary anti-proliferative but initially neuroprotective effect on OGD-stressed NSC-34 cells. High-dosed or repeatedly applied CL was deleterious for cell survival. CL amplified neurite reconstruction to limited extent, affected calpain-1 protein expression and influenced calpain-mediated spectrin cleavage as a function of Src expression. In organotypic spinal cord slice cultures, CL was not able to support motor neuron survival/neurite sprouting. Moreover, it hampered astroglia and microglia activities. The data suggest that CL may have only isolated positive effects on injured spinal motor neurons. High-dosed or accumulated CL seemed to have adverse effects in treatment of spinal cord injury. Further experiments are required to optimize the conditions for a safe clinical administration of CL in spinal cord injuries. PMID:24997385

  10. Contribution of LFP dynamics to single-neuron spiking variability in motor cortex during movement execution

    PubMed Central

    Rule, Michael E.; Vargas-Irwin, Carlos; Donoghue, John P.; Truccolo, Wilson

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the sources of variability in single-neuron spiking responses is an important open problem for the theory of neural coding. This variability is thought to result primarily from spontaneous collective dynamics in neuronal networks. Here, we investigate how well collective dynamics reflected in motor cortex local field potentials (LFPs) can account for spiking variability during motor behavior. Neural activity was recorded via microelectrode arrays implanted in ventral and dorsal premotor and primary motor cortices of non-human primates performing naturalistic 3-D reaching and grasping actions. Point process models were used to quantify how well LFP features accounted for spiking variability not explained by the measured 3-D reach and grasp kinematics. LFP features included the instantaneous magnitude, phase and analytic-signal components of narrow band-pass filtered (δ,θ,α,β) LFPs, and analytic signal and amplitude envelope features in higher-frequency bands. Multiband LFP features predicted single-neuron spiking (1ms resolution) with substantial accuracy as assessed via ROC analysis. Notably, however, models including both LFP and kinematics features displayed marginal improvement over kinematics-only models. Furthermore, the small predictive information added by LFP features to kinematic models was redundant to information available in fast-timescale (<100 ms) spiking history. Overall, information in multiband LFP features, although predictive of single-neuron spiking during movement execution, was redundant to information available in movement parameters and spiking history. Our findings suggest that, during movement execution, collective dynamics reflected in motor cortex LFPs primarily relate to sensorimotor processes directly controlling movement output, adding little explanatory power to variability not accounted by movement parameters. PMID:26157365

  11. Brain MR Imaging in Patients with Lower Motor Neuron-Predominant Disease.

    PubMed

    Spinelli, Edoardo G; Agosta, Federica; Ferraro, Pilar M; Riva, Nilo; Lunetta, Christian; Falzone, Yuri M; Comi, Giancarlo; Falini, Andrea; Filippi, Massimo

    2016-08-01

    Purpose To investigate the patterns of cortical thinning and white matter tract damage in patients with lower motor neuron (LMN)-predominant disease compared with healthy control subjects and those with classic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and to evaluate the relationship between brain structural changes and clinical and cognitive features in these patients. Materials and Methods This study was approved by the local ethical committee, and written informed consent was obtained from all subjects before enrollment. Twenty-eight patients with LMN-predominant disease were compared with 55 patients with ALS and 56 healthy control subjects. Patients underwent a clinical and neuropsychological assessment and T1-weighted and diffusion-tensor magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Surface-based morphometry was used to assess cortical thickness. Tract-based spatial statistics and tractography were used to study white matter tract damage. Results Patients with LMN-predominant disease did not show differences compared with healthy control subjects in cortical thickness and diffusion-tensor MR imaging metrics. Patients with ALS showed cortical thinning of the motor-related cortices and a distributed involvement of the prefrontal, temporal, and parietal gyri (P < .05, false discovery rate corrected). Patients with ALS also showed white matter damage along motor and extramotor tracts compared with control subjects and patients with LMN-predominant disease (tract-based spatial statistics: P < .05, family-wise error corrected; tractography: P values < .001 to .05, false discovery rate corrected). In patients with LMN-predominant disease, cognitive deficits correlated with alterations in diffusivity in the left cingulum (r = -0.66, P = .01) and superior longitudinal fasciculus (r = -0.65, P = .05). Conclusion Motor and extramotor cortical thinning and diffusion-tensor MR imaging alterations were specific for motor neuron disease phenotypes, with clinically overt upper motor neuron

  12. Involvement of catecholaminergic neurons in motor innervation of striated muscle in the mouse esophagus.

    PubMed

    van der Keylen, Piet; Garreis, Fabian; Steigleder, Ruth; Sommer, Daniel; Neuhuber, Winfried L; Wörl, Jürgen

    2016-05-01

    Enteric co-innervation is a peculiar innervation pattern of striated esophageal musculature. Both anatomical and functional data on enteric co-innervation related to various transmitters have been collected in different species, although its function remains enigmatic. However, it is unclear whether catecholaminergic components are involved in such a co-innervation. Thus, we examined to identify catecholaminergic neuronal elements and clarify their relationship to other innervation components in the esophagus, using immunohistochemistry with antibodies against tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT), choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5), α-bungarotoxin (α-BT) and PCR with primers for amplification of cDNA encoding TH and dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DBH). TH-positive nerve fibers were abundant throughout the myenteric plexus and localized on about 14% of α-BT-labelled motor endplates differing from VAChT-positive vagal nerve terminals. TH-positive perikarya represented a subpopulation of only about 2.8% of all PGP 9.5-positive myenteric neurons. Analysis of mRNA showed both TH and DBH transcripts in the mouse esophagus. As ChAT-positive neurons in the compact formation of the nucleus ambiguus were negative for TH, the TH-positive nerve varicosities on motor endplates are presumably of enteric origin, although a sympathetic origin cannot be excluded. In the medulla oblongata, the cholinergic ambiguus neurons were densely supplied with TH-positive varicosities. Thus, catecholamines may modulate vagal motor innervation of esophageal-striated muscles not only at the peripheral level via enteric co-innervation but also at the central level via projections to the nucleus ambiguus. As Parkinson's disease, with a loss of central dopaminergic neurons, also affects the enteric nervous system and dysphagia is prevalent in patients with this disease, investigation of intrinsic catecholamines in the esophagus may

  13. Golgi Fragmentation in ALS Motor Neurons. New Mechanisms Targeting Microtubules, Tethers, and Transport Vesicles

    PubMed Central

    Haase, Georg; Rabouille, Catherine

    2015-01-01

    Pathological alterations of the Golgi apparatus, such as its fragmentation represent an early pre-clinical feature of many neurodegenerative diseases and have been widely studied in the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Yet, the underlying molecular mechanisms have remained cryptic. In principle, Golgi fragmentation may result from defects in three major classes of proteins: structural Golgi proteins, cytoskeletal proteins and molecular motors, as well as proteins mediating transport to and through the Golgi. Here, we present the different mechanisms that may underlie Golgi fragmentation in animal and cellular models of ALS linked to mutations in SOD1, TARDBP (TDP-43), VAPB, and C9Orf72 and we propose a novel one based on findings in progressive motor neuronopathy (pmn) mice. These mice are mutated in the TBCE gene encoding the cis-Golgi localized tubulin-binding cofactor E, one of five chaperones that assist in tubulin folding and microtubule polymerization. Loss of TBCE leads to alterations in Golgi microtubules, which in turn impedes on the maintenance of the Golgi architecture. This is due to down-regulation of COPI coat components, dispersion of Golgi tethers and strong accumulation of ER-Golgi SNAREs. These effects are partially rescued by the GTPase ARF1 through recruitment of TBCE to the Golgi. We hypothesize that defects in COPI vesicles, microtubules and their interaction may also underlie Golgi fragmentation in human ALS linked to other mutations, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and related motor neuron diseases. We also discuss the functional relevance of pathological Golgi alterations, in particular their potential causative, contributory, or compensatory role in the degeneration of motor neuron cell bodies, axons and synapses. PMID:26696811

  14. Primary motor cortex of the parkinsonian monkey: altered neuronal responses to muscle stretch

    PubMed Central

    Pasquereau, Benjamin; Turner, Robert S.

    2013-01-01

    Exaggeration of the long-latency stretch reflex (LLSR) is a characteristic neurophysiologic feature of Parkinson's disease (PD) that contributes to parkinsonian rigidity. To explore one frequently-hypothesized mechanism, we studied the effects of fast muscle stretches on neuronal activity in the macaque primary motor cortex (M1) before and after the induction of parkinsonism by unilateral administration of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). We compared results from the general population of M1 neurons and two antidromically-identified subpopulations: distant-projecting pyramidal-tract type neurons (PTNs) and intra-telecenphalic-type corticostriatal neurons (CSNs). Rapid rotations of elbow or wrist joints evoked short-latency responses in 62% of arm-related M1 neurons. As in PD, the late electromyographic responses that constitute the LLSR were enhanced following MPTP. This was accompanied by a shortening of M1 neuronal response latencies and a degradation of directional selectivity, but surprisingly, no increase in single unit response magnitudes. The results suggest that parkinsonism alters the timing and specificity of M1 responses to muscle stretch. Observation of an exaggerated LLSR with no change in the magnitude of proprioceptive responses in M1 is consistent with the idea that the increase in LLSR gain that contributes to parkinsonian rigidity is localized to the spinal cord. PMID:24324412

  15. Grasping synergies: A motor-control approach to the mirror neuron mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Ausilio, Alessandro; Bartoli, Eleonora; Maffongelli, Laura

    2015-03-01

    The discovery of mirror neurons revived interest in motor theories of perception, fostering a number of new studies as well as controversies. In particular, the degree of motor specificity with which others' actions are simulated is highly debated. Human corticospinal excitability studies support the conjecture that a mirror mechanism encodes object-directed goals or low-level kinematic features of others' reaching and grasping actions. These interpretations lead to different experimental predictions and implications for the functional role of the simulation of others' actions. We propose that the representational granularity of the mirror mechanism cannot be any different from that of the motor system during action execution. Hence, drawing from motor control models, we propose that the building blocks of the mirror mechanism are the relatively few motor synergies explaining the variety of hand functions. The recognition of these synergies, from action observation, can be potentially very robust to visual noise and thus demonstrate a clear advantage of using motor knowledge for classifying others' action.

  16. Targeting RNA foci in iPSC-derived motor neurons from ALS patients with C9ORF72 repeat expansion

    PubMed Central

    Sareen, D.; O’Rourke, J. G.; Meera, P.; Muhammad, A.K.M.G.; Grant, S.; Simpkinson, M.; Bell, S.; Carmona, S.; Ornelas, L.; Sahabian, A.; Gendron, T.; Petrucelli, L.; Baughn, M.; Ravits, J.; Harms, M. B.; Rigo, F.; Bennett, C. F.; Otis, T. S.; Svendsen, C. N.; Baloh, R. H.

    2014-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a severe neurodegenerative condition characterized by loss of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Expansions of a hexanucleotide repeat (GGGGCC) in the noncoding region of the C9ORF72 gene are the most common cause of the familial form of ALS (C9-ALS), as well as frontotemporal lobar degeneration and other neurological diseases. How the repeat expansion causes disease remains unclear, with both loss of function (haploinsufficiency) and gain of function (either toxic RNA or protein products) proposed. Here, we report a cellular model of C9-ALS with motor neurons differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from ALS patients carrying the C9ORF72 repeat expansion. No significant loss of C9ORF72 expression was observed, and knockdown of the transcript was not toxic to cultured human motor neurons. Transcription of the repeat was increased leading to accumulation of GGGGCC repeat-containing RNA foci selectively in C9-ALS motor neurons. Repeat-containing RNA foci co-localized with hnRNPA1 and Pur-α, suggesting that they may be able to alter RNA metabolism. C9-ALS motor neurons showed altered expression of genes involved in membrane excitability including DPP6, and demonstrated a diminished capacity to fire continuous spikes upon depolarization compared to control motor neurons. Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) targeting the C9ORF72 transcript suppressed RNA foci formation and reversed gene expression alterations in C9-ALS motor neurons. These data show that patient-derived motor neurons can be used to delineate pathogenic events in ALS. PMID:24154603

  17. Motor cortex single-neuron and population contributions to compensation for multiple dynamic force fields.

    PubMed

    Addou, Touria; Krouchev, Nedialko I; Kalaska, John F

    2015-01-15

    To elucidate how primary motor cortex (M1) neurons contribute to the performance of a broad range of different and even incompatible motor skills, we trained two monkeys to perform single-degree-of-freedom elbow flexion/extension movements that could be perturbed by a variety of externally generated force fields. Fields were presented in a pseudorandom sequence of trial blocks. Different computer monitor background colors signaled the nature of the force field throughout each block. There were five different force fields: null field without perturbing torque, assistive and resistive viscous fields proportional to velocity, a resistive elastic force field proportional to position and a resistive viscoelastic field that was the linear combination of the resistive viscous and elastic force fields. After the monkeys were extensively trained in the five field conditions, neural recordings were subsequently made in M1 contralateral to the trained arm. Many caudal M1 neurons altered their activity systematically across most or all of the force fields in a manner that was appropriate to contribute to the compensation for each of the fields. The net activity of the entire sample population likewise provided a predictive signal about the differences in the time course of the external forces encountered during the movements across all force conditions. The neurons showed a broad range of sensitivities to the different fields, and there was little evidence of a modular structure by which subsets of M1 neurons were preferentially activated during movements in specific fields or combinations of fields. PMID:25339714

  18. Task-dependent modification of leg motor neuron synaptic input underlying changes in walking direction and walking speed

    PubMed Central

    Rosenbaum, Philipp; Schmitz, Josef; Schmidt, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    Animals modify their behavior constantly to perform adequately in their environment. In terrestrial locomotion many forms of adaptation exist. Two tasks are changes of walking direction and walking speed. We investigated these two changes in motor output in the stick insect Cuniculina impigra to see how they are brought about at the level of leg motor neurons. We used a semi-intact preparation in which we can record intracellularly from leg motor neurons during walking. In this single-leg preparation the middle leg of the animal steps in a vertical plane on a treadwheel. Stimulation of either abdomen or head reliably elicits fictive forward or backward motor activity, respectively, in the fixed and otherwise deafferented thorax-coxa joint. With a change of walking direction only thorax-coxa-joint motor neurons protractor and retractor changed their activity. The protractor switched from swing activity during forward to stance activity during backward walking, and the retractor from stance to swing. This phase switch was due to corresponding change of phasic synaptic inputs from inhibitory to excitatory and vice versa at specific phases of the step cycle. In addition to phasic synaptic input a tonic depolarization of the motor neurons was present. Analysis of changes in stepping velocity during stance showed only a significant correlation to flexor motor neuron activity, but not to that of retractor and depressor motor neurons during forward walking. These results show that different tasks in the stick insect walking system are generated by altering synaptic inputs to specific leg joint motor neurons only. PMID:26063769

  19. Task-dependent modification of leg motor neuron synaptic input underlying changes in walking direction and walking speed.

    PubMed

    Rosenbaum, Philipp; Schmitz, Josef; Schmidt, Joachim; Büschges, Ansgar

    2015-08-01

    Animals modify their behavior constantly to perform adequately in their environment. In terrestrial locomotion many forms of adaptation exist. Two tasks are changes of walking direction and walking speed. We investigated these two changes in motor output in the stick insect Cuniculina impigra to see how they are brought about at the level of leg motor neurons. We used a semi-intact preparation in which we can record intracellularly from leg motor neurons during walking. In this single-leg preparation the middle leg of the animal steps in a vertical plane on a treadwheel. Stimulation of either abdomen or head reliably elicits fictive forward or backward motor activity, respectively, in the fixed and otherwise deafferented thorax-coxa joint. With a change of walking direction only thorax-coxa-joint motor neurons protractor and retractor changed their activity. The protractor switched from swing activity during forward to stance activity during backward walking, and the retractor from stance to swing. This phase switch was due to corresponding change of phasic synaptic inputs from inhibitory to excitatory and vice versa at specific phases of the step cycle. In addition to phasic synaptic input a tonic depolarization of the motor neurons was present. Analysis of changes in stepping velocity during stance showed only a significant correlation to flexor motor neuron activity, but not to that of retractor and depressor motor neurons during forward walking. These results show that different tasks in the stick insect walking system are generated by altering synaptic inputs to specific leg joint motor neurons only. PMID:26063769

  20. [Quality of neuronal signal registered in the monkey motor cortex with chronically implanted multiple microwires].

    PubMed

    Bondar', I V; Vasil'eva, L N; Badakva, A M; Miller, N V; Zobova, L N; Roshchin, V Iu

    2014-01-01

    Disconnection of central and peripheral parts of motor system leads to severe forms of disability. However, current research of brain-computer interfaces will solve the problem of rehabilitation of patients with motor disorders in future. Chronic recordings of single-unit activity in specialized areas of cerebral cortex could provide appropriate control signal for effectors with multiple degrees of freedom. In present article we evaluated the quality of chronic single-unit recordings in the primary motor cortex of awake behaving monkeys obtained with bundles of multiple microwires. Action potentials of proper quality were recorded from single units during three months. In some cases up to 7 single units could be extracted on a channel. Recording quality stabilized after 40 days since electrodes were implanted. Ultimately, functionality of multiple electrodes bundle makes it highly usable and reliable instrument for obtaining of control neurophysiologic signal from populations of neurons for brain-computer interfaces. PMID:25710068

  1. High yield extraction of pure spinal motor neurons, astrocytes and microglia from single embryo and adult mouse spinal cord

    PubMed Central

    Beaudet, Marie-Josée; Yang, Qiurui; Cadau, Sébastien; Blais, Mathieu; Bellenfant, Sabrina; Gros-Louis, François; Berthod, François

    2015-01-01

    Extraction of mouse spinal motor neurons from transgenic mouse embryos recapitulating some aspects of neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has met with limited success. Furthermore, extraction and long-term culture of adult mouse spinal motor neurons and glia remain also challenging. We present here a protocol designed to extract and purify high yields of motor neurons and glia from individual spinal cords collected on embryos and adult (5-month-old) normal or transgenic mice. This method is based on mild digestion of tissue followed by gradient density separation allowing to obtain two millions motor neurons over 92% pure from one E14.5 single embryo and more than 30,000 from an adult mouse. These cells can be cultured more than 14 days in vitro at a density of 100,000 cells/cm2 to maintain optimal viability. Functional astrocytes and microglia and small gamma motor neurons can be purified at the same time. This protocol will be a powerful and reliable method to obtain motor neurons and glia to better understand mechanisms underlying spinal cord diseases. PMID:26577180

  2. CuZnSOD and MnSOD immunoreactivity in brain stem motor neurons from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients.

    PubMed

    Liu, Y; Brooks, B R; Taniguchi, N; Hartmann, H A

    1998-01-01

    Motor neurons from the brain stems of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and control patients were examined with immunoantibodies to CuZn-superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD) and Mn-superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). We found that there was a marked staining for CuZnSOD in all the motor nuclei, the hypoglossus, ambiguus, facialis and trigeminus from the ALS patients, but not in the controls. The same neurons from the ALS patients also stained very intensely for MnSOD, whereas the neurons from the control patients stained weakly or not at all. Loss of neurons was also a very consistent finding and was noted in all the motor nuclei from the ALS patients. There was a proliferation of glial cells which stained strongly both for CuZnSOD and for MnSOD accompanying the loss of the neurons. These results indicated that there was an apparent increase of superoxide dismutase immunoreactivity in motor neurons of ALS patients. We conclude that CuZnSOD and MnSOD immunoreactivity is increased in motor neurons and glia in the brain stems of patients with ALS, specific for the terminal phase of this disease. PMID:9452823

  3. Force Generation by Molecular-Motor-Powered Microtubule Bundles; Implications for Neuronal Polarization and Growth

    PubMed Central

    Jakobs, Maximilian; Franze, Kristian; Zemel, Assaf

    2015-01-01

    The heavily cross-linked microtubule (MT) bundles found in neuronal processes play a central role in the initiation, growth and maturation of axons and dendrites; however, a quantitative understanding of their mechanical function is still lacking. We here developed computer simulations to investigate the dynamics of force generation in 1D bundles of MTs that are cross-linked and powered by molecular motors. The motion of filaments and the forces they exert are investigated as a function of the motor type (unipolar or bipolar), MT density and length, applied load, and motor connectivity. We demonstrate that only unipolar motors (e.g., kinesin-1) can provide the driving force for bundle expansion, while bipolar motors (e.g., kinesin-5) oppose it. The force generation capacity of the bundles is shown to depend sharply on the fraction of unipolar motors due to a percolation transition that must occur in the bundle. Scaling laws between bundle length, force, MT length and motor fraction are presented. In addition, we investigate the dynamics of growth in the presence of a constant influx of MTs. Beyond a short equilibration period, the bundles grow linearly in time. In this growth regime, the bundle extends as one mass forward with most filaments sliding with the growth velocity. The growth velocity is shown to be dictated by the inward flux of MTs, to inversely scale with the load and to be independent of the free velocity of the motors. These findings provide important molecular-level insights into the mechanical function of the MT cytoskeleton in normal axon growth and regeneration after injury. PMID:26617489

  4. Expression of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) gene in primary neurons and increase in SMN levels by activation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor.

    PubMed

    Andreassi, Catia; Patrizi, Anna Letizia; Monani, Umrao R; Burghes, A H M; Brahe, Christina; Eboli, Maria Luisa

    2002-03-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common motor neuron degenerative disease caused by mutations of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) gene. The SMN protein is expressed ubiquitously as part of a 300-kilodalton multi-protein complex, incorporating several proteins critically required in pre-mRNA splicing. Although SMN mutations render SMN defective in this role, the specific alpha-motor neuron degenerative phenotype seen in the disease remains unexplained. During the differentiation process of spinal motor neurons and cerebellar granule cells, the acquisition of mature electrophysiological and molecular properties is linked to the activation of the glutamate receptors of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype. We have used primary cultures of rat cerebellar granules to study SMN expression during neuronal differentiation in vitro and in response to the activation of the NMDA receptor. We report that the expression of gems, the nuclear structures where SMN concentrates, is developmentally regulated. The highest expression is associated with the cell clustering phase and expression of NMDA receptors. Stimulation of the NMDA receptor induces an increase in gem number and in SMN transcription, through activation of its promoter. These results demonstrate that SMN levels are dependent on synaptic activity, implying that SMN may have important neuron-specific functions downstream of synaptic activation. PMID:12030329

  5. Motor-Auditory-Visual Integration: The Role of the Human Mirror Neuron System in Communication and Communication Disorders

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Le Bel, Ronald M.; Pineda, Jaime A.; Sharma, Anu

    2009-01-01

    The mirror neuron system (MNS) is a trimodal system composed of neuronal populations that respond to motor, visual, and auditory stimulation, such as when an action is performed, observed, heard or read about. In humans, the MNS has been identified using neuroimaging techniques (such as fMRI and mu suppression in the EEG). It reflects an…

  6. A tale of two receptors: Dual roles for ionotropic acetylcholine receptors in regulating motor neuron excitation and inhibition.

    PubMed

    Philbrook, Alison; Barbagallo, Belinda; Francis, Michael M

    2013-07-01

    Nicotinic or ionotropic acetylcholine receptors (iAChRs) mediate excitatory signaling throughout the nervous system, and the heterogeneity of these receptors contributes to their multifaceted roles. Our recent work has characterized a single iAChR subunit, ACR-12, which contributes to two distinct iAChR subtypes within the C. elegans motor circuit. These two receptor subtypes regulate the coordinated activity of excitatory (cholinergic) and inhibitory (GABAergic) motor neurons. We have shown that the iAChR subunit ACR-12 is differentially expressed in both cholinergic and GABAergic motor neurons within the motor circuit. In cholinergic motor neurons, ACR-12 is incorporated into the previously characterized ACR-2 heteromeric receptor, which shows non-synaptic localization patterns and plays a modulatory role in controlling circuit function.(1) In contrast, a second population of ACR-12-containing receptors in GABAergic motor neurons, ACR-12GABA, shows synaptic expression and regulates inhibitory signaling.(2) Here, we discuss the two ACR-12-containing receptor subtypes, their distinct expression patterns, and functional roles in the C. elegans motor circuit. We anticipate our continuing studies of iAChRs in the C. elegans motor circuit will lead to novel insights into iAChR function in the nervous system as well as mechanisms for their regulation. PMID:24778941

  7. Motor Neuron-Specific Overexpression of the Presynaptic Choline Transporter: Impact on Motor Endurance and Evoked Muscle Activity

    PubMed Central

    Lund, David; Ruggiero, Alicia M.; Ferguson, Shawn M.; Wright, Jane; English, Brett A.; Reisz, Peter A.; Whitaker, Sarah M.; Peltier, Amanda C.; Blakely, Randy D.

    2010-01-01

    The presynaptic, hemicholinium-3 sensitive, high-affinity choline transporter (CHT) supplies choline for acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis. In mice, a homozygous deletion of CHT (CHT−/−) leads to premature cessation of spontaneous or evoked neuromuscular signaling and is associated with perinatal cyanosis and lethality within 1 hr. Heterozygous (CHT+/−) mice exhibit diminished brain ACh levels and demonstrate an inability to sustain vigorous motor activity. We sought to explore the contribution of CHT gene dosage to motor function in greater detail using transgenic mice where CHT is expressed under control of the motor neuron promoter Hb9 (Hb9:CHT). On a CHT−/− background, the Hb9:CHT transgene conferred mice with the ability to move and breath for a postnatal period of ~24 hrs, thus increasing survival. Conversely, Hb9:CHT expression on a wild-type background (CHT+/+;Hb9:CHT) leads to an increased capacity for treadmill running compared to wild-type littermates. Analysis of the stimulated compound muscle action potential (CMAP) in these animals under basal conditions established that CHT+/+;Hb9:CHT mice display an unexpected, bidirectional change, producing either elevated or reduced CMAP amplitude, relative to CHT+/+ animals. To examine whether these two groups arise from underlying changes in synaptic properties, we used high-frequency stimulation of motor axons to assess CMAP recovery kinetics. Although CHT+/+;Hb9:CHT mice in the two groups display an equivalent, time-dependent reduction in CMAP amplitude, animals with a higher basal CMAP amplitude demonstrate a significantly enhanced rate of recovery. To explain our findings, we propose a model whereby CHT support for neuromuscular signaling involves contributions to ACh synthesis as well as cholinergic synaptic vesicle availability. PMID:20888396

  8. Optically-Induced Neuronal Activity Is Sufficient to Promote Functional Motor Axon Regeneration In Vivo

    PubMed Central

    Ward, Patricia J.; Jones, Laura N.; Mulligan, Amanda; Goolsby, William; Wilhelm, Jennifer C.; English, Arthur W.

    2016-01-01

    Peripheral nerve injuries are common, and functional recovery is very poor. Beyond surgical repair of the nerve, there are currently no treatment options for these patients. In experimental models of nerve injury, interventions (such as exercise and electrical stimulation) that increase neuronal activity of the injured neurons effectively enhance axon regeneration. Here, we utilized optogenetics to determine whether increased activity alone is sufficient to promote motor axon regeneration. In thy-1-ChR2/YFP transgenic mice in which a subset of motoneurons express the light-sensitive cation channel, channelrhodopsin (ChR2), we activated axons in the sciatic nerve using blue light immediately prior to transection and surgical repair of the sciatic nerve. At four weeks post-injury, direct muscle EMG responses evoked with both optical and electrical stimuli as well as the ratio of these optical/electrical evoked EMG responses were significantly greater in mice that received optical treatment. Thus, significantly more ChR2+ axons successfully re-innervated the gastrocnemius muscle in mice that received optical treatment. Sections of the gastrocnemius muscles were reacted with antibodies to Synaptic Vesicle Protein 2 (SV2) to quantify the number of re-occupied motor endplates. The number of SV2+ endplates was greater in mice that received optical treatment. The number of retrogradely-labeled motoneurons following intramuscular injection of cholera toxin subunit B (conjugated to Alexa Fluor 555) was greater in mice that received optical treatment. Thus, the acute (1 hour), one-time optical treatment resulted in robust, long-lasting effects compared to untreated animals as well as untreated axons (ChR2-). We conclude that neuronal activation is sufficient to promote motor axon regeneration, and this regenerative effect is specific to the activated neurons. PMID:27152611

  9. Optically-Induced Neuronal Activity Is Sufficient to Promote Functional Motor Axon Regeneration In Vivo.

    PubMed

    Ward, Patricia J; Jones, Laura N; Mulligan, Amanda; Goolsby, William; Wilhelm, Jennifer C; English, Arthur W

    2016-01-01

    Peripheral nerve injuries are common, and functional recovery is very poor. Beyond surgical repair of the nerve, there are currently no treatment options for these patients. In experimental models of nerve injury, interventions (such as exercise and electrical stimulation) that increase neuronal activity of the injured neurons effectively enhance axon regeneration. Here, we utilized optogenetics to determine whether increased activity alone is sufficient to promote motor axon regeneration. In thy-1-ChR2/YFP transgenic mice in which a subset of motoneurons express the light-sensitive cation channel, channelrhodopsin (ChR2), we activated axons in the sciatic nerve using blue light immediately prior to transection and surgical repair of the sciatic nerve. At four weeks post-injury, direct muscle EMG responses evoked with both optical and electrical stimuli as well as the ratio of these optical/electrical evoked EMG responses were significantly greater in mice that received optical treatment. Thus, significantly more ChR2+ axons successfully re-innervated the gastrocnemius muscle in mice that received optical treatment. Sections of the gastrocnemius muscles were reacted with antibodies to Synaptic Vesicle Protein 2 (SV2) to quantify the number of re-occupied motor endplates. The number of SV2+ endplates was greater in mice that received optical treatment. The number of retrogradely-labeled motoneurons following intramuscular injection of cholera toxin subunit B (conjugated to Alexa Fluor 555) was greater in mice that received optical treatment. Thus, the acute (1 hour), one-time optical treatment resulted in robust, long-lasting effects compared to untreated animals as well as untreated axons (ChR2-). We conclude that neuronal activation is sufficient to promote motor axon regeneration, and this regenerative effect is specific to the activated neurons. PMID:27152611

  10. Inducing Chronic Excitotoxicity in the Mouse Spinal Cord to Investigate Lower Motor Neuron Degeneration

    PubMed Central

    Blizzard, Catherine A.; Lee, K. M.; Dickson, Tracey C.

    2016-01-01

    We report the methodology for the chronic delivery of an excitotoxin to the mouse spinal cord via surgically implanted osmotic mini-pumps. Previous studies have investigated the effect of chronic application of excitotoxins in the rat, however there has been little translation of this model to the mouse. Using mice that express yellow fluorescent protein (YFP), motor neuron and neuromuscular junction alterations can be investigate following targeted, long-term (28 days) exposure to the α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor excitotoxin, kainic acid. By targeting the L3-4 region of the lumbar spinal cord, with insertion of an intrathecal catheter into the subarachnoid space at L5, chronic application of the kainic acid results in slow excitotoxic death in the anterior ventral horn, with a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in the number of SMI-32 immunopositive neurons present after 28 days infusion. Use of the Thy1-YFP mice provides unrivaled visualization of the neuromuscular junction and enables the resultant distal degeneration in skeletal muscle to be observed. Both neuromuscular junction retraction at the gastrocnemius muscle and axonal fragmentation in the sciatic nerve were observed after chronic infusion of kainic acid for 28 days. Lower motor neuron, and distal neuromuscular junction, degeneration are pathological hallmarks of the devastating neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This mouse model will be advantageous for increasing our understanding of how the pathophysiological phenomena associated with this disease can lead to lower motor neuron loss and distal pathology, as well as providing a robust in vivo platform to test therapeutic interventions directed at excitotoxic mechanisms. PMID:26973454

  11. Aluminum adjuvant linked to Gulf War illness induces motor neuron death in mice.

    PubMed

    Petrik, Michael S; Wong, Margaret C; Tabata, Rena C; Garry, Robert F; Shaw, Christopher A

    2007-01-01

    Gulf War illness (GWI) affects a significant percentage of veterans of the 1991 conflict, but its origin remains unknown. Associated with some cases of GWI are increased incidences of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurological disorders. Whereas many environmental factors have been linked to GWI, the role of the anthrax vaccine has come under increasing scrutiny. Among the vaccine's potentially toxic components are the adjuvants aluminum hydroxide and squalene. To examine whether these compounds might contribute to neuronal deficits associated with GWI, an animal model for examining the potential neurological impact of aluminum hydroxide, squalene, or aluminum hydroxide combined with squalene was developed. Young, male colony CD-1 mice were injected with the adjuvants at doses equivalent to those given to US military service personnel. All mice were subjected to a battery of motor and cognitive-behavioral tests over a 6-mo period postinjections. Following sacrifice, central nervous system tissues were examined using immunohistochemistry for evidence of inflammation and cell death. Behavioral testing showed motor deficits in the aluminum treatment group that expressed as a progressive decrease in strength measured by the wire-mesh hang test (final deficit at 24 wk; about 50%). Significant cognitive deficits in water-maze learning were observed in the combined aluminum and squalene group (4.3 errors per trial) compared with the controls (0.2 errors per trial) after 20 wk. Apoptotic neurons were identified in aluminum-injected animals that showed significantly increased activated caspase-3 labeling in lumbar spinal cord (255%) and primary motor cortex (192%) compared with the controls. Aluminum-treated groups also showed significant motor neuron loss (35%) and increased numbers of astrocytes (350%) in the lumbar spinal cord. The findings suggest a possible role for the aluminum adjuvant in some neurological features associated with GWI and possibly an

  12. Mutant SOD1 accumulation in sensory neurons does not associate with endoplasmic reticulum stress features: Implications for differential vulnerability of sensory and motor neurons to SOD1 toxicity.

    PubMed

    Taiana, Michela; Sassone, Jenny; Lauria, Giuseppe

    2016-08-01

    Mutations in Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Previous papers showed that mutant SOD1 accumulates and undergoes misfolding in motor neurons and that the specific interaction of mutant SOD1 with derlin-1 leads to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Because evidence shows that mutant SOD1 expression also damages sensory neurons, we hypothesized that, similarly to motor neurons, the sensory neurons of ALS mouse model SOD1(G93A) accumulate mutant/misfolded SOD1 and suffer from ER stress and UPR activation. Our results reveal that SOD1(G93A) sensory neurons accumulate mutant/misfolded SOD1 but, surprisingly, do not suffer from ER stress and UPR activation. Moreover, the sensory neurons do not express detectable levels of the SOD1 interactor derlin-1. These results suggest a potential molecular mechanism underlying the differential vulnerability of motor and sensory neurons to mutant SOD1 toxicity. PMID:27241719

  13. Minocycline prevents neurotoxicity induced by cerebrospinal fluid from patients with motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Tikka, Tiina M; Vartiainen, Nina E; Goldsteins, Gundars; Oja, Simo S; Andersen, Peter M; Marklund, Stefan L; Koistinaho, Jari

    2002-04-01

    CSF from patients with motor neurone disease (MND) has been reported to be toxic to cultured primary neurones. We found that CSF from MND patients homozygous for the D90A CuZn-superoxide dismutase (CuZn-SOD) mutation, patients with sporadic MND and patients with familial MND without CuZn-SOD mutations significantly increased apoptosis and reduced phosphorylation of neurofilaments in cultured spinal cord neurones when compared with the effects of CSF from patients with other neurological diseases. Exposure of spinal cord cultures to MND CSF also triggered microglial activation. The toxicity of MND CSF was independent of the presence of the CuZn-SOD mutation, and it did not correlate with gelatinase activity or the presence of immunoglobulin G autoantibodies in the CSF. The concentrations of glutamate, aspartate and glycine in MND CSF were not elevated. Antagonists of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid/kainate receptors prevented the toxic CSF-induced neuronal death but not microglial activation, whereas minocycline, a tetracycline derivative with anti-inflammatory potential independent of antimicrobial activity, reduced both the apoptotic neuronal death and microglial activation. We conclude that the cytotoxic action of CSF is prevalent in all MND cases and that microglia may mediate the toxicity of CSF by releasing excitotoxicity-enhancing factors. PMID:11912107

  14. Rhythmic Cortical Neurons Increase their Oscillations and Sculpt Basal Ganglia Signaling During Motor Learning

    PubMed Central

    Day, Nancy F.; Nick, Teresa A.

    2014-01-01

    The function and modulation of neural circuits underlying motor skill may involve rhythmic oscillations (Feller, 1999; Marder and Goaillard, 2006; Churchland et al., 2012). In the proposed pattern generator for birdsong, the cortical nucleus HVC, the frequency and power of oscillatory bursting during singing increases with development (Crandall et al., 2007; Day et al., 2009). We examined the maturation of cellular activity patterns that underlie these changes. Single unit ensemble recording combined with antidromic identification (Day et al., 2011) was used to study network development in anesthetized zebra finches. Autocovariance quantified oscillations within single units. A subset of neurons oscillated in the theta/alpha/mu/beta range (8–20 Hz), with greater power in adults compared to juveniles. Across the network, the normalized oscillatory power in the 8–20 Hz range was greater in adults than juveniles. In addition, the correlated activity between rhythmic neuron pairs increased with development. We next examined the functional impact of the oscillators on the output neurons of HVC. We found that the firing of oscillatory neurons negatively correlated with the activity of cortico-basal ganglia neurons (HVCXs), which project to Area X (the song basal ganglia). If groups of oscillators work together to tonically inhibit and precisely control the spike timing of adult HVCXs with coordinated release from inhibition, then the activity of HVCXs in juveniles should be decreased relative to adults due to uncorrelated, tonic inhibition. Consistent with this hypothesis, HVCXs had lower activity in juveniles. These data reveal network changes that shape cortical-to-basal ganglia signaling during motor learning. PMID:23776169

  15. Interleukin-6 Deficiency Does Not Affect Motor Neuron Disease Caused by Superoxide Dismutase 1 Mutation

    PubMed Central

    Han, Yongmei; Ripley, Barry; Serada, Satoshi; Naka, Tetsuji; Fujimoto, Minoru

    2016-01-01

    Background & Aim Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is an adult-onset, progressive, motor neuron degenerative disease. Recent evidence indicates that inflammation is associated with many neurodegenerative diseases including ALS. Previously, abnormal levels of inflammatory cytokines including IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α were described in ALS patients and/or in mouse ALS models. In addition, one study showed that blocking IL-1β could slow down progression of ALS-like symptoms in mice. In this study, we examined a role for IL-6 in ALS, using an animal model for familial ALS. Methods Mice with mutant SOD1 (G93A) transgene, a model for familial ALS, were used in this study. The expression of the major inflammatory cytokines, IL-6, IL-1β and TNF-α, in spinal cords of these SOD1 transgenic (TG) mice were assessed by real time PCR. Mice were then crossed with IL-6(-/-) mice to generate SOD1TG/IL-6(-/-) mice. SOD1 TG/IL-6(-/-) mice (n = 17) were compared with SOD1 TG/IL-6(+/-) mice (n = 18), SOD1 TG/IL-6(+/+) mice (n = 11), WT mice (n = 15), IL-6(+/-) mice (n = 5) and IL-6(-/-) mice (n = 8), with respect to neurological disease severity score, body weight and the survival. We also histologically compared the motor neuron loss in lumber spinal cords and the atrophy of hamstring muscles between these mouse groups. Results Levels of IL-6, IL-1β and TNF-α in spinal cords of SOD1 TG mice was increased compared to WT mice. However, SOD1 TG/IL-6(-/-) mice exhibited weight loss, deterioration in motor function and shortened lifespan (167.55 ± 11.52 days), similarly to SOD1 TG /IL-6(+/+) mice (164.31±12.16 days). Motor neuron numbers and IL-1β and TNF-α levels in spinal cords were not significantly different in SOD1 TG /IL-6(-/-) mice and SOD1 TG /IL-6 (+/+) mice. Conclusion These results provide compelling preclinical evidence indicating that IL-6 does not directly contribute to motor neuron disease caused by SOD1 mutations. PMID:27070121

  16. miR-218 is Essential to Establish Motor Neuron Fate as a Downstream Effector of Isl1-Lhx3

    PubMed Central

    Thiebes, Karen P.; Nam, Heejin; Cambronne, Xiaolu A.; Shen, Rongkun; Glasgow, Stacey M.; Cho, Hyong-Ho; Kwon, Ji-sun; Goodman, Richard H.; Lee, Jae W.; Lee, Seunghee; Lee, Soo-Kyung

    2015-01-01

    While microRNAs have emerged as an important component of gene regulatory networks, it remains unclear how microRNAs collaborate with transcription factors in the gene networks that determines neuronal cell fate. Here, we show that in the developing spinal cord, the expression of miR-218 is directly upregulated by the Isl1-Lhx3 complex, which drives motor neuron fate. Inhibition of miR-218 suppresses the generation of motor neurons in both chick neural tube and mouse embryonic stem cells, suggesting that miR-218 plays a crucial role in motor neuron differentiation. Results from unbiased RISC-trap screens, in vivo reporter assays, and overexpression studies indicated that miR-218 directly represses transcripts that promote developmental programs for interneurons. Additionally, we found that miR-218 activity is required for Isl1-Lhx3 to effectively induce motor neurons and suppress interneuron fates. Together, our results reveal an essential role of miR-218 as a downstream effector of the Isl1-Lhx3 complex in establishing motor neuron identity. PMID:26212498

  17. Chronic uranium contamination alters spinal motor neuron integrity via modulation of SMN1 expression and microglia recruitment.

    PubMed

    Saint-Marc, Brice; Elie, Christelle; Manens, Line; Tack, Karine; Benderitter, Marc; Gueguen, Yann; Ibanez, Chrystelle

    2016-07-01

    Consequences of uranium contamination have been extensively studied in brain as cognitive function impairments were observed in rodents. Locomotor disturbances have also been described in contaminated animals. Epidemiological studies have revealed increased risk of motor neuron diseases in veterans potentially exposed to uranium during their military duties. To our knowledge, biological response of spinal cord to uranium contamination has not been studied even though it has a crucial role in locomotion. Four groups of rats were contaminated with increasing concentrations of uranium in their drinking water compared to a control group to study cellular mechanisms involved in locomotor disorders. Nissl staining of spinal cord sections revealed the presence of chromatolytic neurons in the ventral horn. This observation was correlated with a decreased number of motor neurons in the highly contaminated group and a decrease of SMN1 protein expression (Survival of Motor Neuron 1). While contamination impairs motor neuron integrity, an increasing number of microglial cells indicates the trigger of a neuroinflammation process. Potential overexpression of a microglial recruitment chemokine, MCP-1 (Monocyte Chimioattractant Protein 1), by motor neurons themselves could mediate this process. Studies on spinal cord appear to be relevant for risk assessment of population exposed via contaminated food and water. PMID:27153795

  18. Drosophila Ten-m and Filamin Affect Motor Neuron Growth Cone Guidance

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Lihua; Michelson, Yehudit; Freger, Vita; Avraham, Ziva; Venken, Koen J. T.; Bellen, Hugo J.; Justice, Monica J.; Wides, Ron

    2011-01-01

    The Drosophila Ten-m (also called Tenascin-major, or odd Oz (odz)) gene has been associated with a pair-rule phenotype. We identified and characterized new alleles of Drosophila Ten-m to establish that this gene is not responsible for segmentation defects but rather causes defects in motor neuron axon routing. In Ten-m mutants the inter-segmental nerve (ISN) often crosses segment boundaries and fasciculates with the ISN in the adjacent segment. Ten-m is expressed in the central nervous system and epidermal stripes during the stages when the growth cones of the neurons that form the ISN navigate to their targets. Over-expression of Ten-m in epidermal cells also leads to ISN misrouting. We also found that Filamin, an actin binding protein, physically interacts with the Ten-m protein. Mutations in cheerio, which encodes Filamin, cause defects in motor neuron axon routing like those of Ten-m. During embryonic development, the expression of Filamin and Ten-m partially overlap in ectodermal cells. These results suggest that Ten-m and Filamin in epidermal cells might together influence growth cone progression. PMID:21857973

  19. In vivo imaging of axonal transport in murine motor and sensory neurons

    PubMed Central

    Gibbs, Katherine L.; Kalmar, Bernadett; Sleigh, James N.; Greensmith, Linda; Schiavo, Giampietro

    2016-01-01

    Background Axonal transport is essential for neuronal function and survival. Defects in axonal transport have been identified as an early pathological feature in several disorders of the nervous system. The visualisation and quantitative analysis of axonal transport in vivo in rodent models of neurological disease is therefore crucial to improve our understanding of disease pathogenesis and for the identification of novel therapeutics. New method Here, we describe a method for the in vivo imaging of axonal transport of signalling endosomes in the sciatic nerve of live, anaesthetised mice. Results This method allows the multiparametric, quantitative analysis of in vivo axonal transport in motor and sensory neurons of adult mice in control conditions and during disease progression. Comparison with existing methods Previous in vivo imaging of the axonal transport of signalling endosomes has been limited to studies in nerve explant preparations or non-invasive approaches using magnetic resonance imaging; techniques that are hampered by major drawbacks such as tissue damage and low temporal and spatial resolution. This new method allows live imaging of the axonal transport of single endosomes in the sciatic nerve in situ and a more sensitive analysis of axonal transport kinetics than previous approaches. Conclusions The method described in this paper allows an in-depth analysis of the characteristics of axonal transport in both motor and sensory neurons in vivo. It enables the detailed study of alterations in axonal transport in rodent models of neurological diseases and can be used to identify novel pharmacological modifiers of axonal transport. PMID:26424507

  20. Dopaminergic modulation of motor neuron activity and neuromuscular function in Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Cooper, R L; Neckameyer, W S

    1999-02-01

    Dopamine is found in both neuronal and non-neuronal tissues in the larval stage of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and functions as a signaling molecule in the nervous system. Although dopaminergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) were previously thought solely to be interneurons, recent studies suggest that dopamine may also act as a neuromodulator in humoral pathways. We examined both application of dopamine on intact larval CNS-segmental preparations and isolated neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). Dopamine rapidly decreased the rhythmicity of the CNS motor activity. Application of dopamine on neuromuscular preparations of the segmental muscles 6 and 7 resulted in a dose-responsive decrease in the excitatory junction potentials (EJPs). With the use of focal, macro-patch synaptic current recordings the quantal evoked transmission showed a depression of vesicular release at concentrations of 10 microM. Higher concentrations (1 mM) produced a rapid decrement in evoked vesicular release. Dopamine did not alter the shape of the spontaneous synaptic currents, suggesting that dopamine does not alter the postsynaptic muscle fiber receptiveness to the glutaminergic motor nerve transmission. The effects are presynaptic in causing a reduction in the number of vesicles that are stimulated to be released due to neural activity. PMID:10327610

  1. Upper Extremity Assessment in Tetraplegia: The Importance of Differentiating Between Upper and Lower Motor Neuron Paralysis.

    PubMed

    Bryden, Anne M; Hoyen, Harry A; Keith, Michael W; Mejia, Melvin; Kilgore, Kevin L; Nemunaitis, Gregory A

    2016-06-01

    Scientific advances are increasing the options for improved upper limb function in people with cervical level spinal cord injury (SCI). Some of these interventions rely on identifying an aspect of paralysis that is not uniformly assessed in SCI: the integrity of the lower motor neuron (LMN). SCI can damage both the upper motor neuron and LMN causing muscle paralysis. Differentiation between these causes of paralysis is not typically believed to be important during SCI rehabilitation because, regardless of the cause, the muscles are no longer under voluntary control by the patient. Emerging treatments designed to restore upper extremity function (eg, rescue microsurgical nerve transfers, motor learning-based interventions, functional electrical stimulation) all require knowledge of LMN status. The LMN is easily evaluated using surface electrical stimulation and does not add significant time to the standard clinical assessment of SCI. This noninvasive evaluation yields information that contributes to the development of a lifetime upper extremity care plan for maximizing function and quality of life. Given the relative simplicity of this assessment and the far-reaching implications for treatment and function, we propose that this assessment should be adopted as standard practice for acute cervical SCI. PMID:27233597

  2. MHC class I protects motor neurons from astrocyte-induced toxicity in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

    PubMed Central

    Braun, Lyndsey; Meyer, Kathrin; Frakes, Ashley E.; Ferraiuolo, Laura; Likhite, Shibi; Bevan, Adam K.; Foust, Kevin D.; McConnell, Michael J.; Walker, Christopher M.; Kaspar, Brian K.

    2016-01-01

    Astrocytes isolated from individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are toxic towards motor neurons (MNs) and play a non-cell autonomous role in disease pathogenesis. The mechanisms underlying the susceptibility of motor neurons to cell death remains unclear. Here, we report that astrocytes derived from mice bearing ALS mutations and from individuals with ALS reduce expression of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) on MNs. Reduced MHCI expression makes these MNs susceptible to astrocyte-induced cell death. Increasing MHCI expression on MNs increases survival and motor performance in a mouse model of ALS and protects MN against astrocyte toxicity. A single MHCI molecule, HLA-F, protects MNs from ALS astrocyte-mediated toxicity, while knockdown of its receptor, the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor KIR3DL2, an inhibitory receptor that recognizes MHCI, on astrocytes results in enhanced MN death. These data indicate that in ALS upon loss of MHCI expression MNs become vulnerable to astrocyte-mediated toxicity. PMID:26928464

  3. Spontaneous activity in electromyography may differentiate certain benign lower motor neuron disease forms from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Jokela, Manu E; Jääskeläinen, Satu K; Sandell, Satu; Palmio, Johanna; Penttilä, Sini; Saukkonen, Annamaija; Soikkeli, Raija; Udd, Bjarne

    2015-08-15

    There is limited data on electromyography (EMG) findings in other motor neuron disorders than amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We assessed whether the distribution of active denervation detected by EMG, i.e. fibrillations and fasciculations, differs between ALS and slowly progressive motor neuron disorders. We compared the initial EMG findings of 43 clinically confirmed, consecutive ALS patients with those of 41 genetically confirmed Late-onset Spinal Motor Neuronopathy and 14 Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy patients. Spontaneous activity was more frequently detected in the first dorsal interosseus and deltoid muscles of ALS patients than in patients with the slowly progressive motor neuron diseases. The most important observation was that absent fibrillations in the first dorsal interosseus muscle identified the benign forms with sensitivities of 66%-77% and a specificity of 93%. The distribution of active denervation may help to separate ALS from mimicking disorders at an early stage. PMID:26059445

  4. Sertoli cells improve survival of motor neurons in SOD1 transgenic mice, a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Hemendinger, Richelle; Wang, Jay; Malik, Saafan; Persinski, Rafal; Copeland, Jane; Emerich, Dwaine; Gores, Paul; Halberstadt, Craig; Rosenfeld, Jeffrey

    2005-12-01

    Cell replacement therapy has been widely suggested as a treatment for multiple diseases including motor neuron disease. A variety of donor cells have been tested for treatment including isolated preparations from bone marrow and embryonic spinal cord. Another cell source, Sertoli cells, have been successfully used in models of diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. The ability of these cells to secrete cytoprotective proteins and their role as 'nurse cells' supporting the function of other cell types in the testes suggest their potential use as neuroprotective cells. The current study examines the ability of Sertoli cells injected into the parenchyma of the spinal cord to protect motor neurons in a mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Seventy transgenic mice expressing the mutant (G93A) human Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) received a unilateral spinal injection of Sertoli-enriched testicular cells into the L4-L5 ventral horn (1 x 10(5) cells total) prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. The animals were euthanized at the end stage of the disease. Histological and morphometric analyses of the transplant site were performed. A significant increase in the number of surviving ChAT positive motor neurons was found ipsilateral to the injection compared with contralateral and uninjected spinal cord. The ipsilateral increase in motor neuron density was dependent upon proximity to the injection site. Sections rostral or caudal to the injection site did not display a similar difference in motor neuron density. Implantation of a Sertoli-cell-enriched preparation has a significant neuroprotective benefit to vulnerable motor neurons in the SOD1 transgenic model. The therapeutic benefit may be the result of secreted neurotrophic factors present at a critical stage of motor neuron degeneration in this model. PMID:16242126

  5. Distinct neuronal organizations of the caudal cingulate motor area and supplementary motor area in monkeys for ipsilateral and contralateral hand movements

    PubMed Central

    Nakayama, Yoshihisa; Yokoyama, Osamu

    2015-01-01

    The caudal cingulate motor area (CMAc) and the supplementary motor area (SMA) play important roles in movement execution. The present study aimed to characterize the functional organization of these regions during movement by investigating laterality representations in the CMAc and SMA of monkeys via an examination of neuronal activity during a button press movement with either the right or left hand. Three types of movement-related neuronal activity were observed: 1) with only the contralateral hand, 2) with only the ipsilateral hand, and 3) with either hand. Neurons in the CMAc represented contralateral and ipsilateral hand movements to the same degree, whereas neuronal representations in the SMA were biased toward contralateral hand movement. Furthermore, recording neuronal activities using a linear-array multicontact electrode with 24 contacts spaced 150 μm apart allowed us to analyze the spatial distribution of neurons exhibiting particular hand preferences at the submillimeter scale. The CMAc and SMA displayed distinct microarchitectural organizations. The contralateral, ipsilateral, and bilateral CMAc neurons were distributed homogeneously, whereas SMA neurons exhibiting identical hand preferences tended to cluster. These findings indicate that the CMAc, which is functionally organized in a less structured manner than the SMA is, controls contralateral and ipsilateral hand movements in a counterbalanced fashion, whereas the SMA, which is more structured, preferentially controls contralateral hand movements. PMID:25717163

  6. Distinct neuronal organizations of the caudal cingulate motor area and supplementary motor area in monkeys for ipsilateral and contralateral hand movements.

    PubMed

    Nakayama, Yoshihisa; Yokoyama, Osamu; Hoshi, Eiji

    2015-04-01

    The caudal cingulate motor area (CMAc) and the supplementary motor area (SMA) play important roles in movement execution. The present study aimed to characterize the functional organization of these regions during movement by investigating laterality representations in the CMAc and SMA of monkeys via an examination of neuronal activity during a button press movement with either the right or left hand. Three types of movement-related neuronal activity were observed: 1) with only the contralateral hand, 2) with only the ipsilateral hand, and 3) with either hand. Neurons in the CMAc represented contralateral and ipsilateral hand movements to the same degree, whereas neuronal representations in the SMA were biased toward contralateral hand movement. Furthermore, recording neuronal activities using a linear-array multicontact electrode with 24 contacts spaced 150 μm apart allowed us to analyze the spatial distribution of neurons exhibiting particular hand preferences at the submillimeter scale. The CMAc and SMA displayed distinct microarchitectural organizations. The contralateral, ipsilateral, and bilateral CMAc neurons were distributed homogeneously, whereas SMA neurons exhibiting identical hand preferences tended to cluster. These findings indicate that the CMAc, which is functionally organized in a less structured manner than the SMA is, controls contralateral and ipsilateral hand movements in a counterbalanced fashion, whereas the SMA, which is more structured, preferentially controls contralateral hand movements. PMID:25717163

  7. Control of ventricular excitability by neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve

    PubMed Central

    Machhada, Asif; Ang, Richard; Ackland, Gareth L.; Ninkina, Natalia; Buchman, Vladimir L.; Lythgoe, Mark F.; Trapp, Stefan; Tinker, Andrew; Marina, Nephtali; Gourine, Alexander V.

    2015-01-01

    Background The central nervous origins of functional parasympathetic innervation of cardiac ventricles remain controversial. Objective This study aimed to identify a population of vagal preganglionic neurons that contribute to the control of ventricular excitability. An animal model of synuclein pathology relevant to Parkinson’s disease was used to determine whether age-related loss of the activity of the identified group of neurons is associated with changes in ventricular electrophysiology. Methods In vivo cardiac electrophysiology was performed in anesthetized rats in conditions of selective inhibition of the dorsal vagal motor nucleus (DVMN) neurons by pharmacogenetic approach and in mice with global genetic deletion of all family members of the synuclein protein. Results In rats anesthetized with urethane (in conditions of systemic beta-adrenoceptor blockade), muscarinic and neuronal nitric oxide synthase blockade confirmed the existence of a tonic parasympathetic control of cardiac excitability mediated by the actions of acetylcholine and nitric oxide. Acute DVMN silencing led to shortening of the ventricular effective refractory period (vERP), a lowering of the threshold for triggered ventricular tachycardia, and prolongation of the corrected QT (QTc) interval. Lower resting activity of the DVMN neurons in aging synuclein-deficient mice was found to be associated with vERP shortening and QTc interval prolongation. Conclusion Activity of the DVMN vagal preganglionic neurons is responsible for tonic parasympathetic control of ventricular excitability, likely to be mediated by nitric oxide. These findings provide the first insight into the central nervous substrate that underlies functional parasympathetic innervation of the ventricles and highlight its vulnerability in neurodegenerative diseases. PMID:26051529

  8. PKA Controls Calcium Influx into Motor Neurons during a Rhythmic Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Han; Sieburth, Derek

    2013-01-01

    Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) has been implicated in the execution of diverse rhythmic behaviors, but how cAMP functions in neurons to generate behavioral outputs remains unclear. During the defecation motor program in C. elegans, a peptide released from the pacemaker (the intestine) rhythmically excites the GABAergic neurons that control enteric muscle contractions by activating a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling pathway that is dependent on cAMP. Here, we show that the C. elegans PKA catalytic subunit, KIN-1, is the sole cAMP target in this pathway and that PKA is essential for enteric muscle contractions. Genetic analysis using cell-specific expression of dominant negative or constitutively active PKA transgenes reveals that knockdown of PKA activity in the GABAergic neurons blocks enteric muscle contractions, whereas constitutive PKA activation restores enteric muscle contractions to mutants defective in the peptidergic signaling pathway. Using real-time, in vivo calcium imaging, we find that PKA activity in the GABAergic neurons is essential for the generation of synaptic calcium transients that drive GABA release. In addition, constitutively active PKA increases the duration of calcium transients and causes ectopic calcium transients that can trigger out-of-phase enteric muscle contractions. Finally, we show that the voltage-gated calcium channels UNC-2 and EGL-19, but not CCA-1 function downstream of PKA to promote enteric muscle contractions and rhythmic calcium influx in the GABAergic neurons. Thus, our results suggest that PKA activates neurons during a rhythmic behavior by promoting presynaptic calcium influx through specific voltage-gated calcium channels. PMID:24086161

  9. Prolonged Minocycline Treatment Impairs Motor Neuronal Survival and Glial Function in Organotypic Rat Spinal Cord Cultures

    PubMed Central

    Pinkernelle, Josephine; Fansa, Hisham; Ebmeyer, Uwe; Keilhoff, Gerburg

    2013-01-01

    Background Minocycline, a second-generation tetracycline antibiotic, exhibits anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in various experimental models of neurological diseases, such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal cord injury. However, conflicting results have prompted a debate regarding the beneficial effects of minocycline. Methods In this study, we analyzed minocycline treatment in organotypic spinal cord cultures of neonatal rats as a model of motor neuron survival and regeneration after injury. Minocycline was administered in 2 different concentrations (10 and 100 µM) at various time points in culture and fixed after 1 week. Results Prolonged minocycline administration decreased the survival of motor neurons in the organotypic cultures. This effect was strongly enhanced with higher concentrations of minocycline. High concentrations of minocycline reduced the number of DAPI-positive cell nuclei in organotypic cultures and simultaneously inhibited microglial activation. Astrocytes, which covered the surface of the control organotypic cultures, revealed a peripheral distribution after early minocycline treatment. Thus, we further analyzed the effects of 100 µM minocycline on the viability and migration ability of dispersed primary glial cell cultures. We found that minocycline reduced cell viability, delayed wound closure in a scratch migration assay and increased connexin 43 protein levels in these cultures. Conclusions The administration of high doses of minocycline was deleterious for motor neuron survival. In addition, it inhibited microglial activation and impaired glial viability and migration. These data suggest that especially high doses of minocycline might have undesired affects in treatment of spinal cord injury. Further experiments are required to determine the conditions for the safe clinical administration of minocycline in spinal cord injured patients. PMID:23967343

  10. Connexin 43 in astrocytes contributes to motor neuron toxicity in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Almad, Akshata A; Doreswamy, Arpitha; Gross, Sarah K; Richard, Jean-Philippe; Huo, Yuqing; Haughey, Norman; Maragakis, Nicholas J

    2016-07-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive loss of motor neurons in the CNS. Astrocytes play a critical role in disease progression of ALS. Astrocytes are interconnected through a family of gap junction proteins known as connexins (Cx). Cx43 is a major astrocyte connexin conducting crucial homeostatic functions in the CNS. Under pathological conditions, connexin expression and functions are altered. Here we report that an abnormal increase in Cx43 expression serves as one of the mechanisms for astrocyte-mediated toxicity in ALS. We observed a progressive increase in Cx43 expression in the SOD1(G93A) mouse model of ALS during the disease course. Notably, this increase in Cx43 was also detected in the motor cortex and spinal cord of ALS patients. Astrocytes isolated from SOD1(G93A) mice as well as human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived astrocytes showed an increase in Cx43 protein, which was found to be an endogenous phenomenon independent of neuronal co-culture. Increased Cx43 expression led to important functional consequences when tested in SOD1(G93A) astrocytes when compared to control astrocytes over-expressing wild-type SOD1 (SOD1(WT) ). We observed SOD1(G93A) astrocytes exhibited enhanced gap junction coupling, increased hemichannel-mediated activity, and elevated intracellular calcium levels. Finally, we tested the impact of increased expression of Cx43 on MN survival and observed that use of both a pan Cx43 blocker and Cx43 hemichannel blocker conferred neuroprotection to MNs cultured with SOD1(G93A) astrocytes. These novel findings show a previously unrecognized role of Cx43 in ALS-related motor neuron loss. GLIA 2016;64:1154-1169. PMID:27083773