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Sample records for adult motor neuron

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Dopamine from the brain promotes spinal motor neuron generation during development and adult regeneration.

    PubMed

    Reimer, Michell M; Norris, Anneliese; Ohnmacht, Jochen; Patani, Rickie; Zhong, Zhen; Dias, Tatyana B; Kuscha, Veronika; Scott, Angela L; Chen, Yu-Chia; Rozov, Stanislav; Frazer, Sarah L; Wyatt, Cameron; Higashijima, Shin-ichi; Patton, E Elizabeth; Panula, Pertti; Chandran, Siddharthan; Becker, Thomas; Becker, Catherina G

    2013-06-10

    Coordinated development of brain stem and spinal target neurons is pivotal for the emergence of a precisely functioning locomotor system. Signals that match the development of these far-apart regions of the central nervous system may be redeployed during spinal cord regeneration. Here we show that descending dopaminergic projections from the brain promote motor neuron generation at the expense of V2 interneurons in the developing zebrafish spinal cord by activating the D4a receptor, which acts on the hedgehog pathway. Inhibiting this essential signal during early neurogenesis leads to a long-lasting reduction of motor neuron numbers and impaired motor responses of free-swimming larvae. Importantly, during successful spinal cord regeneration in adult zebrafish, endogenous dopamine promotes generation of spinal motor neurons, and dopamine agonists augment this process. Hence, we describe a supraspinal control mechanism for the development and regeneration of specific spinal cell types that uses dopamine as a signal.

  4. 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

  5. Substratum preferences of motor and sensory neurons in postnatal and adult rats.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Perez, Francisco; Alé, Albert; Santos, Daniel; Barwig, Christina; Freier, Thomas; Navarro, Xavier; Udina, Esther

    2016-02-01

    After peripheral nerve injuries, damaged axons can regenerate but functional recovery is limited by the specific reinnervation of targets. In this study we evaluated if motor and sensory neurites have a substrate preference for laminin and fibronectin in postnatal and adult stages. In postnatal dorsal root ganglia (DRG) explants, sensory neurons extended longer neurites on collagen matrices enriched with laminin (~50%) or fibronectin (~35%), whereas motoneurons extended longer neurites (~100%) in organotypic spinal cord slices embedded in fibronectin-enriched matrix. An increased percentage of parvalbumin-positive neurites (presumptive proprioceptive) vs. neurofilament-positive neurites was also found in DRG in fibronectin-enriched matrix. To test if the different preference of neurons for extracellular matrix components was maintained in vivo, these matrices were used to fill a chitosan guide to repair a 6-mm gap in the sciatic nerve of adult rats. However, the number of regenerating motor and sensory neurons after 1 month was similar between groups. Moreover, none of the retrotraced sensory neurons in DRG was positive for parvalbumin, suggesting that presumptive proprioceptive neurons had poor regenerative capabilities compared with other peripheral neurons. Using real-time PCR we evaluated the expression of α5β1 (receptor for fibronectin) and α7β1 integrin (receptor for laminin) in spinal cord and DRG 2 days after injury. Postnatal animals showed a higher increase of α5β1 integrin, whereas both integrins were similarly expressed in adult neurons. Therefore, we conclude that motor and sensory axons have a different substrate preference at early postnatal stages but this difference is lost in the adult.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-20

    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.

  7. 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

  8. Parallel changes in cortical neuron biochemistry and motor function in protein-energy malnourished adult rats.

    PubMed

    Alaverdashvili, Mariam; Hackett, Mark J; Caine, Sally; Paterson, Phyllis G

    2017-04-01

    While protein-energy malnutrition in the adult has been reported to induce motor abnormalities and exaggerate motor deficits caused by stroke, it is not known if alterations in mature cortical neurons contribute to the functional deficits. Therefore, we explored if PEM in adult rats provoked changes in the biochemical profile of neurons in the forelimb and hindlimb regions of the motor cortex. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic imaging using a synchrotron generated light source revealed for the first time altered lipid composition in neurons and subcellular domains (cytosol and nuclei) in a cortical layer and region-specific manner. This change measured by the area under the curve of the δ(CH2) band may indicate modifications in membrane fluidity. These PEM-induced biochemical changes were associated with the development of abnormalities in forelimb use and posture. The findings of this study provide a mechanism by which PEM, if not treated, could exacerbate the course of various neurological disorders and diminish treatment efficacy.

  9. Adult rat motor neurons do not re-establish electrical coupling during axonal regeneration and muscle reinnervation.

    PubMed

    Favero, Morgana; Cangiano, Alberto; Busetto, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    Gap junctions (GJs) between neurons are present in both the newborn and the adult nervous system, and although important roles have been suggested or demonstrated in a number of instances, in many other cases a full understanding of their physiological role is still missing. GJs are expressed in the rodent lumbar cord at birth and mediate both dye and electrical coupling between motor neurons. This expression has been proposed to mediate: (i) fast synchronization of motoneuronal spike activity, in turn linked to the process of refinement of neuromuscular connections, and (ii) slow synchronization of locomotor-like oscillatory activity. Soon after birth this coupling disappears. Since in the adult rat regeneration of motor fibers after peripheral nerve injury leads to a recapitulation of synaptic refinement at the target muscles, we tested whether GJs between motor neurons are transiently re-expressed. We found that in conditions of maximal responsiveness of lumbar motor neurons (such as no depression by anesthetics, decerebrate release of activity of subsets of motor neurons, use of temporal and spatial summation by antidromic and orthodromic stimulations, testing of large ensembles of motor neurons) no firing is observed in ventral root axons in response to antidromic spike invasion of nearby counterparts. We conclude that junctional coupling between motor neurons is not required for the refinement of neuromuscular innervation in the adult.

  10. 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

  11. Intravenous Administration of Self-complementary AAV9 Enables Transgene Delivery to Adult Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Duque, Sandra; Joussemet, Béatrice; Riviere, Christel; Marais, Thibaut; Dubreil, Laurence; Douar, Anne-Marie; Fyfe, John; Moullier, Philippe; Colle, Marie-Anne; Barkats, Martine

    2009-01-01

    Therapeutic gene delivery to the whole spinal cord is a major challenge for the treatment of motor neuron (MN) diseases. Systemic administration of viral gene vectors would provide an optimal means for the long-term delivery of therapeutic molecules from blood to the spinal cord but this approach is hindered by the presence of the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Here, we describe the first successful study of MN transduction in adult animals following intravenous (i.v.) delivery of self-complementary (sc) AAV9 vectors (up to 28% in mice). Intravenous MN transduction was achieved in adults without pharmacological disruption of the BBB and transgene expression lasted at least 5 months. Importantly, this finding was successfully translated to large animals, with the demonstration of an efficient systemic scAAV9 gene delivery to the neonate and adult cat spinal cord. This new and noninvasive procedure raises the hope of whole spinal cord correction of MN diseases and may lead to the development of new gene therapy protocols in patients. PMID:19367261

  12. Structural plasticity within highly specific neuronal populations identifies a unique parcellation of motor learning in the adult brain

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Ling; Conner, James M.; Rickert, Jessica; Tuszynski, Mark H.

    2011-01-01

    Cortical networks undergo adaptations during learning, including increases in dendritic complexity and spines. We hypothesized that structural elaborations during learning are restricted to discrete subsets of cells preferentially activated by, and relevant to, novel experience. Accordingly, we examined corticospinal motor neurons segregated on the basis of their distinct descending projection patterns, and their contribution to specific aspects of motor control during a forelimb skilled grasping task in adult rats. Learning-mediated structural adaptations, including extensive expansions of spine density and dendritic complexity, were restricted solely to neurons associated with control of distal forelimb musculature required for skilled grasping; neurons associated with control of proximal musculature were unchanged by the experience. We further found that distal forelimb-projecting and proximal forelimb-projecting neurons are intermingled within motor cortex, and that this distribution does not change as a function of skill acquisition. These findings indicate that representations of novel experience in the adult motor cortex are associated with selective structural expansion in networks of functionally related, active neurons that are distributed across a single cortical domain. These results identify a distinct parcellation of cortical resources in support of learning. PMID:21257908

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

    PubMed

    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.

  14. 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

  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. Motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    2016-03-23

    Essential facts Motor neurone disease describes a group of related diseases, affecting the neurones in the brain and spinal cord. Progressive, incurable and life-limiting, MND is rare, with about 1,100 people developing it each year in the UK and up to 5,000 people affected at any one time. One third of people will die within a year of diagnosis and more than half within two years. About 5% to 10% are alive at ten years.

  17. The Scottish Motor Neuron Disease Register: a prospective study of adult onset motor neuron disease in Scotland. Methodology, demography and clinical features of incident cases in 1989.

    PubMed Central

    1992-01-01

    The Scottish Motor Neuron Disease Register (SMNDR) is a prospective, collaborative, population based study of motor neuron disease (MND) in Scotland. The register started in January 1989 with the aim of studying the clinical and epidemiological features of MND by prospectively identifying incident patients. It is based on a system of registration by recruitment from multiple sources, followed by the collection of complete clinical data and follow up, mainly through general practitioners. In this report the register's methodology and the demography and incidence data for the first year of study are presented. One hundred and fourteen newly diagnosed patients were identified in 1989 giving a crude incidence for Scotland of 2.24/100,000/year. Standardised incidence ratios showed a non-significant trend towards lower rates in north eastern regions and island areas. PMID:1640227

  18. Adult neuron addition to the zebra finch song motor pathway correlates with the rate and extent of recovery from botox-induced paralysis of the vocal muscles.

    PubMed

    Pytte, Carolyn; Yu, Yi-Lo; Wildstein, Sara; George, Shanu; Kirn, John R

    2011-11-23

    In adult songbirds, neurons are continually incorporated into the telencephalic nucleus HVC (used as a proper name), a premotor region necessary for the production of learned vocalizations. Previous studies have demonstrated that neuron addition to HVC is highest when song is most variable: in juveniles during song learning, in seasonally singing adults during peaks in plasticity that precede the production of new song components, or during seasonal reestablishment of a previously learned song. These findings suggest that neuron addition provides motor flexibility for the transition from a variable song to a target song. Here we test the association between the quality of song structure and HVC neuron addition by experimentally manipulating syringeal muscle control with Botox, which produces a transient partial paralysis. We show that the quality of song structure covaries with new neuron addition to HVC. Both the magnitude of song distortion and the rate of song recovery after syringeal Botox injections were correlated with the number of new neurons incorporated into HVC. We suggest that the quality of song structure is either a cause or consequence of the number of new neurons added to HVC. Birds with naturally high rates of neuron addition may have had the greatest success in recovering song. Alternatively, or in addition, new neuron survival in the song motor pathway may be regulated by the quality of song-generated feedback as song regains its original stereotyped structure. Present results are the first to show a relationship between peripheral muscle control and adult neuron addition to cortical premotor circuits.

  19. Adult onset motor neuron disease: worldwide mortality, incidence and distribution since 1950.

    PubMed Central

    Chancellor, A M; Warlow, C P

    1992-01-01

    This review examines the commonly held premise that, apart from the Western Pacific forms, motor neuron disease (MND), has a uniform worldwide distribution in space and time; the methodological problems in studies of MND incidence; and directions for future epidemiological research. MND is more common in men at all ages. Age-specific incidence rises steeply into the seventh decade but the incidence in the very elderly is uncertain. A rise in mortality from MND over recent decades has been demonstrated wherever this has been examined and may be real rather than due to improved case ascertainment. Comparison of incidence studies in different places is complicated by non-standardised methods of case ascertainment and diagnosis but there appear to be differences between well studied populations. In developed countries in the northern hemisphere there is a weak positive correlation between standardised, age-specific incidence and distance from the equator. There is now strong evidence for an environmental factor as the cause of the Western Pacific forms of MND. A number of clusters of sporadic MND have been reported from developed countries, but no single agent identified as responsible. Images PMID:1479386

  20. Advances in motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Bäumer, Dirk; Talbot, Kevin; Turner, Martin R

    2014-01-01

    Motor neurone disease (MND), the commonest clinical presentation of which is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is regarded as the most devastating of adult-onset neurodegenerative disorders. The last decade has seen major improvements in patient care, but also rapid scientific advances, so that rational therapies based on key pathogenic mechanisms now seem plausible. ALS is strikingly heterogeneous in both its presentation, with an average one-year delay from first symptoms to diagnosis, and subsequent rate of clinical progression. Although half of patients succumb within 3-4 years of symptom onset, typically through respiratory failure, a significant minority survives into a second decade. Although an apparently sporadic disorder for most patients, without clear environmental triggers, recent genetic studies have identified disease-causing mutations in genes in several seemingly disparate functional pathways, so that motor neuron degeneration may need to be understood as a common final pathway with a number of upstream causes. This apparent aetiological and clinical heterogeneity suggests that therapeutic studies should include detailed biomarker profiling, and consider genetic as well as clinical stratification. The most common mutation, accounting for 10% of all Western hemisphere ALS, is a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9orf72. This and several other genes implicate altered RNA processing and protein degradation pathways in the core of ALS pathogenesis. A major gap remains in understanding how such fundamental processes appear to function without obvious deficit in the decades prior to symptom emergence, and the study of pre-symptomatic gene carriers is an important new initiative.

  1. ALS-linked TDP-43 mutations produce aberrant RNA splicing and adult-onset motor neuron disease without aggregation or loss of nuclear TDP-43.

    PubMed

    Arnold, Eveline S; Ling, Shuo-Chien; Huelga, Stephanie C; Lagier-Tourenne, Clotilde; Polymenidou, Magdalini; Ditsworth, Dara; Kordasiewicz, Holly B; McAlonis-Downes, Melissa; Platoshyn, Oleksandr; Parone, Philippe A; Da Cruz, Sandrine; Clutario, Kevin M; Swing, Debbie; Tessarollo, Lino; Marsala, Martin; Shaw, Christopher E; Yeo, Gene W; Cleveland, Don W

    2013-02-19

    Transactivating response region DNA binding protein (TDP-43) is the major protein component of ubiquitinated inclusions found in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with ubiquitinated inclusions. Two ALS-causing mutants (TDP-43(Q331K) and TDP-43(M337V)), but not wild-type human TDP-43, are shown here to provoke age-dependent, mutant-dependent, progressive motor axon degeneration and motor neuron death when expressed in mice at levels and in a cell type-selective pattern similar to endogenous TDP-43. Mutant TDP-43-dependent degeneration of lower motor neurons occurs without: (i) loss of TDP-43 from the corresponding nuclei, (ii) accumulation of TDP-43 aggregates, and (iii) accumulation of insoluble TDP-43. Computational analysis using splicing-sensitive microarrays demonstrates alterations of endogenous TDP-43-dependent alternative splicing events conferred by both human wild-type and mutant TDP-43(Q331K), but with high levels of mutant TDP-43 preferentially enhancing exon exclusion of some target pre-mRNAs affecting genes involved in neurological transmission and function. Comparison with splicing alterations following TDP-43 depletion demonstrates that TDP-43(Q331K) enhances normal TDP-43 splicing function for some RNA targets but loss-of-function for others. Thus, adult-onset motor neuron disease does not require aggregation or loss of nuclear TDP-43, with ALS-linked mutants producing loss and gain of splicing function of selected RNA targets at an early disease stage.

  2. Motor neurone disease: an overview.

    PubMed

    Kent, Anna

    Motor neurone disease (MND) is a relatively rare, progressive and incurable neurological condition affecting patients' speech, mobility and respiratory function. Care of patients with MND is complex and involves various healthcare professionals and services. There is a need to discuss symptom management and promote palliative and end of life care from the point of diagnosis to ensure appropriate holistic care is provided.

  3. ALS-linked TDP-43 mutations produce aberrant RNA splicing and adult-onset motor neuron disease without aggregation or loss of nuclear TDP-43

    PubMed Central

    Arnold, Eveline S.; Ling, Shuo-Chien; Huelga, Stephanie C.; Lagier-Tourenne, Clotilde; Polymenidou, Magdalini; Ditsworth, Dara; Kordasiewicz, Holly B.; McAlonis-Downes, Melissa; Platoshyn, Oleksandr; Parone, Philippe A.; Da Cruz, Sandrine; Clutario, Kevin M.; Swing, Debbie; Tessarollo, Lino; Marsala, Martin; Shaw, Christopher E.; Yeo, Gene W.; Cleveland, Don W.

    2013-01-01

    Transactivating response region DNA binding protein (TDP-43) is the major protein component of ubiquitinated inclusions found in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with ubiquitinated inclusions. Two ALS-causing mutants (TDP-43Q331K and TDP-43M337V), but not wild-type human TDP-43, are shown here to provoke age-dependent, mutant-dependent, progressive motor axon degeneration and motor neuron death when expressed in mice at levels and in a cell type-selective pattern similar to endogenous TDP-43. Mutant TDP-43-dependent degeneration of lower motor neurons occurs without: (i) loss of TDP-43 from the corresponding nuclei, (ii) accumulation of TDP-43 aggregates, and (iii) accumulation of insoluble TDP-43. Computational analysis using splicing-sensitive microarrays demonstrates alterations of endogenous TDP-43–dependent alternative splicing events conferred by both human wild-type and mutant TDP-43Q331K, but with high levels of mutant TDP-43 preferentially enhancing exon exclusion of some target pre-mRNAs affecting genes involved in neurological transmission and function. Comparison with splicing alterations following TDP-43 depletion demonstrates that TDP-43Q331K enhances normal TDP-43 splicing function for some RNA targets but loss-of-function for others. Thus, adult-onset motor neuron disease does not require aggregation or loss of nuclear TDP-43, with ALS-linked mutants producing loss and gain of splicing function of selected RNA targets at an early disease stage. PMID:23382207

  4. 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

  5. Motor neuron dysfunction in frontotemporal dementia.

    PubMed

    Burrell, James R; Kiernan, Matthew C; Vucic, Steve; Hodges, John R

    2011-09-01

    Frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease share clinical, genetic and pathological characteristics. Motor neuron disease develops in a proportion of patients with frontotemporal dementia, but the incidence, severity and functional significance of motor system dysfunction in patients with frontotemporal dementia has not been determined. Neurophysiological biomarkers have been developed to document motor system dysfunction including: short-interval intracortical inhibition, a marker of corticospinal motor neuron dysfunction and the neurophysiological index, a marker of lower motor neuron dysfunction. The present study performed detailed clinical and neurophysiological assessments on 108 participants including 40 consecutive patients with frontotemporal dementia, 42 age- and gender-matched patients with motor neuron disease and 26 control subjects. Of the 40 patients with frontotemporal dementia, 12.5% had concomitant motor neuron disease. A further 27.3% of the patients with frontotemporal dementia had clinical evidence of minor motor system dysfunction such as occasional fasciculations, mild wasting or weakness. Biomarkers of motor system function were abnormal in frontotemporal dementia. Average short-interval intracortical inhibition was reduced in frontotemporal dementia (4.3 ± 1.7%) compared with controls (9.1 ± 1.1%, P < 0.05). Short-interval intracortical inhibition was particularly reduced in the progressive non-fluent aphasia subgroup, but was normal in patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and semantic dementia. The neurophysiological index was reduced in frontotemporal dementia (1.1) compared with controls (1.9, P < 0.001), indicating a degree of lower motor neuron dysfunction, although remained relatively preserved when compared with motor neuron disease (0.7, P < 0.05). Motor system dysfunction in frontotemporal dementia may result from pathological involvement of the primary motor cortex, with secondary

  6. 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

  7. Survival motor neuron protein in motor neurons determines synaptic integrity in spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Martinez, Tara L; Kong, Lingling; Wang, Xueyong; Osborne, Melissa A; Crowder, Melissa E; Van Meerbeke, James P; Xu, Xixi; Davis, Crystal; Wooley, Joe; Goldhamer, David J; Lutz, Cathleen M; Rich, Mark M; Sumner, Charlotte J

    2012-06-20

    The inherited motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by deficient expression of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein and results in severe muscle weakness. In SMA mice, synaptic dysfunction of both neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) and central sensorimotor synapses precedes motor neuron cell death. To address whether this synaptic dysfunction is due to SMN deficiency in motor neurons, muscle, or both, we generated three lines of conditional SMA mice with tissue-specific increases in SMN expression. All three lines of mice showed increased survival, weights, and improved motor behavior. While increased SMN expression in motor neurons prevented synaptic dysfunction at the NMJ and restored motor neuron somal synapses, increased SMN expression in muscle did not affect synaptic function although it did improve myofiber size. Together these data indicate that both peripheral and central synaptic integrity are dependent on motor neurons in SMA, but SMN may have variable roles in the maintenance of these different synapses. At the NMJ, it functions at the presynaptic terminal in a cell-autonomous fashion, but may be necessary for retrograde trophic signaling to presynaptic inputs onto motor neurons. Importantly, SMN also appears to function in muscle growth and/or maintenance independent of motor neurons. Our data suggest that SMN plays distinct roles in muscle, NMJs, and motor neuron somal synapses and that restored function of SMN at all three sites will be necessary for full recovery of muscle power.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Delayed focal involvement of upper motor neurons in the Madras pattern of motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Massa, R; Scalise, A; Iani, C; Palmieri, M G; Bernardi, G

    1998-12-01

    We report the case of a young man from the south of India, initially presenting the typical signs of benign monomelic amyotrophy (BMA) in the left upper limb. After several years, the involvement of other limbs and the appearance of bulbar signs suggested the possible diagnosis of the Madras pattern of motor neuron disease (MMND). Serial motor evoked potential (MEP) recordings allowed detection of the onset of a focal involvement of upper motor neurons (UMN) controlling innervation in the originally amyotrophic limb. Therefore, serial MEP recordings can be useful for the early detection of sub-clinical UMN damage in motor neuron disease presenting with pure lower motor neuron (LMN) signs.

  11. Heavy metals in locus ceruleus and motor neurons in motor neuron disease

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The causes of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS) and other types of motor neuron disease (MND) remain largely unknown. Heavy metals have long been implicated in MND, and it has recently been shown that inorganic mercury selectively enters human locus ceruleus (LC) and motor neurons. We therefore used silver nitrate autometallography (AMG) to look for AMG-stainable heavy metals (inorganic mercury and bismuth) in LC and motor neurons of 24 patients with MND (18 with SALS and 6 with familial MND) and in the LC of 24 controls. Results Heavy metals in neurons were found in significantly more MND patients than in controls when comparing: (1) the presence of any versus no heavy metal-containing LC neurons (MND 88%, controls 42%), (2) the median percentage of heavy metal-containing LC neurons (MND 9.5%, control 0.0%), and (3) numbers of individuals with heavy metal-containing LC neurons in the upper half of the percentage range (MND 75%, controls 25%). In MND patients, 67% of remaining spinal motor neurons contained heavy metals; smaller percentages were found in hypoglossal, nucleus ambiguus and oculomotor neurons, but none in cortical motor neurons. The majority of MND patients had heavy metals in both LC and spinal motor neurons. No glia or other neurons, including neuromelanin-containing neurons of the substantia nigra, contained stainable heavy metals. Conclusions Uptake of heavy metals by LC and lower motor neurons appears to be fairly common in humans, though heavy metal staining in the LC, most likely due to inorganic mercury, was seen significantly more often in MND patients than in controls. The LC innervates many cell types that are affected in MND, and it is possible that MND is triggered by toxicant-induced interactions between LC and motor neurons. PMID:24330485

  12. Motor neurons controlling fluid ingestion in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Manzo, Andrea; Silies, Marion; Gohl, Daryl M; Scott, Kristin

    2012-04-17

    Rhythmic motor behaviors such as feeding are driven by neural networks that can be modulated by external stimuli and internal states. In Drosophila, ingestion is accomplished by a pump that draws fluid into the esophagus. Here we examine how pumping is regulated and characterize motor neurons innervating the pump. Frequency of pumping is not affected by sucrose concentration or hunger but is altered by fluid viscosity. Inactivating motor neurons disrupts pumping and ingestion, whereas activating them elicits arrhythmic pumping. These motor neurons respond to taste stimuli and show prolonged activity to palatable substances. This work describes an important component of the neural circuit for feeding in Drosophila and is a step toward understanding the rhythmic activity producing ingestion.

  13. Comparison of independent screens on differentially vulnerable motor neurons reveals alpha-synuclein as a common modifier in motor neuron diseases.

    PubMed

    Kline, Rachel A; Kaifer, Kevin A; Osman, Erkan Y; Carella, Francesco; Tiberi, Ariana; Ross, Jolill; Pennetta, Giuseppa; Lorson, Christian L; Murray, Lyndsay M

    2017-03-31

    The term "motor neuron disease" encompasses a spectrum of disorders in which motor neurons are the primary pathological target. However, in both patients and animal models of these diseases, not all motor neurons are equally vulnerable, in that while some motor neurons are lost very early in disease, others remain comparatively intact, even at late stages. This creates a valuable system to investigate the factors that regulate motor neuron vulnerability. In this study, we aim to use this experimental paradigm to identify potential transcriptional modifiers. We have compared the transcriptome of motor neurons from healthy wild-type mice, which are differentially vulnerable in the childhood motor neuron disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and have identified 910 transcriptional changes. We have compared this data set with published microarray data sets on other differentially vulnerable motor neurons. These neurons were differentially vulnerable in the adult onset motor neuron disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but the screen was performed on the equivalent population of neurons from neurologically normal human, rat and mouse. This cross species comparison has generated a refined list of differentially expressed genes, including CELF5, Col5a2, PGEMN1, SNCA, Stmn1 and HOXa5, alongside a further enrichment for synaptic and axonal transcripts. As an in vivo validation, we demonstrate that the manipulation of a significant number of these transcripts can modify the neurodegenerative phenotype observed in a Drosophila line carrying an ALS causing mutation. Finally, we demonstrate that vector-mediated expression of alpha-synuclein (SNCA), a transcript decreased in selectively vulnerable motor neurons in all four screens, can extend life span, increase weight and decrease neuromuscular junction pathology in a mouse model of SMA. In summary, we have combined multiple data sets to identify transcripts, which are strong candidates for being phenotypic modifiers

  14. Atypical motor neuron disease and related motor syndromes.

    PubMed

    Verma, A; Bradley, W G

    2001-06-01

    There is an imperative need for the early diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease (ALS/MND) in the current era of emerging treatments. When evaluating the patient with ALS/MND, the neurologist must consider a number of other motor neuron disorders and related motor syndromes that may have clinical features resembling ALS/MND. The revised Airlie House-El Escorial diagnostic criteria have been established through the consensus of experts meeting at workshops. However, by definition, using these criteria a patient is likely to have fairly advanced disease at the time of a definitive ALS/MND diagnosis. The reasons for the difficulty in making an early ALS/MND diagnosis are several. No surrogate diagnostic marker currently exists for ALS/MND. ALS/MND at its onset is heterogeneous in clinical presentation, its clinical course is variable, and several clinical variants are recognized. In addition, certain motor syndromes, such as monomelic amyotrophy, postpolio muscular atrophy, and multifocal motor neuropathy, can clinically mimic ALS/MND. Therefore, not only may the diagnosis of ALS/MND be clinically missed in the early stages, but worse, the patient may be wrongly labeled as having ALS/MND. The diagnosis of ALS/MND requires a combination of upper motor neuron (UMN) and lower motor neuron (LMN) involvement. Motor syndromes in which the deficit is restricted to the UMN or LMN through the entire course of the disease are described as atypical MND in this review. Approximately 5% of patients with ALS/MND have overt dementia with a characteristic frontal affect. ALS/MND with parkinsonism and dementia is rare outside the western Pacific region. The clinical course of motor disorder in these overlap syndromes does not differ from that in typical ALS/MND.

  15. MicroRNA-128 governs neuronal excitability and motor behavior in mice.

    PubMed

    Tan, Chan Lek; Plotkin, Joshua L; Venø, Morten T; von Schimmelmann, Melanie; Feinberg, Philip; Mann, Silas; Handler, Annie; Kjems, Jørgen; Surmeier, D James; O'Carroll, Dónal; Greengard, Paul; Schaefer, Anne

    2013-12-06

    The control of motor behavior in animals and humans requires constant adaptation of neuronal networks to signals of various types and strengths. We found that microRNA-128 (miR-128), which is expressed in adult neurons, regulates motor behavior by modulating neuronal signaling networks and excitability. miR-128 governs motor activity by suppressing the expression of various ion channels and signaling components of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase ERK2 network that regulate neuronal excitability. In mice, a reduction of miR-128 expression in postnatal neurons causes increased motor activity and fatal epilepsy. Overexpression of miR-128 attenuates neuronal responsiveness, suppresses motor activity, and alleviates motor abnormalities associated with Parkinson's-like disease and seizures in mice. These data suggest a therapeutic potential for miR-128 in the treatment of epilepsy and movement disorders.

  16. 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

  17. [Dropped head syndrome in motor neuron disease].

    PubMed

    Lorenzoni, Paulo José; Lange, Marcos Christiano; Kay, Cláudia S K; Almeida, Luiz G M P de; Teive, Hélio A G; Scola, Rosana H; Werneck, Lineu C

    2006-03-01

    Dropped head is a syndrome caused by weakness of the neck extensor muscles found in different kinds of neuromuscular disorders and also in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This is a cases report of three women with motor neuron disease with beginning of dysphagia and cervical weakness that it evolved with dropped head. The investigation showed normal magnetic resonance imaging of brain and cervical column. Needle electromyography showed active and chronic denervation in bulbar muscles and cervical, thoracic and lumbosacral segments. We discuss the characteristic of disease, specially the clinical manifestations and electromyography features, with emphasis at the clinical evaluation of dropped head in the suspicion of motor neuron disease.

  18. Neuropathology and omics in motor neuron diseases.

    PubMed

    Tanaka, Fumiaki; Ikenaka, Kensuke; Yamamoto, Masahiko; Sobue, Gen

    2012-08-01

    Motor neuron diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), are devastating disorders and effective therapies have not yet been established. One of the reasons for this lack of therapeutics, especially in sporadic ALS (SALS), is attributed to the absence of excellent disease models reflecting its pathology. For this purpose, identifying important key molecules for ALS pathomechanisms and developing disease models is crucial, and omics approaches, including genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics, have been employed. In particular, transcriptome analysis using cDNA microarray is the most popular omics approach and we have previously identified dynactin-1 as an important molecule downregulated in the motor neurons of SALS patients from the early stage of the disease. Dynactin-1 is also known as a causative gene in familial ALS (FALS). Dynactin-1 is a major component of the dynein/dynactin motor protein complex functioning in retrograde axonal transport. In motor neuron diseases as well as other neurodegenerative diseases, the role of axonal transport dysfunction in their pathogenesis always draws attention, but its precise mechanisms remain to be fully elucidated. In this article, we review our previous omics approach to SALS and the role of dynactin-1 in the pathogenesis of ALS. Finally, we emphasize the need for creating novel SALS disease models based on the results of omics analysis, especially based on the observation that dynactin-1 gene expression was downregulated in SALS motor neurons.

  19. Generation of motor neurons from pluripotent stem cells.

    PubMed

    Chipman, Peter H; Toma, Jeremy S; Rafuse, Victor F

    2012-01-01

    Alpha motor neurons (also known as lower or skeletal motor neurons) have been studied extensively for over 100 years. Motor neurons control the contraction of skeletal muscles and thus are the final common pathway in the nervous system responsible for motor behavior. Muscles become paralyzed when their innervating motor neurons die because of injury or disease. Motor neuron diseases (MNDs), such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, progressively destroy motor neurons until those inflicted succumb to the illness due to respiratory failure. One strategy being explored to study and treat muscle paralysis due to motor neuron loss involves deriving surrogate motor neurons from pluripotent stem cells. Guided by decades of research on the development of the spinal cord, recent advances in neurobiology have shown that functional motor neurons can be derived from mouse and human embryonic stem (ES) cells. Furthermore, ES cell-derived motor neurons restore motor behavior when transplanted into animal models of motor dysfunction. The recent discovery that mouse and human motor neurons can be derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells (i.e., somatic cells converted to pluripotency) has set the stage for the development of patient-specific therapies designed to treat movement disorders. Indeed, there is now hope within the scientific community that motor neurons derived from pluripotent stem cells will be used to treat MNDs through cell transplantation and/or to screen molecules that will prevent motor neuron death. In this chapter, we review the journey that led to the generation of motor neurons from ES and iPS cells, how stem cell-derived motor neurons have been used to treat/study motor dysfunction, and where the technology will likely lead to in the future.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  1. Diverse role of survival motor neuron protein.

    PubMed

    Singh, Ravindra N; Howell, Matthew D; Ottesen, Eric W; Singh, Natalia N

    2017-03-01

    The multifunctional Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) protein is required for the survival of all organisms of the animal kingdom. SMN impacts various aspects of RNA metabolism through the formation and/or interaction with ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. SMN regulates biogenesis of small nuclear RNPs, small nucleolar RNPs, small Cajal body-associated RNPs, signal recognition particles and telomerase. SMN also plays an important role in DNA repair, transcription, pre-mRNA splicing, histone mRNA processing, translation, selenoprotein synthesis, macromolecular trafficking, stress granule formation, cell signaling and cytoskeleton maintenance. The tissue-specific requirement of SMN is dictated by the variety and the abundance of its interacting partners. Reduced expression of SMN causes spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA displays a broad spectrum ranging from embryonic lethality to an adult onset. Aberrant expression and/or localization of SMN has also been associated with male infertility, inclusion body myositis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and osteoarthritis. This review provides a summary of various SMN functions with implications to a better understanding of SMA and other pathological conditions.

  2. 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

  3. Direct Lineage Reprogramming Reveals Disease-Specific Phenotypes of Motor Neurons from Human ALS Patients.

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-05

    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.

  4. Epigenetic regulation of motor neuron cell death through DNA methylation.

    PubMed

    Chestnut, Barry A; Chang, Qing; Price, Ann; Lesuisse, Catherine; Wong, Margaret; Martin, Lee J

    2011-11-16

    DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism for gene silencing engaged by DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt)-catalyzed methyl group transfer to cytosine residues in gene-regulatory regions. It is unknown whether aberrant DNA methylation can cause neurodegeneration. We tested the hypothesis that Dnmts can mediate neuronal cell death. Enforced expression of Dnmt3a induced degeneration of cultured NSC34 cells. During apoptosis of NSC34 cells induced by camptothecin, levels of Dnmt1 and Dnmt3a increased fivefold and twofold, respectively, and 5-methylcytosine accumulated in nuclei. Truncation mutation of the Dnmt3a catalytic domain and Dnmt3a RNAi blocked apoptosis of cultured neurons. Inhibition of Dnmt catalytic activity with RG108 and procainamide protected cultured neurons from excessive DNA methylation and apoptosis. In vivo, Dnmt1 and Dnmt3a are expressed differentially during mouse brain and spinal cord maturation and in adulthood when Dnmt3a is abundant in synapses and mitochondria. Dnmt1 and Dnmt3a are expressed in motor neurons of adult mouse spinal cord, and, during their apoptosis induced by sciatic nerve avulsion, nuclear and cytoplasmic 5-methylcytosine immunoreactivity, Dnmt3a protein levels and Dnmt enzyme activity increased preapoptotically. Inhibition of Dnmts with RG108 blocked completely the increase in 5-methycytosine and the apoptosis of motor neurons in mice. In human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), motor neurons showed changes in Dnmt1, Dnmt3a, and 5-methylcytosine similar to experimental models. Thus, motor neurons can engage epigenetic mechanisms to drive apoptosis, involving Dnmt upregulation and increased DNA methylation. These cellular mechanisms could be relevant to human ALS pathobiology and disease treatment.

  5. Neuronal Determinants of Motor Disability in MS

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-10-01

    between approximately 6 to 8 months delayed from the original SOW primarily due to delays in human subject authorization steps. 15. SUBJECT TERMS Motor...Motor disability is one of the primary disabling features of MS and is predictive of an aggressive progressive course of the disease . However, to...neuron  injury,  function,  and  loss   and   disease  related  metrics  in  MS  patients  at  a  baseline  and  1

  6. Modeling ALS with motor neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

    PubMed

    Sances, Samuel; Bruijn, Lucie I; Chandran, Siddharthan; Eggan, Kevin; Ho, Ritchie; Klim, Joseph R; Livesey, Matt R; Lowry, Emily; Macklis, Jeffrey D; Rushton, David; Sadegh, Cameron; Sareen, Dhruv; Wichterle, Hynek; Zhang, Su-Chun; Svendsen, Clive N

    2016-04-01

    Directing the differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells into motor neurons has allowed investigators to develop new models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, techniques vary between laboratories and the cells do not appear to mature into fully functional adult motor neurons. Here we discuss common developmental principles of both lower and upper motor neuron development that have led to specific derivation techniques. We then suggest how these motor neurons may be matured further either through direct expression or administration of specific factors or coculture approaches with other tissues. Ultimately, through a greater understanding of motor neuron biology, it will be possible to establish more reliable models of ALS. These in turn will have a greater chance of validating new drugs that may be effective for the disease.

  7. Modeling ALS using motor neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Sances, S; Bruijn, LI; Chandran, S; Eggan, K; Ho, R; Klim, J; Livesey, MR; Lowry, E; Macklis, JD; Rushton, D; Sadegh, C; Sareen, D; Wichterle, H; Zhang, SC; Svendsen, CN

    2016-01-01

    Directing the differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells into motor neurons has allowed investigators to develop novel models of ALS. However, techniques vary between laboratories and the cells do not appear to mature into fully functional adult motor neurons. Here we discuss common developmental principles of both lower and upper motor neuron development that have led to specific derivation techniques. We then suggest how these motor neurons may be matured further either through direct expression or administration of specific factors or co-culture approaches with other tissues. Ultimately, through a greater understanding of motor neuron biology, it will be possible to establish more reliable models of ALS. These in turn will have a greater chance of validating new drugs that may be effective for the disease. PMID:27021939

  8. Ablation of the Ferroptosis Inhibitor Glutathione Peroxidase 4 in Neurons Results in Rapid Motor Neuron Degeneration and Paralysis.

    PubMed

    Chen, Liuji; Hambright, William Sealy; Na, Ren; Ran, Qitao

    2015-11-20

    Glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4), an antioxidant defense enzyme active in repairing oxidative damage to lipids, is a key inhibitor of ferroptosis, a non-apoptotic form of cell death involving lipid reactive oxygen species. Here we show that GPX4 is essential for motor neuron health and survival in vivo. Conditional ablation of Gpx4 in neurons of adult mice resulted in rapid onset and progression of paralysis and death. Pathological inspection revealed that the paralyzed mice had a dramatic degeneration of motor neurons in the spinal cord but had no overt neuron degeneration in the cerebral cortex. Consistent with the role of GPX4 as a ferroptosis inhibitor, spinal motor neuron degeneration induced by Gpx4 ablation exhibited features of ferroptosis, including no caspase-3 activation, no TUNEL staining, activation of ERKs, and elevated spinal inflammation. Supplementation with vitamin E, another inhibitor of ferroptosis, delayed the onset of paralysis and death induced by Gpx4 ablation. Also, lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial dysfunction appeared to be involved in ferroptosis of motor neurons induced by Gpx4 ablation. Taken together, the dramatic motor neuron degeneration and paralysis induced by Gpx4 ablation suggest that ferroptosis inhibition by GPX4 is essential for motor neuron health and survival in vivo.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  10. 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

  11. Mimics and chameleons in motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Turner, Martin R; Talbot, Kevin

    2013-06-01

    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.

  12. 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

  13. Motor neurone disease presenting as polycythaemia.

    PubMed

    Santana-Vaz, Natasha; Bwika, Jumaa; Morley, Kirstie; Mukherjee, Rahul

    2014-04-28

    Motor neurone disease (MND) is a chronic, progressive and currently incurable neurodegenerative disorder. This case report discusses an instance of MND presenting initially as polycythaemia, caused via insidious respiratory failure through ventilatory insufficiency. This case aims to improve clinicians' awareness of this atypical presentation and highlights the need for a high index of suspicion of respiratory failure in any patient with polycythaemia. Finally it demonstrates an improvement in quality of life associated with the use of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in a patient with MND.

  14. Pathological involvement of the motor neuron system and hippocampal formation in motor neuron disease-inclusion dementia.

    PubMed

    Toyoshima, Yasuko; Piao, Yue-Shan; Tan, Chun-Feng; Morita, Masahiro; Tanaka, Masaharu; Oyanagi, Kiyomitsu; Okamoto, Koichi; Takahashi, Hitoshi

    2003-07-01

    We report two patients with motor neuron disease-inclusion dementia, with special reference to the pathology of the motor neuron system and hippocampal formation. The ages of the patients at death were 55 and 62 years, and the disease durations were 8 and 3 years, respectively. The two patients exhibited progressive frontotemporal dementia in the absence of motor neuron signs. At autopsy, both cases exhibited frontotemporal lobar atrophy with ubiquitin-positive, and tau- and alpha-synuclein-negative neuronal inclusions. As expected from the clinical signs, in both cases, the upper and lower motor neuron systems were well preserved: no Bunina bodies or ubiquitinated inclusions were detected in the motor neurons. However, of great importance was that when visualized immunohistochemically, the Golgi apparatus and trans-Golgi network often exhibited fragmentation in the lower motor neurons (the spinal anterior horn cells). In one of the cases, a decrease in the amount of Golgi apparatus was also a frequent feature in the upper motor neurons (Betz cells in the motor cortex). Moreover, in both cases, circumscribed degeneration affecting the CA1-subiculum border zone was evident in the hippocampal formation. These findings further strengthen the idea that, pathologically, motor neuron disease-inclusion dementia is a rare phenotype of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

  15. Transcriptional regulation of mouse hypoglossal motor neuron somatotopic map formation.

    PubMed

    Chen, Xin; Wang, Jae Woong; Salin-Cantegrel, Adele; Dali, Rola; Stifani, Stefano

    2016-11-01

    Somatic motor neurons in the hypoglossal nucleus innervate tongue muscles controlling vital functions such as chewing, swallowing and respiration. Formation of functional hypoglossal nerve circuits depends on the establishment of precise hypoglossal motor neuron maps correlating with specific tongue muscle innervations. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms controlling mammalian hypoglossal motor neuron topographic map formation. Here we show that combinatorial expression of transcription factors Runx1, SCIP and FoxP1 defines separate mouse hypoglossal motor neuron groups with different topological, neurotransmitter and calcium-buffering phenotypes. Runx1 and SCIP are coexpressed in ventromedial hypoglossal motor neurons involved in control of tongue protrusion whereas FoxP1 is expressed in dorsomedial motor neurons associated with tongue retraction. Establishment of separate hypoglossal motor neuron maps depends in part on Runx1-mediated suppression of ventrolateral and dorsomedial motor neuron phenotypes and regulation of FoxP1 expression pattern. These findings suggest that combinatorial actions of Runx1, SCIP and FoxP1 are important for mouse hypoglossal nucleus somatotopic map formation.

  16. Oxidative stress induced by cumene hydroperoxide evokes changes in neuronal excitability of rat motor cortex neurons.

    PubMed

    Pardillo-Díaz, R; Carrascal, L; Ayala, A; Nunez-Abades, P

    2015-03-19

    Oxidative stress and the production of reactive oxygen radicals play a key role in neuronal cell damage. This paper describes an in vitro study that explores the neuronal responses to oxidative stress focusing on changes in neuronal excitability and functional membrane properties. This study was carried out in pyramidal cells of the motor cortex by applying whole-cell patch-clamp techniques on brain slices from young adult rats. Oxygen-derived free radical formation was induced by bath application of 10μM cumene hydroperoxide (CH) for 30min. CH produced marked changes in the electrophysiological properties of neurons (n=30). Resting membrane potential became progressively depolarized, as well as depolarization voltage, with no variations in voltage threshold. Membrane resistance showed a biphasic behavior, increasing after 5min of drug exposure and then it started to decrease, even under control values, after 15 and 30min. At the same time, changes in membrane resistance produced compensatory variations in the rheobase. The amplitude of the action potentials diminished and the duration increased progressively over time. Some of the neurons under study also lost their ability to discharge action potentials in a repetitive way. Most of the neurons, however, kept their repetitive discharge even though their maximum frequency and gain decreased. Furthermore, cancelation of the repetitive firing discharge took place at intensities that decreased with time of exposure to CH, which resulted in a narrower working range. We can conclude that oxidative stress compromises both neuronal excitability and the capability of generating action potentials, and so this type of neuronal functional failure could precede the neuronal death characteristics of many neurodegenerative diseases.

  17. GDE2 regulates subtype-specific motor neuron generation through inhibition of Notch signaling.

    PubMed

    Sabharwal, Priyanka; Lee, Changhee; Park, Sungjin; Rao, Meenakshi; Sockanathan, Shanthini

    2011-09-22

    The specification of spinal interneuron and motor neuron identities initiates within progenitor cells, while motor neuron subtype diversification is regulated by hierarchical transcriptional programs implemented postmitotically. Here we find that mice lacking GDE2, a six-transmembrane protein that triggers motor neuron generation, exhibit selective losses of distinct motor neuron subtypes, specifically in defined subsets of limb-innervating motor pools that correlate with the loss of force-generating alpha motor neurons. Mechanistically, GDE2 is expressed by postmitotic motor neurons but utilizes extracellular glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase activity to induce motor neuron generation by inhibiting Notch signaling in neighboring motor neuron progenitors. Thus, neuronal GDE2 controls motor neuron subtype diversity through a non-cell-autonomous feedback mechanism that directly regulates progenitor cell differentiation, implying that subtype specification initiates within motor neuron progenitor populations prior to their differentiation into postmitotic motor neurons.

  18. Zebrafish models of human motor neuron diseases: advantages and limitations.

    PubMed

    Babin, Patrick J; Goizet, Cyril; Raldúa, Demetrio

    2014-07-01

    Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are an etiologically heterogeneous group of disorders of neurodegenerative origin, which result in degeneration of lower (LMNs) and/or upper motor neurons (UMNs). Neurodegenerative MNDs include pure hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), which involves specific degeneration of UMNs, leading to progressive spasticity of the lower limbs. In contrast, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) involves the specific degeneration of LMNs, with symmetrical muscle weakness and atrophy. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common adult-onset MND, is characterized by the degeneration of both UMNs and LMNs, leading to progressive muscle weakness, atrophy, and spasticity. A review of the comparative neuroanatomy of the human and zebrafish motor systems showed that, while the zebrafish was a homologous model for LMN disorders, such as SMA, it was only partially relevant in the case of UMN disorders, due to the absence of corticospinal and rubrospinal tracts in its central nervous system. Even considering the limitation of this model to fully reproduce the human UMN disorders, zebrafish offer an excellent alternative vertebrate model for the molecular and genetic dissection of MND mechanisms. Its advantages include the conservation of genome and physiological processes and applicable in vivo tools, including easy imaging, loss or gain of function methods, behavioral tests to examine changes in motor activity, and the ease of simultaneous chemical/drug testing on large numbers of animals. This facilitates the assessment of the environmental origin of MNDs, alone or in combination with genetic traits and putative modifier genes. Positive hits obtained by phenotype-based small-molecule screening using zebrafish may potentially be effective drugs for treatment of human MNDs.

  19. 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.

  20. Ultramicroscopy Reveals Axonal Transport Impairments in Cortical Motor Neurons at Prion Disease

    PubMed Central

    Ermolayev, Vladimir; Friedrich, Mike; Nozadze, Revaz; Cathomen, Toni; Klein, Michael A.; Harms, Gregory S.; Flechsig, Eckhard

    2009-01-01

    Abstract The functional imaging of neuronal circuits of the central nervous system is crucial for phenotype screenings or investigations of defects in neurodegenerative disorders. Current techniques yield either low penetration depth, yield poor resolution, or are restricted by the age of the animals. Here, we present a novel ultramicroscopy protocol for fluorescence imaging and three-dimensional reconstruction in the central nervous system of adult mice. In combination with tracing as a functional assay for axonal transport, retrogradely labeled descending motor neurons were visualized with >4 mm penetration depth. The analysis of the motor cortex shortly before the onset of clinical prion disease revealed that >80% neurons have functional impairments in axonal transport. Our study provides evidence that prion disease is associated with severe axonal transport defects in the cortical motor neurons and suggests a novel mechanism for prion-mediated neurodegeneration. PMID:19383482

  1. Motor neurone disease: a practical update on diagnosis and management.

    PubMed

    Wood-Allum, Clare; Shaw, Pamela J

    2010-06-01

    Motor neurone disease (MND) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease which leads inexorably via weakness of limb, bulbar and respiratory muscles to death from respiratory failure three to five years later. Most MND is sporadic but approximately 10% is inherited. In exciting recent breakthroughs two new MND genes have been identified. Diagnosis is clinical and sometimes difficult--treatable mimics must be excluded before the diagnosis is ascribed. Riluzole prolongs life by only three to four months and is only available for the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) form of MND. Management therefore properly focuses on symptom relief and the preservation of independence and quality of life. Malnutrition is a poor prognostic factor. In appropriate patients enteral feeding is recommended although its use has yet to be shown to improve survival. In ALS patients with respiratory failure and good or only moderately impaired bulbar function non-invasive positive pressure ventilation prolongs life and improves quality of life.

  2. 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

  3. Discussing sexuality with patients in a motor neurone disease clinic.

    PubMed

    Marsden, Rachael; Botell, Rachel

    Sexual relationships remain an important aspect of life for people living with motor neurone disease. This article explores the use of the Extended-PLISSIT model when discussing relationships and sexual function with patients and their partners in a motor neurone disease clinic. The model provides a structured approach to assist discussions with patients as well as promoting reflection and exchange of knowledge in the multidisciplinary team. It is a useful model when addressing issues that are sometimes difficult to discuss.

  4. Selective disruption of acetylcholine synthesis in subsets of motor neurons: a new model of late-onset motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Lecomte, Marie-José; Bertolus, Chloé; Santamaria, Julie; Bauchet, Anne-Laure; Herbin, Marc; Saurini, Françoise; Misawa, Hidemi; Maisonobe, Thierry; Pradat, Pierre-François; Nosten-Bertrand, Marika; Mallet, Jacques; Berrard, Sylvie

    2014-05-01

    Motor neuron diseases are characterized by the selective chronic dysfunction of a subset of motor neurons and the subsequent impairment of neuromuscular function. To reproduce in the mouse these hallmarks of diseases affecting motor neurons, we generated a mouse line in which ~40% of motor neurons in the spinal cord and the brainstem become unable to sustain neuromuscular transmission. These mice were obtained by conditional knockout of the gene encoding choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), the biosynthetic enzyme for acetylcholine. The mutant mice are viable and spontaneously display abnormal phenotypes that worsen with age including hunched back, reduced lifespan, weight loss, as well as striking deficits in muscle strength and motor function. This slowly progressive neuromuscular dysfunction is accompanied by muscle fiber histopathological features characteristic of neurogenic diseases. Unexpectedly, most changes appeared with a 6-month delay relative to the onset of reduction in ChAT levels, suggesting that compensatory mechanisms preserve muscular function for several months and then are overwhelmed. Deterioration of mouse phenotype after ChAT gene disruption is a specific aging process reminiscent of human pathological situations, particularly among survivors of paralytic poliomyelitis. These mutant mice may represent an invaluable tool to determine the sequence of events that follow the loss of function of a motor neuron subset as the disease progresses, and to evaluate therapeutic strategies. They also offer the opportunity to explore fundamental issues of motor neuron biology.

  5. 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

  6. Extracellularly identifying motor neurons for a muscle motor pool in Aplysia californica.

    PubMed

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

    2013-03-25

    In animals with large identified neurons (e.g. mollusks), analysis of motor pools is done using intracellular techniques. Recently, we developed a technique to extracellularly stimulate and record individual neurons in Aplysia californica. 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 sheath, 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 innervation. 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 forces of the I1

  7. 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…

  8. Reconstruction of phrenic neuron identity in embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Machado, Carolina Barcellos; Kanning, Kevin C.; Kreis, Patricia; Stevenson, Danielle; Crossley, Martin; Nowak, Magdalena; Iacovino, Michelina; Kyba, Michael; Chambers, David; Blanc, Eric; Lieberam, Ivo

    2014-01-01

    Air breathing is an essential motor function for vertebrates living on land. The rhythm that drives breathing is generated within the central nervous system and relayed via specialised subsets of spinal motor neurons to muscles that regulate lung volume. In mammals, a key respiratory muscle is the diaphragm, which is innervated by motor neurons in the phrenic nucleus. Remarkably, relatively little is known about how this crucial subtype of motor neuron is generated during embryogenesis. Here, we used direct differentiation of motor neurons from mouse embryonic stem cells as a tool to identify genes that direct phrenic neuron identity. We find that three determinants, Pou3f1, Hoxa5 and Notch, act in combination to promote a phrenic neuron molecular identity. We show that Notch signalling induces Pou3f1 in developing motor neurons in vitro and in vivo. This suggests that the phrenic neuron lineage is established through a local source of Notch ligand at mid-cervical levels. Furthermore, we find that the cadherins Pcdh10, which is regulated by Pou3f1 and Hoxa5, and Cdh10, which is controlled by Pou3f1, are both mediators of like-like clustering of motor neuron cell bodies. This specific Pcdh10/Cdh10 activity might provide the means by which phrenic neurons are assembled into a distinct nucleus. Our study provides a framework for understanding how phrenic neuron identity is conferred and will help to generate this rare and inaccessible yet vital neuronal subtype directly from pluripotent stem cells, thus facilitating subsequent functional investigations. PMID:24496616

  9. Reconstruction of phrenic neuron identity in embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Machado, Carolina Barcellos; Kanning, Kevin C; Kreis, Patricia; Stevenson, Danielle; Crossley, Martin; Nowak, Magdalena; Iacovino, Michelina; Kyba, Michael; Chambers, David; Blanc, Eric; Lieberam, Ivo

    2014-02-01

    Air breathing is an essential motor function for vertebrates living on land. The rhythm that drives breathing is generated within the central nervous system and relayed via specialised subsets of spinal motor neurons to muscles that regulate lung volume. In mammals, a key respiratory muscle is the diaphragm, which is innervated by motor neurons in the phrenic nucleus. Remarkably, relatively little is known about how this crucial subtype of motor neuron is generated during embryogenesis. Here, we used direct differentiation of motor neurons from mouse embryonic stem cells as a tool to identify genes that direct phrenic neuron identity. We find that three determinants, Pou3f1, Hoxa5 and Notch, act in combination to promote a phrenic neuron molecular identity. We show that Notch signalling induces Pou3f1 in developing motor neurons in vitro and in vivo. This suggests that the phrenic neuron lineage is established through a local source of Notch ligand at mid-cervical levels. Furthermore, we find that the cadherins Pcdh10, which is regulated by Pou3f1 and Hoxa5, and Cdh10, which is controlled by Pou3f1, are both mediators of like-like clustering of motor neuron cell bodies. This specific Pcdh10/Cdh10 activity might provide the means by which phrenic neurons are assembled into a distinct nucleus. Our study provides a framework for understanding how phrenic neuron identity is conferred and will help to generate this rare and inaccessible yet vital neuronal subtype directly from pluripotent stem cells, thus facilitating subsequent functional investigations.

  10. A Supranuclear Disorder of Ocular Motility as a Rare Initial Presentation of Motor Neurone Disease.

    PubMed

    Yu-Wai-Man, C; Petheram, K; Davidson, A W; Williams, T; Griffiths, P G

    2011-01-01

    A case is described of motor neurone disease presenting with an ocular motor disorder characterised by saccadic intrusions, impaired horizontal and vertical saccades, and apraxia of eyelid opening. The occurrence of eye movement abnormalities in motor neurone disease is discussed.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Optical control of muscle function by transplantation of stem cell-derived motor neurons in mice.

    PubMed

    Bryson, J Barney; Machado, Carolina Barcellos; Crossley, Martin; Stevenson, Danielle; Bros-Facer, Virginie; Burrone, Juan; Greensmith, Linda; Lieberam, Ivo

    2014-04-04

    Damage to the central nervous system caused by traumatic injury or neurological disorders can lead to permanent loss of voluntary motor function and muscle paralysis. Here, we describe an approach that circumvents central motor circuit pathology to restore specific skeletal muscle function. We generated murine embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons that express the light-sensitive ion channel channelrhodopsin-2, which we then engrafted into partially denervated branches of the sciatic nerve of adult mice. These engrafted motor neurons not only reinnervated lower hind-limb muscles but also enabled their function to be restored in a controllable manner using optogenetic stimulation. This synthesis of regenerative medicine and optogenetics may be a successful strategy to restore muscle function after traumatic injury or disease.

  14. Peripherin-mediated death of motor neurons rescued by overexpression of neurofilament NF-H proteins.

    PubMed

    Beaulieu, Jean-Martin; Julien, Jean-Pierre

    2003-04-01

    In previous studies, we showed that overexpression of peripherin, a neuronal intermediate filament (IF) protein, in mice deficient for neurofilament light (NF-L) subunits induced a progressive adult-onset degeneration of spinal motor neurons characterized by the presence of IF inclusion bodies reminiscent of axonal spheroids found in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In contrast, the overexpression of human neurofilament heavy (NF-H) proteins provoked the formation of massive perikaryal IF protein accumulations with no loss of motor neurons. To further investigate the toxic properties of IF protein inclusions, we generated NF-L null mice that co-express both peripherin and NF-H transgenes. The axonal count in L5 ventral roots from 6 and 8-month-old transgenic mice showed that NF-H overexpression rescued the peripherin-mediated degeneration of motor neurons. Our analysis suggests that the protective effect of extra NF-H proteins is related to the sequestration of peripherin into the perikaryon of motor neurons, thereby abolishing the development of axonal IF inclusions that might block transport. These findings illustrate the importance of IF protein stoichiometry in formation, localization and toxicity of neuronal inclusion bodies.

  15. Selective loss of alpha motor neurons with sparing of gamma motor neurons and spinal cord cholinergic neurons in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Powis, Rachael A; Gillingwater, Thomas H

    2016-03-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disease characterised primarily by loss of lower motor neurons from the ventral grey horn of the spinal cord and proximal muscle atrophy. Recent experiments utilising mouse models of SMA have demonstrated that not all motor neurons are equally susceptible to the disease, revealing that other populations of neurons can also be affected. Here, we have extended investigations of selective vulnerability of neuronal populations in the spinal cord of SMA mice to include comparative assessments of alpha motor neuron (α-MN) and gamma motor neuron (γ-MN) pools, as well as other populations of cholinergic neurons. Immunohistochemical analyses of late-symptomatic SMA mouse spinal cord revealed that numbers of α-MNs were significantly reduced at all levels of the spinal cord compared with controls, whereas numbers of γ-MNs remained stable. Likewise, the average size of α-MN cell somata was decreased in SMA mice with no change occurring in γ-MNs. Evaluation of other pools of spinal cord cholinergic neurons revealed that pre-ganglionic sympathetic neurons, central canal cluster interneurons, partition interneurons and preganglionic autonomic dorsal commissural nucleus neuron numbers all remained unaffected in SMA mice. Taken together, these findings indicate that α-MNs are uniquely vulnerable among cholinergic neuron populations in the SMA mouse spinal cord, with γ-MNs and other cholinergic neuronal populations being largely spared.

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

    PubMed

    Bunno, Yoshibumi; Suzuki, Toshiaki; Iwatsuki, Hiroyasu

    2015-12-01

    [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.

  17. ATF3 expression improves motor function in the ALS mouse model by promoting motor neuron survival and retaining muscle innervation.

    PubMed

    Seijffers, Rhona; Zhang, Jiangwen; Matthews, Jonathan C; Chen, Adam; Tamrazian, Eric; Babaniyi, Olusegun; Selig, Martin; Hynynen, Meri; Woolf, Clifford J; Brown, Robert H

    2014-01-28

    ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive loss of motor neurons and atrophy of distal axon terminals in muscle, resulting in loss of motor function. Motor end plates denervated by axonal retraction of dying motor neurons are partially reinnervated by remaining viable motor neurons; however, this axonal sprouting is insufficient to compensate for motor neuron loss. Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) promotes neuronal survival and axonal growth. Here, we reveal that forced expression of ATF3 in motor neurons of transgenic SOD1(G93A) ALS mice delays neuromuscular junction denervation by inducing axonal sprouting and enhancing motor neuron viability. Maintenance of neuromuscular junction innervation during the course of the disease in ATF3/SOD1(G93A) mice is associated with a substantial delay in muscle atrophy and improved motor performance. Although disease onset and mortality are delayed, disease duration is not affected. This study shows that adaptive axonal growth-promoting mechanisms can substantially improve motor function in ALS and importantly, that augmenting viability of the motor neuron soma and maintaining functional neuromuscular junction connections are both essential elements in therapy for motor neuron disease in the SOD1(G93A) mice. Accordingly, effective protection of optimal motor neuron function requires restitution of multiple dysregulated cellular pathways.

  18. Embryonic amygdalar transplants in adult rats with motor cortex lesions: a molecular and electrophysiological analysis.

    PubMed

    Jiménez-Díaz, Lydia; Nava-Mesa, Mauricio O; Heredia, Margarita; Riolobos, Adelaida S; Gómez-Álvarez, Marcelo; Criado, José María; de la Fuente, Antonio; Yajeya, Javier; Navarro-López, Juan D

    2011-01-01

    Transplants of embryonic nervous tissue ameliorate motor deficits induced by motor cortex lesions in adult animals. Restoration of lost brain functions has been recently shown in grafts of homotopic cortical origin, to be associated with a functional integration of the transplant after development of reciprocal host-graft connections. Nevertheless little is known about physiological properties or gene expression profiles of cortical implants with functional restorative capacity but no cortical origin. In this study, we show molecular and electrophysiological evidence supporting the functional development and integration of heterotopic transplants of embryonic amygdalar tissue placed into pre-lesioned motor cortex of adult rats. Grafts were analyzed 3 months post-transplantation. Using reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction, we found that key glutamatergic, GABAergic, and muscarinic receptors transcripts were expressed at different quantitative levels both in grafted and host tissues, but were all continuously present in the graft. Parallel sharp electrode recordings of grafted neurons in brain slices showed a regular firing pattern of transplanted neurons similar to host amygdalar pyramidal neurons. Synaptic connections from the adjacent host cortex on grafted neurons were electrophysiologically investigated and confirmed our molecular results. Taken together, our findings indicate that grafted neurons from a non-cortical, non-motor-related, but ontogenetical similar source, not only received functionally effective contacts from the adjacent motor cortex, but also developed electrophysiological and gene expression patterns comparable to host pyramidal neurons; suggesting an interesting tool for the field of neural repair and donor tissue in adults.

  19. Spinal muscular atrophy: Factors that modulate motor neurone vulnerability.

    PubMed

    Tu, Wen-Yo; Simpson, Julie E; Highley, J Robin; Heath, Paul R

    2017-02-02

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a leading genetic cause of infant death, is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by the selective loss of particular groups of motor neurones in the anterior horn of the spinal cord with concomitant muscle weakness. To date, no effective treatment is available, however, there are ongoing clinical trials are in place which promise much for the future. However, there remains an ongoing problem in trying to link a single gene loss to motor neurone degeneration. Fortunately, given successful disease models that have been established and intensive studies on SMN functions in the past ten years, we are fast approaching the stage of identifying the underlying mechanisms of SMA pathogenesis Here we discuss potential disease modifying factors on motor neurone vulnerability, in the belief that these factors give insight into the pathological mechanisms of SMA and therefore possible therapeutic targets.

  20. ALS-related misfolded protein management in motor neurons and muscle cells.

    PubMed

    Galbiati, Mariarita; Crippa, Valeria; Rusmini, Paola; Cristofani, Riccardo; Cicardi, Maria Elena; Giorgetti, Elisa; Onesto, Elisa; Messi, Elio; Poletti, Angelo

    2014-12-01

    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is the most common form of adult-onset motor neuron disease. It is now considered a multi-factorial and multi-systemic disorder in which alterations of the crosstalk between neuronal and non-neuronal cell types might influence the course of the disease. In this review, we will provide evidence that dysfunctions of affected muscle cells are not only a marginal consequence of denervation associated to motor neurons loss, but a direct consequence of cell muscle toxicity of mutant SOD1. In muscle, the misfolded state of mutant SOD1 protein, unlike in motor neurons, does not appear to have direct effects on protein aggregation and mitochondrial functionality. Muscle cells are, in fact, more capable than motor neurons to handle misfolded proteins, suggesting that mutant SOD1 toxicity in muscle is not mediated by classical mechanisms of intracellular misfolded proteins accumulation. Several recent works indicate that a higher activation of molecular chaperones and degradative systems is present in muscle cells, which for this reason are possibly able to better manage misfolded mutant SOD1. However, several alterations in gene expression and regenerative potential of skeletal muscles have also been reported as a consequence of the expression of mutant SOD1 in muscle. Whether these changes in muscle cells are causative of ALS or a consequence of motor neuron alterations is not yet clear, but their elucidation is very important, since the understanding of the mechanisms involved in mutant SOD1 toxicity in muscle may facilitate the design of treatments directed toward this specific tissue to treat ALS or at least to delay disease progression.

  1. Disparate Changes in Plasma and Brainstem Cytokine Levels in Adult and Ageing Rats Associated with Age-Related Changes in Facial Motor Neuron Number, Snout Muscle Morphology, and Exploratory Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Katharesan, Viythia; Lewis, Martin David; Vink, Robert; Johnson, Ian Paul

    2016-01-01

    An overall increase in inflammatory cytokines with age in both the blood and the central nervous system (CNS) has been proposed to explain many aspects of ageing, including decreased motor function and neurodegeneration. This study tests the hypothesis that age-related increases in inflammatory cytokines in the blood and CNS lead to facial motor neuron degeneration. Groups of 3–5 female Sprague-Dawley rats aged 3, 12–18, and 24 months were used. Twelve cytokines interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), interferon-γ, and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor were measured in blood plasma and compared with those in the brainstem after first flushing blood from its vessels. The open-field test was used to measure exploratory behavior, and the morphology of the peripheral target muscle of facial motor neurons quantified. Total numbers of facial motor neurons were determined stereologically in separate groups of 3- and 24-month-old rats. Ageing rats showed a significant 30–42% decrease in blood plasma (peripheral) concentrations of IL-12p70 and TNFα and a significant 43–49% increase in brainstem (central) concentrations of IL-1α, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, and TNFα. They also showed significant reductions in motor neuron number in the right but not left facial nucleus, reduced exploratory behavior, and increase in peripheral target muscle size. Marginal age-related facial motoneuronal loss occurs in the ageing rat and is characterized by complex changes in the inflammatory signature, rather than a general increase in inflammatory cytokines. PMID:27872607

  2. Disparate Changes in Plasma and Brainstem Cytokine Levels in Adult and Ageing Rats Associated with Age-Related Changes in Facial Motor Neuron Number, Snout Muscle Morphology, and Exploratory Behavior.

    PubMed

    Katharesan, Viythia; Lewis, Martin David; Vink, Robert; Johnson, Ian Paul

    2016-01-01

    An overall increase in inflammatory cytokines with age in both the blood and the central nervous system (CNS) has been proposed to explain many aspects of ageing, including decreased motor function and neurodegeneration. This study tests the hypothesis that age-related increases in inflammatory cytokines in the blood and CNS lead to facial motor neuron degeneration. Groups of 3-5 female Sprague-Dawley rats aged 3, 12-18, and 24 months were used. Twelve cytokines interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), interferon-γ, and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor were measured in blood plasma and compared with those in the brainstem after first flushing blood from its vessels. The open-field test was used to measure exploratory behavior, and the morphology of the peripheral target muscle of facial motor neurons quantified. Total numbers of facial motor neurons were determined stereologically in separate groups of 3- and 24-month-old rats. Ageing rats showed a significant 30-42% decrease in blood plasma (peripheral) concentrations of IL-12p70 and TNFα and a significant 43-49% increase in brainstem (central) concentrations of IL-1α, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, and TNFα. They also showed significant reductions in motor neuron number in the right but not left facial nucleus, reduced exploratory behavior, and increase in peripheral target muscle size. Marginal age-related facial motoneuronal loss occurs in the ageing rat and is characterized by complex changes in the inflammatory signature, rather than a general increase in inflammatory cytokines.

  3. Motor conduction block and high titres of anti-GM1 ganglioside antibodies: pathological evidence of a motor neuropathy in a patient with lower motor neuron syndrome.

    PubMed Central

    Adams, D; Kuntzer, T; Steck, A J; Lobrinus, A; Janzer, R C; Regli, F

    1993-01-01

    A patient with a progressive lower motor neuron syndrome and neurophysiological evidence of motor axon loss, multifocal proximal motor nerve conduction block, and high titres of anti-ganglioside GM1 antibodies. Neuropathological findings included a predominantly proximal motor radiculoneuropathy with multifocal IgG and IgM deposits on nerve fibres associated with a loss of spinal motor neurons. These findings support an autoimmune origin of this lower motor neuron syndrome with retrograde degeneration of spinal motor neurons and severe neurogenic muscular atrophy. Images PMID:8410039

  4. Time and dose dependent effects of oxidative stress induced by cumene hydroperoxide in neuronal excitability of rat motor cortex neurons.

    PubMed

    Pardillo-Díaz, R; Carrascal, L; Muñoz, M F; Ayala, A; Nunez-Abades, P

    2016-03-01

    It has been claimed that oxidative stress and the production of reactive oxygen radicals can contribute to neuron degeneration and might be one factor in the development of different neurological diseases. In our study, we have attempted to clarify how oxidative damage induces dose dependent changes in functional membrane properties of neurons by means of whole cell patch clamp techniques in brain slices from young adult rats. Our research demonstrates physiological changes in membrane properties of pyramidal motor cortex neurons exposed to 3 concentrations of cumene hydroperoxide (CH; 1, 10 and 100μM) during 30min. Results show that oxidative stress induced by CH evokes important changes, in a concentration and time dependent manner, in the neuronal excitability of motor cortex neurons of the rat: (i) Low concentration of the drug (1μM) already blocks inward rectifications (sag) and decreases action potential amplitude and gain, a drug concentration which has no effects on other neuronal populations, (ii) 10μM of CH depresses the excitability of pyramidal motor cortex neurons by decreasing input resistance, amplitude of the action potential, and gain and maximum frequency of the repetitive firing discharge, and (iii) 100μM completely blocks the capability to produce repetitive discharge of action potentials in all cells. Both larger drug concentrations and/or longer times of exposure to CH narrow the current working range. This happens because of the increase in the rheobase, and the reduction of the cancelation current. The effects caused by oxidative stress, including those produced by the level of lipid peroxidation, are practically irreversible and, this, therefore, indicates that neuroprotective agents should be administered at the first symptoms of alterations to membrane properties. In fact, the pre-treatment with melatonin, acting as an antioxidant, prevented the lipid peroxidation and the physiological changes induced by CH. Larger cells (as estimated

  5. Gamma motor neurons survive and exacerbate alpha motor neuron degeneration in ALS

    PubMed Central

    Lalancette-Hebert, Melanie; Sharma, Aarti; Lyashchenko, Alexander K.; Shneider, Neil A.

    2016-01-01

    The molecular and cellular basis of selective motor neuron (MN) vulnerability in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is not known. In genetically distinct mouse models of familial ALS expressing mutant superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1), TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), and fused in sarcoma (FUS), we demonstrate selective degeneration of alpha MNs (α-MNs) and complete sparing of gamma MNs (γ-MNs), which selectively innervate muscle spindles. Resistant γ-MNs are distinct from vulnerable α-MNs in that they lack synaptic contacts from primary afferent (IA) fibers. Elimination of these synapses protects α-MNs in the SOD1 mutant, implicating this excitatory input in MN degeneration. Moreover, reduced IA activation by targeted reduction of γ-MNs in SOD1G93A mutants delays symptom onset and prolongs lifespan, demonstrating a pathogenic role of surviving γ-MNs in ALS. This study establishes the resistance of γ-MNs as a general feature of ALS mouse models and demonstrates that synaptic excitation of MNs within a complex circuit is an important determinant of relative vulnerability in ALS. PMID:27930290

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2016-01-01

    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

  7. Equine motor neuron disease in 2 horses from Saskatchewan

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  8. Spasticity: the misunderstood part of the upper motor neuron syndrome.

    PubMed

    Ivanhoe, Cindy B; Reistetter, Timothy A

    2004-10-01

    Spasticity is a sensorimotor phenomenon related to the integration of the nervous system motor responses to sensory input. Although most commonly considered a velocity-dependent increase to tonic stretch, it is related to hypersensitivity of the reflex arc and changes that occur within the central nervous system, most notably, the spinal cord. Injury to the central nervous system results in loss of descending inhibition, allowing for the clinical manifestation of abnormal impulses. Muscle activity becomes overactive. This is mediated at several areas of the stretch-reflex pathway. Although spasticity is part of the upper motor neuron syndrome, it is frequently tied to the other presentations of the said syndrome. Contracture, hypertonia, weakness, and movement disorders can all coexist as a result of the upper motor neuron syndrome. Although basic science descriptions of spasticity are being elucidated, clinically, confusion exists.

  9. Sensory neurons do not induce motor neuron loss in a human stem cell model of spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Schwab, Andrew J; Ebert, Allison D

    2014-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disorder leading to paralysis and early death due to reduced SMN protein. It is unclear why there is such a profound motor neuron loss, but recent evidence from fly and mouse studies indicate that cells comprising the whole sensory-motor circuit may contribute to motor neuron dysfunction and loss. Here, we used induced pluripotent stem cells derived from SMA patients to test whether sensory neurons directly contribute to motor neuron loss. We generated sensory neurons from SMA induced pluripotent stem cells and found no difference in neuron generation or survival, although there was a reduced calcium response to depolarizing stimuli. Using co-culture of SMA induced pluripotent stem cell derived sensory neurons with control induced pluripotent stem cell derived motor neurons, we found no significant reduction in motor neuron number or glutamate transporter boutons on motor neuron cell bodies or neurites. We conclude that SMA sensory neurons do not overtly contribute to motor neuron loss in this human stem cell system.

  10. Recruitment and derecruitment characteristics of motor units in a hand muscle of young and old adults.

    PubMed

    Jesunathadas, Mark; Marmon, Adam R; Gibb, James M; Enoka, Roger M

    2010-06-01

    The significant decline in motor neuron number after approximately 60 yr of age is accompanied by a remodeling of the neuromuscular system so that average motor unit force increases and the ability of old adults to produce an intended force declines. One possible explanation for the loss of movement precision is that the remodeling increases the difference in recruitment forces between successively recruited motor units in old adults and this augments force variability at motor unit recruitment. The purpose of the study was to compare the forces and discharge characteristics of motor units in a hand muscle of young and old adults at motor unit recruitment and derecruitment. The difference in recruitment force between pairs of motor units did not differ between young (n=54) and old adults (n=56; P=0.702). However, old adults had a greater proportion of contractions in which motor units discharged action potentials transiently before discharging continuously during the ramp increase in force (young: 0.32; old: 0.41; P=0.045). Force variability at motor unit recruitment was greater for old adults compared with young adults (Por=0.729). These results suggest that the difference in force between the recruitment of successive motor units does not differ between age groups, but that motor unit recruitment may be more transient and could contribute to the greater variability in force observed in old adults during graded ramp contractions.

  11. Genetic deficiency of GABA differentially regulates respiratory and non-respiratory motor neuron development.

    PubMed

    Fogarty, Matthew J; Smallcombe, Karen L; 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-30

    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 Ca(2+) 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.

  13. Cholestenoic acids regulate motor neuron survival via liver X receptors

    PubMed Central

    Theofilopoulos, Spyridon; Griffiths, William J.; Crick, Peter J.; Yang, Shanzheng; Meljon, Anna; Ogundare, Michael; Kitambi, Satish Srinivas; Lockhart, Andrew; Tuschl, Karin; Clayton, Peter T.; Morris, Andrew A.; Martinez, Adelaida; Reddy, M. Ashwin; Martinuzzi, Andrea; Bassi, Maria T.; Honda, Akira; Mizuochi, Tatsuki; Kimura, Akihiko; Nittono, Hiroshi; De Michele, Giuseppe; Carbone, Rosa; Criscuolo, Chiara; Yau, Joyce L.; Seckl, Jonathan R.; Schüle, Rebecca; Schöls, Ludger; Sailer, Andreas W.; Kuhle, Jens; Fraidakis, Matthew J.; Gustafsson, Jan-Åke; Steffensen, Knut R.; Björkhem, Ingemar; Ernfors, Patrik; Sjövall, Jan; Arenas, Ernest; Wang, Yuqin

    2014-01-01

    Cholestenoic acids are formed as intermediates in metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids, and the biosynthetic enzymes that generate cholestenoic acids are expressed in the mammalian CNS. Here, we evaluated the cholestenoic acid profile of mammalian cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and determined that specific cholestenoic acids activate the liver X receptors (LXRs), enhance islet-1 expression in zebrafish, and increase the number of oculomotor neurons in the developing mouse in vitro and in vivo. While 3β,7α-dihydroxycholest-5-en-26-oic acid (3β,7α-diHCA) promoted motor neuron survival in an LXR-dependent manner, 3β-hydroxy-7-oxocholest-5-en-26-oic acid (3βH,7O-CA) promoted maturation of precursors into islet-1+ cells. Unlike 3β,7α-diHCA and 3βH,7O-CA, 3β-hydroxycholest-5-en-26-oic acid (3β-HCA) caused motor neuron cell loss in mice. Mutations in CYP7B1 or CYP27A1, which encode enzymes involved in cholestenoic acid metabolism, result in different neurological diseases, hereditary spastic paresis type 5 (SPG5) and cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX), respectively. SPG5 is characterized by spastic paresis, and similar symptoms may occur in CTX. Analysis of CSF and plasma from patients with SPG5 revealed an excess of the toxic LXR ligand, 3β-HCA, while patients with CTX and SPG5 exhibited low levels of the survival-promoting LXR ligand 3β,7α-diHCA. Moreover, 3β,7α-diHCA prevented the loss of motor neurons induced by 3β-HCA in the developing mouse midbrain in vivo.Our results indicate that specific cholestenoic acids selectively work on motor neurons, via LXR, to regulate the balance between survival and death. PMID:25271621

  14. Adult motor axons preferentially reinnervate predegenerated muscle nerve.

    PubMed

    Abdullah, M; O'Daly, A; Vyas, A; Rohde, C; Brushart, T M

    2013-11-01

    Preferential motor reinnervation (PMR) is the tendency for motor axons regenerating after repair of mixed nerve to reinnervate muscle nerve and/or muscle rather than cutaneous nerve or skin. PMR may occur in response to the peripheral nerve pathway alone in juvenile rats (Brushart, 1993; Redett et al., 2005), yet the ability to identify and respond to specific pathway markers is reportedly lost in adults (Uschold et al., 2007). The experiments reported here evaluate the relative roles of pathway and end organ in the genesis of PMR in adult rats. Fresh and 2-week predegenerated femoral nerve grafts were transferred in correct or reversed alignment to replace the femoral nerves of previously unoperated Lewis rats. After 8 weeks of regeneration the motoneurons projecting through the grafts to recipient femoral cutaneous and muscle branches and their adjacent end organs were identified by retrograde labeling. Motoneuron counts were subjected to Poisson regression analysis to determine the relative roles of pathway and end organ identity in generating PMR. Transfer of fresh grafts did not result in PMR, whereas substantial PMR was observed when predegenerated grafts were used. Similarly, the pathway through which motoneurons reached the muscle had a significant impact on PMR when grafts were predegenerated, but not when they were fresh. Comparison of the relative roles of pathway and end organ in generating PMR revealed that neither could be shown to be more important than the other. These experiments demonstrate unequivocally that adult muscle nerve and cutaneous nerve differ in qualities that can be detected by regenerating adult motoneurons and that can modify their subsequent behavior. They also reveal that two weeks of Wallerian degeneration modify the environment in the graft from one that provides no modality-specific cues for motor neurons to one that actively promotes PMR.

  15. Motor asymmetry reduction in older adults.

    PubMed

    Przybyla, Andrzej; Haaland, Kathleen Y; Bagesteiro, Leia B; Sainburg, Robert L

    2011-02-04

    While cerebral lateralization has previously been well documented for many neurobehavioral functions, recent research has shown that as people age, formerly lateralized processes recruit more symmetric patterns of neural activity. Such findings provide the foundation for the model of hemispheric asymmetry reduction in older adults, or "HAROLD"[4]. Previous studies that have measured reaction time and movement time have suggested that aging does not affect manual asymmetries. However, whether these findings can be extended to kinematic variables associated with motor coordination remains largely unknown. The purpose of the current study is to determine whether asymmetries in intralimb coordination are also reduced during the aging process. We examined multidirectional reaching in two different right handed age groups, a younger group from 20 to 40 years of age, and an older group, from 60 to 80 years of age. Measures of final position accuracy, precision, and trajectory linearity showed robust asymmetries between the left and right arm groups of young adults. However, the trajectories and accuracies of the older subjects were symmetric, such that our dependent measures were not significantly different between the right and left arm groups. Our findings extend the HAROLD model to motor behavior, suggesting that aging results in decrements in motor lateralization.

  16. Transplanted embryonic neurons integrate into adult neocortical circuits.

    PubMed

    Falkner, Susanne; Grade, Sofia; Dimou, Leda; Conzelmann, Karl-Klaus; Bonhoeffer, Tobias; Götz, Magdalena; Hübener, Mark

    2016-11-10

    The ability of the adult mammalian brain to compensate for neuronal loss caused by injury or disease is very limited. Transplantation aims to replace lost neurons, but the extent to which new neurons can integrate into existing circuits is unknown. Here, using chronic in vivo two-photon imaging, we show that embryonic neurons transplanted into the visual cortex of adult mice mature into bona fide pyramidal cells with selective pruning of basal dendrites, achieving adult-like densities of dendritic spines and axonal boutons within 4-8 weeks. Monosynaptic tracing experiments reveal that grafted neurons receive area-specific, afferent inputs matching those of pyramidal neurons in the normal visual cortex, including topographically organized geniculo-cortical connections. Furthermore, stimulus-selective responses refine over the course of many weeks and finally become indistinguishable from those of host neurons. Thus, grafted neurons can integrate with great specificity into neocortical circuits that normally never incorporate new neurons in the adult brain.

  17. Area-specific temporal control of corticospinal motor neuron differentiation by COUP-TFI

    PubMed Central

    Tomassy, Giulio Srubek; De Leonibus, Elvira; Jabaudon, Denis; Lodato, Simona; Alfano, Christian; Mele, Andrea; Macklis, Jeffrey D.; Studer, Michèle

    2010-01-01

    Transcription factors with gradients of expression in neocortical progenitors give rise to distinct motor and sensory cortical areas by controlling the area-specific differentiation of distinct neuronal subtypes. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this area-restricted control are still unclear. Here, we show that COUP-TFI controls the timing of birth and specification of corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN) in somatosensory cortex via repression of a CSMN differentiation program. Loss of COUP-TFI function causes an area-specific premature generation of neurons with cardinal features of CSMN, which project to subcerebral structures, including the spinal cord. Concurrently, genuine CSMN differentiate imprecisely and do not project beyond the pons, together resulting in impaired skilled motor function in adult mice with cortical COUP-TFI loss-of-function. Our findings indicate that COUP-TFI exerts critical areal and temporal control over the precise differentiation of CSMN during corticogenesis, thereby enabling the area-specific functional features of motor and sensory areas to arise. PMID:20133588

  18. Selective vulnerability of spinal and cortical motor neuron subpopulations in delta7 SMA mice.

    PubMed

    d'Errico, Paolo; Boido, Marina; Piras, Antonio; Valsecchi, Valeria; De Amicis, Elena; Locatelli, Denise; Capra, Silvia; Vagni, Francesco; Vercelli, Alessandro; Battaglia, Giorgio

    2013-01-01

    Loss of the survival motor neuron gene (SMN1) is responsible for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the most common inherited cause of infant mortality. Even though the SMA phenotype is traditionally considered as related to spinal motor neuron loss, it remains debated whether the specific targeting of motor neurons could represent the best therapeutic option for the disease. We here investigated, using stereological quantification methods, the spinal cord and cerebral motor cortex of ∆7 SMA mice during development, to verify extent and selectivity of motor neuron loss. We found progressive post-natal loss of spinal motor neurons, already at pre-symptomatic stages, and a higher vulnerability of motor neurons innervating proximal and axial muscles. Larger motor neurons decreased in the course of disease, either for selective loss or specific developmental impairment. We also found a selective reduction of layer V pyramidal neurons associated with layer V gliosis in the cerebral motor cortex. Our data indicate that in the ∆7 SMA model SMN loss is critical for the spinal cord, particularly for specific motor neuron pools. Neuronal loss, however, is not selective for lower motor neurons. These data further suggest that SMA pathogenesis is likely more complex than previously anticipated. The better knowledge of SMA models might be instrumental in shaping better therapeutic options for affected patients.

  19. Neuronal cell sheet of cortical motor neuron phenotype derived from human iPS cells.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Noboru; Arimitsu, Nagisa; Shimizu, Jun; Takai, Kenji; Hirotsu, Chieko; Takada, Erika; Ueda, Yuji; Wakisaka, Sueshige; Fujiwara, Naruyoshi; Suzuki, Tomoko

    2017-03-17

    Transplantation of stem cells which differentiate into more mature neural cells brings about functional improvement in pre-clinical studies of stroke. Previous transplant approaches in diseased brain have utilized injection of the cells in a cell suspension. In addition, neural stem cells were preferentially used as graft. However, these cells had no specific relationship to the damaged tissue of stroke patients and brain injury. The injection of cells in a suspension destroyed the cell-cell interactions that are suggested to be important for promoting functional integrity as cortical motor neurons.

    In order to obtain suitable cell types for grafting patients with stroke and brain damage, we have modified a protocol for differentiating human iPS cells to cells phenotypically related to cortical motor neurons. Moreover, we applied cell sheet technology to neural cell transplantation due to the idea in which keeping cell-cell communications was regarded as important for the repair of host brain architecture.

    Accordingly, we developed neuronal cell sheets being positive for FEZ family zinc finger 2 (Fezf2), COUP-TF-interacting protein 2 (CTIP2), insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 4 (Igfbp4), cysteine-rich motor neuron 1 protein precursor (CRIM1) and forkhead box p2 (Foxp2). These markers are associated with cortical motoneuron which is appropriate for the transplant location in the lesions. The sheets allowed preservation of cell-cell interactions shown by synapsin1 staining after transplantation to damaged mouse brain. The sheet transplantation brought about structural restoration partly and improvement of motor functions in hemiplegic mice.

    Collectively, the cell sheets were transplanted to damaged motor cortex in a way of a novel neuronal cell sheet that maintained cell-cell interactions and improved motor functions of the hemiplegic model mice. The motoneuron cell sheets are possibly applicable for stroke patients and patients with

  20. Motor neurons with differential vulnerability to degeneration show distinct protein signatures in health and ALS.

    PubMed

    Comley, L; Allodi, I; Nichterwitz, S; Nizzardo, M; Simone, C; Corti, S; Hedlund, E

    2015-04-16

    The lethal disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by the loss of somatic motor neurons. However, not all motor neurons are equally vulnerable to disease; certain groups are spared, including those in the oculomotor nucleus controlling eye movement. The reasons for this differential vulnerability remain unknown. Here we have identified a protein signature for resistant oculomotor motor neurons and vulnerable hypoglossal and spinal motor neurons in mouse and man and in health and ALS with the aim of understanding motor neuron resistance. Several proteins with implications for motor neuron resistance, including GABAA receptor α1, guanylate cyclase soluble subunit alpha-3 and parvalbumin were persistently expressed in oculomotor neurons in man and mouse. Vulnerable motor neurons displayed higher protein levels of dynein, peripherin and GABAA receptor α2, which play roles in retrograde transport and excitability, respectively. These were dynamically regulated during disease and thus could place motor neurons at an increased risk. From our analysis is it evident that oculomotor motor neurons have a distinct protein signature compared to vulnerable motor neurons in brain stem and spinal cord, which could in part explain their resistance to degeneration in ALS. Our comparison of human and mouse shows the relative conservation of signals across species and infers that transgenic SOD1G93A mice could be used to predict mechanisms of neuronal vulnerability in man.

  1. Motor neuron disease: biomarker development for an expanding cerebral syndrome.

    PubMed

    Turner, Martin R

    2016-12-01

    Descriptions of motor neuron disease (MND) documented more than a century ago remain instantly recognisable to the physician. The muscle weakness, typically with signs of upper and lower motor neuron dysfunction, is uniquely relentless. Over the last 30 years, a wider cerebral pathology has emerged, despite the lack of overt cognitive impairment in the majority of patients. From the initial linkage of a small number of cases to mutations in SOD1, diverse cellular pathways have been implicated in pathogenesis. An increasingly complex clinical heterogeneity has emerged around a significant variability in survival. Defining a cellular signature of aggregated TDP-43 common to nearly all MND and a large proportion of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), has placed MND alongside more traditional cerebral neurodegeneration. With new genetic causes, most notably a hexanucleotide expansion in C9orf72 associated with both MND and FTD, the development of biomarkers against which to test therapeutic candidates is a priority.

  2. Brain-wide neuronal dynamics during motor adaptation in zebrafish.

    PubMed

    Ahrens, Misha B; Li, Jennifer M; Orger, Michael B; Robson, Drew N; Schier, Alexander F; Engert, Florian; Portugues, Ruben

    2012-05-09

    A fundamental question in neuroscience is how entire neural circuits generate behaviour and adapt it to changes in sensory feedback. Here we use two-photon calcium imaging to record the activity of large populations of neurons at the cellular level, throughout the brain of larval zebrafish expressing a genetically encoded calcium sensor, while the paralysed animals interact fictively with a virtual environment and rapidly adapt their motor output to changes in visual feedback. We decompose the network dynamics involved in adaptive locomotion into four types of neuronal response properties, and provide anatomical maps of the corresponding sites. A subset of these signals occurred during behavioural adjustments and are candidates for the functional elements that drive motor learning. Lesions to the inferior olive indicate a specific functional role for olivocerebellar circuitry in adaptive locomotion. This study enables the analysis of brain-wide dynamics at single-cell resolution during behaviour.

  3. Madras pattern of motor neuron disease in South India.

    PubMed Central

    Gourie-Devi, M; Suresh, T G

    1988-01-01

    This paper presents the clinical features in 12 patients with the Madras pattern of motor neuron disease (MMND) seen over a period of 10 years. Ten of the patients were from other parts of South India, outside Madras. Young age at onset, sporadic occurrence, sensorineural deafness, bulbar palsy, diffuse atrophy with weakness of limbs and progressive but benign course were the striking features. Electromyography revealed chronic partial denervation. MMND formed 3.7% of all forms of motor neuron disease. Although isolated cases have been seen elsewhere in India, this is the first report of a large number of patients of MMND seen outside Madras (Tamil Nadu). Recognition of this clinical syndrome is of importance for prognostication and as well for search of possible aetiological factors. Images PMID:3404185

  4. 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.

  5. GPs have key role in managing motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Orrell, Richard W

    2011-09-01

    Motor neurone disease (MND) is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative condition. It affects people of all ages, but is more common with increasing age (especially over 50 years) and men are affected twice as often as women. The causes remain unknown, although around 5% of cases have a genetic basis. Survival is usually only three to five years from diagnosis. MND affects both upper and lower motor neurones, with variable contributions. The nerve involvement in MND usually has a focal onset, is asymmetrical, but tends to spread to adjacent regions of the body. If the affected region is in the legs, a common presenting feature is tripping, falls or foot drop. If it is in the arms there may be difficulty with fine tasks such as fastening buttons, or raising an arm, and if the cranial nerves are affected there may be slurring of speech, or difficulty swallowing. Key to the diagnosis is evidence of progression, and this may lead to some delay in considering and also confirming the diagnosis. When examining the patient, evidence of more widespread neuromuscular involvement should be looked for. In a patient with foot drop, and fasciculation of the tongue, MND would be a likely diagnosis. Upper motor neurone involvement may be readily determined by examining the reflexes. Brisk reflexes, in the arms, legs or jaw, in the context of features of lower motor neurone denervation are highly suggestive of MND. Suspicion of MND should lead to referral for a neurology opinion. The most useful investigation is likely to be EMG with nerve conduction studies, and probably MRI scan of relevant areas. Blood tests are arranged to screen for any other causative condition. Riluzole is a disease modifying drug licensed to extend the life of patients with MND. There is no treatment that will reverse, or halt, progression of the disease.

  6. Motor neurone disease presenting with raised serum Troponin T.

    PubMed

    Mamo, Jonathan P

    2015-05-01

    Myocardial damage indicated by a rise in cardiac Troponin may not necessarily be due to a cardiac event. Many diseases such as sepsis, pulmonary embolism, heart and renal failure can also be associated with an elevated cardiac Troponin level. This brief report discusses the rare event of a patient with motor neurone disease, where the possible diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction arose due to an elevated cardiac Troponin. A 69-year-old gentleman presented with a history of a central chest ache of mild intensity, lasting a total of 2 h prior to complete resolution. Multiple cardiac Troponin assays were elevated, and echocardiography did not show any acute changes of myocardial damage. His electrocardiogram was also normal. This patient's raised cardiac Troponin was therefore explained on the basis of his active motor neurone disease. This rare case outlines the importance of considering motor neurone disease as a cause of elevated cardiac Troponin in the absence of clinical evidence of an acute coronary event.

  7. Apoptosis of limb innervating motor neurons and erosion of motor pool identity upon lineage specific dicer inactivation.

    PubMed

    Chen, Jun-An; Wichterle, Hynek

    2012-01-01

    Diversification of mammalian spinal motor neurons into hundreds of subtypes is critical for the maintenance of body posture and coordination of complex movements. Motor neuron differentiation is controlled by extrinsic signals that regulate intrinsic genetic programs specifying and consolidating motor neuron subtype identity. While transcription factors have been recognized as principal regulators of the intrinsic program, the role of posttranscriptional regulations has not been systematically tested. MicroRNAs produced by Dicer mediated cleavage of RNA hairpins contribute to gene regulation by posttranscriptional silencing. Here we used Olig2-cre conditional deletion of Dicer gene in motor neuron progenitors to examine effects of miRNA biogenesis disruption on postmitotic spinal motor neurons. We report that despite the initial increase in the number of motor neuron progenitors, disruption of Dicer function results in a loss of many limb- and sympathetic ganglia-innervating spinal motor neurons. Furthermore, it leads to defects in motor pool identity specification. Thus, our results indicate that miRNAs are an integral part of the genetic program controlling motor neuron survival and acquisition of subtype specific properties.

  8. Increased neuronal Rab5 immunoreactive endosomes do not colocalize with TDP-43 in motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Matej, Radoslav; Botond, Gergö; László, Lajos; Kopitar-Jerala, Natasa; Rusina, Robert; Budka, Herbert; Kovacs, Gabor G

    2010-09-01

    Sporadic motor neuron disease (MND) is characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurons and intraneuronal cytoplasmic translocation and deposition of the nuclear protein TDP-43. There is a paucity of data on the subcellular mechanisms of the nuclear-cytoplasmic trafficking of TDP-43, particularly about the precise role of the endosomal-lysosomal system (ELS). In the present study, using a neuron-specific morphometric approach, we examined the expression of the early endosomal marker Rab5 and lysosomal cathepsins B, D, F, and L as well as PAS-stained structures in the anterior horn cells in 11 individuals affected by sporadic MND and 5 age-matched controls. This was compared with the expression of ubiquitin, p62 and TDP-43 and its phosphorylated form. The principal finding was the increased expression of the endosomal marker Rab5 and lysosomal cathepsin D, and of PAS-positive structures in motor neurons of MND cases. Furthermore, the area-portion of Rab5 immunoreactivity correlated well with the intracellular accumulation of ubiquitin, p62 and (phosphorylated) TDP-43. However, double immunolabelling and immunogold electron microscopy excluded colocalization of phosphorylated TDP-43 with the ELS. These data contrast with observations on neuronal cytopathology in Alzheimer's or prion diseases where the disease-specific proteins are processed within endosomes, and suggest a distinct role of the ELS in MND.

  9. Localization and expression of ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) in postmortem sciatic nerve from patients with motor neuron disease and diabetic neuropathy

    SciTech Connect

    Lee, D.A.; Gross, L.; Wittrock, D.A.; Windebank, A.J.

    1996-08-01

    Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) is thought to play an important role in the maintenance of the mature motor system. The factor is found most abundantly in myelinating Schwann cells in the adult sciatic nerve. Lack of neuronal growth factors has been proposed as one possible etiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Growth factor replacement therapies are currently being evaluated as a treatment for motor neuron disease. In this report we determined whether the expression of CNTF in sciatic nerve differed in patients with motor neuron disease compared to controls or patients with another form of axonopathy. We identified 8 patients (7 with ALS and 1 with SMA) with motor neuron disease and 6 patients with diabetic motor neuropathy who had autopsy material available. Immunoperoxidase staining showed reduced CNTF expression in nerves of patients with motor neuron disease but not in patients with diabetic motor neuropathy. Decreased CNTF appears be associated with primary motor neuron disease rather than a generalized process of axon loss. This result supports suggestions that CNTF deficiency may be an important factor in the development of motor neuron disease. 20 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  10. Reduced gap junctional coupling leads to uncorrelated motor neuron firing and precocious neuromuscular synapse elimination.

    PubMed

    Personius, Kirkwood E; Chang, Qiang; Mentis, George Z; O'Donovan, Michael J; Balice-Gordon, Rita J

    2007-07-10

    During late embryonic and early postnatal life, neuromuscular junctions undergo synapse elimination that is modulated by patterns of motor neuron activity. Here, we test the hypothesis that reduced spinal neuron gap junctional coupling decreases temporally correlated motor neuron activity that, in turn, modulates neuromuscular synapse elimination, by using mutant mice lacking connexin 40 (Cx40), a developmentally regulated gap junction protein expressed in motor and other spinal neurons. In Cx40-/- mice, electrical coupling among lumbar motor neurons, measured by whole-cell recordings, was reduced, and single motor unit recordings in awake, behaving neonates showed that temporally correlated motor neuron activity was also reduced. Immunostaining and intracellular recording showed that the neuromuscular synapse elimination was accelerated in muscles from Cx40-/- mice compared with WT littermates. Our work shows that gap junctional coupling modulates neuronal activity patterns that, in turn, mediate synaptic competition, a process that shapes synaptic circuitry in the developing brain.

  11. Reduced gap junctional coupling leads to uncorrelated motor neuron firing and precocious neuromuscular synapse elimination

    PubMed Central

    Personius, Kirkwood E.; Chang, Qiang; Mentis, George Z.; O'Donovan, Michael J.; Balice-Gordon, Rita J.

    2007-01-01

    During late embryonic and early postnatal life, neuromuscular junctions undergo synapse elimination that is modulated by patterns of motor neuron activity. Here, we test the hypothesis that reduced spinal neuron gap junctional coupling decreases temporally correlated motor neuron activity that, in turn, modulates neuromuscular synapse elimination, by using mutant mice lacking connexin 40 (Cx40), a developmentally regulated gap junction protein expressed in motor and other spinal neurons. In Cx40−/− mice, electrical coupling among lumbar motor neurons, measured by whole-cell recordings, was reduced, and single motor unit recordings in awake, behaving neonates showed that temporally correlated motor neuron activity was also reduced. Immunostaining and intracellular recording showed that the neuromuscular synapse elimination was accelerated in muscles from Cx40−/− mice compared with WT littermates. Our work shows that gap junctional coupling modulates neuronal activity patterns that, in turn, mediate synaptic competition, a process that shapes synaptic circuitry in the developing brain. PMID:17609378

  12. A Delay between Motor Cortex Lesions and Neuronal Transplantation Enhances Graft Integration and Improves Repair and Recovery.

    PubMed

    Péron, Sophie; Droguerre, Marine; Debarbieux, Franck; Ballout, Nissrine; Benoit-Marand, Marianne; Francheteau, Maureen; Brot, Sébastien; Rougon, Geneviève; Jaber, Mohamed; Gaillard, Afsaneh

    2017-02-15

    We previously reported that embryonic motor cortical neurons transplanted immediately after lesions in the adult mouse motor cortex restored damaged motor cortical pathways. A critical barrier hindering the application of transplantation strategies for a wide range of traumatic injuries is the determination of a suitable time window for therapeutic intervention. Here, we report that a 1 week delay between the lesion and transplantation significantly enhances graft vascularization, survival, and proliferation of grafted cells. More importantly, the delay dramatically increases the density of projections developed by grafted neurons and improves functional repair and recovery as assessed by intravital dynamic imaging and behavioral tests. These findings open new avenues in cell transplantation strategies as they indicate successful brain repair may occur following delayed transplantation.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Cell transplantation represents a promising therapy for cortical trauma. We previously reported that embryonic motor cortical neurons transplanted immediately after lesions in the adult mouse motor cortex restored damaged cortical pathways. A critical barrier hindering the application of transplantation strategies for a wide range of traumatic injuries is the determination of a suitable time window for therapeutic intervention. We demonstrate that a 1 week delay between the lesion and transplantation significantly enhances graft vascularization, survival, proliferation, and the density of the projections developed by grafted neurons. More importantly, the delay has a beneficial impact on functional repair and recovery. These results impact the effectiveness of transplantation strategies in a wide range of traumatic injuries for which therapeutic intervention is not immediately feasible.

  13. Hypergravity hinders axonal development of motor neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans

    PubMed Central

    Kalichamy, Saraswathi Subbammal; Yoon, Kyoung-hye

    2016-01-01

    As space flight becomes more accessible in the future, humans will be exposed to gravity conditions other than our 1G environment on Earth. Our bodies and physiology, however, are adapted for life at 1G gravity. Altering gravity can have profound effects on the body, particularly the development of muscles, but the reasons and biology behind gravity’s effect are not fully known. We asked whether increasing gravity had effects on the development of motor neurons that innervate and control muscle, a relatively unexplored area of gravity biology. Using the nematode model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, we examined changes in response to hypergravity in the development of the 19 GABAergic DD/VD motor neurons that innervate body muscle. We found that a high gravity force above 10G significantly increases the number of animals with defects in the development of axonal projections from the DD/VD neurons. We showed that a critical period of hypergravity exposure during the embryonic/early larval stage was sufficient to induce defects. While characterizing the nature of the axonal defects, we found that in normal 1G gravity conditions, DD/VD axonal defects occasionally occurred, with the majority of defects occurring on the dorsal side of the animal and in the mid-body region, and a significantly higher rate of error in the 13 VD axons than the 6 DD axons. Hypergravity exposure increased the rate of DD/VD axonal defects, but did not change the distribution or the characteristics of the defects. Our study demonstrates that altering gravity can impact motor neuron development. PMID:27833821

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Paraneoplastic subacute lower motor neuron syndrome associated with solid cancer.

    PubMed

    Verschueren, Annie; Gallard, Julien; Boucraut, José; Honnorat, Jerome; Pouget, Jean; Attarian, Shahram

    2015-11-15

    We retrospectively analyzed three patients with pure motor neuronopathy followed for more than four years in our center. The patients presented a rapidly progressive lower motor neuron syndrome (LMNS) over the course of a few weeks leading to a severe functional impairment. The neurological symptoms preceded the diagnosis of a breast adenocarcinoma and a thymoma in the first two patients, one of them with anti-CV2/CRMP5 antibodies. Cancer was not detected in the third patient who had circulating anti-Hu antibodies. A final diagnosis of paraneoplastic syndrome was made after investigations for alternative causes of lower motor neuron syndrome. Early diagnosis, combined treatment of the underlying cancer, and immunomodulatory treatment led to neurological improvement of the disease in two out of the three cases in which the cancer was diagnosed. Cases of subacute LMNS with rapid progression may occur as an expression of a paraneoplastic neurological syndrome. Identification of these syndromes is important, as the treatment of underlying malignancy along with immunomodulatory treatment may result in a favorable long-term outcome of these potentially fatal diseases.

  17. Histone deacetylases and their role in motor neuron degeneration

    PubMed Central

    Lazo-Gómez, Rafael; Ramírez-Jarquín, Uri N.; Tovar-y-Romo, Luis B.; Tapia, Ricardo

    2013-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease, characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons. The cause of this selective neuronal death is unknown, but transcriptional dysregulation is recently emerging as an important factor. The physical substrate for the regulation of the transcriptional process is chromatin, a complex assembly of histones and DNA. Histones are subject to several post-translational modifications, like acetylation, that are a component of the transcriptional regulation process. Histone acetylation and deacetylation is performed by a group of enzymes (histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and deacetylases, respectively) whose modulation can alter the transcriptional state of many regions of the genome, and thus may be an important target in diseases that share this pathogenic process, as is the case for ALS. This review will discuss the present evidence of transcriptional dysregulation in ALS, the role of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in disease pathogenesis, and the novel pharmacologic strategies that are being comprehensively studied to prevent motor neuron death, with focus on sirtuins (SIRT) and their effectors. PMID:24367290

  18. Visualization of Sensory Neurons and Their Projections in an Upper Motor Neuron Reporter Line.

    PubMed

    Genç, Barış; Lagrimas, Amiko Krisa Bunag; Kuru, Pınar; Hess, Robert; Tu, Michael William; Menichella, Daniela Maria; Miller, Richard J; Paller, Amy S; Özdinler, P Hande

    2015-01-01

    Visualization of peripheral nervous system axons and cell bodies is important to understand their development, target recognition, and integration into complex circuitries. Numerous studies have used protein gene product (PGP) 9.5 [a.k.a. ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1)] expression as a marker to label sensory neurons and their axons. Enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) expression, under the control of UCHL1 promoter, is stable and long lasting in the UCHL1-eGFP reporter line. In addition to the genetic labeling of corticospinal motor neurons in the motor cortex and degeneration-resistant spinal motor neurons in the spinal cord, here we report that neurons of the peripheral nervous system are also fluorescently labeled in the UCHL1-eGFP reporter line. eGFP expression is turned on at embryonic ages and lasts through adulthood, allowing detailed studies of cell bodies, axons and target innervation patterns of all sensory neurons in vivo. In addition, visualization of both the sensory and the motor neurons in the same animal offers many advantages. In this report, we used UCHL1-eGFP reporter line in two different disease paradigms: diabetes and motor neuron disease. eGFP expression in sensory axons helped determine changes in epidermal nerve fiber density in a high-fat diet induced diabetes model. Our findings corroborate previous studies, and suggest that more than five months is required for significant skin denervation. Crossing UCHL1-eGFP with hSOD1G93A mice generated hSOD1G93A-UeGFP reporter line of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and revealed sensory nervous system defects, especially towards disease end-stage. Our studies not only emphasize the complexity of the disease in ALS, but also reveal that UCHL1-eGFP reporter line would be a valuable tool to visualize and study various aspects of sensory nervous system development and degeneration in the context of numerous diseases.

  19. dnc-1/dynactin 1 knockdown disrupts transport of autophagosomes and induces motor neuron degeneration.

    PubMed

    Ikenaka, Kensuke; Kawai, Kaori; Katsuno, Masahisa; Huang, Zhe; Jiang, Yue-Mei; Iguchi, Yohei; Kobayashi, Kyogo; Kimata, Tsubasa; Waza, Masahiro; Tanaka, Fumiaki; Mori, Ikue; Sobue, Gen

    2013-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons. We previously showed that the expression of dynactin 1, an axon motor protein regulating retrograde transport, is markedly reduced in spinal motor neurons of sporadic ALS patients, although the mechanisms by which decreased dynactin 1 levels cause neurodegeneration have yet to be elucidated. The accumulation of autophagosomes in degenerated motor neurons is another key pathological feature of sporadic ALS. Since autophagosomes are cargo of dynein/dynactin complexes and play a crucial role in the turnover of several organelles and proteins, we hypothesized that the quantitative loss of dynactin 1 disrupts the transport of autophagosomes and induces the degeneration of motor neuron. In the present study, we generated a Caenorhabditis elegans model in which the expression of DNC-1, the homolog of dynactin 1, is specifically knocked down in motor neurons. This model exhibited severe motor defects together with axonal and neuronal degeneration. We also observed impaired movement and increased number of autophagosomes in the degenerated neurons. Furthermore, the combination of rapamycin, an activator of autophagy, and trichostatin which facilitates axonal transport dramatically ameliorated the motor phenotype and axonal degeneration of this model. Thus, our results suggest that decreased expression of dynactin 1 induces motor neuron degeneration and that the transport of autophagosomes is a novel and substantial therapeutic target for motor neuron degeneration.

  20. Calbindin-D28K, parvalbumin and calretinin in primate lower motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Fahandejsaadi, Ashkan; Leung, Elaine; Rahaii, Rhoda; Bu, Jing; Geula, Changiz

    2004-03-01

    It has been suggested that lower motor neurons containing calcium-binding proteins (CBP) may be resistant to degeneration in motor neuron disease. The testing of this hypothesis is hampered by lack of comprehensive information regarding the presence of CBPs in motor neurons. To address this shortcoming, we investigated the distribution of the CBPs calbindin-D28K (CB), parvalbumin (PV) and calretinin (CRT) in lower motor neurons in the normal human and two non-human primates (rhesus monkey and common marmoset) using immunohistochemistry. A variable proportion of motor neurons in cranial nerve motor nuclei contained immunoreactivity for one or more CBPs. A subpopulation of spinal cord alpha-motor neurons was also CBP-positive. Comparison of staining for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and CBPs in the human spinal cord demonstrated that approximately 63% of ventral horn motor neurons contained PV, 53% contained CRT and 56% contained CB. CBP immunoreactivity within motor neurons was of variable staining intensity. It remains to be established whether the presence of these CBPs confers protection against the pathogenic mechanisms of motor neuron disease.

  1. Divergent Hox Coding and Evasion of Retinoid Signaling Specifies Motor Neurons Innervating Digit Muscles.

    PubMed

    Mendelsohn, Alana I; Dasen, Jeremy S; Jessell, Thomas M

    2017-02-22

    The establishment of spinal motor neuron subclass diversity is achieved through developmental programs that are aligned with the organization of muscle targets in the limb. The evolutionary emergence of digits represents a specialized adaptation of limb morphology, yet it remains unclear how the specification of digit-innervating motor neuron subtypes parallels the elaboration of digits. We show that digit-innervating motor neurons can be defined by selective gene markers and distinguished from other LMC neurons by the expression of a variant Hox gene repertoire and by the failure to express a key enzyme involved in retinoic acid synthesis. This divergent developmental program is sufficient to induce the specification of digit-innervating motor neurons, emphasizing the specialized status of digit control in the evolution of skilled motor behaviors. Our findings suggest that the emergence of digits in the limb is matched by distinct mechanisms for specifying motor neurons that innervate digit muscles.

  2. Fine motor skills in adult Tourette patients are task-dependent

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and phonic tics. Deficient motor inhibition underlying tics is one of the main hypotheses in its pathophysiology. Therefore the question arises whether this supposed deficient motor inhibition affects also voluntary movements. Despite severe motor tics, different personalities who suffer from Tourette perform successfully as neurosurgeon, pilot or professional basketball player. Methods For the investigation of fine motor skills we conducted a motor performance test battery in an adult Tourette sample and an age matched group of healthy controls. Results The Tourette patients showed a significant lower performance in the categories steadiness of both hands and aiming of the right hand in comparison to the healthy controls. A comparison of patients’ subgroup without comorbidities or medication and healthy controls revealed a significant difference in the category steadiness of the right hand. Conclusions Our results show that steadiness and visuomotor integration of fine motor skills are altered in our adult sample but not precision and speed of movements. This alteration pattern might be the clinical vignette of complex adaptations in the excitability of the motor system on the basis of altered cortical and subcortical components. The structurally and functionally altered neuronal components could encompass orbitofrontal, ventrolateral prefrontal and parietal cortices, the anterior cingulate, amygdala, primary motor and sensorimotor areas including altered corticospinal projections, the corpus callosum and the basal ganglia. PMID:23057645

  3. The CB1 cannabinoid receptor drives corticospinal motor neuron differentiation through the Ctip2/Satb2 transcriptional regulation axis

    PubMed Central

    Díaz-Alonso, Javier; Aguado, Tania; Wu, Chia-Shan; Palazuelos, Javier; Hofmann, Clementine; Garcez, Patricia; Guillemot, Francois; Lu, Hui-Chen; Lutz, Beat; Guzmán, Manuel; Galve-Roperh, Ismael

    2012-01-01

    The generation and specification of pyramidal neuron subpopulations during development relies on a complex network of transcription factors. The CB1 cannabinoid receptor is the major molecular target of endocannabinoids and marijuana active compounds. This receptor has been shown to influence neural progenitor proliferation and axonal growth, but its involvement in neuronal differentiation and the functional impact in the adulthood caused by altering its signaling during brain development are not known. Here we show that the CB1 receptor, by preventing Satb2-mediated repression, increased Ctip2 promoter activity and Ctip2+ neuron generation. Unbalanced neurogenic fate determination found in complete CB1−/− mice and in glutamatergic neuron-specific Nex-CB1−/− mice induced overt alterations in corticospinal motor neuron generation and subcerebral connectivity, thereby resulting in an impairment of skilled motor function in adult mice. Likewise, genetic deletion of CB1 receptors in Thy1-YFP-H mice elicited alterations in corticospinal tract development. Altogether, these data demonstrate that the CB1 receptor contributes to the generation of deep-layer cortical neurons, by coupling endocannabinoid signals from the neurogenic niche to the intrinsic proneurogenic Ctip2/Satb2 axis, thus influencing appropriate subcerebral projection neuron specification and corticospinal motor function in the adulthood. PMID:23175820

  4. The CB(1) cannabinoid receptor drives corticospinal motor neuron differentiation through the Ctip2/Satb2 transcriptional regulation axis.

    PubMed

    Díaz-Alonso, Javier; Aguado, Tania; Wu, Chia-Shan; Palazuelos, Javier; Hofmann, Clementine; Garcez, Patricia; Guillemot, François; Lu, Hui-Chen; Lutz, Beat; Guzmán, Manuel; Galve-Roperh, Ismael

    2012-11-21

    The generation and specification of pyramidal neuron subpopulations during development relies on a complex network of transcription factors. The CB(1) cannabinoid receptor is the major molecular target of endocannabinoids and marijuana active compounds. This receptor has been shown to influence neural progenitor proliferation and axonal growth, but its involvement in neuronal differentiation and the functional impact in the adulthood caused by altering its signaling during brain development are not known. Here we show that the CB(1) receptor, by preventing Satb2 (special AT-rich binding protein 2)-mediated repression, increased Ctip2 (COUP-TF interacting protein 2) promoter activity, and Ctip2-positive neuron generation. Unbalanced neurogenic fate determination found in complete CB(1)(-/-) mice and in glutamatergic neuron-specific Nex-CB(1)(-/-) mice induced overt alterations in corticospinal motor neuron generation and subcerebral connectivity, thereby resulting in an impairment of skilled motor function in adult mice. Likewise, genetic deletion of CB(1) receptors in Thy1-YFP-H mice elicited alterations in corticospinal tract development. Altogether, these data demonstrate that the CB(1) receptor contributes to the generation of deep-layer cortical neurons by coupling endocannabinoid signals from the neurogenic niche to the intrinsic proneurogenic Ctip2/Satb2 axis, thus influencing appropriate subcerebral projection neuron specification and corticospinal motor function in the adulthood.

  5. Brain-wide neuronal dynamics during motor adaptation in zebrafish

    PubMed Central

    Ahrens, Misha B; Li, Jennifer M; Orger, Michael B; Robson, Drew N; Schier, Alexander F; Engert, Florian; Portugues, Ruben

    2013-01-01

    A fundamental question in neuroscience is how entire neural circuits generate behavior and adapt it to changes in sensory feedback. Here we use two-photon calcium imaging to record activity of large populations of neurons at the cellular level throughout the brain of larval zebrafish expressing a genetically-encoded calcium sensor, while the paralyzed animals interact fictively with a virtual environment and rapidly adapt their motor output to changes in visual feedback. We decompose the network dynamics involved in adaptive locomotion into four types of neural response properties, and provide anatomical maps of the corresponding sites. A subset of these signals occurred during behavioral adjustments and are candidates for the functional elements that drive motor learning. Lesions to the inferior olive indicate a specific functional role for olivocerebellar circuitry in adaptive locomotion. This study enables the analysis of brain-wide dynamics at single-cell resolution during behavior. PMID:22622571

  6. Isoflurane, But Not the Nonimmobilizers F6 and F8, Inhibits Rat Spinal Cord Motor Neuron CaV1 Calcium Currents

    PubMed Central

    Recio-Pinto, Esperanza; Montoya-Gacharna, Jose V.; Xu, Fang; Blanck, Thomas J.J.

    2015-01-01

    Background Volatile anesthetics decrease Ca2+ entry through voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels. Ca2+ influences neurotransmitter release and neuronal excitability. Because volatile anesthetics act specifically on the spinal cord to produce immobility, we examined the effect of isoflurane and the nonimmobilizers F6 (1, 2- dichlorohexafluorocyclobutane) and F8 (2, 3- dichlorooctafluorobutane) on CaV1 and CaV2 Ca2+ channels in spinal cord motor neurons and dorsal root ganglion neurons. Methods Using patch clamping, we compared the effects of isoflurane with those of F6 and F8 on CaV1 and CaV2 channels in isolated, cultured adult rat spinal cord motor neurons and on CaV1 and CaV2 channels in adult rat dorsal root ganglion sensory neurons. Results In spinal cord motor neurons, isoflurane, but not F6 or F8, inhibited currents through CaV1 channels. Isoflurane and at least one of the nonimmobilizers inhibited currents through CaV1 and CaV2 channels in dorsal root ganglion neurons and Cav2 in spinal cord motor neurons Conclusion The findings that isoflurane, but not nonimmobilizers, inhibited CaV1 Ca2+ channels in spinal cord motor neurons are consistent with the notion that spinal cord motor neurons might mediate isoflurane-induced immobility. Additional studies are required to examine whether inhibition of CaV1 calcium currents in spinal cord motor neurons are sufficient, or whether actions on other channels/proteins also contribute to isoflurane-induced immobility. PMID:26702867

  7. Four cases of equine motor neuron disease in Japan

    PubMed Central

    SASAKI, Naoki; IMAMURA, Yui; SEKIYA, Akio; ITOH, Megumi; FURUOKA, Hidefumi

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT In this study, fasciculation of the limbs and tongue was observed in four horses kept by a riding club. Neurogenic muscle atrophy was also observed in biopsy of pathological tissues. In addition, in two cases that subjected to autopsy, Bunina-like bodies of inclusion in the cell bodies of neurons in the spinal cord ventral horn were confirmed, leading to a diagnosis of equine motor neuron disease (EMND). Serum vitamin E concentrations varied between 0.3 and 0.4µg/ml, which is significantly lower than the levels in normal horses. Although lack of vitamin E is speculated to be a contributory factor for development of EMND, no significant improvement was observed following administration of vitamin E. PMID:27703407

  8. 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.

  9. Postradiation lower motor neuron syndrome presenting as monomelic amyotrophy.

    PubMed Central

    Lamy, C; Mas, J L; Varet, B; Ziegler, M; de Recondo, J

    1991-01-01

    Monomelic amyotrophy developed 16 months, nine and 12 years after irradiation of the lumbosacral spinal cord for seminoma in one patient and for Hodgkin's disease in two others. In two patients, involvement was clinically limited to one leg, with a subacute course followed by plateau in the first case and with progressive worsening in the second one. In the third patient, the course was progressive with involvement of the other lower limb occurring five years later. From clinical and electrophysiological data, it seems probable that the disease process was a result of a selective injury to the lower motor neuron in the lower spinal cord. PMID:1895131

  10. Postradiation lower motor neuron syndrome presenting as monomelic amyotrophy.

    PubMed

    Lamy, C; Mas, J L; Varet, B; Ziegler, M; de Recondo, J

    1991-07-01

    Monomelic amyotrophy developed 16 months, nine and 12 years after irradiation of the lumbosacral spinal cord for seminoma in one patient and for Hodgkin's disease in two others. In two patients, involvement was clinically limited to one leg, with a subacute course followed by plateau in the first case and with progressive worsening in the second one. In the third patient, the course was progressive with involvement of the other lower limb occurring five years later. From clinical and electrophysiological data, it seems probable that the disease process was a result of a selective injury to the lower motor neuron in the lower spinal cord.

  11. Establishing the UK DNA Bank for motor neuron disease (MND).

    PubMed

    Smith, Lucy; Cupid, B C; Dickie, B G M; Al-Chalabi, A; Morrison, K E; Shaw, C E; Shaw, P J

    2015-07-14

    In 2003 the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association, together with The Wellcome Trust, funded the creation of a national DNA Bank specific for MND. It was anticipated that the DNA Bank would constitute an important resource to researchers worldwide and significantly increase activity in MND genetic research. The DNA Bank houses over 3000 high quality DNA samples, all of which were donated by people living with MND, family members and non-related controls, accompanied by clinical phenotype data about the patients. Today the primary focus of the UK MND DNA Bank still remains to identify causative and disease modifying factors for this devastating disease.

  12. Alpha-synuclein in motor neuron disease: an immunohistologic study.

    PubMed

    Doherty, M J; Bird, T D; Leverenz, J B

    2004-02-01

    Alpha-synuclein (ASN) has been implicated in neurodegenerative disorders characterized by Lewy body inclusions such as Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Lewy body-like inclusions have also been observed in spinal neurons of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and reports suggest possible ASN abnormalities in ALS patients. We assessed ASN immunoreactivity in spinal and brain tissues of subjects who had died of progressive motor neuron disorders (MND). Clinical records of subjects with MND and a comparison group were reviewed to determine the diagnosis according to El-Escariol Criteria of ALS. Cervical, thoracic and lumbar cord sections were stained with an antibody to ASN. A blinded, semiquantitative review of sections from both groups included examination for evidence of spheroids, neuronal staining, cytoplasmic inclusions, anterior horn granules, white and gray matter glial staining, corticospinal tract axonal fiber and myelin changes. MND cases, including ALS and progressive muscular atrophy, displayed significantly increased ASN staining of spheroids ( P< or =0.001), and glial staining in gray and white matter ( P< or =0.05). Significant abnormal staining of corticospinal axon tract fibers and myelin was also observed ( P< or =0.05 and 0.01). Detection of possible ASN-positive neuronal inclusions did not differ between groups. Significant ASN abnormalities were observed in MND. These findings suggest a possible role for ASN in MND; however, the precise nature of this association is unclear.

  13. The patient experience of fatigue in motor neurone disease

    PubMed Central

    Gibbons, Chris J.; Thornton, Everard W.; Young, Carolyn A.

    2013-01-01

    Aims: This paper is a qualitative investigation that aims to investigate the lived experience of fatigue in patients with motor neurone disease—a progressive and fatal neurological condition. Background: Fatigue is a disabling symptom in motor neurone disease (MND) that affects a large number of patients. However, the term “fatigue” is in itself imprecise, as it remains a phenomenon without a widely accepted medical definition. This study sought to investigate the phenomenon of fatigue from the perspective of the MND patient. Methods: Ten patients with MND participated in semi-structured recorded interviews at a regional neuroscience center in Liverpool, UK. Transcripts analysis was broadly informed by the principles of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Findings: Fatigue was unanimously explained to be disabling and progressive phenomenon. Participants described two forms of fatigue: whole-body tiredness or use-dependent reversible muscle weakness related to exertion of limb and bulbar muscles. Both weakness and whole-body tiredness could be experienced simultaneously, and patients used the terms “fatigue” and “tiredness” interchangeably. Alongside descriptions of fatigue themes of Adaptation, Motivation, Avoidance, Frustration and Stress were revealed. Fatigue could be defined as “reversible motor weakness and whole-body tiredness that was predominantly brought on by muscular exertion and was partially relieved by rest.” Conclusion: The results of this study support a multi-dimensional model of fatigue for patients with MND. Fatigue appears to be experienced and explained in two ways, both as an inability to sustain motor function and as a pervasive tiredness. Fatigue was only partially relieved by rest and tended to worsen throughout the day. It is crucial that MND care practitioners and researchers appreciate the semantic dichotomy within fatigue. PMID:24639657

  14. A case of presumptive primary lateral sclerosis with upper and lower motor neurone pathology.

    PubMed

    Short, Cathy L; Scott, Grace; Blumbergs, Peter C; Koblar, Simon A

    2005-08-01

    Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is one of the commonest neurodegenerative disorders of adulthood. MND characteristically presents with a combination of both upper and lower motor neurone features. Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS) is thought to be a variant of MND presenting with purely upper motor neurone signs. Debate continues over whether PLS constitutes a distinct pathological entity or whether it is part of the spectrum of motor neurone diseases that present as an upper motor neurone-predominant form of MND. We present a case of MND with purely upper motor neurone features and a prominent pain component. A pre-mortem diagnosis of PLS was made, however autopsy findings demonstrated both upper and lower motor neurone involvement. We believe these findings support the view that PLS is not a discrete pathological entity, but that it is a part of the range of motor neurone diseases that present with predominant but not exclusive upper motor neurone involvement. This case also highlights the feature that pain may be associated with MND even though it is not appreciated to have a sensory pathology.

  15. Novel combinatorial screening identifies neurotrophic factors for selective classes of motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Sébastien; Buttigieg, Dorothée; Alory, Alysson; Jacquier, Arnaud; Barad, Marc; Merchant, Mark; Gentien, David; de la Grange, Pierre; Haase, Georg

    2017-03-21

    Numerous neurotrophic factors promote the survival of developing motor neurons but their combinatorial actions remain poorly understood; to address this, we here screened 66 combinations of 12 neurotrophic factors on pure, highly viable, and standardized embryonic mouse motor neurons isolated by a unique FACS technique. We demonstrate potent, strictly additive, survival effects of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), and Artemin through specific activation of their receptor complexes in distinct subsets of lumbar motor neurons: HGF supports hindlimb motor neurons through c-Met; CNTF supports subsets of axial motor neurons through CNTFRα; and Artemin acts as the first survival factor for parasympathetic preganglionic motor neurons through GFRα3/Syndecan-3 activation. These data show that neurotrophic factors can selectively promote the survival of distinct classes of embryonic motor neurons. Similar studies on postnatal motor neurons may provide a conceptual framework for the combined therapeutic use of neurotrophic factors in degenerative motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy, and spinobulbar muscular atrophy.

  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. Human-induced pluripotent stem cells pave the road for a better understanding of motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Winner, Beate; Marchetto, Maria C; Winkler, Jürgen; Gage, Fred H

    2014-09-15

    While motor neuron diseases are currently incurable, induced pluripotent stem cell research has uncovered some disease-relevant phenotypes. We will discuss strategies to model different aspects of motor neuron disease and the specific neurons involved in the disease. We will then describe recent progress to investigate common forms of motor neuron disease: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, hereditary spastic paraplegia and spinal muscular atrophy.

  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.

  20. Neuronal correlates of motor performance and motor learning in the primary motor cortex of monkeys adapting to an external force field.

    PubMed

    Li, C S; Padoa-Schioppa, C; Bizzi, E

    2001-05-01

    The primary motor cortex (M1) is known to control motor performance. Recent findings have also implicated M1 in motor learning, as neurons in this area show learning-related plasticity. In the present study, we analyzed the neuronal activity recorded in M1 in a force field adaptation task. Our goal was to investigate the neuronal reorganization across behavioral epochs (before, during, and after adaptation). Here we report two main findings. First, memory cells were present in two classes. With respect to the changes of preferred direction (Pd), these two classes complemented each other after readaptation. Second, for the entire neuronal population, the shift of Pd matched the shift observed for muscles. These results provide a framework whereby the activity of distinct neuronal subpopulations combines to subserve both functions of motor performance and motor learning.

  1. Dementia and aphasia in motor neuron disease: an underrecognised association?

    PubMed Central

    Rakowicz, W.; Hodges, J.

    1998-01-01

    OBJECTIVES—To determine the prevalence and nature of global cognitive dysfunction and language deficits in an unselected population based cohort of patients with motor neuron disease (MND).
METHODS——A battery of neuropsychological and language tests was administered to patients presenting consecutively over a 3 year period to a regional neurology service with a new diagnosis of sporadic motor neuron disease.
RESULTS—The 18 patients could be divided on the basis of their performance into three groups: Three patients were demented and had impaired language function (group 1); two non-demented patients had an aphasic syndrome characterised by word finding difficulties and anomia (group 2). Major cognitive deficits were therefore found in five of the 18 patients (28%). The remaining 13 performed normally on the test battery apart from decreased verbal fluency (group 3).
CONCLUSIONS—The prevalence of cognitive impairment in MND in this population based study of an unselected cohort was higher than has been previously reported. Language deficits, especially anomia, may be relatively frequent in the MND population. Aphasia in MND may be masked by dysarthria and missed if not specifically examined.

 PMID:9854965

  2. The actions of crustacean cardioactive peptide on adult and developing stomatogastric ganglion motor patterns.

    PubMed

    Richards, K S; Marder, E

    2000-07-01

    The motor patterns produced by the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) are strongly influenced by descending modulatory inputs from anterior ganglia. With these inputs intact, in control saline, the motor patterns produced by the stomatogastric nervous system of embryonic and larval lobsters are slower and less regular than those of adult lobsters. We studied the effects of the hormonal modulator, crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP) on the discharge patterns of STG motor patterns in embryos, larvae, and adult Maine lobsters, Homarus americanus, with the anterior inputs present and absent. In adults, CCAP initiated robust pyloric rhythms from STGs isolated from their descending control and modulatory inputs. Likewise, CCAP initiated robust activity in isolated embryonic and larval STGs. Nonetheless, quantitative analyses revealed that the frequency and regularity of the STG motor neuron discharge seen in the presence of CCAP in isolated STGs from embryos were significantly lower than those seen late in larval life and in adults under the same conditions. In contrast, when the descending control and modulatory pathways to the STG were left intact, the embryonic and larval burst frequency seen in the presence of CCAP was increased by CCAP, whereas the burst frequency in adults was decreased by CCAP, so that in CCAP the frequencies at all stages were statistically indistinguishable. These data argue that immature embryonic motor patterns seen in the absence of CCAP are a function of immaturity in both the STG and in the descending and modulatory pathways.

  3. Dissecting the role of Engrailed in adult dopaminergic neurons--Insights into Parkinson disease pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Rekaik, Hocine; Blaudin de Thé, François-Xavier; Prochiantz, Alain; Fuchs, Julia; Joshi, Rajiv L

    2015-12-21

    The homeoprotein Engrailed (Engrailed-1/Engrailed-2, collectively En1/2) is not only a survival factor for mesencephalic dopaminergic (mDA) neurons during development, but continues to exert neuroprotective and physiological functions in adult mDA neurons. Loss of one En1 allele in the mouse leads to progressive demise of mDA neurons in the ventral midbrain starting from 6 weeks of age. These mice also develop Parkinson disease-like motor and non-motor symptoms. The characterization of En1 heterozygous mice have revealed striking parallels to central mechanisms of Parkinson disease pathogenesis, mainly related to mitochondrial dysfunction and retrograde degeneration. Thanks to the ability of homeoproteins to transduce cells, En1/2 proteins have also been used to protect mDA neurons in various experimental models of Parkinson disease. This neuroprotection is partly linked to the ability of En1/2 to regulate the translation of certain nuclear-encoded mitochondrial mRNAs for complex I subunits. Other transcription factors that govern mDA neuron development (e.g. Foxa1/2, Lmx1a/b, Nurr1, Otx2, Pitx3) also continue to function for the survival and maintenance of mDA neurons in the adult and act through partially overlapping but also diverse mechanisms.

  4. Developmental Alterations in Motor Coordination and Medium Spiny Neuron Markers in Mice Lacking PGC-1α

    PubMed Central

    Lucas, Elizabeth K.; Dougherty, Sarah E.; McMeekin, Laura J.; Trinh, Alisa T.; Reid, Courtney S.; Cowell, Rita M.

    2012-01-01

    Accumulating evidence implicates the transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) in the pathophysiology of Huntington Disease (HD). Adult PGC-1α −/− mice exhibit striatal neurodegeneration, and reductions in the expression of PGC-1α have been observed in striatum and muscle of HD patients as well as in animal models of the disease. However, it is unknown whether decreased expression of PGC-1α alone is sufficient to lead to the motor phenotype and striatal pathology characteristic of HD. For the first time, we show that young PGC-1α −/− mice exhibit severe rotarod deficits, decreased rearing behavior, and increased occurrence of tremor in addition to the previously described hindlimb clasping. Motor impairment and striatal vacuolation are apparent in PGC-1α −/− mice by four weeks of age and do not improve or decline by twelve weeks of age. The behavioral and pathological phenotype of PGC-1α −/− mice can be completely recapitulated by conditional nervous system deletion of PGC-1α, indicating that peripheral effects are not responsible for the observed abnormalities. Evaluation of the transcriptional profile of PGC-1α −/− striatal neuron populations and comparison to striatal neuron profiles of R6/2 HD mice revealed that PGC-1α deficiency alone is not sufficient to cause the transcriptional changes observed in this HD mouse model. In contrast to R6/2 HD mice, PGC-1α −/− mice show increases in the expression of medium spiny neuron (MSN) markers with age, suggesting that the observed behavioral and structural abnormalities are not primarily due to MSN loss, the defining pathological feature of HD. These results indicate that PGC-1α is required for the proper development of motor circuitry and transcriptional homeostasis in MSNs and that developmental disruption of PGC-1α leads to long-term alterations in motor functioning. PMID:22916173

  5. Chronic Exposure to Dietary Sterol Glucosides is Neurotoxic to Motor Neurons and Induces an ALS-PDC Phenotype

    PubMed Central

    Tabata, R. C.; Wilson, J. M. B.; Ly, P.; Zwiegers, P.; Kwok, D.; Van Kampen, J. M.; Cashman, N.; Shaw, C. A.

    2008-01-01

    Epidemiological studies of the Guamanian variants of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and parkinsonism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-parkinsonism dementia complex (ALS-PDC), have shown a positive correlation between consumption of washed cycad seed flour and disease occurrence. Previous in vivo studies by our group have shown that the same seed flour induces ALS and PDC phenotypes in out bred adult male mice. In vitro studies using isolated cycad compounds have also demonstrated that several of these are neurotoxic, specifically, a number of water insoluble phytosterol glucosides of which β-sitosterol β-d-glucoside (BSSG) forms the largest fraction. BSSG is neurotoxic to motor neurons and other neuronal populations in culture. The present study shows that an in vitro hybrid motor neuron (NSC-34) culture treated with BSSG undergoes a dose-dependent cell loss. Surviving cells show increased expression of HSP70, decreased cytosolic heavy neurofilament expression, and have various morphological abnormalities. CD-1 mice fed mouse chow pellets containing BSSG for 15 weeks showed motor deficits and motor neuron loss in the lumbar and thoracic spinal cord, along with decreased glutamate transporter labelling, and increased glial fibrillary acid protein reactivity. Other pathological outcomes included increased caspase-3 labelling in the striatum and decreased tyrosine-hydroxylase labelling in the striatum and substantia nigra. C57BL/6 mice fed BSSG-treated pellets for 10 weeks exhibited progressive loss of motor neurons in the lumbar spinal cord that continued to worsen even after the BSSG exposure ended. These results provide further support implicating sterol glucosides as one potential causal factor in the motor neuron pathology previously associated with cycad consumption and ALS-PDC. PMID:18196479

  6. Expression of diverse neuropeptide cotransmitters by identified motor neurons in Aplysia

    SciTech Connect

    Church, P.J.; Lloyd, P.E. )

    1991-03-01

    Neuropeptide synthesis was determined for individual identified ventral-cluster neurons in the buccal ganglia of Aplysia. Each of these cells was shown to be a motor neuron that innervates buccal muscles that generate biting and swallowing movements during feeding. Individual neurons were identified by a battery of physiological criteria and stained with intracellular injection of a vital dye, and the ganglia were incubated in 35S-methionine. Peptide synthesis was determined by measuring labeled peptides in extracts from individually dissected neuronal cell bodies analyzed by HPLC. Previously characterized peptides found to be synthesized included buccalin, FMRFamide, myomodulin, and the 2 small cardioactive peptides (SCPs). Each of these neuropeptides has been shown to modulate buccal muscle responses to motor neuron stimulation. Two other peptides were found to be synthesized in individual motor neurons. One peptide, which was consistently observed in neurons that also synthesized myomodulin, is likely to be the recently sequenced myomodulin B. The other peptide was observed in a subset of the neurons that synthesize FMRFamide. While identified motor neurons consistently synthesized the same peptide(s), neurons that innervate the same muscle often express different peptides. Neurons that synthesized the SCPs also contained SCP-like activity, as determined by snail heart bioassay. Our results indicate that every identified motor neuron synthesizes a subset of these methionine-containing peptides, and that several neurons consistently synthesize peptides that are likely to be processed from multiple precursors.

  7. Neuronal Roles of the Bicaudal D Family of Motor Adaptors.

    PubMed

    Budzinska, M; Wicher, K B; Terenzio, M

    2017-01-01

    All cell types rely on active intracellular cargo transport to shuttle essential cellular components such as proteins, lipids, RNA, and even organelles from the center to the periphery and vice versa. Additionally, several signaling pathways take advantage of intracellular transport to propagate their signals by moving activated receptors and protein effectors to specific locations inside the cell. Neurons particularly, being a very polarized cell type, are highly dependent on molecular motors for the anterograde and retrograde delivery of essential cellular components and signaling molecules. For these reasons, motor adaptor proteins have been extensively investigated in regard to their role in physiology and pathology of the nervous system. In this chapter, we will concentrate on a family of motor adaptor proteins, Bicaudal D (BICD), and their function in the context of the nervous system. BicD was originally described as essential for the correct localization of maternal mRNAs in Drosophila's oocyte and a regulator of the Golgi to ER retrograde transport in mammalian cells. Both mammalian BICD1 and BICD2 are highly expressed in the nervous system during development, and their importance in neuronal homeostasis has been recently under scrutiny. Several mutations in BICD2 have been linked to the development of neuromuscular diseases, and BICD2 knockout (KO) mice display migration defects of the radial cerebellar granule cells. More in line with the overall topic of this book, BICD1 was identified as a novel regulator of neurotrophin (NT) signaling as its deletion leads to defective sorting of ligand-activated NT receptors with dramatic consequences on the NT-mediated signaling pathway.

  8. Optimization of input patterns and neuronal properties to evoke motor neuron synchronization.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Anna M; Enoka, Roger M

    2004-01-01

    The study used a computational approach to identify combinations of synaptic input timing and strength superimposed on a variety of active dendritic conductances that could evoke similar levels of motor unit synchronization in model motor neurons. Two motor neurons with low recruitment thresholds but different passive properties were modeled using GENESIS software. The timing and strength of synaptic inputs and the density of dendritic ion channels were optimized with a genetic algorithm to produce a set of target discharge times. The target times were taken from experimental recordings made in a human subject and had the synchronization characteristics that are commonly observed in hand muscles. The main finding was that the two parameters with the highest association to output synchrony were the ratio of inward-to-outward ionic conductances (r = 0.344; P = 0.003) and the degree of correlation in inhibitory inputs (r = 0.306; P = 0.009). Variation in the amount of correlation in the excitatory input was not positively correlated with variation in output synchrony. Further, the variability in discharge rate of the model neurons was positively correlated with the density of N -type calcium channels in the dendritic compartments (r = 0.727; P < 0.001 and r = 0.533; P < 0.001 for the two cells). This result suggests that the experimentally observed correlation between discharge variability and synchronization is caused by an increase in fast inward ionic conductances in the dendrites. Given the moderate level of correlation between output synchrony and each of the model parameters, especially at moderate levels of synchrony (E < 0.09 and CIS < 1.0), the results suggest caution in ascribing mechanisms to observations of motor unit synchronization.

  9. Extensive Fusion of Mitochondria in Spinal Cord Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Owens, Geoffrey C.; Walcott, Elisabeth C.

    2012-01-01

    The relative roles played by trafficking, fission and fusion in the dynamics of mitochondria in neurons have not been fully elucidated. In the present study, a slow widespread redistribution of mitochondria within cultured spinal cord motor neurons was observed as a result of extensive organelle fusion. Mitochondria were labeled with a photoconvertible fluorescent protein (mitoKaede) that is red-shifted following brief irradiation with blue light. The behavior of these selectively labeled mitochondria was followed by live fluorescence imaging. Marking mitochondria within the cell soma revealed a complete mixing, within 18 hours, of these organelles with mitochondria coming from the surrounding neurites. Fusion of juxtaposed mitochondria was directly observed in neuritic processes at least 200 microns from the cell body. Within 24 hours, photoconverted mitoKaede was dispersed to all of the mitochondria in the portion of neurite under observation. When time lapse imaging over minutes was combined with long-term observation of marked mitochondria, moving organelles that traversed the field of view did not initially contain photoconverted protein, but after several hours organelles in motion contained both fluorescent proteins, coincident with widespread fusion of all of the mitochondria within the length of neurite under observation. These observations suggest that there is a widespread exchange of mitochondrial components throughout a neuron as a result of organelle fusion. PMID:22701641

  10. Extensive fusion of mitochondria in spinal cord motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Owens, Geoffrey C; Walcott, Elisabeth C

    2012-01-01

    The relative roles played by trafficking, fission and fusion in the dynamics of mitochondria in neurons have not been fully elucidated. In the present study, a slow widespread redistribution of mitochondria within cultured spinal cord motor neurons was observed as a result of extensive organelle fusion. Mitochondria were labeled with a photoconvertible fluorescent protein (mitoKaede) that is red-shifted following brief irradiation with blue light. The behavior of these selectively labeled mitochondria was followed by live fluorescence imaging. Marking mitochondria within the cell soma revealed a complete mixing, within 18 hours, of these organelles with mitochondria coming from the surrounding neurites. Fusion of juxtaposed mitochondria was directly observed in neuritic processes at least 200 microns from the cell body. Within 24 hours, photoconverted mitoKaede was dispersed to all of the mitochondria in the portion of neurite under observation. When time lapse imaging over minutes was combined with long-term observation of marked mitochondria, moving organelles that traversed the field of view did not initially contain photoconverted protein, but after several hours organelles in motion contained both fluorescent proteins, coincident with widespread fusion of all of the mitochondria within the length of neurite under observation. These observations suggest that there is a widespread exchange of mitochondrial components throughout a neuron as a result of organelle fusion.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-06-26

    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.

  12. The development of three identified motor neurons in the larva of an ascidian, Halocynthia roretzi.

    PubMed

    Okada, Toshiaki; Katsuyama, You; Ono, Fumihito; Okamura, Yasushi

    2002-04-15

    The generation of distinct classes of motor neurons underlies the development of complex motile behavior in all animals and is well characterized in chordates. Recent molecular studies indicate that the ascidian larval central nervous system (CNS) exhibits anteroposterior regionalization similar to that seen in the vertebrate CNS. To extend the understanding about the diversity of motor neurons in the ascidian larva, we have identified the number, position, and projection of individual motor neurons in Halocynthia roretzi, using a green fluorescent protein under the control of a neuron-specific promoter. Three pairs of motor neurons, each with a distinct shape and innervation pattern, were identified along the anteroposterior axis of the neural tube: the anterior and posterior pairs extend their axons toward dorsal muscle cells, whereas the middle pair project their axons toward ventral muscle. Overexpression of a dominant-negative form of a potassium channel in these cells resulted in paralysis on the injected side, thus these cells must constitute the major population of motor neurons responsible for swimming behavior. Lim class homeobox genes have been known as candidate genes that determine subtypes of motor neurons. Therefore, the expression pattern of Hrlim, which is a Lim class homeobox gene, was examined in the motor neuron precursors. All three motor neurons expressed Hrlim at the tailbud stage, although each down-regulated Hrlim at a different time. Misexpression of Hrlim in the epidermal lineage led to ectopic expression of TuNa2, a putative voltage-gated channel gene normally expressed predominantly in the three pairs of motor neurons. Hrlim may control membrane excitability of motor neurons by regulating ion channel gene expression.

  13. Projection neurons in the cortex and hippocampus: differential effects of chronic khat and ethanol exposure in adult male rats

    PubMed Central

    Alele, Paul E; Matovu, Daniel; Imanirampa, Lawrence; Ajayi, Abayomi M; Kasule, Gyaviira T

    2016-01-01

    Background Recent evidence suggests that many individuals who chew khat recreationally also drink ethanol to offset the stimulating effect of khat. The objective of this study was to describe the separate and interactive effects of chronic ethanol and khat exposure on key projection neurons in the cortex and hippocampus of young adult male rats. Methods Young adult male Sprague Dawley rats were divided into six treatment groups: 2 g/kg khat, 4 g/kg khat, 4 g/kg ethanol, combined khat and ethanol (4 g/kg each), a normal saline control, and an untreated group. Treatments were administered orally for 28 continuous days; brains were then harvested, sectioned, and routine hematoxylin–eosin staining was done. Following photomicrography, ImageJ® software captured data regarding neuron number and size. Results No differences occurred in counts of both granular and pyramidal projection neurons in the motor cortex and all four subfields of the hippocampal formation. Khat dose-dependently increased pyramidal neuron size in the motor cortex and the CA3 region, but had different effects on granular neuron size in the dentate gyrus and the motor cortex. Mean pyramidal neuron size for the ethanol-only treatment was larger than that for the 2 g/kg khat group, and the saline control group, in CA3 and in the motor cortex. Concomitant khat and ethanol increased granular neuron size in the motor cortex, compared to the 2 g/kg khat group, the 4 g/kg khat group, and the 4 g/kg ethanol group. In the CA3 region, the 4 g/kg ethanol group showed a larger mean pyramidal neuron size than the combined khat and ethanol group. Conclusion These results suggest that concomitant khat and ethanol exposure changes granular and pyramidal projection neuron sizes differentially in the motor cortex and hippocampus, compared to the effects of chronic exposure to these two drugs separately. PMID:27785113

  14. 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.

  15. Embryonic stem cells and prospects for their use in regenerative medicine approaches to motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Christou, Y A; Moore, H D; Shaw, P J; Monk, P N

    2007-10-01

    Human embryonic stem cells are pluripotent cells with the potential to differentiate into any cell type in the presence of appropriate stimulatory factors and environmental cues. Their broad developmental potential has led to valuable insights into the principles of developmental and cell biology and to the proposed use of human embryonic stem cells or their differentiated progeny in regenerative medicine. This review focuses on the prospects for the use of embryonic stem cells in cell-based therapy for motor neurone disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that specifically affects upper and lower motor neurones and leads ultimately to death from respiratory failure. Stem cell-derived motor neurones could conceivably be used to replace the degenerated cells, to provide authentic substrates for drug development and screening and for furthering our understanding of disease mechanisms. However, to reliably and accurately culture motor neurones, the complex pathways by which differentiation occurs in vivo must be understood and reiterated in vitro by embryonic stem cells. Here we discuss the need for new therapeutic strategies in the treatment of motor neurone disease, the developmental processes that result in motor neurone formation in vivo, a number of experimental approaches to motor neurone production in vitro and recent progress in the application of stem cells to the treatment and understanding of motor neurone disease.

  16. Mutant TDP-43 within motor neurons drives disease onset but not progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Ditsworth, Dara; Maldonado, Marcus; McAlonis-Downes, Melissa; Sun, Shuying; Seelman, Amanda; Drenner, Kevin; Arnold, Eveline; Ling, Shuo-Chien; Pizzo, Donald; Ravits, John; Cleveland, Don W; Da Cruz, Sandrine

    2017-03-29

    Mutations in TDP-43 cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal paralytic disease characterized by degeneration and premature death of motor neurons. The contribution of mutant TDP-43-mediated damage within motor neurons was evaluated using mice expressing a conditional allele of an ALS-causing TDP-43 mutant (Q331K) whose broad expression throughout the central nervous system mimics endogenous TDP-43. TDP-43(Q331K) mice develop age- and mutant-dependent motor deficits from degeneration and death of motor neurons. Cre-recombinase-mediated excision of the TDP-43(Q331K) gene from motor neurons is shown to delay onset of motor symptoms and appearance of TDP-43-mediated aberrant nuclear morphology, and abrogate subsequent death of motor neurons. However, reduction of mutant TDP-43 selectively in motor neurons did not prevent age-dependent degeneration of axons and neuromuscular junction loss, nor did it attenuate astrogliosis or microgliosis. Thus, disease mechanism is non-cell autonomous with mutant TDP-43 expressed in motor neurons determining disease onset but progression defined by mutant acting within other cell types.

  17. Slow motor neuron stimulation of locust skeletal muscle: model and measurement.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Emma; Rustighi, Emiliano; Newland, Philip L; Mace, Brian R

    2013-06-01

    The isometric force response of the locust hind leg extensor tibia muscle to stimulation of a slow extensor tibia motor neuron is experimentally investigated, and a mathematical model describing the response presented. The measured force response was modelled by considering the ability of an existing model, developed to describe the response to the stimulation of a fast extensor tibia motor neuron and to also model the response to slow motor neuron stimulation. It is found that despite large differences in the force response to slow and fast motor neuron stimulation, which could be accounted for by the differing physiology of the fibres they innervate, the model is able to describe the response to both fast and slow motor neuron stimulation. Thus, the presented model provides a potentially generally applicable, robust, simple model to describe the isometric force response of a range of muscles.

  18. Formation of cortical plasticity in older adults following tDCS and motor training.

    PubMed

    Goodwill, Alicia M; Reynolds, John; Daly, Robin M; Kidgell, Dawson J

    2013-01-01

    Neurodegeneration accompanies the process of natural aging, reducing the ability to perform functional daily activities. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) alters neuronal excitability and motor performance; however its beneficial effect on the induction of primary motor cortex (M1) plasticity in older adults is unclear. Moreover, little is known as to whether the tDCS electrode arrangement differentially affects M1 plasticity and motor performance in this population. In a double-blinded, cross-over trial, we compared unilateral, bilateral and sham tDCS combined with visuomotor tracking, on M1 plasticity and motor performance of the non-dominant upper limb, immediately post and 30 min following stimulation. We found (a) unilateral and bilateral tDCS decreased tracking error by 12-22% at both time points; with sham decreasing tracking error by 10% at 30 min only, (b) at both time points, motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were facilitated (38-54%) and short-interval intracortical inhibition was released (21-36%) for unilateral and bilateral conditions relative to sham, (c) there were no differences between unilateral and bilateral conditions for any measure. These findings suggest that tDCS modulated elements of M1 plasticity, which improved motor performance irrespective of the electrode arrangement. The results provide preliminary evidence indicating that tDCS is a safe non-invasive tool to preserve or improve neurological function and motor control in older adults.

  19. 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

  20. Dyrk1A Is Dynamically Expressed on Subsets of Motor Neurons and in the Neuromuscular Junction: Possible Role in Down Syndrome

    PubMed Central

    Arque, Gloria; Casanovas, Anna; Dierssen, Mara

    2013-01-01

    Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) present important motor deficits that derive from altered motor development of infants and young children. DYRK1A, a candidate gene for DS abnormalities has been implicated in motor function due to its expression in motor nuclei in the adult brain, and its overexpression in DS mouse models leads to hyperactivity and altered motor learning. However, its precise role in the adult motor system, or its possible involvement in postnatal locomotor development has not yet been clarified. During the postnatal period we observed time-specific expression of Dyrk1A in discrete subsets of brainstem nuclei and spinal cord motor neurons. Interestingly, we describe for the first time the presence of Dyrk1A in the presynaptic terminal of the neuromuscular junctions and its axonal transport from the facial nucleus, suggesting a function for Dyrk1A in these structures. Relevant to DS, Dyrk1A overexpression in transgenic mice (TgDyrk1A) produces motor developmental alterations possibly contributing to DS motor phenotypes and modifies the numbers of motor cholinergic neurons, suggesting that the kinase may have a role in the development of the brainstem and spinal cord motor system. PMID:23342120

  1. 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

  2. Evidence for neuronal localisation of enteroviral sequences in motor neurone disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by in situ hybridization.

    PubMed

    Woodall, C J; Graham, D I

    2004-01-01

    Sequences resembling those of human enterovirus type B sequences have been associated with motor neurone disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In a previous study we detected enteroviral sequences in spinal cord/brain stem from cases of motor neurone disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but not controls. Adjacent tissue sections to two of those strongly positive for these sequences by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction were analyzed by in situ hybridization with digoxigenin-labelled virus-specific antisense riboprobes. In one case, a female aged 83 showing 12 month rapid progressive disease, signal was specifically localized to cells identifiable as motor neurones of the anterior horn. In another case, a male aged 63 with a 60-month history of progressive muscle weakness, dysarthia, dyspnoea and increased tendon reflexes, signal was located to neurones in the gracile/cuneate nuclei of the brain stem tissue block that had been analyzed. This case showed loss of neurones in the anterior horn of the spinal cord by histopathologic examination which would account for clinical signs of motor neurone disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dysfunction of the gracile/cuneate nuclei might have been masked by the paralytic disease. These structures are adjacent to the hypoglossal nuclei, and suggest either localised dissemination from hypoglossal nuclei or a possible route of dissemination of infection through the brainstem to the hypoglossal nuclei. These findings provide further evidence for the possible involvement of enteroviruses in motor neurone disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

  3. Anti-Hu associated paraneoplastic sensory neuronopathy with upper motor neurone involvement.

    PubMed

    Ogawa, M; Nishie, M; Kurahashi, K; Kaimori, M; Wakabayashi, K

    2004-07-01

    Paraneoplastic neurological syndrome is characterised by neuronal degeneration with lymphocytic infiltration in various regions of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Motor neurone symptoms may occur as a remote effect of malignancy, and have been considered because of the involvement of lower motor neurones. A case is reported of an 80 year old woman suffering from paraneoplastic sensory neuronopathy with anti-Hu antibody. Postmortem examination showed adenocarcinoma of the gall bladder and small cell carcinoma of the duodenum. Neuronal loss with lymphocytic infiltration was found in the dorsal root ganglia, brain stem, and cerebellum. Despite the absence of upper motor neurone signs, there was severe loss of Betz cells and degeneration of the bilateral pyramidal tracts. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of upper motor neurone involvement in anti-Hu associated paraneoplatic syndrome.

  4. The role of the ETS gene PEA3 in the development of motor and sensory neurons.

    PubMed

    Ladle, David R; Frank, Eric

    2002-12-01

    The ETS family of transcription factors includes two members, ER81 and PEA3, which are expressed in groups of sensory and motor neurons supplying individual muscles. To investigate a possible role of these genes in determining sensory and/or motor neuron phenotype, we studied mice in which each of these genes was deleted. In contrast to the deletion of ER81, which blocks the formation of projections from muscle sensory neurons to motor neurons in the spinal cord, deletion of PEA3 causes no obvious effects on sensory neurons or on their synaptic connections with motor neurons. PEA3 does play a major role in the formation of some brachial motoneurons however. Motoneurons innervating the cutaneous maximus muscle, which are normally PEA3(+), fail to develop normally so that postnatally the muscle is innervated by few motoneurons and is severely atrophic. Other studies suggest that these motoneurons initially appear during development but fail to contact their normal muscle targets.

  5. Comparative effect of immature neuronal or glial cell transplantation on motor functional recovery following experimental traumatic brain injury in rats

    PubMed Central

    Quan, Fu-Shi; Chen, Jian; Zhong, Yuan; Ren, Wen-Zhi

    2016-01-01

    The present study evaluated the comparative effect of stereotaxically transplanted immature neuronal or glial cells in brain on motor functional recovery and cytokine expression after cold-induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) in adult rats. A total of 60 rats were divided into four groups (n=15/group): Sham group; TBI only group; TBI plus neuronal cells-transplanted group (NC-G); and TBI plus glial cells-transplanted group (GC-G). Cortical lesions were induced by a touching metal stamp, frozen with liquid nitrogen, to the dura mater over the motor cortex of adult rats. Neuronal and glial cells were isolated from rat embryonic and newborn cortices, respectively, and cultured in culture flasks. Rats received neurons or glia grafts (~1×106 cells) 5 days after TBI was induced. Motor functional evaluation was performed with the rotarod test prior to and following glial and neural cell grafts. Five rats from each group were sacrificed at 2, 4 and 6 weeks post-cell transplantation. Immunofluorescence staining was performed on brain section to identify the transplanted neuronal or glial cells using neural and astrocytic markers. The expression levels of cytokines, including transforming growth factor-β, glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor and vascular endothelial growth factor, which have key roles in the proliferation, differentiation and survival of neural cells, were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and western blotting. A localized cortical lesion was evoked in all injured rats, resulting in significant motor deficits. Transplanted cells successfully migrated and survived in the injured brain lesion, and the expression of neuronal and astrocyte markers were detected in the NC-G and GC-G groups, respectively. Rats in the NC-G and GC-G cell-transplanted groups exhibited significant motor functional recovery and reduced histopathologic lesions, as compared with the TBI-G rats that did not receive neural cells (P<0.05, respectively). Furthermore, GC-G treatment

  6. Pattern of motor neurone disease in eastern India.

    PubMed

    Saha, S P; Das, S K; Gangopadhyay, P K; Roy, T N; Maiti, B

    1997-07-01

    A clinical study about the pattern of motor neurone disease in eastern India was carried out from July 1993 to June 1995 at Bangur Institute of Neurology, Calcutta and SSKM Hospital, Calcutta. A total of 110 cases were studied and they constituted 0.11% of all neurological cases seen in the general OPD. Of 110 cases, amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) constituted 43.6%, progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) 10.9%, post-polio progressive muscular atrophy (PPMA) 1.8%, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) 20%, atypical form Madras pattern of MND (MMND) 0.9% and monomelic amyotrophy (MMA) 22.7% of cases. Disease is more common in males than females and average duration of symptoms before presentation varied from 1 to 12 months. Most of the patients were either agricultural labourers or manual workers in ALS variety whereas MMA variety was evenly distributed in both hard labourers and sedentary workers. Most of the patients in MMA and SMA groups presented before 30 years of age whereas ALS and PMA group presented after 30 years. Trauma was the commonest antecedent event in ALS and MMA followed by electrocution in the same two groups. Family history was found to be absent in SMA group though the disease is considered as a hereditary one. Weakness of the limbs and wasting of the muscles were common presenting symptoms and signs. Bulbar symptoms and signs were found only in the ALS group. EMG showed neurogenic pattern and mixed pattern in most of the patients in all groups. Only a few patients showed myopathic pattern. Neuroimaging study helped in exclusion of compressive lesion excepting two cases of MMA where facetal hypertrophy was present. Monomelic amyotrophy, a special variety of motor neurone disease, is not rare in this part as compared to other parts of India and Asia.

  7. The Gemin Associates of Survival Motor Neuron Are Required for Motor Function in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Borg, Rebecca; Cauchi, Ruben J.

    2013-01-01

    Membership of the survival motor neuron (SMN) complex extends to nine factors, including the SMN protein, the product of the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) disease gene, Gemins 2–8 and Unrip. The best-characterised function of this macromolecular machine is the assembly of the Sm-class of uridine-rich small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) particles and each SMN complex member has a key role during this process. So far, however, only little is known about the function of the individual Gemin components in vivo. Here, we make use of the Drosophila model organism to uncover loss-of-function phenotypes of Gemin2, Gemin3 and Gemin5, which together with SMN form the minimalistic fly SMN complex. We show that ectopic overexpression of the dead helicase Gem3ΔN mutant or knockdown of Gemin3 result in similar motor phenotypes, when restricted to muscle, and in combination cause lethality, hence suggesting that Gem3ΔN overexpression mimics a loss-of-function. Based on the localisation pattern of Gem3ΔN, we predict that the nucleus is the primary site of the antimorphic or dominant-negative mechanism of Gem3ΔN-mediated interference. Interestingly, phenotypes induced by human SMN overexpression in Drosophila exhibit similarities to those induced by overexpression of Gem3ΔN. Through enhanced knockdown we also uncover a requirement of Gemin2, Gemin3 and Gemin5 for viability and motor behaviour, including locomotion as well as flight, in muscle. Notably, in the case of Gemin3 and Gemin5, such function also depends on adequate levels of the respective protein in neurons. Overall, these findings lead us to speculate that absence of any one member is sufficient to arrest the SMN-Gemins complex function in a nucleocentric pathway, which is critical for motor function in vivo. PMID:24391840

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. The effective neural drive to muscles is the common synaptic input to motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Farina, Dario; Negro, Francesco; Dideriksen, Jakob Lund

    2014-01-01

    We analysed the transformation of synaptic input to the pool of motor neurons into the neural drive to the muscle. The aim was to explain the relations between common oscillatory signals sent to motor neurons and the effective component of the neural signal sent to muscles as output of the spinal cord circuitries. The approach is based on theoretical derivations, computer simulations, and experiments. It is shown theoretically that for frequencies smaller than the average discharge rates of the motor neurons, the pool of motor neurons determines a pure amplification of the frequency components common to all motor neurons, so that the common input is transmitted almost undistorted and the non-common components are strongly attenuated. The effective neural drive to the muscle thus mirrors the common synaptic input to motor neurons. The simulations with three models of motor neuron confirmed the theoretical results by showing that the coherence function between common input components and the neural drive to the muscle tends to 1 when increasing the number of active motor neurons. This result, which was relatively insensitive to the type of model used, was also supported experimentally by observing that, in the low-pass signal bandwidth, the peak in coherence between groups of motor units of the abductor digiti minimi muscle of five healthy subjects tended to 1 when increasing the number of motor units. These results have implications for our understanding of the neural control of muscles as well as for methods used for estimating the strength of common input to populations of motor neurons. PMID:24860172

  11. Motor Neurons Tune Premotor Activity in a Vertebrate Central Pattern Generator.

    PubMed

    Lawton, Kristy J; Perry, Wick M; Yamaguchi, Ayako; Zornik, Erik

    2017-03-22

    Central patterns generators (CPGs) are neural circuits that drive rhythmic motor output without sensory feedback. Vertebrate CPGs are generally believed to operate in a top-down manner in which premotor interneurons activate motor neurons that in turn drive muscles. In contrast, the frog (Xenopus laevis) vocal CPG contains a functionally unexplored neuronal projection from the motor nucleus to the premotor nucleus, indicating a recurrent pathway that may contribute to rhythm generation. In this study, we characterized the function of this bottom-up connection. The X. laevis vocal CPG produces a 50-60 Hz "fast trill" song used by males during courtship. We recorded "fictive vocalizations" in the in vitro CPG from the laryngeal nerve while simultaneously recording premotor activity at the population and single-cell level. We show that transecting the motor-to-premotor projection eliminated the characteristic firing rate of premotor neurons. Silencing motor neurons with the intracellular sodium channel blocker QX-314 also disrupted premotor rhythms, as did blockade of nicotinic synapses in the motor nucleus (the putative location of motor neuron-to-interneuron connections). Electrically stimulating the laryngeal nerve elicited primarily IPSPs in premotor neurons that could be blocked by a nicotinic receptor antagonist. Our results indicate that an inhibitory signal, activated by motor neurons, is required for proper CPG function. To our knowledge, these findings represent the first example of a CPG in which precise premotor rhythms are tuned by motor neuron activity.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Central pattern generators (CPGs) are neural circuits that produce rhythmic behaviors. In vertebrates, motor neurons are not commonly known to contribute to CPG function, with the exception of a few spinal circuits where the functional significance of motor neuron feedback is still poorly understood. The frog hindbrain vocal circuit contains a previously unexplored connection from

  12. Stress exacerbates neuron loss and microglia proliferation in a rat model of excitotoxic lower motor neuron injury

    PubMed Central

    Puga, Denise A.; Tovar, C. Amy; Guan, Zhen; C.Gensel, John; Lyman, Matthew S.; McTigue, Dana M.; Popovich, Phillip G.

    2015-01-01

    All individuals experience stress and hormones (e.g., glucocorticoids/GCs) released during stressful events can affect the structure and function of neurons. These effects of stress are best characterized for brain neurons; however, the mechanisms controlling the expression and binding affinity of glucocorticoid receptors in the spinal cord are different than those in the brain. Accordingly, whether stress exerts unique effects on spinal cord neurons, especially in the context of pathology, is unknown. Using a controlled model of focal excitotoxic lower motor neuron injury in rats, we examined the effects of acute or chronic variable stress on spinal cord motor neuron survival and glial activation. New data indicate that stress exacerbates excitotoxic spinal cord motor neuron loss and associated activation of microglia. In contrast, hypertrophy and hyperplasia of astrocytes and NG2+ glia were unaffected or were modestly suppressed by stress. Although excitotoxic lesions cause significant motor neuron loss and stress exacerbates this pathology, overt functional impairment did not develop in the relevant forelimb up to one week post-lesion. These data indicate that stress is a disease-modifying factor capable of altering neuron and glial responses to pathological challenges in the spinal cord. PMID:26100488

  13. Respiratory complications related to bulbar dysfunction in motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Hadjikoutis, S; Wiles, C M

    2001-04-01

    Bulbar dysfunction resulting from corticobulbar pathway or brainstem neuron degeneration is one of the most important clinical problems encountered in motor neuron disease (MND) and contributes to various respiratory complications which are major causes of morbidity and mortality. Chronic malnutrition as a consequence of bulbar muscle weakness may have a considerable bearing on respiratory muscle function and survival. Abnormalities of the control and strength of the laryngeal and pharyngeal muscles may cause upper airway obstruction increasing resistance to airflow. Bulbar muscle weakness prevents adequate peak cough flows to clear airway debris. Dysphagia can lead to aspiration of microorganisms, food and liquids and hence pneumonia. MND patients with bulbar involvement commonly display an abnormal respiratory pattern during swallow characterized by inspiration after swallow, prolonged swallow apnoea and multiple swallows per bolus. Volitional respiratory function tests such as forced vital capacity can be inaccurate in patients with bulbofacial weakness and/or impaired volitional respiratory control. Bulbar muscle weakness with abundant secretions may increase the risk of aspiration and make successful non-invasive assisted ventilation more difficult. We conclude that an evaluation of bulbar dysfunction is an essential element in the assessment of respiratory dysfunction in MND.

  14. Early postnatal motor experience shapes the motor properties of C57BL/6J adult mice.

    PubMed

    Serradj, Nadjet; Picquet, Florence; Jamon, Marc

    2013-11-01

    This study aimed to evaluate the long-term consequences of early motor training on the muscle phenotype and motor output of middle-aged C57BL/6J mice. Neonatal mice were subjected to a variety of motor training procedures, for 3 weeks during the period of acquisition of locomotion. These procedures are widely used for motor training in adults; they include enriched environment, forced treadmill, chronic centrifugation, and hindlimb suspension. At 9 months, the mice reared in the enriched environment showed a slower type of fibre in slow muscles and a faster type in fast muscles, improved performance in motor tests, and a modified gait and body posture while walking. The proportion of fibres in the postural muscles of centrifuged mice did not change, but these mice showed improved resistance to fatigue. The suspended mice showed increased persistence of immature hybrid fibres in the tibialis, with a slower shift in the load-bearing soleus, without any behavioural changes. The forced treadmill was very stressful for the mice, but had limited effects on motor output, although a slower profile was observed in the tibialis. These results support the hypothesis that motor experience during a critical period of motor development shapes muscle phenotype and motor output. The different impacts of the various training procedures suggest that motor performance in adults can be optimized by appropriate training during a defined period of motor development.

  15. 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.

  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. Wnt7A identifies embryonic γ-motor neurons and reveals early postnatal dependence of γ-motor neurons on a muscle spindle-derived signal.

    PubMed

    Ashrafi, Soha; Lalancette-Hébert, Melanie; Friese, Andreas; Sigrist, Markus; Arber, Silvia; Shneider, Neil A; Kaltschmidt, Julia A

    2012-06-20

    Motor pools comprise a heterogeneous population of motor neurons that innervate distinct intramuscular targets. While the organization of motor neurons into motor pools has been well described, the time course and mechanism of motor pool diversification into functionally distinct classes remains unclear. γ-Motor neurons (γ-MNs) and α-motor neurons (α-MNs) differ in size, molecular identity, synaptic input and peripheral target. While α-MNs innervate extrafusal skeletal muscle fibers to mediate muscle contraction, γ-MNs innervate intrafusal fibers of the muscle spindle, and regulate sensitivity of the muscle spindle in response to stretch. In this study, we find that the secreted signaling molecule Wnt7a is selectively expressed in γ-MNs in the mouse spinal cord by embryonic day 17.5 and continues to molecularly distinguish γ-from α-MNs into the third postnatal week. Our data demonstrate that Wnt7a is the earliest known γ-MN marker, supporting a model of developmental divergence between α- and γ-MNs at embryonic stages. Furthermore, using Wnt7a expression as an early marker of γ-MN identity, we demonstrate a previously unknown dependence of γ-MNs on a muscle spindle-derived, GDNF-independent signal during the first postnatal week.

  18. Intraganglionic interactions between satellite cells and adult sensory neurons.

    PubMed

    Christie, Kimberly; Koshy, Dilip; Cheng, Chu; Guo, GuiFang; Martinez, Jose A; Duraikannu, Arul; Zochodne, Douglas W

    2015-07-01

    Perineuronal satellite cells have an intimate anatomical relationship with sensory neurons that suggests close functional collaboration and mutual support. We examined several facets of this relationship in adult sensory dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Collaboration included the support of process outgrowth by clustering of satellite cells, induction of distal branching behavior by soma signaling, the capacity of satellite cells to respond to distal axon injury of its neighboring neurons, and evidence of direct neuron-satellite cell exchange. In vitro, closely adherent coharvested satellite cells routinely clustered around new outgrowing processes and groups of satellite cells attracted neurite processes. Similar clustering was encountered in the pseudounipolar processes of intact sensory neurons within intact DRG in vivo. While short term exposure of distal growth cones of unselected adult sensory neurons to transient gradients of a PTEN inhibitor had negligible impacts on their behavior, exposure of the soma induced early and substantial growth of their distant neurites and branches, an example of local soma signaling. In turn, satellite cells sensed when distal neuronal axons were injured by enlarging and proliferating. We also observed that satellite cells were capable of internalizing and expressing a neuron fluorochrome label, diamidino yellow, applied remotely to distal injured axons of the neuron and retrogradely transported to dorsal root ganglia sensory neurons. The findings illustrate a robust interaction between intranganglionic neurons and glial cells that involve two way signals, features that may be critical for both regenerative responses and ongoing maintenance.

  19. Self-controlled practice benefits motor learning in older adults.

    PubMed

    Lessa, Helena Thofehrn; Chiviacowsky, Suzete

    2015-04-01

    Providing learners with the chance to choose over certain aspects of practice has been consistently shown to facilitate the acquisition of motor skills in several populations. However, studies investigating the effects of providing autonomy support during the learning process of older adults remain scarce. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of self-controlled amount of practice on the learning of a sequential motor task in older adults. Participants in the self-control group were able to choose when to stop practicing a speed cup stacking task, while the number of practice trials for a yoked group was pre-determined, mirroring the self-control group. The opportunity to choose when stop practicing facilitated motor performance and learning compared to the yoked condition. The findings suggest that letting older adult learners choose the amount of practice, supporting their autonomy needs, has a positive influence on motor learning.

  20. Somatosensory response properties of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in rat motor cortex.

    PubMed

    Murray, Peter D; Keller, Asaf

    2011-09-01

    In sensory cortical networks, peripheral inputs differentially activate excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Inhibitory neurons typically have larger responses and broader receptive field tuning compared with excitatory neurons. These differences are thought to underlie the powerful feedforward inhibition that occurs in response to sensory input. In the motor cortex, as in the somatosensory cortex, cutaneous and proprioceptive somatosensory inputs, generated before and during movement, strongly and dynamically modulate the activity of motor neurons involved in a movement and ultimately shape cortical command. Human studies suggest that somatosensory inputs modulate motor cortical activity in a center excitation, surround inhibition manner such that input from the activated muscle excites motor cortical neurons that project to it, whereas somatosensory input from nearby, nonactivated muscles inhibit these neurons. A key prediction of this hypothesis is that inhibitory and excitatory motor cortical neurons respond differently to somatosensory inputs. We tested this prediction with the use of multisite extracellular recordings in anesthetized rats. We found that fast-spiking (presumably inhibitory) neurons respond to tactile and proprioceptive inputs at shorter latencies and larger response magnitudes compared with regular-spiking (presumably excitatory) neurons. In contrast, we found no differences in the receptive field size of these neuronal populations. Strikingly, all fast-spiking neuron pairs analyzed with cross-correlation analysis displayed common excitation, which was significantly more prevalent than common excitation for regular-spiking neuron pairs. These findings suggest that somatosensory inputs preferentially evoke feedforward inhibition in the motor cortex. We suggest that this provides a mechanism for dynamic selection of motor cortical modules during voluntary movements.

  1. Healthy and diseased corticospinal motor neurons are selectively transduced upon direct AAV2-2 injection into the motor cortex

    PubMed Central

    Jara, J H; Stanford, M J; Zhu, Y; Tu, M; Hauswirth, W W; Bohn, M C; DeVries, S H; Özdinler, P H

    2016-01-01

    Direct gene delivery to the neurons of interest, without affecting other neuron populations in the cerebral cortex, represent a challenge owing to the heterogeneity and cellular complexity of the brain. Genetic modulation of corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN) is required for developing effective and long-term treatment strategies for motor neuron diseases, in which voluntary movement is impaired. Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) have been widely used for neuronal transduction studies owing to long-term and stable gene expression as well as low immunoreactivity in humans. Here we report that AAV2-2 transduces CSMN with high efficiency upon direct cortex injection and that transduction efficiencies are similar during presymptomatic and symptomatic stages in hSOD1G93A transgenic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) mice. Our findings reveal that choice of promoter improves selectivity as AAV2-2 chicken β-actin promoter injection results in about 70% CSMN transduction, the highest percentage reported to date. CSMN transduction in both wild-type and transgenic ALS mice allows detailed analysis of single axon fibers within the corticospinal tract in both cervical and lumbar spinal cord and reveals circuitry defects, which mainly occur between CSMN and spinal motor neurons in hSOD1G93A transgenic ALS mice. Our findings set the stage for CSMN gene therapy in ALS and related motor neuron diseases. PMID:26704722

  2. STAT3 phosphorylation in injured axons before sensory and motor neuron nuclei: potential role for STAT3 as a retrograde signaling transcription factor.

    PubMed

    Lee, Nancy; Neitzel, Karen L; Devlin, Brenda K; MacLennan, A John

    2004-07-05

    STAT3 is a latent transcription factor that is activated by plasma membrane growth factor receptor complexes. Conditional gene disruption data indicate that it contributes to the survival of cranial motor neurons after peripheral nerve lesion. In agreement, levels of activated STAT3 (Tyr705-phosphorylated STAT3) have been shown to increase in the nuclei of adult cranial motor neurons during their regeneration after the same injury. The data presented here demonstrate that STAT3 is similarly but not identically affected in sciatic motor neurons after sciatic nerve injury. In addition, we find that sensory neuron nuclei also display an analogous increase in activated STAT3, thereby supporting a role for STAT3 in the survival and regeneration of these cells. Most interesting, the present data indicate that peripheral nerve lesion leads to a very rapid activation of STAT3 in axons at the lesion site. This response increases during the first 24 hours after injury and extends back to the motor and sensory neurons such that phospho-STAT3-immunoreactive axons are first detected in the dorsal root ganglia and ventral spinal cord at the same postlesion time intervals at which the activated STAT3 is first detected in the neuronal nuclei. Together these data raise the possibility that axonal STAT3, activated at the injury site, acts as a retrograde signaling transcription factor, which promotes the survival and regeneration of both sensory and motor neurons.

  3. Modulation of motor cortex neuronal activity and motor behavior during subthalamic nucleus stimulation in the normal primate.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Luke A; Xu, Weidong; Baker, Kenneth B; Zhang, Jianyu; Vitek, Jerrold L

    2015-04-01

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a well-established surgical therapy for advanced Parkinson's disease (PD). An emerging hypothesis is that the therapeutic benefit of DBS is derived from direct modulation of primary motor cortex (M1), yet little is known about the influence of STN DBS on individual neurons in M1. We investigated the effect of STN DBS, delivered at discrete interval intensities (20, 40, 60, 80, and 100%) of corticospinal tract threshold (CSTT), on motor performance and M1 neuronal activity in a naive nonhuman primate. Motor performance during a food reach and retrieval task improved during low-intensity stimulation (20% CSTT) but worsened as intensity approached the threshold for activation of corticospinal fibers (80% and 100% CSTT). To assess cortical effects of STN DBS, spontaneous, extracellular neuronal activity was collected from M1 neurons before, during, and after DBS at the same CSTT stimulus intensities. STN DBS significantly modulated the firing of a majority of M1 neurons; however, the direction of effect varied with stimulus intensity such that, at 20% CSTT, most neurons were suppressed, whereas at the highest stimulus intensities the majority of neurons were activated. At a population level, firing rates increased as stimulus intensity increased. These results show that STN DBS influences both motor performance and M1 neuronal activity systematically according to stimulus intensity. In addition, the unanticipated reduction in reach times suggests that STN DBS, at stimulus intensities lower than typically used for treatment of PD motor signs, can enhance normal motor performance.

  4. Demonstration of motor imagery movement and phantom movement-related neuronal activity in human thalamus.

    PubMed

    Anderson, William S; Weiss, Nirit; Lawson, Herman Christopher; Ohara, Shinji; Rowland, Lance; Lenz, Frederick A

    2011-01-26

    Functional imaging studies show that motor imagery activates multiple structures in the human forebrain. We now show that phantom movements in an amputee and imagined movements in intact individuals elicit responses from neurons in several human thalamic nuclei. These include the somatic sensory nucleus receiving input from the periphery (ventral caudal), and the motor nuclei receiving input from the cerebellum [ventral intermediate (Vim)] and the basal ganglia [ventral oral posterior (Vop)]. Seven neurons in the amputee showed phantom movement-related activity (three Vim, two Vop, and two ventral caudal). In addition, seven neurons in a group of three controls showed motor imagery-related activity (four Vim and three Vop). These studies were performed during single neuron recording sessions in patients undergoing therapeutic treatment of phantom pain, tremor, and chronic pain conditions by thalamic stimulation. The activity of neurons in these sensory and motor nuclei, respectively, may encode the expected sensory consequences and the dynamics of planned movements.

  5. 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

  6. Mechanisms of neuronal migration in the adult brain.

    PubMed

    Kaneko, Naoko; Sawada, Masato; Sawamoto, Kazunobu

    2017-03-02

    Adult neurogenesis was first observed nearly 60 years ago, and it has since grown into an important neurochemistry research field. Much recent research has focused on the treatment of brain diseases through neuronal regeneration with endogenously generated neurons. In the adult brain, immature neurons called neuroblasts are continuously generated in the ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ). These neuroblasts migrate rapidly through the rostral migratory stream to the olfactory bulb, where they mature and are integrated into the neuronal circuitry. After brain insult, some of the neuroblasts in the V-SVZ migrate toward the lesion to repopulate the injured tissue. This notable migratory capacity of V-SVZ-derived neuroblasts is important for efficiently regenerating neurons in remote areas of the brain. As these neurons migrate for long distances through adult brain tissue, they are supported by various guidance cues and structures that act as scaffolds. Some of these mechanisms are unique to neuroblast migration in the adult brain, and are not involved in migration in the developing brain. Here, we review the latest findings on the mechanisms of neuroblast migration in the adult brain under physiological and pathological conditions, and discuss various issues that still need to be resolved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  7. Potassium currents in adult rat intracardiac neurones.

    PubMed Central

    Xi-Moy, S X; Dun, N J

    1995-01-01

    1. Properties of K+ currents were studied in isolated adult rat parasympathetic intracardiac neurones with the use of single-electrode voltage-clamp techniques. 2. A hyperpolarization-activated inward rectifier current was revealed when the membrane was clamped close to the resting level (-60 mV). The slowly developing inward relaxation had a mean amplitude of 450 pA at -150 mV, an activation threshold of -60 to -70 mV and a relaxation time constant of 41 ms at -120 mV. The current was reversibly blocked by Cs+ (1 mM) and became smaller with reduced [K+]o and [Na+]o, indicating that this inward rectifier current probably is a time- and voltage-dependent Na(+)-K+ current. 3. Step depolarizations from the holding potential of -80 mV evoked a transient (< 100 ms at -40 mV) outward K+ current (IA) which was blocked by 4-aminopyridine (4-AP, 1 mM). The time constants for IA inactivation were 20 ms at -50 mV and 16 ms at -20 mV. The steady-state activation and (removal of) inactivation curve showed a small overlap between -70 and -40 mV; the reversal potential of IA was close to EK. 4. Step hyperpolarizations from the depolarized potentials, i.e. -30 mV, revealed a slow inward relaxation associated with the deactivation of a time- and voltage-dependent current. The inward relaxation became faster at more hyperpolarized potentials and reversed at -85 and -53 mV in 4.7 and 15 mM [K+]o. This current was blocked by muscarine (20 microM) and Ba2+ (1 mM) but not affected by Cs+ (1 mM); this current may correspond to the M-current (IM). 5. Depolarization-activated outward K+ currents were evoked by holding the membrane close to the resting potential in the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX, 3 microM), 4-AP (1 mM) and Ba2+ (1 mM). The amplitude of the outward relaxation and the tail current became smaller as the [K+]o was elevated. The outward tail current was reduced in a Ca(2+)-free solution and the residual current was eliminated by the addition of tetraethylammonium (TEA, 10 m

  8. Morphological features and responses to AMPA receptor-mediated excitotoxicity of mouse motor neurons: comparison in purified, mixed anterior horn or motor neuron/glia cocultures.

    PubMed

    De Paola, Massimiliano; Diana, Valentina; Bigini, Paolo; Mennini, Tiziana

    2008-05-15

    Primary motor neuron cultures are widely used as in vitro model to study the early mechanisms involved in the aetiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In this study, we directly compared the morphological features and the responses to AMPA receptor (AMPAR) activation of mouse spinal cord motor neurons under different culture conditions (OptiPrep-purified, mixed anterior horn or motor neuron/glia cocultures). Motor neurons cocultured with a confluent glial layer had significant improvements in axonal length and in somata perimeter and area, compared both to mixed anterior horn cultures and to purified cultures, suggesting that the presence of more "mature" glial cells was determinant to obtain healthier motor neurons. By immuno-cytochemical assays we found that both in mixed anterior horn cultures and in cocultures, lower AMPA (0.3 microM) or kainate (5 microM) concentrations, but not the higher (1 or 15 microM, respectively), induced classical apoptotic events such as the nuclear fragmentation, the membrane externalization of phosphatidylserine residues and the activation of caspases-9 and -3. The morphological features and the different degenerative pathways induced by AMPAR agonist concentrations suggest that the experimental conditions used for in vitro studies are key factors that should be deeply considered to obtain more valid and reproducible results.

  9. Suppression of proprioceptor--motor neuron interactions by proprioceptors in crayfish claw.

    PubMed

    Lindsey, B G

    1982-11-04

    Crayfish claw proprioceptors and slow closer exciter and opener inhibitor motor neurons were monitored simultaneously during imposed claw displacements. With increasing displacement velocity and decreasing joint angle, the activity of closing sensitive receptors increased, while dynamic-static opening sensitive receptor activity decreased during claw closing. Motor neuron activity evoked by claw opening varied inversely as a function of preceding closing velocity, and directly with preceding pause duration at the closed position. This dependence on closing history cannot be accounted for by changes in opening sensitive receptor activity. Data demonstrate that closing sensitive receptors can suppress excitatory interactions between claw proprioceptors and motor neurons.

  10. Muscle-Derived GDNF: A Gene Therapeutic Approach for Preserving Motor Neuron Function in ALS

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-08-01

    AWARD NUMBER: W81XWH-14-1-0189 TITLE: Muscle-Derived GDNF: A Gene Therapeutic Approach for Preserving Motor Neuron Function in ALS PRINCIPAL...NUMBER W81XWH-14-1-0189 Muscle-Derived GDNF: A Gene Therapeutic Approach for Preserving Motor Neuron Function in ALS 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM...production in muscles. Hypothesis: Intramuscular AAV5-GDNF injection will ameliorate motor neuron function in the SOD1G93A rat model of ALS. Objectives

  11. Edited GluR2, a gatekeeper for motor neurone survival?

    PubMed

    Buckingham, S D; Kwak, S; Jones, A K; Blackshaw, S E; Sattelle, D B

    2008-11-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive degenerative disorder of motor neurones. Although the genetic basis of familial forms of ALS has been well explored, the molecular basis of sporadic ALS is less well understood. Recent evidence has linked sporadic ALS with the failure to edit key residues in ionotropic glutamate receptors, resulting in excessive influx of calcium ions into motor neurones which in turn triggers cell death. Here we suggest that edited AMPA glutamate (GluR2) receptor subunits serve as gatekeepers for motor neurone survival.

  12. Slow saccades in bulbar-onset motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Donaghy, Colette; Pinnock, Ralph; Abrahams, Sharon; Cardwell, Chris; Hardiman, Orla; Patterson, Victor; McGivern, R Canice; Gibson, J Mark

    2010-07-01

    Historical studies of eye movements in motor neurone disease (MND) have been conflicting although current findings suggest that eye movement abnormalities relate to frontal lobe impairment. Numerous case reports, however, describe slow saccades and supranuclear gaze palsies in patients with MND often associated with bulbar-onset disease. We performed a study of saccades and smooth pursuit in a large group of patients with MND to examine for any differences between bulbar-onset and spinal-onset patients. Forty-four patients (14 bulbar-onset and 30 spinal-onset patients) and 45 controls were recruited. Reflexive saccades, antisaccades and smooth pursuit were examined using infra-red oculography and all subjects then underwent neuropsychological evaluation. Reflexive saccades were found to be slower in bulbar-onset compared to spinal-onset patients and controls (p = 0.03, p = 0.05). Antisaccade latency (p = 0.01) and antisaccade type 1 errors (p = 0.03, p = 0.04) were increased in patients compared to controls. 'Proportion of time spent in smooth pursuit' and smooth pursuit 'velocity gain' were reduced in patients compared to controls (p = 0.000, p = 0.001). Antisaccade errors and velocity gain correlated with neuropsychological measures sensitive to lesions of the frontal lobes. This is the first study to highlight the presence of slow saccades in bulbar-onset MND. These findings suggest that slow saccades may be due to increased brainstem pathology in bulbar-onset disease that involves burst cell neurons. Furthermore these observations highlight the potential for overlap between bulbar-onset MND and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) as both can have a bulbar palsy and slowed saccades.

  13. Deficiency of the Survival of Motor Neuron Protein Impairs mRNA Localization and Local Translation in the Growth Cone of Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Fallini, Claudia; Donlin-Asp, Paul G.; Rouanet, Jeremy P.

    2016-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neurodegenerative disease primarily affecting spinal motor neurons. It is caused by reduced levels of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein, which plays an essential role in the biogenesis of spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoproteins in all tissues. The etiology of the specific defects in the motor circuitry in SMA is still unclear, but SMN has also been implicated in mediating the axonal localization of mRNA-protein complexes, which may contribute to the axonal degeneration observed in SMA. Here, we report that SMN deficiency severely disrupts local protein synthesis within neuronal growth cones. We also identify the cytoskeleton-associated growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43) mRNA as a new target of SMN and show that motor neurons from SMA mouse models have reduced levels of GAP43 mRNA and protein in axons and growth cones. Importantly, overexpression of two mRNA-binding proteins, HuD and IMP1, restores GAP43 mRNA and protein levels in growth cones and rescues axon outgrowth defects in SMA neurons. These findings demonstrate that SMN plays an important role in the localization and local translation of mRNAs with important axonal functions and suggest that disruption of this function may contribute to the axonal defects observed in SMA. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by reduced levels of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein, which plays a key role in assembling RNA/protein complexes that are essential for mRNA splicing. It remains unclear whether defects in this well characterized housekeeping function cause the specific degeneration of spinal motor neurons observed in SMA. Here, we describe an additional role of SMN in regulating the axonal localization and local translation of the mRNA encoding growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43). This study supports a model whereby SMN deficiency impedes transport and local translation of mRNAs important for neurite

  14. Motor regulation problems and pain in adults diagnosed with ADHD

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Most children who are diagnosed with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have moderate-to-severe motor problems using the Motor Function Neurological Assessment battery (MFNU). The MFNU focuses on specific muscle adjustment problems associated with ADHD, especially motor inhibition problems and high muscle tone. Here we investigated whether adults with ADHD/hyperkinetic disorder (HKD) have similar motor problems. In our clinical experience, adults with ADHD often complain about back, shoulder, hip, and leg pain. We also investigate reported pain in adults with ADHD. Methods Twenty-five adult outpatients diagnosed with ADHD/HKD who were responders to methylphenidate (MPH) were compared to 23 non-ADHD controls on 16 MFNU subtests and using a ‘total score’ (‘TS’) parameter. The MFNU test leader was blinded to group identity. The two groups were also compared using the Pain Drawing and Numerical Pain Rating Scale. Results The adult ADHD group had significantly (p < .001) more motor problems (higher TS) than controls. On the muscle regulation subtests, 36–96% of the ADHD group showed ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ problems compared to 13–52% of the control group, and 80% of the ADHD group reported widespread pain. Highly significant differences were found between the ADHD and control groups for the variables ‘pain level’ (p < .001) and ‘pain location’ (p < .001). Significant correlations were found between TS and ‘pain location’ and between TS and ‘pain level’. Conclusions These findings suggest that similar to children with ADHD, adults diagnosed with ADHD also have motor inhibition problems and heightened muscle tone. The presence of significantly higher pain levels and more widespread pain in the ADHD group compared to non-ADHD controls might indicate that pain is a long-term secondary effect of heightened muscle tone and restricted movement that can be demonstrated in children and adults by the MFNU

  15. Speech motor learning in profoundly deaf adults.

    PubMed

    Nasir, Sazzad M; Ostry, David J

    2008-10-01

    Speech production, like other sensorimotor behaviors, relies on multiple sensory inputs--audition, proprioceptive inputs from muscle spindles and cutaneous inputs from mechanoreceptors in the skin and soft tissues of the vocal tract. However, the capacity for intelligible speech by deaf speakers suggests that somatosensory input alone may contribute to speech motor control and perhaps even to speech learning. We assessed speech motor learning in cochlear implant recipients who were tested with their implants turned off. A robotic device was used to alter somatosensory feedback by displacing the jaw during speech. We found that implant subjects progressively adapted to the mechanical perturbation with training. Moreover, the corrections that we observed were for movement deviations that were exceedingly small, on the order of millimeters, indicating that speakers have precise somatosensory expectations. Speech motor learning is substantially dependent on somatosensory input.

  16. Abundance of gap junctions at glutamatergic mixed synapses in adult Mosquitofish spinal cord neurons.

    PubMed

    Serrano-Velez, Jose L; Rodriguez-Alvarado, Melanie; Torres-Vazquez, Irma I; Fraser, Scott E; Yasumura, Thomas; Vanderpool, Kimberly G; Rash, John E; Rosa-Molinar, Eduardo

    2014-01-01

    "Dye-coupling", whole-mount immunohistochemistry for gap junction channel protein connexin 35 (Cx35), and freeze-fracture replica immunogold labeling (FRIL) reveal an abundance of electrical synapses/gap junctions at glutamatergic mixed synapses in the 14th spinal segment that innervates the adult male gonopodium of Western Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis (Mosquitofish). To study gap junctions' role in fast motor behavior, we used a minimally-invasive neural-tract-tracing technique to introduce gap junction-permeant or -impermeant dyes into deep muscles controlling the gonopodium of the adult male Mosquitofish, a teleost fish that rapidly transfers (complete in <20 mS) spermatozeugmata into the female reproductive tract. Dye-coupling in the 14th spinal segment controlling the gonopodium reveals coupling between motor neurons and a commissural primary ascending interneuron (CoPA IN) and shows that the 14th segment has an extensive and elaborate dendritic arbor and more gap junctions than do other segments. Whole-mount immunohistochemistry for Cx35 results confirm dye-coupling and show it occurs via gap junctions. Finally, FRIL shows that gap junctions are at mixed synapses and reveals that >50 of the 62 gap junctions at mixed synapses are in the 14th spinal segment. Our results support and extend studies showing gap junctions at mixed synapses in spinal cord segments involved in control of genital reflexes in rodents, and they suggest a link between mixed synapses and fast motor behavior. The findings provide a basis for studies of specific roles of spinal neurons in the generation/regulation of sex-specific behavior and for studies of gap junctions' role in regulating fast motor behavior. Finally, the CoPA IN provides a novel candidate neuron for future studies of gap junctions and neural control of fast motor behaviors.

  17. Abundance of gap junctions at glutamatergic mixed synapses in adult Mosquitofish spinal cord neurons

    PubMed Central

    Serrano-Velez, Jose L.; Rodriguez-Alvarado, Melanie; Torres-Vazquez, Irma I.; Fraser, Scott E.; Yasumura, Thomas; Vanderpool, Kimberly G.; Rash, John E.; Rosa-Molinar, Eduardo

    2014-01-01

    “Dye-coupling”, whole-mount immunohistochemistry for gap junction channel protein connexin 35 (Cx35), and freeze-fracture replica immunogold labeling (FRIL) reveal an abundance of electrical synapses/gap junctions at glutamatergic mixed synapses in the 14th spinal segment that innervates the adult male gonopodium of Western Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis (Mosquitofish). To study gap junctions’ role in fast motor behavior, we used a minimally-invasive neural-tract-tracing technique to introduce gap junction-permeant or -impermeant dyes into deep muscles controlling the gonopodium of the adult male Mosquitofish, a teleost fish that rapidly transfers (complete in <20 mS) spermatozeugmata into the female reproductive tract. Dye-coupling in the 14th spinal segment controlling the gonopodium reveals coupling between motor neurons and a commissural primary ascending interneuron (CoPA IN) and shows that the 14th segment has an extensive and elaborate dendritic arbor and more gap junctions than do other segments. Whole-mount immunohistochemistry for Cx35 results confirm dye-coupling and show it occurs via gap junctions. Finally, FRIL shows that gap junctions are at mixed synapses and reveals that >50 of the 62 gap junctions at mixed synapses are in the 14th spinal segment. Our results support and extend studies showing gap junctions at mixed synapses in spinal cord segments involved in control of genital reflexes in rodents, and they suggest a link between mixed synapses and fast motor behavior. The findings provide a basis for studies of specific roles of spinal neurons in the generation/regulation of sex-specific behavior and for studies of gap junctions’ role in regulating fast motor behavior. Finally, the CoPA IN provides a novel candidate neuron for future studies of gap junctions and neural control of fast motor behaviors. PMID:25018700

  18. Electronic bypass of spinal lesions: activation of lower motor neurons directly driven by cortical neural signals

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Lower motor neurons in the spinal cord lose supraspinal inputs after complete spinal cord injury, leading to a loss of volitional control below the injury site. Extensive locomotor training with spinal cord stimulation can restore locomotion function after spinal cord injury in humans and animals. However, this locomotion is non-voluntary, meaning that subjects cannot control stimulation via their natural “intent”. A recent study demonstrated an advanced system that triggers a stimulator using forelimb stepping electromyographic patterns to restore quadrupedal walking in rats with spinal cord transection. However, this indirect source of “intent” may mean that other non-stepping forelimb activities may false-trigger the spinal stimulator and thus produce unwanted hindlimb movements. Methods We hypothesized that there are distinguishable neural activities in the primary motor cortex during treadmill walking, even after low-thoracic spinal transection in adult guinea pigs. We developed an electronic spinal bridge, called “Motolink”, which detects these neural patterns and triggers a “spinal” stimulator for hindlimb movement. This hardware can be head-mounted or carried in a backpack. Neural data were processed in real-time and transmitted to a computer for analysis by an embedded processor. Off-line neural spike analysis was conducted to calculate and preset the spike threshold for “Motolink” hardware. Results We identified correlated activities of primary motor cortex neurons during treadmill walking of guinea pigs with spinal cord transection. These neural activities were used to predict the kinematic states of the animals. The appropriate selection of spike threshold value enabled the “Motolink” system to detect the neural “intent” of walking, which triggered electrical stimulation of the spinal cord and induced stepping-like hindlimb movements. Conclusion We present a direct cortical “intent”-driven electronic spinal

  19. Error Argumentation Enhance Adaptability in Adults With Low Motor Ability.

    PubMed

    Lee, Chi-Mei; Bo, Jin

    2016-01-01

    The authors focused on young adults with varying degrees of motor difficulties and examined their adaptability in a visuomotor adaptation task where the visual feedback of participants' movement error was presented with either 1:1 ratio (i.e., regular feedback schedule) or 1:2 ratio (i.e., enhanced feedback schedule). Within-subject design was used with two feedback schedules counter-balanced and separated for 10 days. Results revealed that participants with greater motor difficulties showed less adaptability than those with normal motor abilities in the regular feedback schedule; however, all participants demonstrated similar level of adaptability in the enhanced feedback schedule. The results suggest that error argumentation enhances adaptability in adults with low motor ability.

  20. Integrated health care for patients with motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Brewah, Helen

    This article presents the findings from a study trip to Kaiser Permanente (KP), a private healthcare provider in the USA. The aim of the trip was to understand how healthcare integration is managed in KP and how this might help patients in the UK with motor neurone disease (MND). This article makes reference to the American and British healthcare systems, identifying the simple differences between health economies, and their impact on health care, with specific reference to MND. The trip was undertaken as part of the author's ongoing work on how patients with MND rate services delivered by the multidisciplinary team (MDT) in the UK. The author's community matron role involves caring for patients with long-term conditions (LTCs) including long-term neurological conditions (LTNCs). In executing this role and in service delivery to patients with LTNCs, specifically MND, the author noticed a lack of robust integration, highlighting the need to consider and address the various contributory factors. This article presents a literature review and analyses the role of the MDT including specialist neurological professionals in executing duties and in delivering healthcare services to patients diagnosed with MND. The implications for practice are also presented along with areas for practice development.

  1. Neuronal firing patterns outweigh circuitry oscillations in parkinsonian motor control

    PubMed Central

    Kuo, Sheng-Han; Tai, Chun-Hwei; Liou, Jyun-You; Pei, Ju-Chun; Chang, Chia-Yuan; Wang, Yi-Mei; Liu, Wen-Chuan; Wang, Tien-Rei

    2016-01-01

    Neuronal oscillations at beta frequencies (20–50 Hz) in the cortico-basal ganglia circuits have long been the leading theory for bradykinesia, the slow movements that are cardinal symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (PD). The beta oscillation theory helped to drive a frequency-based design in the development of deep brain stimulation therapy for PD. However, in contrast to this theory, here we have found that bradykinesia can be completely dissociated from beta oscillations in rodent models. Instead, we observed that bradykinesia is causatively regulated by the burst-firing pattern of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in a feed-forward, or efferent-only, mechanism. Furthermore, STN burst-firing and beta oscillations are two independent mechanisms that are regulated by different NMDA receptors in STN. Our results shift the understanding of bradykinesia pathophysiology from an interactive oscillatory theory toward a feed-forward mechanism that is coded by firing patterns. This distinct mechanism may improve understanding of the fundamental concepts of motor control and enable more selective targeting of bradykinesia-specific mechanisms to improve PD therapy. PMID:27797341

  2. Characterization of thoracic motor and sensory neurons and spinal nerve roots in canine degenerative myelopathy, a potential disease model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Morgan, Brandie R; Coates, Joan R; Johnson, Gayle C; Shelton, G Diane; Katz, Martin L

    2014-04-01

    Canine degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive, adult-onset, multisystem degenerative disease with many features in common with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As with some forms of ALS, DM is associated with mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). Clinical signs include general proprioceptive ataxia and spastic upper motor neuron paresis in pelvic limbs, which progress to flaccid tetraplegia and dysphagia. The purpose of this study was to characterize DM as a potential disease model for ALS. We previously reported that intercostal muscle atrophy develops in dogs with advanced-stage DM. To determine whether other components of the thoracic motor unit (MU) also demonstrated morphological changes consistent with dysfunction, histopathologic and morphometric analyses were conducted on thoracic spinal motor neurons (MNs) and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and in motor and sensory nerve root axons from DM-affected boxers and Pembroke Welsh corgis (PWCs). No alterations in MNs or motor root axons were observed in either breed. However, advanced-stage PWCs exhibited significant losses of sensory root axons, and numerous DRG sensory neurons displayed evidence of degeneration. These results indicate that intercostal muscle atrophy in DM is not preceded by physical loss of the motor neurons innervating these muscles, nor of their axons. Axonal loss in thoracic sensory roots and sensory neuron death suggest that sensory involvement may play an important role in DM disease progression. Further analysis of the mechanisms responsible for these morphological findings would aid in the development of therapeutic intervention for DM and some forms of ALS.

  3. 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).

  4. Respiratory management of motor neurone disease: a review of current practice and new developments.

    PubMed

    Rafiq, Muhammad Khizar; Proctor, Alison Ruth; McDermott, Christopher J; Shaw, Pamela J

    2012-06-01

    Motor neurone disease is a neurodegenerative condition with a significant morbidity and shortened life expectancy. Hypoventilatory respiratory failure is the most common cause of death and respiratory function significantly predicts both survival and quality of life in patients with motor neurone disease. Accordingly, supporting and maintaining respiratory function is important in caring for these patients. The most significant advance in motor neurone disease care of recent years has been the domiciliary provision of non-invasive ventilation for treating respiratory failure. Neuromuscular respiratory weakness also leads to ineffective cough and retained airways secretions, predisposing to recurrent chest infections. In this review, we discuss current practice and recent developments in the respiratory management of motor neurone disease, in terms of ventilatory support and cough augmentation.

  5. Subcortical neuronal ensembles: an analysis of motor task association, tremor, oscillations, and synchrony in human patients.

    PubMed

    Hanson, Timothy L; Fuller, Andrew M; Lebedev, Mikhail A; Turner, Dennis A; Nicolelis, Miguel A L

    2012-06-20

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has expanded as an effective treatment for motor disorders, providing a valuable opportunity for intraoperative recording of the spiking activity of subcortical neurons. The properties of these neurons and their potential utility in neuroprosthetic applications are not completely understood. During DBS surgeries in 25 human patients with either essential tremor or Parkinson's disease, we acutely recorded the single-unit activity of 274 ventral intermediate/ventral oralis posterior motor thalamus (Vim/Vop) neurons and 123 subthalamic nucleus (STN) neurons. These subcortical neuronal ensembles (up to 23 neurons sampled simultaneously) were recorded while the patients performed a target-tracking motor task using a cursor controlled by a haptic glove. We observed that modulations in firing rate of a substantial number of neurons in both Vim/Vop and STN represented target onset, movement onset/direction, and hand tremor. Neurons in both areas exhibited rhythmic oscillations and pairwise synchrony. Notably, all tremor-associated neurons exhibited synchrony within the ensemble. The data further indicate that oscillatory (likely pathological) neurons and behaviorally tuned neurons are not distinct but rather form overlapping sets. Whereas previous studies have reported a linear relationship between power spectra of neuronal oscillations and hand tremor, we report a nonlinear relationship suggestive of complex encoding schemes. Even in the presence of this pathological activity, linear models were able to extract motor parameters from ensemble discharges. Based on these findings, we propose that chronic multielectrode recordings from Vim/Vop and STN could prove useful for further studying, monitoring, and even treating motor disorders.

  6. Androgen receptor YAC transgenic mice recapitulate SBMA motor neuronopathy and implicate VEGF164 in the motor neuron degeneration.

    PubMed

    Sopher, Bryce L; Thomas, Patrick S; LaFevre-Bernt, Michelle A; Holm, Ida E; Wilke, Scott A; Ware, Carol B; Jin, Lee-Way; Libby, Randell T; Ellerby, Lisa M; La Spada, Albert R

    2004-03-04

    X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disorder characterized by lower motor neuron degeneration. SBMA is caused by polyglutamine repeat expansions in the androgen receptor (AR). To determine the basis of AR polyglutamine neurotoxicity, we introduced human AR yeast artificial chromosomes carrying either 20 or 100 CAGs into mouse embryonic stem cells. The AR100 transgenic mice developed a late-onset, gradually progressive neuromuscular phenotype accompanied by motor neuron degeneration, indicating striking recapitulation of the human disease. We then tested the hypothesis that polyglutamine-expanded AR interferes with CREB binding protein (CBP)-mediated transcription of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and observed altered CBP-AR binding and VEGF reduction in AR100 mice. We found that mutant AR-induced death of motor neuron-like cells could be rescued by VEGF. Our results suggest that SBMA motor neuronopathy involves altered expression of VEGF, consistent with a role for VEGF as a neurotrophic/survival factor in motor neuron disease.

  7. Self-regulation of adult thalamocortical neurons

    PubMed Central

    Kasten, Michael R.

    2015-01-01

    The thalamus acts as a conduit for sensory and other information traveling to the cortex. In response to continuous sensory stimulation in vivo, the firing rate of thalamocortical neurons initially increases, but then within a minute firing rate decreases and T-type Ca2+ channel-dependent action potential burst firing emerges. While neuromodulatory systems could play a role in this inhibitory response, we instead report a novel and cell-autonomous inhibitory mechanism intrinsic to the thalamic relay neuron. Direct intracellular stimulation of thalamocortical neuron firing initially triggered a continuous and high rate of action potential discharge, but within a minute membrane potential (Vm) was hyperpolarized and firing rate to the same stimulus was decreased. This self-inhibition was observed across a wide variety of thalamic nuclei, and in a subset firing mode switched from tonic to bursting. The self-inhibition resisted blockers of intracellular Ca2+ signaling, Na+-K+-ATPases, and G protein-regulated inward rectifier (GIRK) channels as implicated in other neuron subtypes, but instead was in part inhibited by an ATP-sensitive K+ channel blocker. The results identify a new homeostatic mechanism within the thalamus capable of gating excitatory signals at the single-cell level. PMID:25948871

  8. Patient fibroblasts-derived induced neurons demonstrate autonomous neuronal defects in adult-onset Krabbe disease

    PubMed Central

    Choi, Won Jun; Oh, Ki-Wook; Nahm, Minyeop; Xue, Yuanchao; Choi, Jae Hyeok; Choi, Ji Young; Kim, Young-Eun; Chung, Ki Wha; Fu, Xiang-Dong; Ki, Chang-Seok; Kim, Seung Hyun

    2016-01-01

    Krabbe disease (KD) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder caused by defective β-galactosylceramidase (GALC), a lysosomal enzyme responsible for cleavage of several key substrates including psychosine. Accumulation of psychosine to the cytotoxic levels in KD patients is thought to cause dysfunctions in myelinating glial cells based on a comprehensive study of demyelination in KD. However, recent evidence suggests myelin-independent neuronal death in the murine model of KD, thus indicating defective GALC in neurons as an autonomous mechanism for neuronal cell death in KD. These observations prompted us to generate induced neurons (iNeurons) from two adult-onset KD patients carrying compound heterozygous mutations (p.[K563*];[L634S]) and (p.[N228_S232delinsTP];[G286D]) to determine the direct contribution of autonomous neuronal toxicity to KD. Here we report that directly converted KD iNeurons showed not only diminished GALC activity and increased psychosine levels, as expected, but also neurite fragmentation and abnormal neuritic branching. The lysosomal-associated membrane proteins 1 (LAMP1) was expressed at higher levels than controls, LAMP1-positive vesicles were significantly enlarged and fragmented, and mitochondrial morphology and its function were altered in KD iNeurons. Strikingly, we demonstrated that psychosine was sufficient to induce neurite defects, mitochondrial fragmentation, and lysosomal alterations in iNeurons derived in healthy individuals, thus establishing the causal effect of the cytotoxic GALC substrate in KD and the autonomous neuronal toxicity in KD pathology. PMID:27780934

  9. Mirror Neurons System Engagement in Late Adolescents and Adults While Viewing Emotional Gestures

    PubMed Central

    Salvia, Emilie; Süß, Moritz; Tivadar, Ruxandra; Harkness, Sarah; Grosbras, Marie-Hélène

    2016-01-01

    Observing others’ actions enhances muscle-specific cortico-spinal excitability, reflecting putative mirror neurons activity. The exposure to emotional stimuli also modulates cortico-spinal excitability. We investigated how those two phenomena might interact when they are combined, i.e., while observing a gesture performed with an emotion, and whether they change during the transition between adolescence and adulthood, a period of social and brain maturation. We delivered single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the hand area of the left primary motor cortex of 27 healthy adults and adolescents and recorded their right first dorsal interossus (FDI) muscle activity (i.e., motor evoked potential – MEP), while they viewed either videos of neutral or angry hand actions and facial expressions, or neutral objects as a control condition. We reproduced the motor resonance and the emotion effects – hand-actions and emotional stimuli induced greater cortico-spinal excitability than the faces/control condition and neutral videos, respectively. Moreover, the influence of emotion was present for faces but not for hand actions, indicating that the motor resonance and the emotion effects might be non-additive. While motor resonance was observed in both groups, the emotion effect was present only in adults and not in adolescents. We discuss the possible neural bases of these findings. PMID:27489547

  10. 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.

  11. Primary Lateral Sclerosis and Early Upper Motor Neuron Disease: Characteristics of a Cross-Sectional Population

    PubMed Central

    Loci, Lorena; Mitsumoto, Hiroshi; Lomen-Hoerth, Catherine; Kisanuki, Yasushi; Simmons, Zachary; Maragakis, Nicholas J; McVey, April L; Al-Lahham, Tawfiq; Heiman-Patterson, Terry D; Andrews, Jinsy; McDonnell, Erin; Cudkowicz, Merit; Atassi, Nazem

    2015-01-01

    Objectives The goals of this study were to characterize clinical and electrophysiologic findings of subjects with upper motor neuron disease and to explore feasibility of clinical trials in this population. Methods Twenty northeast ALS consortium (NEALS) sites performed chart reviews to identify active clinical pure upper motor neuron disease patients. Patients with hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) or meeting revised El Escorial electrodiagnostic criteria for ALS were excluded. Patients were classified into two groups according to the presence or absence of minor electromyography (EMG) abnormalities. Results 233 subjects with upper motor neuron disease were identified; 217 had available EMG data. Normal EMGs were seen in 140 subjects, and 77 had minor denervation. Mean disease duration was 84 (±80) months for the entire cohort with no difference seen between the two groups. No difference was seen in clinical symptoms, disability, or outcome measures between the two groups after correcting for multiple comparisons. Conclusions Minor EMG abnormalities were not associated with phenotypic differences in a clinical upper motor neuron disease population. These findings suggest that subtle EMG abnormalities can not necessarily be used as a prognostic tool in patients with clinical upper motor neuron disease. This study also demonstrates the availability of a large number of patients with upper motor neuron diseases within the NEALS network and suggests feasibility for conducting clinical trials in this population. PMID:26905909

  12. Patterns of Weakness, Classification of Motor Neuron Disease & Clinical Diagnosis of Sporadic ALS

    PubMed Central

    Statland, Jeffrey M.; Barohn, Richard J.; McVey, April L.; Katz, Jonathan; Dimachkie, Mazen M.

    2015-01-01

    Synopsis When approaching the patient with suspected motor neuron disease (MND) the pattern of weakness on exam helps distinguish MND from other diseases of peripheral nerves, the neuromuscular junction, or muscle. MND is a clinical diagnosis supported by findings on electrodiagnostic testing, in the absence of other abnormalities on neuroimaging or serological testing. MNDs exist on a spectrum: from a pure lower motor neuron; to mixed upper and lower motor neuron; to a pure upper motor neuron variant in addition to regional variants restricted to the arms, legs or bulbar region. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive mixed upper and lower motor neuron disorder, most commonly sporadic (~85%), which is invariably fatal. The only FDA approved treatments for ALS are riluzole, which prolongs life by about 3 months, and dextromethorphan/quinidine which provides symptomatic relief for pseudobulbar affect (inappropriate bouts of laughter or crying). Here we describe a pattern approach to identifying motor neuron disease, and clinical features of sporadic ALS. PMID:26515618

  13. Adult-born neurons modify excitatory synaptic transmission to existing neurons

    PubMed Central

    Adlaf, Elena W; Vaden, Ryan J; Niver, Anastasia J; Manuel, Allison F; Onyilo, Vincent C; Araujo, Matheus T; Dieni, Cristina V; Vo, Hai T; King, Gwendalyn D; Wadiche, Jacques I; Overstreet-Wadiche, Linda

    2017-01-01

    Adult-born neurons are continually produced in the dentate gyrus but it is unclear whether synaptic integration of new neurons affects the pre-existing circuit. Here we investigated how manipulating neurogenesis in adult mice alters excitatory synaptic transmission to mature dentate neurons. Enhancing neurogenesis by conditional deletion of the pro-apoptotic gene Bax in stem cells reduced excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) and spine density in mature neurons, whereas genetic ablation of neurogenesis increased EPSCs in mature neurons. Unexpectedly, we found that Bax deletion in developing and mature dentate neurons increased EPSCs and prevented neurogenesis-induced synaptic suppression. Together these results show that neurogenesis modifies synaptic transmission to mature neurons in a manner consistent with a redistribution of pre-existing synapses to newly integrating neurons and that a non-apoptotic function of the Bax signaling pathway contributes to ongoing synaptic refinement within the dentate circuit. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.19886.001 PMID:28135190

  14. Impaired Visual Motor Coordination in Obese Adults

    PubMed Central

    O'Shea, Donal

    2016-01-01

    Objective. To investigate whether obesity alters the sensory motor integration process and movement outcome during a visual rhythmic coordination task. Methods. 88 participants (44 obese and 44 matched control) sat on a chair equipped with a wrist pendulum oscillating in the sagittal plane. The task was to swing the pendulum in synchrony with a moving visual stimulus displayed on a screen. Results. Obese participants demonstrated significantly (p < 0.01) higher values for continuous relative phase (CRP) indicating poorer level of coordination, increased movement variability (p < 0.05), and a larger amplitude (p < 0.05) than their healthy weight counterparts. Conclusion. These results highlight the existence of visual sensory integration deficiencies for obese participants. The obese group have greater difficulty in synchronizing their movement with a visual stimulus. Considering that visual motor coordination is an essential component of many activities of daily living, any impairment could significantly affect quality of life. PMID:27994885

  15. Impaired Visual Motor Coordination in Obese Adults.

    PubMed

    Gaul, David; Mat, Arimin; O'Shea, Donal; Issartel, Johann

    2016-01-01

    Objective. To investigate whether obesity alters the sensory motor integration process and movement outcome during a visual rhythmic coordination task. Methods. 88 participants (44 obese and 44 matched control) sat on a chair equipped with a wrist pendulum oscillating in the sagittal plane. The task was to swing the pendulum in synchrony with a moving visual stimulus displayed on a screen. Results. Obese participants demonstrated significantly (p < 0.01) higher values for continuous relative phase (CRP) indicating poorer level of coordination, increased movement variability (p < 0.05), and a larger amplitude (p < 0.05) than their healthy weight counterparts. Conclusion. These results highlight the existence of visual sensory integration deficiencies for obese participants. The obese group have greater difficulty in synchronizing their movement with a visual stimulus. Considering that visual motor coordination is an essential component of many activities of daily living, any impairment could significantly affect quality of life.

  16. Reducing Lissencephaly-1 levels augments mitochondrial transport and has a protective effect in adult Drosophila neurons

    PubMed Central

    Vagnoni, Alessio; Hoffmann, Patrick C.; Bullock, Simon L.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Defective transport of mitochondria in axons is implicated in the pathogenesis of several age-associated neurodegenerative diseases. However, the regulation and function of axonal mitochondrial motility during normal ageing is poorly understood. Here, we use novel imaging procedures to characterise axonal transport of these organelles in the adult Drosophila wing nerve. During early adult life there is a boost and progressive decline in the proportion of mitochondria that are motile, which is not due to general changes in cargo transport. Experimental inhibition of the mitochondrial transport machinery specifically in adulthood accelerates the appearance of focal protein accumulations in ageing axons, which is suggestive of defects in protein homeostasis. Unexpectedly, lowering levels of Lissencephaly-1 (Lis1), a dynein motor co-factor, augments axonal mitochondrial transport in ageing wing neurons. Lis1 mutations suppress focal protein accumulations in ageing neurons, including those caused by interfering with the mitochondrial transport machinery. Our data provide new insights into the dynamics of mitochondrial motility in adult neurons in vivo, identify Lis1 as a negative regulator of transport of these organelles, and provide evidence of a link between mitochondrial movement and neuronal protein homeostasis. PMID:26598558

  17. Tangential migration of neuronal precursors of glutamatergic neurons in the adult mammalian brain

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Gerald J.; Zhou, Yi; Stadel, Ryan P.; Moss, Jonathan; Yong, Jing Hui A.; Ito, Shiori; Kawasaki, Nicholas K.; Phan, Alexander T.; Oh, Justin H.; Modak, Nikhil; Reed, Randall R.; Toni, Nicolas; Song, Hongjun; Ming, Guo-li

    2015-01-01

    In a classic model of mammalian brain formation, precursors of principal glutamatergic neurons migrate radially along radial glia fibers whereas GABAergic interneuron precursors migrate tangentially. These migration modes have significant implications for brain function. Here we used clonal lineage tracing of active radial glia-like neural stem cells in the adult mouse dentate gyrus and made the surprising discovery that proliferating neuronal precursors of glutamatergic granule neurons exhibit significant tangential migration along blood vessels, followed by limited radial migration. Genetic birthdating and morphological and molecular analyses pinpointed the neuroblast stage as the main developmental window when tangential migration occurs. We also developed a partial “whole-mount” dentate gyrus preparation and observed a dense plexus of capillaries, with which only neuroblasts, among the entire population of progenitors, are directly associated. Together, these results provide insight into neuronal migration in the adult mammalian nervous system. PMID:26170290

  18. Radiological evidence of subclinical dysphagia in motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Briani, C; Marcon, M; Ermani, M; Costantini, M; Bottin, R; Iurilli, V; Zaninotto, G; Primon, D; Feltrin, G; Angelini, C

    1998-04-01

    Dysphagia in motor neuron disease (MND) may lead to dangerous complications such as cachexia and aspiration pneumonia. Functional evaluation of the oropharyngeal tract is crucial for identifying specific swallowing dysfunctions and planning appropriate rehabilitation. As part of a multidisciplinary study on the treatment of dysphagia in patients with neuromuscular diseases, 23 MND patients with different degrees of dysphagia underwent videofluoroscopy, videopharyngolaryngoscopy and pharyngo-oesophageal manometry. The results of the three instrumental investigations were analysed in order (1) to define the pattern of swallowing in MND patients complaining of dysphagia; (2) to evaluate whether subclinical abnormalities may be detected; and (3) to assess the role of videofluoroscopy, videopharyngolaryngoscopy and manometry in the evaluation of MND patients with deglutition problems. Correlations between the instrumental findings and clinical features (age of the patients, duration and severity of the disease, presence and degree of dysphagia) were also assessed. The results of our study showed that: (1) The oral phase of deglutition was compromised most often, followed by the pharyngeal phase. (2) In all patients without clinical evidence of dysphagia, subclinical videofluoroscopic alterations were present in a pattern similar to that found in the dysphagic group. (3) Videofluoroscopy was the most sensitive technique in identifying oropharyngeal alterations of swallowing. Impairment of the oral phase, abnormal pharyngo-oesophageal motility and incomplete relaxation of the upper oesophageal sphincter were the changes most sensitive in detecting dysphagia. Videofluoroscopy was also capable of detecting preclinical abnormalities in non-dysphagic patients who later developed dysphagia. Practical guidelines for the use of instrumental investigations in the assessment and management of dysphagia in MND patients are proposed.

  19. Dysfunction in endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria crosstalk underlies SIGMAR1 loss of function mediated motor neuron degeneration.

    PubMed

    Bernard-Marissal, Nathalie; Médard, Jean-Jacques; Azzedine, Hamid; Chrast, Roman

    2015-04-01

    Mutations in Sigma 1 receptor (SIGMAR1) have been previously identified in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and disruption of Sigmar1 in mouse leads to locomotor deficits. However, cellular mechanisms underlying motor phenotypes in human and mouse with disturbed SIGMAR1 function have not been described so far. Here we used a combination of in vivo and in vitro approaches to investigate the role of SIGMAR1 in motor neuron biology. Characterization of Sigmar1(-/-) mice revealed that affected animals display locomotor deficits associated with muscle weakness, axonal degeneration and motor neuron loss. Using primary motor neuron cultures, we observed that pharmacological or genetic inactivation of SIGMAR1 led to motor neuron axonal degeneration followed by cell death. Disruption of SIGMAR1 function in motor neurons disturbed endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria contacts, affected intracellular calcium signalling and was accompanied by activation of endoplasmic reticulum stress and defects in mitochondrial dynamics and transport. These defects were not observed in cultured sensory neurons, highlighting the exacerbated sensitivity of motor neurons to SIGMAR1 function. Interestingly, the inhibition of mitochondrial fission was sufficient to induce mitochondria axonal transport defects as well as axonal degeneration similar to the changes observed after SIGMAR1 inactivation or loss. Intracellular calcium scavenging and endoplasmic reticulum stress inhibition were able to restore mitochondrial function and consequently prevent motor neuron degeneration. These results uncover the cellular mechanisms underlying motor neuron degeneration mediated by loss of SIGMAR1 function and provide therapeutically relevant insight into motor neuronal diseases.

  20. Motor neuron cell bodies are actively positioned by Slit/Robo repulsion and Netrin/DCC attraction.

    PubMed

    Kim, Minkyung; Fontelonga, Tatiana; Roesener, Andrew P; Lee, Haeram; Gurung, Suman; Mendonca, Philipe R F; Mastick, Grant S

    2015-03-01

    Motor neurons differentiate from a ventral column of progenitors and settle in static clusters, the motor nuclei, next to the floor plate. Within these cell clusters, motor neurons receive afferent input and project their axons out to muscle targets. The molecular mechanisms that position motor neurons in the neural tube remain poorly understood. The floor plate produces several types of guidance cues with well-known roles in attracting and repelling axons, including the Slit family of chemorepellents via their Robo receptors, and Netrin1 via its DCC attractive receptor. In the present study we found that Islet1(+) motor neuron cell bodies invaded the floor plate of Robo1/2 double mutant mouse embryos or Slit1/2/3 triple mutants. Misplaced neurons were born in their normal progenitor column, but then migrated tangentially into the ventral midline. Robo1 and 2 receptor expression in motor neurons was confirmed by reporter gene staining and anti-Robo antibody labeling. Mis-positioned motor neurons projected their axons longitudinally within the floor plate, and failed to reach their normal exit points. To test for potential counteracting ventral attractive signals, we examined Netrin-1 and DCC mutants, and found that motor neurons shifted dorsally in the hindbrain and spinal cord, suggesting that Netrin-1/DCC signaling normally attracts motor neurons closer to the floor plate. Our results show that motor neurons are actively migrating cells, and are normally trapped in a static position by Slit/Robo repulsion and Netrin-1/DCC attraction.

  1. Orientation-dependent changes in single motor neuron activity during adaptive soft-bodied locomotion.

    PubMed

    Metallo, Cinzia; Trimmer, Barry A

    2015-01-01

    Recent major advances in understanding the organizational principles underlying motor control have focused on a small number of animal species with stiff articulated skeletons. These model systems have the advantage of easily quantifiable mechanics, but the neural codes underlying different movements are difficult to characterize because they typically involve a large population of neurons controlling each muscle. As a result, studying how neural codes drive adaptive changes in behavior is extremely challenging. This problem is highly simplified in the tobacco hawkmoth Manduca sexta, which, in its larval stage (caterpillar), is predominantly soft-bodied. Since each M. sexta muscle is innervated by one, occasionally two, excitatory motor neurons, the electrical activity generated by each muscle can be mapped to individual motor neurons. In the present study, muscle activation patterns were converted into motor neuron frequency patterns by identifying single excitatory junction potentials within recorded electromyographic traces. This conversion was carried out with single motor neuron resolution thanks to the high signal selectivity of newly developed flexible microelectrode arrays, which were specifically designed to record from M. sexta muscles. It was discovered that the timing of motor neuron activity and gait kinematics depend on the orientation of the plane of motion during locomotion. We report that, during climbing, the motor neurons monitored in the present study shift their activity to correlate with movements in the animal's more anterior segments. This orientation-dependent shift in motor activity is in agreement with the expected shift in the propulsive forces required for climbing. Our results suggest that, contrary to what has been previously hypothesized, M.sexta uses central command timing for adaptive load compensation.

  2. Transcription factors FOXA1 and FOXA2 maintain dopaminergic neuronal properties and control feeding behavior in adult mice

    PubMed Central

    Pristerà, Alessandro; Lin, Wei; Kaufmann, Anna-Kristin; Brimblecombe, Katherine R.; Threlfell, Sarah; Dodson, Paul D.; Magill, Peter J.; Fernandes, Cathy; Cragg, Stephanie J.; Ang, Siew-Lan

    2015-01-01

    Midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons are implicated in cognitive functions, neuropsychiatric disorders, and pathological conditions; hence understanding genes regulating their homeostasis has medical relevance. Transcription factors FOXA1 and FOXA2 (FOXA1/2) are key determinants of mDA neuronal identity during development, but their roles in adult mDA neurons are unknown. We used a conditional knockout strategy to specifically ablate FOXA1/2 in mDA neurons of adult mice. We show that deletion of Foxa1/2 results in down-regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme of dopamine (DA) biosynthesis, specifically in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). In addition, DA synthesis and striatal DA transmission were reduced after Foxa1/2 deletion. Furthermore, the burst-firing activity characteristic of SNc mDA neurons was drastically reduced in the absence of FOXA1/2. These molecular and functional alterations lead to a severe feeding deficit in adult Foxa1/2 mutant mice, independently of motor control, which could be rescued by l-DOPA treatment. FOXA1/2 therefore control the maintenance of molecular and physiological properties of SNc mDA neurons and impact on feeding behavior in adult mice. PMID:26283356

  3. Carbachol-Induced Reduction in the Activity of Adult Male Zebra Finch RA Projection Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Wei; Wang, Song-Hua; Li, Dong-Feng

    2016-01-01

    Cholinergic mechanism is involved in motor behavior. In songbirds, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium (RA) is a song premotor nucleus in the pallium and receives cholinergic inputs from the basal forebrain. The activity of projection neurons in RA determines song motor behavior. Although many evidences suggest that cholinergic system is implicated in song production, the cholinergic modulation of RA is not clear until now. In the present study, the electrophysiological effects of carbachol, a nonselective cholinergic receptor agonist, were investigated on the RA projection neurons of adult male zebra finches through whole-cell patch-clamp techniques in vitro. Our results show that carbachol produced a significant decrease in the spontaneous and evoked action potential (AP) firing frequency of RA projection neurons, accompanying a hyperpolarization of the membrane potential, an increase in the evoked AP latency, afterhyperpolarization (AHP) peak amplitude, and AHP time to peak, and a decrease in the membrane input resistance, membrane time constant, and membrane capacitance. These results indicate that carbachol reduces the activity of RA projection neurons by hyperpolarizing the resting membrane potential and increasing the AHP and the membrane conductance, suggesting that the cholinergic modulation of RA may play an important role in song production. PMID:26904300

  4. ISL1-based LIM complexes control Slit2 transcription in developing cranial motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Kyung-Tai; Kim, Namhee; Kim, Hwan-Ki; Lee, Hojae; Gruner, Hannah N.; Gergics, Peter; Park, Chungoo; Mastick, Grant S.; Park, Hae-Chul; Song, Mi-Ryoung

    2016-01-01

    LIM-homeodomain (HD) transcription factors form a multimeric complex and assign neuronal subtype identities, as demonstrated by the hexameric ISL1-LHX3 complex which gives rise to somatic motor (SM) neurons. However, the roles of combinatorial LIM code in motor neuron diversification and their subsequent differentiation is much less well understood. In the present study, we demonstrate that the ISL1 controls postmitotic cranial branchiomotor (BM) neurons including the positioning of the cell bodies and peripheral axon pathfinding. Unlike SM neurons, which transform into interneurons, BM neurons are normal in number and in marker expression in Isl1 mutant mice. Nevertheless, the movement of trigeminal and facial BM somata is stalled, and their peripheral axons are fewer or misrouted, with ectopic branches. Among genes whose expression level changes in previous ChIP-seq and microarray analyses in Isl1-deficient cell lines, we found that Slit2 transcript was almost absent from BM neurons of Isl1 mutants. Both ISL1-LHX3 and ISL1-LHX4 bound to the Slit2 enhancer and drove endogenous Slit2 expression in SM and BM neurons. Our findings suggest that combinations of ISL1 and LHX factors establish cell-type specificity and functional diversity in terms of motor neuron identities and/or axon development. PMID:27819291

  5. Diversification of C. elegans Motor Neuron Identity via Selective Effector Gene Repression.

    PubMed

    Kerk, Sze Yen; Kratsios, Paschalis; Hart, Michael; Mourao, Romulo; Hobert, Oliver

    2017-01-04

    A common organizational feature of nervous systems is the existence of groups of neurons that share common traits but can be divided into individual subtypes based on anatomical or molecular features. We elucidate the mechanistic basis of neuronal diversification processes in the context of C.elegans ventral cord motor neurons that share common traits that are directly activated by the terminal selector UNC-3. Diversification of motor neurons into different classes, each characterized by unique patterns of effector gene expression, is controlled by distinct combinations of phylogenetically conserved, class-specific transcriptional repressors. These repressors are continuously required in postmitotic neurons to prevent UNC-3, which is active in all neuron classes, from activating class-specific effector genes in specific motor neuron subsets via discrete cis-regulatory elements. The strategy of antagonizing the activity of broadly acting terminal selectors of neuron identity in a subtype-specific fashion may constitute a general principle of neuron subtype diversification.

  6. The C. elegans adult neuronal IIS/FOXO transcriptome reveals adult phenotype regulators.

    PubMed

    Kaletsky, Rachel; Lakhina, Vanisha; Arey, Rachel; Williams, April; Landis, Jessica; Ashraf, Jasmine; Murphy, Coleen T

    2016-01-07

    Insulin/insulin-like growth factor signalling (IIS) is a critical regulator of an organism's most important biological decisions from growth, development, and metabolism to reproduction and longevity. It primarily does so through the activity of the DAF-16 transcription factor (forkhead box O (FOXO) homologue), whose global targets were identified in Caenorhabditis elegans using whole-worm transcriptional analyses more than a decade ago. IIS and FOXO also regulate important neuronal and adult behavioural phenotypes, such as the maintenance of memory and axon regeneration with age, in both mammals and C. elegans, but the neuron-specific IIS/FOXO targets that regulate these functions are still unknown. By isolating adult C. elegans neurons for transcriptional profiling, we identified both the wild-type and IIS/FOXO mutant adult neuronal transcriptomes for the first time. IIS/FOXO neuron-specific targets are distinct from canonical IIS/FOXO-regulated longevity and metabolism targets, and are required for extended memory in IIS daf-2 mutants. The activity of the forkhead transcription factor FKH-9 in neurons is required for the ability of daf-2 mutants to regenerate axons with age, and its activity in non-neuronal tissues is required for the long lifespan of daf-2 mutants. Together, neuron-specific and canonical IIS/FOXO-regulated targets enable the coordinated extension of neuronal activities, metabolism, and longevity under low-insulin signalling conditions.

  7. Gap Junction-Mediated Signaling from Motor Neurons Regulates Motor Generation in the Central Circuits of Larval Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Matsunaga, Teruyuki; Kohsaka, Hiroshi; Nose, Akinao

    2017-02-22

    In this study, we used the peristaltic crawling of Drosophila larvae as a model to study how motor patterns are regulated by central circuits. We built an experimental system that allows simultaneous application of optogenetics and calcium imaging to the isolated ventral nerve cord (VNC). We then investigated the effects of manipulating local activity of motor neurons (MNs) on fictive locomotion observed as waves of MN activity propagating along neuromeres. Optical inhibition of MNs with halorhodopsin3 in a middle segment (A4, A5, or A6), but not other segments, dramatically decreased the frequency of the motor waves. Conversely, local activation of MNs with channelrhodopsin2 in a posterior segment (A6 or A7) increased the frequency of the motor waves. Since peripheral nerves mediating sensory feedback were severed in the VNC preparation, these results indicate that MNs send signals to the central circuits to regulate motor pattern generation. Our results also indicate segmental specificity in the roles of MNs in motor control. The effects of the local MN activity manipulation were lost in shaking-B(2) (shakB(2) ) or ogre(2) , gap-junction mutations in Drosophila, or upon acute application of the gap junction blocker carbenoxolone, implicating electrical synapses in the signaling from MNs. Cell-type-specific RNAi suggested shakB and ogre function in MNs and interneurons, respectively, during the signaling. Our results not only reveal an unexpected role for MNs in motor pattern regulation, but also introduce a powerful experimental system that enables examination of the input-output relationship among the component neurons in this system.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Motor neurons are generally considered passive players in motor pattern generation, simply relaying information from upstream interneuronal circuits to the target muscles. This study shows instead that MNs play active roles in the control of motor generation by conveying information via gap junctions to the

  8. Characterization of Thoracic Motor and Sensory Neurons and Spinal Nerve Roots in Canine Degenerative Myelopathy, a Potential Disease Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Morgan, Brandie R.; Coates, Joan R.; Johnson, Gayle C.; Shelton, G. Diane; Katz, Martin L.

    2014-01-01

    Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a progressive adult-onset multisystem degenerative disease with many features in common with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As with some forms of ALS, DM is associated with mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). Clinical signs include general proprioceptive ataxia and spastic upper motor neuron paresis in pelvic limbs, which progress to flaccid tetraplegia and dysphagia. The purpose of this study was to characterize DM as a potential disease model for ALS. We previously reported that intercostal muscle atrophy develops in dogs with advanced stage DM. To determine if other components of the thoracic motor unit (MU) also demonstrated morphological changes consistent with dysfunction, histopathologic and morphometric analyses were conducted on thoracic spinal motor neurons (MN) and dorsal root ganglia (DRG), and in motor and sensory nerve root axons from DM-affected Boxers and Pembroke Welsh Corgis (PWCs). No alterations in MNs, or motor root axons were observed in either breed. However, advanced stage PWCs exhibited significant losses of sensory root axons, and numerous DRG sensory neurons displayed evidence of degeneration. These results indicate that intercostal muscle atrophy in DM is not preceded by physical loss of the motor neurons innervating these muscles, or of their axons. Axonal loss in thoracic sensory roots and sensory nerve death suggest sensory involvement may play an important role in DM disease progression. Further analysis of the mechanisms responsible for these morphological findings would aid in the development of therapeutic intervention for DM and some forms of ALS. PMID:24375814

  9. Specific Retrograde Transduction of Spinal Motor Neurons Using Lentiviral Vectors Targeted to Presynaptic NMJ Receptors

    PubMed Central

    Eleftheriadou, I; Trabalza, A; Ellison, SM; Gharun, K; Mazarakis, ND

    2014-01-01

    To understand how receptors are involved in neuronal trafficking and to be able to utilize them for specific targeting via the peripheral route would be of great benefit. Here, we describe the generation of novel lentiviral vectors with tropism to motor neurons that were made by coexpressing onto the lentiviral surface a fusogenic glycoprotein (mutated sindbis G) and an antibody against a cell-surface receptor (Thy1.1, p75NTR, or coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor) on the presynaptic terminal of the neuromuscular junction. These vectors exhibit binding specificity and efficient transduction of receptor positive cell lines and primary motor neurons in vitro. Targeting of each of these receptors conferred to these vectors the capability of being transported retrogradely from the axonal tip, leading to transduction of motor neurons in vitro in compartmented microfluidic cultures. In vivo delivery of coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor-targeted vectors in leg muscles of mice resulted in predicted patterns of motor neuron labeling in lumbar spinal cord. This opens up the clinical potential of these vectors for minimally invasive administration of central nervous system-targeted therapeutics in motor neuron diseases. PMID:24670531

  10. Systemic administration of antisense p75(NTR) oligodeoxynucleotides rescues axotomised spinal motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Lowry, K S; Murray, S S; Coulson, E J; Epa, R; Bartlett, P F; Barrett, G; Cheema, S S

    2001-04-01

    The 75 kD low-affinity neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)) is expressed in developing and axotomised spinal motor neurons. There is now convincing evidence that p75(NTR) can, under some circumstances, become cytotoxic and promote neuronal cell death. We report here that a single application of antisense p75(NTR) oligodeoxynucleotides to the proximal nerve stumps of neonatal rats significantly reduces the loss of axotomised motor neurons compared to controls treated with nonsense oligodeoxynucleotides or phosphate-buffered saline. Our investigations also show that daily systemic intraperitoneal injections of antisense p75(NTR) oligodeoxynucleotides for 14 days significantly reduce the loss of axotomised motor neurons compared to controls. Furthermore, we found that systemic delivery over a similar period continues to be effective following axotomy when intraperitoneal injections were 1) administered after a delay of 24 hr, 2) limited to the first 7 days, or 3) administered every third day. In addition, p75(NTR) protein levels were reduced in spinal motor neurons following treatment with antisense p75(NTR) oligodeoxynucleotides. There were also no obvious side effects associated with antisense p75(NTR) oligodeoxynucleotide treatments as determined by behavioural observations and postnatal weight gain. Our findings indicate that antisense-based strategies could be a novel approach for the prevention of motor neuron degeneration associated with injuries or disease.

  11. Motor neurons control blood vessel patterning in the developing spinal cord

    PubMed Central

    Himmels, Patricia; Paredes, Isidora; Adler, Heike; Karakatsani, Andromachi; Luck, Robert; Marti, Hugo H.; Ermakova, Olga; Rempel, Eugen; Stoeckli, Esther T.; Ruiz de Almodóvar, Carmen

    2017-01-01

    Formation of a precise vascular network within the central nervous system is of critical importance to assure delivery of oxygen and nutrients and for accurate functionality of neuronal networks. Vascularization of the spinal cord is a highly stereotypical process. However, the guidance cues controlling blood vessel patterning in this organ remain largely unknown. Here we describe a new neuro-vascular communication mechanism that controls vessel guidance in the developing spinal cord. We show that motor neuron columns remain avascular during a developmental time window, despite expressing high levels of the pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). We describe that motor neurons express the VEGF trapping receptor sFlt1 via a Neuropilin-1-dependent mechanism. Using a VEGF gain-of-function approach in mice and a motor neuron-specific sFlt1 loss-of-function approach in chicken, we show that motor neurons control blood vessel patterning by an autocrine mechanism that titrates motor neuron-derived VEGF via their own expression of sFlt1. PMID:28262664

  12. Muscle expression of mutant androgen receptor accounts for systemic and motor neuron disease phenotypes in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Cortes, Constanza J; Ling, Shuo-Chien; Guo, Ling T; Hung, Gene; Tsunemi, Taiji; Ly, Linda; Tokunaga, Seiya; Lopez, Edith; Sopher, Bryce L; Bennett, C Frank; Shelton, G Diane; Cleveland, Don W; La Spada, Albert R

    2014-04-16

    X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is characterized by adult-onset muscle weakness and lower motor neuron degeneration. SBMA is caused by CAG-polyglutamine (polyQ) repeat expansions in the androgen receptor (AR) gene. Pathological findings include motor neuron loss, with polyQ-AR accumulation in intranuclear inclusions. SBMA patients exhibit myopathic features, suggesting a role for muscle in disease pathogenesis. To determine the contribution of muscle, we developed a BAC mouse model featuring a floxed first exon to permit cell-type-specific excision of human AR121Q. BAC fxAR121 mice develop systemic and neuromuscular phenotypes, including shortened survival. After validating termination of AR121 expression and full rescue with ubiquitous Cre, we crossed BAC fxAR121 mice with Human Skeletal Actin-Cre mice. Muscle-specific excision prevented weight loss, motor phenotypes, muscle pathology, and motor neuronopathy and dramatically extended survival. Our results reveal a crucial role for muscle expression of polyQ-AR in SBMA and suggest muscle-directed therapies as effective treatments.

  13. Adult myelination: wrapping up neuronal plasticity

    PubMed Central

    O’Rourke, Megan; Gasperini, Robert; Young, Kaylene M.

    2014-01-01

    In this review, we outline the major neural plasticity mechanisms that have been identified in the adult central nervous system (CNS), and offer a perspective on how they regulate CNS function. In particular we examine how myelin plasticity can operate alongside neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity to influence information processing and transfer in the mature CNS. PMID:25221576

  14. Paired patch clamp recordings from motor-neuron and target skeletal muscle in zebrafish.

    PubMed

    Wen, Hua; Brehm, Paul

    2010-11-20

    Larval zebrafish represent the first vertebrate model system to allow simultaneous patch clamp recording from a spinal motor-neuron and target muscle. This is a direct consequence of the accessibility to both cell types and ability to visually distinguish the single segmental CaP motor-neuron on the basis of morphology and location. This video demonstrates the microscopic methods used to identify a CaP motor-neuron and target muscle cells as well as the methodologies for recording from each cell type. Identification of the CaP motor-neuron type is confirmed by either dye filling or by the biophysical features such as action potential waveform and cell input resistance. Motor-neuron recordings routinely last for one hour permitting long-term recordings from multiple different target muscle cells. Control over the motor-neuron firing pattern enables measurements of the frequency-dependence of synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction. Owing to a large quantal size and the low noise provided by whole cell voltage clamp, all of the unitary events can be resolved in muscle. This feature permits study of basic synaptic properties such as release properties, vesicle recycling, as well as synaptic depression and facilitation. The advantages offered by this in vivo preparation eclipse previous neuromuscular model systems studied wherein the motor-neurons are usually stimulated by extracellular electrodes and the muscles are too large for whole cell patch clamp. The zebrafish preparation is amenable to combining electrophysiological analysis with a wide range of approaches including transgenic lines, morpholino knockdown, pharmacological intervention and in vivo imaging. These approaches, coupled with the growing number of neuromuscular disease models provided by mutant lines of zebrafish, open the door for new understanding of human neuromuscular disorders.

  15. Differentiation of Human Neural Stem Cells into Motor Neurons Stimulates Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Decreases Glycolytic Flux

    PubMed Central

    Keeney, Paula M.

    2015-01-01

    Differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in vitro offers a way to study cell types that are not accessible in living patients. Previous research suggests that hPSCs generate ATP through anaerobic glycolysis, in contrast to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in somatic cells; however, specialized cell types have not been assessed. To test if mitobiogenesis is increased during motor neuron differentiation, we differentiated human embryonic stem cell (hESC)- and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human neural stem cells (hNSCs) into motor neurons. After 21 days of motor neuron differentiation, cells increased mRNA and protein levels of genes expressed by postmitotic spinal motor neurons. Electrophysiological analysis revealed voltage-gated currents characteristic of excitable cells and action potential formation. Quantitative PCR revealed an increase in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-α (PGC-1α), an upstream regulator of transcription factors involved in mitobiogenesis, and several of its downstream targets in hESC-derived cultures. This correlated with an increase in protein expression of respiratory subunits, but no increase in protein reflecting mitochondrial mass in either cell type. Respiration analysis revealed a decrease in glycolytic flux in both cell types on day 21 (D21), suggesting a switch from glycolysis to OXPHOS. Collectively, our findings suggest that mitochondrial biogenesis, but not mitochondrial mass, is increased during differentiation of hNSCs into motor neurons. These findings help us to understand human motor neuron mitobiogenesis, a process impaired in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease characterized by death of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. PMID:25892363

  16. Gamma synchrony predicts neuron-neuron correlations and correlations with motor behavior in extrastriate visual area MT.

    PubMed

    Lee, Joonyeol; Lisberger, Stephen G

    2013-12-11

    Correlated variability of neuronal responses is an important factor in estimating sensory parameters from a population response. Large correlations among neurons reduce the effective size of a neural population and increase the variation of the estimates. They also allow the activity of one neuron to be informative about impending perceptual decisions or motor actions on single trials. In extrastriate visual area MT of the rhesus macaque, for example, some but not all neurons show nonzero "choice probabilities" for perceptual decisions or non-zero "MT-pursuit" correlations between the trial-by-trial variations in neural activity and smooth pursuit eye movements. To understand the functional implications of zero versus nonzero correlations between neural responses and impending perceptions or actions, we took advantage of prior observations that specific frequencies of local field potentials reflect the correlated activity of neurons. We found that the strength of the spike-field coherence of a neuron in the gamma-band frequency range is related to the size of its MT-pursuit correlations for eye direction, as well as to the size of the neuron-neuron correlations. Spike-field coherence predicts MT-pursuit correlations better for direction than for speed, perhaps because the topographic organization of direction preference in MT is more amenable to creating meaningful local field potentials. We suggest that the relationship between spiking and local-field potentials is stronger for neurons that have larger correlations with their neighbors; larger neuron-neuron correlations create stronger MT-pursuit correlations. Neurons that lack strong correlations with their neighbors also have weaker correlations with pursuit behavior, but still could drive pursuit strongly.

  17. 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

  18. Differentiation of Wharton's Jelly-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Motor Neuron-Like Cells on Three-Dimensional Collagen-Grafted Nanofibers.

    PubMed

    Bagher, Zohreh; Azami, Mahmoud; Ebrahimi-Barough, Somayeh; Mirzadeh, Hamid; Solouk, Atefeh; Soleimani, Mansooreh; Ai, Jafar; Nourani, Mohammad Reza; Joghataei, Mohammad Taghi

    2016-05-01

    Cell transplantation strategies have provided potential therapeutic approaches for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Mesenchymal stem cells from Wharton's jelly (WJMSCs) are abundant and available adult stem cells with low immunological incompatibility, which could be considered for cell replacement therapy in the future. However, MSC transplantation without any induction or support material causes poor control of cell viability and differentiation. In this study, we investigated the effect of the nanoscaffolds on WJMSCs differentiation into motor neuronal lineages in the presence of retinoic acid (RA) and sonic hedgehog (Shh). Surface properties of scaffolds have been shown to significantly influence cell behaviors such as adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation. Therefore, polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers were constructed via electrospinning, surface modified by plasma treatment, and grafted by collagen. Characterization of the scaffolds by means of ATR-FTIR, contact angel, and Bradford proved grafting of the collagen on the surface of the scaffolds. WJMSCs were seeded on nanofibrous and tissue culture plate (TCP) and viability of WJMSCs were measured by MTT assay and then induced to differentiate into motor neuron-like cells for 15 days. Differentiated cells were evaluated morphologically, and real-time PCR and immunocytochemistry methods were done to evaluate expression of motor neuron-like cell markers in mRNA and protein levels. Our results showed that obtained cells could express motor neuron biomarkers at both RNA and protein levels, but the survival and differentiation of WJMSCs into motor neuron-like cells on the PCL/collagen scaffold were higher than cultured cells in the TCP and PCL groups. Taken together, WJMSCs are an attractive stem cell source for inducing into motor neurons in vitro especially when grown on nanostructural scaffolds and PCL/collagen scaffolds can provide a suitable, three-dimensional situation for neuronal survival and

  19. Functional clustering of neurons in motor cortex determined by cellular resolution imaging in awake behaving mice

    PubMed Central

    Dombeck, Daniel A.; Graziano, Michael S.; Tank, David W.

    2010-01-01

    Macroscopic (millimeter scale) functional clustering is a hallmark characteristic of motor cortex spatial organization in awake behaving mammals; however, almost no information is known about the functional micro-organization (~100 microns scale). Here, we optically recorded intracellular calcium transients of layer 2/3 neurons with cellular resolution over ~200 micron diameter fields in the forelimb motor cortex of mobile, head-restrained mice during two distinct movements (running and grooming). We showed that the temporal correlation between neurons was statistically larger the closer the neurons were to each other. We further explored this correlation by using two separate methods to spatially segment the neurons within each imaging field: K-means clustering and correlations between single neuron activity and mouse movements. The two methods segmented the neurons similarly and led to the conclusion that the origin of the inverse relationship between correlation and distance seen statistically was two-fold: clusters of highly temporally correlated neurons were often spatially distinct from one another and (even when the clusters were spatially intermingled) within the clusters, the more correlated the neurons were to each other, the shorter the distance between them. Our results represent a direct observation of functional clustering within the micro-circuitry of the awake mouse motor cortex. PMID:19889987

  20. 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.

  1. Effect of hindlimb unloading on motor activity in adult rats: impact of prenatal stress.

    PubMed

    Canu, M H; Darnaudéry, M; Falempin, M; Maccari, S; Viltart, O

    2007-02-01

    Environmental changes that occur in daily life or, in particular, in situations like actual or simulated microgravity require neuronal adaptation of sensory and motor functions. Such conditions can exert long-lasting disturbances on an individual's adaptive ability. Additionally, prenatal stress also leads to behavioral and physiological abnormalities in adulthood. Therefore, the aims of the present study were (a) to evaluate in adult rats the behavioral motor adaptation that follows 14 days of exposure to simulated microgravity (hindlimb unloading) and (b) to determine whether restraint prenatal stress influences this motor adaptation. For this purpose, the authors assessed rats' motor reactivity to novelty, their skilled walking on a ladder, and their swimming performance. Results showed that unloading severely impaired motor activity and skilled walking. By contrast, it had no effect on swimming performance. Moreover, results demonstrated for the first time that restraint prenatal stress exacerbates the effects of unloading. These results are consistent with the role of a steady prenatal environment in allowing an adequate development and maturation of sensorimotor systems to generate adapted responses to environmental challenges during adulthood.

  2. ALS disrupts spinal motor neuron maturation and aging pathways within gene co-expression networks

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Ritchie; Sances, Samuel; Gowing, Genevieve; Amoroso, Mackenzie Weygandt; O'Rourke, Jacqueline G.; Sahabian, Anais; Wichterle, Hynek; Baloh, Robert H.; Sareen, Dhruv

    2016-01-01

    Modeling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) with human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) aims to reenact embryogenesis, maturation, and aging of spinal motor neurons (spMNs) in vitro. As the maturity of spMNs grown in vitro compared to spMNs in vivo remains largely unaddressed, it is unclear to what extent this in vitro system captures critical aspects of spMN development and molecular signatures associated with ALS. Here, we compared transcriptomes among iPSC-derived spMNs, fetal, and adult spinal tissues. This approach produced a maturation scale revealing that iPSC-derived spMNs were more similar to fetal spinal tissue than to adult spMNs. Additionally, we resolved gene networks and pathways associated with spMN maturation and aging. These networks enriched for pathogenic familial ALS genetic variants and were disrupted in sporadic ALS spMNs. Altogether, our findings suggest that developing strategies to further mature and age iPSC-derived spMNs will provide more effective iPSC models of ALS pathology. PMID:27428653

  3. Motor Asymmetry Attenuation in Older Adults during Imagined Arm Movements.

    PubMed

    Paizis, Christos; Skoura, Xanthi; Personnier, Pascaline; Papaxanthis, Charalambos

    2014-01-01

    Laterality is an important feature of motor behavior. Several studies have shown that lateralization in right-handed young adults (i.e., right versus left arm superiority) emerges also during imagined actions, that is when an action is internally simulated without any motor output. Such information, however, is lacking for elderly people and it could be valuable to further comprehend the evolution of mental states of action in normal aging. Here, we evaluated the influence of age on motor laterality during mental actions. Twenty-four young (mean age: 24.7 ± 4.4 years) and 24 elderly (mean age: 72.4 ± 3.6 years) participants mentally simulated and actually executed pointing movements with either their dominant-right or non-dominant-left arm in the horizontal plane. We recorded and analyzed the time of actual and mental movements and looked for differences between groups and arms. In addition, electromyographic activity from arm muscle was recorded to quantify any enhancement in muscle activation during mental actions. Our findings indicated that both groups mentally simulated arm movements without activating the muscles of the right or the left arm above the baseline level. This finding suggests that young and, notably, elderly adults are able to generate covert actions without any motor output. We found that manual asymmetries (i.e., faster movements with the right arm) were preserved in young adults for both actual and mental movements. In elderly adults, manual asymmetries were observed for actual but not for mental movements (i.e., equal movement times for both arms). These findings clearly indicate an age-related reduction of motor laterality during mental actions.

  4. Muscles innervated by a single motor neuron exhibit divergent synaptic properties on multiple time scales.

    PubMed

    Blitz, Dawn M; Pritchard, Amy E; Latimer, John K; Wakefield, Andrew T

    2017-01-19

    Adaptive changes in the output of neural circuits underlying rhythmic behaviors are relayed to muscles via motor neuron activity. Pre- and postsynaptic properties of neuromuscular junctions can impact the transformation from motor neuron activity to muscle response. Further, synaptic plasticity occurring on the time scale of inter-spike intervals can differ between multiple muscles innervated by the same motor neuron. In rhythmic behaviors, motor neuron bursts can elicit additional synaptic plasticity. However, it is unknown if plasticity regulated by the longer time scale of inter-burst intervals also differs between synapses from the same neuron, and whether any such distinctions occur across a physiological activity range. To address these issues, we measured electrical responses in muscles innervated by a chewing circuit neuron, the lateral gastric (LG) motor neuron, in a well-characterized small motor system, the stomatogastric nervous system (STNS) of the Jonah crab, Cancer borealis In vitro and in vivo, sensory, hormonal and modulatory inputs elicit LG bursting consisting of inter-spike intervals of 50-250 ms and inter-burst intervals of 2-24 s. Muscles expressed similar facilitation measured with paired stimuli except at the shortest inter-spike interval. However distinct decay time constants resulted in differences in temporal summation. In response to bursting activity, augmentation occurred to different extents and saturated at different inter-burst intervals in the three muscles. Further, augmentation interacted with facilitation, resulting in distinct intra-burst facilitation between muscles. Thus, responses of multiple target muscles diverge across a physiological activity range due to distinct synaptic properties sensitive to multiple time scales.

  5. Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II expression in motor neurons: effect of axotomy.

    PubMed

    Lund, L M; McQuarrie, I G

    1997-11-20

    Although Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent (CaM) protein kinase II isoforms are present in the nervous system in high amounts, many aspects of in vivo expression, localization, and function remain unexplored. During development, CaM kinase IIalpha and IIbeta are differentially expressed. Here, we examined CaM kinase II isoforms in Sprague-Dawley rat sciatic motor neurons before and after axotomy. We cut the L4-5 spinal nerves unilaterally and exposed the proximal nerve stumps to a fluoroprobe, to retrogradely label the neurons of origin. Anti-CaM kinase IIbeta antibody showed immunoreactivity in motor neurons, which decreased to low levels by 4 days after axotomy. We found a similar response by in situ hybridization with riboprobes. The decrease in expression of mRNA and protein was confined to fluorescent motor neurons. For CaM kinase IIalpha, in situ hybridization showed that the mRNA was in sciatic motor neurons, with a density unaffected by axotomy. However, these neurons were also enlarged, suggesting an up-regulation of expression. Northern blots confirmed an mRNA increase. We were unable to find CaM kinase IIalpha immunoreactivity before or after axotomy in sciatic motor neuron cell bodies, suggesting that CaM kinase IIalpha is in the axons or dendrites, or otherwise unavailable to the antibody. Using rats with crush lesions, we radiolabeled axonal proteins being synthesized in the cell body and used two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with Western blots to identify CaM kinase IIalpha as a component of slow axonal transport. This differential regulation and expression of kinase isoforms suggests separate and unique intracellular roles. Because we find CaM kinase IIbeta down-regulates during axonal regrowth, its role in these neurons may be related to synaptic transmission. CaM kinase IIalpha appears to support axonal regrowth.

  6. Reorganization of Cajal bodies and nucleolar targeting of coilin in motor neurons of type I spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Tapia, Olga; Bengoechea, Rocío; Palanca, Ana; Arteaga, Rosa; Val-Bernal, J Fernando; Tizzano, Eduardo F; Berciano, María T; Lafarga, Miguel

    2012-05-01

    Type I spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by loss or mutations of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. The reduction in SMN protein levels in SMA leads to degeneration and death of motor neurons. In this study, we have analyzed the nuclear reorganization of Cajal bodies, PML bodies and nucleoli in type I SMA motor neurons with homozygous deletion of exons 7 and 8 of the SMN1 gene. Western blot analysis is is revealed a marked reduction of SMN levels compared to the control sample. Using a neuronal dissociation procedure to perform a careful immunocytochemical and quantitative analysis of nuclear bodies, we demonstrated a severe decrease in the mean number of Cajal bodies per neuron and in the proportion of motor neurons containing these structures in type I SMA. Moreover, most Cajal bodies fail to recruit SMN and spliceosomal snRNPs, but contain the proteasome activator PA28, a molecular marker associated with the cellular stress response. Neuronal stress in SMA motor neurons also increases PML body number. The existence of chromatolysis and eccentric nuclei in SMA motor neurons correlates with Cajal body disruption and nucleolar relocalization of coil in, a Cajal body marker. Our results indicate that the Cajal body is a pathophysiological target in type I SMA motor neurons. They also suggest the Cajal body-dependent dysfunction of snRNP biogenesis and, therefore, pre-mRNA splicing in these neurons seems to be an essential component for SMA pathogenesis.

  7. 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

  8. Expression of Carbonic Anhydrase I in Motor Neurons and Alterations in ALS

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Xiaochen; Lu, Deyi; Bowser, Robert; Liu, Jian

    2016-01-01

    Carbonic anhydrase I (CA1) is the cytosolic isoform of mammalian α-CA family members which are responsible for maintaining pH homeostasis in the physiology and pathology of organisms. A subset of CA isoforms are known to be expressed and function in the central nervous system (CNS). CA1 has not been extensively characterized in the CNS. In this study, we demonstrate that CA1 is expressed in the motor neurons in human spinal cord. Unexpectedly, a subpopulation of CA1 appears to be associated with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes. In addition, the membrane-associated CA1s are preferentially upregulated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and exhibit altered distribution in motor neurons. Furthermore, long-term expression of CA1 in mammalian cells activates apoptosis. Our results suggest a previously unknown role for CA1 function in the CNS and its potential involvement in motor neuron degeneration in ALS. PMID:27809276

  9. Disrupting the ipsilateral motor cortex interferes with training of a complex motor task in older adults.

    PubMed

    Zimerman, Máximo; Heise, Kirstin-F; Gerloff, Christian; Cohen, Leonardo G; Hummel, Friedhelm C

    2014-04-01

    Performance of unimanual movements is associated with bihemispheric activity in the motor cortex in old adults. However, the causal functional role of the ipsilateral MC (iMC) for motor control is still not completely known. Here, the behavioral consequences of interference of the iMC during training of a complex motor skill were tested. Healthy old (58-85 years) and young volunteers (22-35 years) were tested in a double-blind, cross-over, sham-controlled design. Participants attended 2 different study arms with either cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (ctDCS) or sham concurrent with training. Motor performance was evaluated before, during, 90 min, and 24 h after training. During training, a reduced slope of performance with ctDCS relative to sham was observed in old compared with young (F = 5.8, P = 0.02), with a decrease of correctly rehearsed sequences, an effect that was evident even after 2 consecutive retraining periods without intervention. Furthermore, the older the subject, the more prominent was the disruptive effect of ctDCS (R(2) = 0.50, P = 0.01). These data provide direct evidence for a causal functional link between the iMC and motor skill acquisition in old subjects pointing toward the concept that the recruitment of iMC in old is an adaptive process in response to age-related declines in motor functions.

  10. Acetyl L-carnitine protects motor neurons and Rohon-Beard sensory neurons against ketamine-induced neurotoxicity in zebrafish embryos.

    PubMed

    Cuevas, Elvis; Trickler, William J; Guo, Xiaoqing; Ali, Syed F; Paule, Merle G; Kanungo, Jyotshna

    2013-01-01

    Ketamine, a non-competitive antagonist of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type glutamate receptors is commonly used as a pediatric anesthetic. Multiple studies have shown ketamine to be neurotoxic, particularly when administered during the brain growth spurt. Previously, we have shown that ketamine is detrimental to motor neuron development in the zebrafish embryos. Here, using both wild type (WT) and transgenic (hb9:GFP) zebrafish embryos, we demonstrate that ketamine is neurotoxic to both motor and sensory neurons. Drug absorption studies showed that in the WT embryos, ketamine accumulation was approximately 0.4% of the original dose added to the exposure medium. The transgenic embryos express green fluorescent protein (GFP) localized in the motor neurons making them ideal for evaluating motor neuron development and toxicities in vivo. The hb9:GFP zebrafish embryos (28 h post fertilization) treated with 2 mM ketamine for 20 h demonstrated significant reductions in spinal motor neuron numbers, while co-treatment with acetyl L-carnitine proved to be neuroprotective. In whole mount immunohistochemical studies using WT embryos, a similar effect was observed for the primary sensory neurons. In the ketamine-treated WT embryos, the number of primary sensory Rohon-Beard (RB) neurons was significantly reduced compared to that in controls. However, acetyl L-carnitine co-treatment prevented ketamine-induced adverse effects on the RB neurons. These results suggest that acetyl L-carnitine protects both motor and sensory neurons from ketamine-induced neurotoxicity.

  11. Identification and characterization of a cell surface marker for embryonic rat spinal accessory motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Schubert, W; Kaprielian, Z

    2001-10-22

    The developing mammalian spinal cord contains distinct populations of motor neurons that can be distinguished by their cell body positions, by the expression of specific combinations of regulatory genes, and by the paths that their axons take to exit the central nervous system (CNS). Subclasses of spinal motor neurons are also thought to express specific cell surface proteins that function as receptors which control the guidance of their axons. We identified monoclonal antibody (mAb) SAC1 in a screen aimed at generating markers for specific subsets of neurons/axons in the developing rat spinal cord. During early embryogenesis, mAb SAC1 selectively labels a small subset of Isl1-positive motor neurons located exclusively within cervical segments of the spinal cord. Strikingly, these neurons extend mAb SAC1-positive axons along a dorsally directed trajectory toward the lateral exit points. Consistent with the finding that mAb SAC1 also labels spinal accessory nerves, these observations identify mAb SAC1 as a specific marker of spinal accessory motor neurons/axons. During later stages of embryogenesis, mAb SAC1 is transiently expressed on both dorsally and ventrally projecting spinal motor neurons/axons. Interestingly, mAb SAC1 also labels the notochord and floor plate during most stages of spinal cord development. The mAb SAC1 antigen is a 100-kD glycoprotein that is likely to be the rat homolog of SC1/BEN/DM-GRASP, a homophilic adhesion molecule that mediates axon outgrowth and fasciculation.

  12. Rapid Integration of Artificial Sensory Feedback during Operant Conditioning of Motor Cortex Neurons.

    PubMed

    Prsa, Mario; Galiñanes, Gregorio L; Huber, Daniel

    2017-02-22

    Neuronal motor commands, whether generating real or neuroprosthetic movements, are shaped by ongoing sensory feedback from the displacement being produced. Here we asked if cortical stimulation could provide artificial feedback during operant conditioning of cortical neurons. Simultaneous two-photon imaging and real-time optogenetic stimulation were used to train mice to activate a single neuron in motor cortex (M1), while continuous feedback of its activity level was provided by proportionally stimulating somatosensory cortex. This artificial signal was necessary to rapidly learn to increase the conditioned activity, detect correct performance, and maintain the learned behavior. Population imaging in M1 revealed that learning-related activity changes are observed in the conditioned cell only, which highlights the functional potential of individual neurons in the neocortex. Our findings demonstrate the capacity of animals to use an artificially induced cortical channel in a behaviorally relevant way and reveal the remarkable speed and specificity at which this can occur.

  13. Speech dynamics are coded in the left motor cortex in fluent speakers but not in adults who stutter.

    PubMed

    Neef, Nicole E; Hoang, T N Linh; Neef, Andreas; Paulus, Walter; Sommer, Martin

    2015-03-01

    The precise excitability regulation of neuronal circuits in the primary motor cortex is central to the successful and fluent production of speech. Our question was whether the involuntary execution of undesirable movements, e.g. stuttering, is linked to an insufficient excitability tuning of neural populations in the orofacial region of the primary motor cortex. We determined the speech-related time course of excitability modulation in the left and right primary motor tongue representation. Thirteen fluent speakers (four females, nine males; aged 23-44) and 13 adults who stutter (four females, nine males, aged 21-55) were asked to build verbs with the verbal prefix 'auf'. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied over the primary motor cortex during the transition phase between a fixed labiodental articulatory configuration and immediately following articulatory configurations, at different latencies after transition onset. Bilateral electromyography was recorded from self-adhesive electrodes placed on the surface of the tongue. Off-line, we extracted the motor evoked potential amplitudes and normalized these amplitudes to the individual baseline excitability during the fixed configuration. Fluent speakers demonstrated a prominent left hemisphere increase of motor cortex excitability in the transition phase (P = 0.009). In contrast, the excitability of the right primary motor tongue representation was unchanged. Interestingly, adults afflicted with stuttering revealed a lack of left-hemisphere facilitation. Moreover, the magnitude of facilitation was negatively correlated with stuttering frequency. Although orofacial midline muscles are bilaterally innervated from corticobulbar projections of both hemispheres, our results indicate that speech motor plans are controlled primarily in the left primary speech motor cortex. This speech motor planning-related asymmetry towards the left orofacial motor cortex is missing in stuttering. Moreover, a negative

  14. Speech dynamics are coded in the left motor cortex in fluent speakers but not in adults who stutter

    PubMed Central

    Hoang, T. N. Linh; Neef, Andreas; Paulus, Walter; Sommer, Martin

    2015-01-01

    The precise excitability regulation of neuronal circuits in the primary motor cortex is central to the successful and fluent production of speech. Our question was whether the involuntary execution of undesirable movements, e.g. stuttering, is linked to an insufficient excitability tuning of neural populations in the orofacial region of the primary motor cortex. We determined the speech-related time course of excitability modulation in the left and right primary motor tongue representation. Thirteen fluent speakers (four females, nine males; aged 23–44) and 13 adults who stutter (four females, nine males, aged 21–55) were asked to build verbs with the verbal prefix ‘auf’. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied over the primary motor cortex during the transition phase between a fixed labiodental articulatory configuration and immediately following articulatory configurations, at different latencies after transition onset. Bilateral electromyography was recorded from self-adhesive electrodes placed on the surface of the tongue. Off-line, we extracted the motor evoked potential amplitudes and normalized these amplitudes to the individual baseline excitability during the fixed configuration. Fluent speakers demonstrated a prominent left hemisphere increase of motor cortex excitability in the transition phase (P = 0.009). In contrast, the excitability of the right primary motor tongue representation was unchanged. Interestingly, adults afflicted with stuttering revealed a lack of left-hemisphere facilitation. Moreover, the magnitude of facilitation was negatively correlated with stuttering frequency. Although orofacial midline muscles are bilaterally innervated from corticobulbar projections of both hemispheres, our results indicate that speech motor plans are controlled primarily in the left primary speech motor cortex. This speech motor planning-related asymmetry towards the left orofacial motor cortex is missing in stuttering. Moreover, a

  15. The critical role of membralin in postnatal motor neuron survival and disease

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Bo; Qu, Mingliang; Wang, Rengang; Chatterton, Jon E; Liu, Xiao-Bo; Zhu, Bing; Narisawa, Sonoko; Millan, Jose Luis; Nakanishi, Nobuki; Swoboda, Kathryn; Lipton, Stuart A; Zhang, Dongxian

    2015-01-01

    Hitherto, membralin has been a protein of unknown function. Here, we show that membralin mutant mice manifest a severe and early-onset motor neuron disease in an autosomal recessive manner, dying by postnatal day 5–6. Selective death of lower motor neurons, including those innervating the limbs, intercostal muscles, and diaphragm, is predominantly responsible for this fatal phenotype. Neural expression of a membralin transgene completely rescues membralin mutant mice. Mechanistically, we show that membralin interacts with Erlin2, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein that is located in lipid rafts and known to be important in ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD). Accordingly, the degradation rate of ERAD substrates is attenuated in cells lacking membralin. Membralin mutations or deficiency in mouse models induces ER stress, rendering neurons more vulnerable to cell death. Our study reveals a critical role of membralin in motor neuron survival and suggests a novel mechanism for early-onset motor neuron disease. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06500.001 PMID:25977983

  16. Calpain-dependent disruption of nucleo-cytoplasmic transport in ALS motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Yamashita, Takenari; Aizawa, Hitoshi; Teramoto, Sayaka; Akamatsu, Megumi; Kwak, Shin

    2017-01-01

    Nuclear dysfunction in motor neurons has been hypothesized to be a principal cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pathogenesis. Here, we investigated the mechanism by which the nuclear pore complex (NPC) is disrupted in dying motor neurons in a mechanistic ALS mouse model (adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 2 (ADAR2) conditional knockout (AR2) mice) and in ALS patients. We showed that nucleoporins (Nups) that constituted the NPC were cleaved by activated calpain via a Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptor-mediated mechanism in dying motor neurons lacking ADAR2 expression in AR2 mice. In these neurons, nucleo-cytoplasmic transport was disrupted, and the level of the transcript elongation enzyme RNA polymerase II phosphorylated at Ser2 was significantly decreased. Analogous changes were observed in motor neurons lacking ADAR2 immunoreactivity in sporadic ALS patients. Therefore, calpain-dependent NPC disruption may participate in ALS pathogenesis, and inhibiting Ca2+-mediated cell death signals may be a therapeutic strategy for ALS. PMID:28045133

  17. Correlation between discharge timings of pairs of motor units reveals the presence but not the proportion of common synaptic input to motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez-Falces, Javier; Negro, Francesco; Farina, Dario

    2017-04-01

    We investigated whether correlation measures derived from pairs of motor unit (MU) spike trains are reliable indicators of the degree of common synaptic input to motor neurons. Several 50-s isometric contractions of the biceps brachii muscle were performed at different target forces ranging from 10 to 30% of the maximal voluntary contraction relying on force feedback. Forty-eight pairs of MUs were examined at various force levels. Motor unit synchrony was assessed by cross-correlation analysis using three indexes: the output correlation as the peak of the cross-histogram (ρ) and the number of synchronous spikes per second (CIS) and per trigger (E). Individual analysis of MU pairs revealed that ρ, CIS, and E were most often positively associated with discharge rate (87, 85, and 76% of the MU pairs, respectively) and negatively with interspike interval variability (69, 65, and 62% of the MU pairs, respectively). Moreover, the behavior of synchronization indexes with discharge rate (and interspike interval variability) varied greatly among the MU pairs. These results were consistent with theoretical predictions, which showed that the output correlation between pairs of spike trains depends on the statistics of the input current and motor neuron intrinsic properties that differ for different motor neuron pairs. In conclusion, the synchronization between MU firing trains is necessarily caused by the (functional) common input to motor neurons, but it is not possible to infer the degree of shared common input to a pair of motor neurons on the basis of correlation measures of their output spike trains.NEW & NOTEWORTHY The strength of correlation between output spike trains is only poorly associated with the degree of common input to the population of motor neurons. The synchronization between motor unit firing trains is necessarily caused by the (functional) common input to motor neurons, but it is not possible to infer the degree of shared common input to a pair of

  18. Regulation of ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha in sciatic motor neurons following axotomy.

    PubMed

    MacLennan, A J; Devlin, B K; Neitzel, K L; McLaurin, D L; Anderson, K J; Lee, N

    1999-01-01

    Spinal motor neurons are one of the few classes of neurons capable of regenerating axons following axotomy. Injury-induced expression of neurotrophic factors and corresponding receptors may play an important role in this rare ability. A wide variety of indirect data suggests that ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha may critically contribute to the regeneration of injured spinal motor neurons. We used immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and retrograde tracing techniques to study the regulation of ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha in axotomized sciatic motor neurons. Ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha immunoreactivity, detected with two independent antisera, is increased in a subpopulation of caudal sciatic motor neuron soma one, two and six weeks after sciatic nerve transection and reattachment, while no changes are detected at one day and 15 weeks post-lesion. Ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha messenger RNA levels are augmented in the same classes of neurons following an identical lesion, suggesting that increased synthesis contributes, at least in part, to the additional ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha protein. Separating the proximal and distal nerve stumps with a plastic barrier does not noticeably affect the injury-induced change in ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha regulation, thereby indicating that this injury response is not dependent on signals distal to the lesion traveling retrogradely through the nerve or signals generated by axonal growth through the distal nerve. The prolonged increases in ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha protein and messenger RNA found in regenerating sciatic motor neurons contrast with the responses of non-regenerating central neurons, which are reported to display, at most, a short-lived increase in ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha messenger RNA expression following injury. The present data are the first to demonstrate, in vivo, neuronal regulation of

  19. The reflex effects of nonnoxious sural nerve stimulation on human triceps surae motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Kukulka, C G

    1994-05-01

    1. The effects of low-intensity electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral sural nerve on the reflex response of human triceps surae motor neurons were examined in 169 motor units recorded in 11 adult volunteers: 69 units from soleus (SOL), 48 units from lateral gastrocnemius (LG), and 52 units from medial gastrocnemius (MG). The reflex effects were assessed by the peristimulus time histogram (PSTH) technique, categorized according to onset latencies, and the magnitudes of effects were calculated as percent changes in baseline firing rates. 2. Sural stimulation evoked complex changes in motor-unit firing at onset latencies between 28 and 140 ms. The two most common responses seen in all muscles were a short-latency depression (D1) in firing (mean onset latency = 40 ms) in 42% of all units studied and a secondary enhancement (E2) in firing (mean onset latency = 72 ms) in 43% of all units. In LG, the D1 effect represented a mean decrease in firing of 52% which was statistically different from the changes in MG (42% decrease) and SOL (38% decrease). The magnitudes of E2 effects were similar across muscles with an average of 47% increase in firing. 3. No differences were found in the frequencies of occurrence for the enhancements in firing among the muscles studied. The main difference in reflex responses was the occurrence of an intermediate latency depression (D2) in 27% of the LG units with a mean onset latency of 72 ms. 4. Based on estimates of conduction times for activation of low-threshold cutaneous afferents, the short-latency D1 response likely represents an oligosynaptic spinal reflex with transmission times similar to the Ia reciprocal inhibitory pathway. These findings raise the question as to the possibility of low-threshold cutaneous afferents sharing common interneurons with low-threshold muscle afferent reflexes that have identical onset latencies. The complex reflex effects associated with low-level stimulation of a cutaneous nerve indicate a rich

  20. Highly efficient transduction of primary adult CNS and PNS neurons

    PubMed Central

    Levin, Evgeny; Diekmann, Heike; Fischer, Dietmar

    2016-01-01

    Delivery and expression of recombinant genes, a key methodology for many applications in biological research, remains a challenge especially for mature neurons. Here, we report easy, highly efficient and well tolerated transduction of adult peripheral and central neuronal populations of diverse species in culture using VSV-G pseudo-typed, recombinant baculovirus (BacMam). Transduction rates of up to 80% were reliably achieved at high multiplicity of infection without apparent neuro-cytopathic effects. Neurons could be transduced either shortly after plating or after several days in culture. Co-incubation with two different baculoviruses attained near complete co-localization of fluorescent protein expression, indicating multigene delivery. Finally, evidence for functional protein expression is provided by means of cre-mediated genetic recombination and neurite outgrowth assays. Recombinant protein was already detected within hours after transduction, thereby enabling functional readouts even in relatively short-lived neuronal cultures. Altogether, these results substantiate the usefulness of baculovirus-mediated transduction of mature neurons for future research in neuroscience. PMID:27958330

  1. Molecular and immunocytochemical characterization of primary neuronal cultures from adult rat brain: Differential expression of neuronal and glial protein markers.

    PubMed

    Ray, Balmiki; Bailey, Jason A; Sarkar, Sumit; Lahiri, Debomoy K

    2009-11-15

    Neurobiological studies using primary neuronal cultures commonly employ fetal-derived neurons, but much less often adult brain-derived neurons. Our goal is to perform morphological and molecular characterization of primary neuronal cultures from adult rat brain, including the relative expression of neuronal and glial cell markers at different time points. We tested the hypothesis that long-term neuronal viability is compatible with glial proliferation in adult neuron culture. We examined neuron culture from adult rat brain, which was maintained at steady state up to 24 days, and characterized them on the basis of cellular, molecular and biochemical properties at different time points of the culture. We identified neuronal and glial cells by both immunocytochemical and western immunoblotting techniques using NSE and Tau as neuronal markers and GFAP as glial protein marker, which revealed the presence of predominantly neuronal cells in the initial phase of the culture and a rise in glial cells from day 12 onwards. Notably, neuronal cells were preserved in the culture along with the glial cells even at day 24. Transfection of the cultured cells with a GFP expression vector and plasmids containing a luciferase reporter gene under the control of two different gene promoters demonstrated DNA transfectability. Taken together, these results suggest a differential expression of neuronal and glial cells at different time points and long-term neuronal viability in the presence of glial proliferation. Such adult neurons serve as a suitable system for the application of neurodegeneration models and for drug target discovery in various brain disorders including Alzheimer's disease.

  2. Recapitulation of spinal motor neuron-specific disease phenotypes in a human cell model of spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhi-Bo; Zhang, Xiaoqing; Li, Xue-Jun

    2013-03-01

    Establishing human cell models of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to mimic motor neuron-specific phenotypes holds the key to understanding the pathogenesis of this devastating disease. Here, we developed a closely representative cell model of SMA by knocking down the disease-determining gene, survival motor neuron (SMN), in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Our study with this cell model demonstrated that knocking down of SMN does not interfere with neural induction or the initial specification of spinal motor neurons. Notably, the axonal outgrowth of spinal motor neurons was significantly impaired and these disease-mimicking neurons subsequently degenerated. Furthermore, these disease phenotypes were caused by SMN-full length (SMN-FL) but not SMN-Δ7 (lacking exon 7) knockdown, and were specific to spinal motor neurons. Restoring the expression of SMN-FL completely ameliorated all of the disease phenotypes, including specific axonal defects and motor neuron loss. Finally, knockdown of SMN-FL led to excessive mitochondrial oxidative stress in human motor neuron progenitors. The involvement of oxidative stress in the degeneration of spinal motor neurons in the SMA cell model was further confirmed by the administration of N-acetylcysteine, a potent antioxidant, which prevented disease-related apoptosis and subsequent motor neuron death. Thus, we report here the successful establishment of an hESC-based SMA model, which exhibits disease gene isoform specificity, cell type specificity, and phenotype reversibility. Our model provides a unique paradigm for studying how motor neurons specifically degenerate and highlights the potential importance of antioxidants for the treatment of SMA.

  3. Global Motor Unit Number Index sum score for assessing the loss of lower motor neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Grimaldi, Stephan; Duprat, Lauréline; Grapperon, Aude-Marie; Verschueren, Annie; Delmont, Emilien; Attarian, Shahram

    2017-02-06

    Introduction Our objective was to propose a motor unit number index (MUNIX) global sum score in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to estimate the loss of functional motor units. Methods MUNIX was assessed for 18 ALS patients and 17 healthy controls in seven muscles: the abductor pollicis brevis (APB), abductor digiti minimi (ADM), tibialis anterior (TA), deltoid, trapezius, submental complex (SMC) and orbicularis oris. Results MUNIX was significantly lower in ALS patients than in healthy controls for the APB, ADM, TA and the trapezius muscles. The MUNIX sum score of 4 muscles (ADM + APB + Trapezius + TA) was lower in ALS patients (P = 0.01) and was correlated with clinical scores. Discussion The global MUNIX sum score proposed in this study estimates the loss of lower motor neurons in several body regions including the trapezius, and is correlated with clinical impairment in ALS patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  4. P2X7 receptor-induced death of motor neurons by a peroxynitrite/FAS-dependent pathway

    PubMed Central

    Gandelman, Mandi; Levy, Mark; Cassina, Patricia; Barbeito, Luis; Beckman, Joseph S

    2013-01-01

    The P2X7 receptor/channel responds to extracellular ATP and is associated with neuronal death and neuroinflammation in spinal cord injury and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Whether activation of P2X7 directly causes motor neuron death is unknown. We found that cultured motor neurons isolated from embryonic rat spinal cord express P2X7 and underwent caspase-dependent apoptosis when exposed to exceptionally low concentrations of the P2X7 agonist 3′-O-(4-benzoyl)-ATP (BzATP). The P2X7 inhibitors BBG, oATP and KN-62 prevented BzATP-induced motor neuron death. The endogenous P2X7 agonist ATP induced motor neuron death at low concentrations (1-100 μM). High concentrations of ATP (1 mM) paradoxically became protective due to degradation in the culture media to produce adenosine and activate adenosine receptors. P2X7-induced motor neuron death was dependent on neuronal nitric oxide synthase-mediated production of peroxynitrite, p38 activation and autocrine FAS signaling. Taken together, our results indicate that motor neurons are highly sensitive to P2X7 activation, which triggers apoptosis by activation of the well-established peroxynitrite/FAS death pathway in motor neurons. PMID:23646980

  5. Quantification of the proportion of motor neurons recruited by transcranial electrical stimulation during intraoperative motor evoked potential monitoring.

    PubMed

    Tsutsui, Shunji; Yamada, Hiroshi; Hashizume, Hiroshi; Minamide, Akihito; Nakagawa, Yukihiro; Iwasaki, Hiroshi; Yoshida, Munehito

    2013-12-01

    Transcranial motor evoked potentials (TcMEPs) are widely used to monitor motor function during spinal surgery. However, they are much smaller and more variable in amplitude than responses evoked by maximal peripheral nerve stimulation, suggesting that a limited number of spinal motor neurons to the target muscle are excited by transcranial stimulation. The aim of this study was to quantify the proportion of motor neurons recruited during TcMEP monitoring under general anesthesia. In twenty patients who underwent thoracic and/or lumbar spinal surgery with TcMEP monitoring, the triple stimulation technique (TST) was applied to the unilateral upper arm intraoperatively. Total intravenous anesthesia was employed. Trains of four stimuli were delivered with maximal intensity and an inter-pulse interval of 1.5 ms. TST responses were recorded from the abductor digiti minimi muscle, and the negative peak amplitude and area were measured and compared between the TST test (two collisions between transcranial and proximal and distal peripheral stimulation) and control response (two collisions between two proximal and one distal peripheral stimulation). The highest degree of superimposition of the TST test and control responses was chosen from several trials per patient. The average ratios (test:control) were 17.1 % (range 1.8-38 %) for the amplitudes and 21.6 % (range 2.9-40 %) for the areas. The activity of approximately 80 % of the motor units to the target muscle cannot be detected by TcMEP monitoring. Therefore, changes in evoked potentials must be interpreted cautiously when assessing segmental motor function with TcMEP monitoring.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

    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.

  7. 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

  8. Necroptosis drives motor neuron death in models of both sporadic and familial ALS

    PubMed Central

    Re, Diane B.; Verche, Virginia Le; Yu, Changhao; Amoroso, Mackenzie W.; Politi, Kristin A.; Phani, Sudarshan; Ikiz, Burcin; Hoffmann, Lucas; Koolen, Martijn; Nagata, Tetsuya; Papadimitriou, Dimitra; Nagy, Peter; Mitsumoto, Hiroshi; Kariya, Shingo; Wichterle, Hynek; Henderson, Christopher E.; Przedborski, Serge

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Most cases of neurodegenerative disease are sporadic, hindering the use of genetic mouse models to analyze disease mechanisms. Focusing on the motor neuron (MN) disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) we therefore devised a fully humanized co-culture model composed of human adult primary sporadic ALS (sALS) astrocytes and human embryonic stem cell-derived MNs. The model reproduces the cardinal features of human ALS: sALS astrocytes, but not those from control patients, trigger selective death of MNs. The mechanisms underlying this non-cell-autonomous toxicity were investigated in both astrocytes and MNs. Although causal in familial ALS (fALS), SOD1 does not contribute to the toxicity of sALS astrocytes. Death of MNs triggered by either sALS or fALS astrocytes occurs through necroptosis, a form of programmed necrosis involving receptor-interacting protein 1 and the mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein. The necroptotic pathway therefore constitutes a novel potential therapeutic target for this incurable disease. PMID:24508385

  9. Endolysosomal Deficits Augment Mitochondria Pathology in Spinal Motor Neurons of Asymptomatic fALS Mice

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Yuxiang; Zhou, Bing; Lin, Mei-Yao; Wang, Shiwei; Foust, Kevin D.; Sheng, Zu-Hang

    2015-01-01

    One pathological hallmark in ALS motor neurons (MNs) is axonal accumulation of damaged mitochondria. A fundamental question remains: does reduced degradation of those mitochondria by impaired autophagy-lysosomal system contribute to mitochondrial pathology? Here, we reveal MN-targeted progressive lysosomal deficits accompanied by impaired autophagic degradation beginning at asymptomatic stages in fALS-linked hSOD1G93A mice. Lysosomal deficits result in accumulation of autophagic vacuoles engulfing damaged mitochondria along MN axons. Live imaging of spinal MNs from the adult disease mice demonstrates impaired dynein-driven retrograde transport of late endosomes (LEs). Expressing dynein-adaptor snapin reverses transport defects by competing with hSOD1G93A for binding dynein, thus rescuing autophagy-lysosomal deficits, enhancing mitochondria turnover, improving MN survival, and ameliorating the disease phenotype in hSOD1G93A mice. Our study provides a new mechanistic link for hSOD1G93A-mediated impairment of LE transport to autophagy-lysosome deficits and mitochondria pathology. Understanding these early pathological events benefits development of new therapeutic interventions for fALS-linked MN degeneration. PMID:26182418

  10. Neurons in Primary Motor Cortex Encode Hand Orientation in a Reach-to-Grasp Task.

    PubMed

    Ma, Chaolin; Ma, Xuan; Fan, Jing; He, Jiping

    2017-04-07

    It is disputed whether those neurons in the primary motor cortex (M1) that encode hand orientation constitute an independent channel for orientation control in reach-to-grasp behaviors. Here, we trained two monkeys to reach forward and grasp objects positioned in the frontal plane at different orientation angles, and simultaneously recorded the activity of M1 neurons. Among the 2235 neurons recorded in M1, we found that 18.7% had a high correlation exclusively with hand orientation, 15.9% with movement direction, and 29.5% with both movement direction and hand orientation. The distributions of neurons encoding hand orientation and those encoding movement direction were not uniform but coexisted in the same region. The trajectory of hand rotation was reproduced by the firing patterns of the orientation-related neurons independent of the hand reaching direction. These results suggest that hand orientation is an independent component for the control of reaching and grasping activity.

  11. Early motor neuron pool identity and muscle nerve trajectory defined by postmitotic restrictions in Nkx6.1 activity.

    PubMed

    De Marco Garcia, Natalia V; Jessell, Thomas M

    2008-01-24

    The fidelity with which spinal motor neurons innervate their limb target muscles helps to coordinate motor behavior, but the mechanisms that determine precise patterns of nerve-muscle connectivity remain obscure. We show that Nkx6 proteins, a set of Hox-regulated homeodomain transcription factors, are expressed by motor pools soon after motor neurons leave the cell cycle, before the formation of muscle nerve side branches in the limb. Using mouse genetics, we show that the status of Nkx6.1 expression in certain motor neuron pools regulates muscle nerve formation, and the pattern of innervation of individual muscles. Our findings provide genetic evidence that neurons within motor pools possess an early transcriptional identity that controls target muscle specificity.

  12. Electrophysiological Profiles of Induced Neurons Converted Directly from Adult Human Fibroblasts Indicate Incomplete Neuronal Conversion

    PubMed Central

    Koppensteiner, Peter; Boehm, Stefan

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The direct conversion of human fibroblasts to neuronal cells, termed human induced neuronal (hiN) cells, has great potential for future clinical advances. However, previous studies have not provided an in-depth analysis of electrophysiological properties of adult fibroblast-derived hiN cultures. We have examined the electrophysiological profile of hiN cells by measuring passive and active membrane properties, as well as spontaneous and evoked neurotransmission. We found that hiN cells exhibited passive membrane properties equivalent to perinatal rodent neurons. In addition, 30% of hiN cells were incapable of action potential (AP) generation and did not exhibit rectifying membrane currents, and none of the cells displayed firing patterns of typical glutamatergic pyramidal neurons. Finally, hiN cells exhibited neither spontaneous nor evoked neurotransmission. Our results suggest that current methods used to produce hiN cells provide preparations in which cells do not achieve the cellular properties of fully mature neurons, rendering these cells inadequate to investigate pathophysiological mechanisms. PMID:25437871

  13. Cell-type-specific miR-431 dysregulation in a motor neuron model of spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Wertz, Mary H; Winden, Kellen; Neveu, Pierre; Ng, Shi-Yan; Ercan, Ebru; Sahin, Mustafa

    2016-06-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal-recessive pediatric neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective loss of spinal motor neurons. It is caused by mutation in the survival of motor neuron 1, SMN1, gene and leads to loss of function of the full-length SMN protein. microRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs that are involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Prior studies have implicated miRNAs in the pathogenesis of motor neuron disease. We hypothesized that motor neuron-specific miRNA expression changes are involved in their selective vulnerability in SMA. Therefore, we sought to determine the effect of SMN loss on miRNAs and their target mRNAs in spinal motor neurons. We used microarray and RNAseq to profile both miRNA and mRNA expression in primary spinal motor neuron cultures after acute SMN knockdown. By integrating the miRNA:mRNA profiles, a number of dysregulated miRNAs were identified with enrichment in differentially expressed putative mRNA targets. miR-431 expression was highly increased, and a number of its putative mRNA targets were significantly downregulated in motor neurons after SMN loss. Further, we found that miR-431 regulates motor neuron neurite length by targeting several molecules previously identified to play a role in motor neuron axon outgrowth, including chondrolectin. Together, our findings indicate that cell-type-specific dysregulation of miR-431 plays a role in the SMA motor neuron phenotype.

  14. Altered mRNA Splicing in SMN-Depleted Motor Neuron-Like Cells

    PubMed Central

    Todd, A. Gary; Astroski, Jacob W.; Lin, Hai; Liu, Yunlong

    2016-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an intractable neurodegenerative disease afflicting 1 in 6–10,000 live births. One of the key functions of the SMN protein is regulation of spliceosome assembly. Reduced levels of the SMN protein that are observed in SMA have been shown to result in aberrant mRNA splicing. SMN-dependent mis-spliced transcripts in motor neurons may cause stresses that are particularly harmful and may serve as potential targets for the treatment of motor neuron disease or as biomarkers in the SMA patient population. We performed deep RNA sequencing using motor neuron-like NSC-34 cells to screen for SMN-dependent mRNA processing changes that occur following acute depletion of SMN. We identified SMN-dependent splicing changes, including an intron retention event that results in the production of a truncated Rit1 transcript. This intron-retained transcript is stable and is mis-spliced in spinal cord from symptomatic SMA mice. Constitutively active Rit1 ameliorated the neurite outgrowth defect in SMN depleted NSC-34 cells, while expression of the truncated protein product of the mis-spliced Rit1 transcript inhibited neurite extension. These results reveal new insights into the biological consequence of SMN-dependent splicing in motor neuron-like cells. PMID:27736905

  15. 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

  16. 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…

  17. Indices of free radical activity in the cerebrospinal fluid in motor neuron disease.

    PubMed Central

    Mitchell, J D; Jackson, M J; Pentland, B

    1987-01-01

    Indices of free-radical activity and lipid peroxidation were studied in cerebrospinal fluid samples obtained from 11 patients with motor neuron disease and 11 reference subjects. No differences were found between the two groups. The significance of this finding is discussed in relation to current views of the possible pathogenesis of this disease. PMID:3625217

  18. Altered Intracellular Milieu of ADAR2-Deficient Motor Neurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Yamashita, Takenari; Akamatsu, Megumi; Kwak, Shin

    2017-02-08

    Transactive response DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) pathology, and failure of A-to-I conversion (RNA editing) at the glutamine/arginine (Q/R) site of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptor subunit GluA2, are etiology-linked molecular abnormalities that concomitantly occur in the motor neurons of most patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 2 (ADAR2) specifically catalyzes GluA2 Q/R site-RNA editing. Furthermore, conditional ADAR2 knockout mice (AR2) exhibit a progressive ALS phenotype with TDP-43 pathology in the motor neurons, which is the most reliable pathological marker of ALS. Therefore, the evidence indicates that ADAR2 downregulation is a causative factor in ALS, and AR2 mice exhibit causative molecular changes that occur in ALS. We discuss the contributors to ADAR2 downregulation and TDP-43 pathology in AR2 mouse motor neurons. We describe mechanisms of exaggerated Ca(2+) influx amelioration via AMPA receptors, which is neuroprotective in ADAR2-deficient motor neurons with normalization of TDP-43 pathology in AR2 mice. Development of drugs to treat diseases requires appropriate animal models and a sensitive method of evaluating efficacy. Therefore, normalization of disrupted intracellular environments resulting from ADAR2 downregulation may be a therapeutic target for ALS. We discuss the development of targeted therapy for ALS using the AR2 mouse model.

  19. 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…

  20. Conversational Rate of a Non-Vocal Person with Motor Neurone Disease Using the 'TALK' System.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Todman, J.; Lewins, E.

    1996-01-01

    This study evaluated the use of TALK, a computer-based augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system, in the social communications of a nonvocal woman with motor neurone disease. She was able to achieve an average conversational rate of 42 words per minute (wpm) using TALK, compared with 2 to 10 wpm with other AAC systems using…

  1. 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.

  2. New Technologies in the Training of Young People with Severe Motor Neurone Disorders.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Escoin Homs, Jordi

    1993-01-01

    Reviews the potential use of computer technology for the education, training, and occupational placement of people with severe motor neurone disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy) based on experiences in a program in Spain. Highlights include computer literacy, computer-assisted teaching, quality of output, software development, synthesized speech, and…

  3. TDP-43 proteinopathy and motor neuron disease in chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    PubMed

    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

    2010-09-01

    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 43kd (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.

  4. Altered Intracellular Milieu of ADAR2-Deficient Motor Neurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Yamashita, Takenari; Akamatsu, Megumi; Kwak, Shin

    2017-01-01

    Transactive response DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) pathology, and failure of A-to-I conversion (RNA editing) at the glutamine/arginine (Q/R) site of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptor subunit GluA2, are etiology-linked molecular abnormalities that concomitantly occur in the motor neurons of most patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 2 (ADAR2) specifically catalyzes GluA2 Q/R site-RNA editing. Furthermore, conditional ADAR2 knockout mice (AR2) exhibit a progressive ALS phenotype with TDP-43 pathology in the motor neurons, which is the most reliable pathological marker of ALS. Therefore, the evidence indicates that ADAR2 downregulation is a causative factor in ALS, and AR2 mice exhibit causative molecular changes that occur in ALS. We discuss the contributors to ADAR2 downregulation and TDP-43 pathology in AR2 mouse motor neurons. We describe mechanisms of exaggerated Ca2+ influx amelioration via AMPA receptors, which is neuroprotective in ADAR2-deficient motor neurons with normalization of TDP-43 pathology in AR2 mice. Development of drugs to treat diseases requires appropriate animal models and a sensitive method of evaluating efficacy. Therefore, normalization of disrupted intracellular environments resulting from ADAR2 downregulation may be a therapeutic target for ALS. We discuss the development of targeted therapy for ALS using the AR2 mouse model. PMID:28208729

  5. White Matter Neurons in Young Adult and Aged Rhesus Monkey

    PubMed Central

    Mortazavi, Farzad; Wang, Xiyue; Rosene, Douglas L.; Rockland, Kathleen S.

    2016-01-01

    In humans and non-human primates (NHP), white matter neurons (WMNs) persist beyond early development. Their functional importance is largely unknown, but they have both corticothalamic and corticocortical connectivity and at least one subpopulation has been implicated in vascular regulation and sleep. Several other studies have reported that the density of WMNs in humans is altered in neuropathological or psychiatric conditions. The present investigation evaluates and compares the density of superficial and deep WMNs in frontal (FR), temporal (TE), and parietal (Par) association regions of four young adult and four aged male rhesus monkeys. A major aim was to determine whether there was age-related neuronal loss, as might be expected given the substantial age-related changes known to occur in the surrounding white matter environment. Neurons were visualized by immunocytochemistry for Neu-N in coronal tissue sections (30 μm thickness), and neuronal density was assessed by systematic random sampling. Per 0.16 mm2 sampling box, this yielded about 40 neurons in the superficial WM and 10 in the deep WM. Consistent with multiple studies of cell density in the cortical gray matter of normal brains, neither the superficial nor deep WM populations showed statistically significant age-related neuronal loss, although we observed a moderate decrease with age for the deep WMNs in the frontal region. Morphometric analyses, in contrast, showed significant age effects in soma size and circularity. In specific, superficial WMNs were larger in FR and Par WM regions of the young monkeys; but in the TE, these were larger in the older monkeys. An age effect was also observed for soma circularity: superficial WMNs were more circular in FR and Par of the older monkeys. This second, morphometric result raises the question of whether other age-related morphological, connectivity, or molecular changes occur in the WMNs. These could have multiple impacts, given the wide range of putative

  6. Histone Acetylation Inhibitors Promote Axon Growth in Adult DRG neurons

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Shen; Nazif, Kutaiba; Smith, Alexander; Baas, Peter W; Smith, George M

    2015-01-01

    Intrinsic mechanisms that guide damaged axons to regenerate following spinal cord injury remain poorly understood. Manipulation of posttranslational modifications of key proteins in mature neurons could re-invigorate growth machinery after injury. One such modification is acetylation, a reversible process controlled by two enzyme families acting in opposition, the Histone Deacetylases (HDACs) and the Histone Acetyl Transferases (HATs). While acetylated histones in the nucleus is associated with upregulation of growth promoting genes, de-acetylated tubulin in the axoplasm is associated with more labile microtubules, conducive to axon growth. In this study we investigated the effects of HAT inhibitors and HDAC inhibitors on cultured adult dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons. We found that inhibition of HATs, using Anacardic Acid or CPTH2, improved axon outgrowth, while inhibition of HDACs using TSA or Tubacin, inhibited axon growth. Furthermore, Anacardic Acid increased the number of axons able to cross an inhibitory chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) border. Histone acetylation, but not tubulin acetylation levels, was affected by HAT inhibitors, whereas tubulin acetylation levels were increased in the presence of HDAC inhibitor Tubacin. Although microtubule stabilizing drug taxol did not have an effect on the lengths of DRG axons, nocodazole decreased axon lengths. While the mechanistic basis will require future studies, our data show that inhibitors of HAT can augment axon growth in adult DRG neurons, with the potential of aiding axon growth over inhibitory substrates produced by the glial scar. PMID:25702820

  7. Inflammation regulates functional integration of neurons born in adult brain.

    PubMed

    Jakubs, Katherine; Bonde, Sara; Iosif, Robert E; Ekdahl, Christine T; Kokaia, Zaal; Kokaia, Merab; Lindvall, Olle

    2008-11-19

    Inflammation influences several steps of adult neurogenesis, but whether it regulates the functional integration of the new neurons is unknown. Here, we explored, using confocal microscopy and whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, whether a chronic inflammatory environment affects the morphological and electrophysiological properties of new dentate gyrus granule cells, labeled with a retroviral vector encoding green fluorescent protein. Rats were exposed to intrahippocampal injection of lipopolysaccharide, which gave rise to long-lasting microglia activation. Inflammation caused no changes in intrinsic membrane properties, location, dendritic arborization, or spine density and morphology of the new cells. Excitatory synaptic drive increased to the same extent in new and mature cells in the inflammatory environment, suggesting increased network activity in hippocampal neural circuitries of lipopolysaccharide-treated animals. In contrast, inhibitory synaptic drive was more enhanced by inflammation in the new cells. Also, larger clusters of the postsynaptic GABA(A) receptor scaffolding protein gephyrin were found on dendrites of new cells born in the inflammatory environment. We demonstrate for the first time that inflammation influences the functional integration of adult-born hippocampal neurons. Our data indicate a high degree of synaptic plasticity of the new neurons in the inflammatory environment, which enables them to respond to the increase in excitatory input with a compensatory upregulation of activity and efficacy at their afferent inhibitory synapses.

  8. Putamen neurons process both sensory and motor information during a complex task.

    PubMed

    Vicente, Ana F; Bermudez, Maria A; Romero, Maria Del Carmen; Perez, Rogelio; Gonzalez, Francisco

    2012-07-23

    The putamen has classically been considered to be primarily a motor structure. It is involved in a broad range of roles and its neurons have been postulated to function as pattern classifiers of behaviourally significant events. However, its specific role in motor and sensory processing is still unclear. For the purpose of better categorizing putamen neurons, we trained two rhesus monkeys to perform multisensory operant tasks by using complex stimuli such as short videoclips. Trials involved image or soundtrack or both. Some stimuli required a motor response associated to reward, whereas others did not require response and produced no reward. We found that neurons in the putamen showed pure visual responses, action-related activity, and reward responses. Insofar as action-related activity, preparation of movement, movement execution, and withholding of movement involved three different putamen neuron populations. Moreover, our data suggest an involvement of putamen neurons in processing primary rewards and visual events in a complex task, which may contribute to reinforcement learning through stimulus-reward association.

  9. Normal dendrite growth in Drosophila motor neurons requires the AP-1 transcription factor.

    PubMed

    Hartwig, Cortnie L; Worrell, Jason; Levine, Richard B; Ramaswami, Mani; Sanyal, Subhabrata

    2008-09-01

    During learning and memory formation, information flow through networks is regulated significantly through structural alterations in neurons. Dendrites, sites of signal integration, are key targets of activity-mediated modifications. Although local mechanisms of dendritic growth ensure synapse-specific changes, global mechanisms linking neural activity to nuclear gene expression may have profound influences on neural function. Fos, being an immediate-early gene, is ideally suited to be an initial transducer of neural activity, but a precise role for the AP-1 transcription factor in dendrite growth remains to be elucidated. Here we measure changes in the dendritic fields of identified Drosophila motor neurons in vivo and in primary culture to investigate the role of the immediate-early transcription factor AP-1 in regulating endogenous and activity-induced dendrite growth. Our data indicate that (a) increased neural excitability or depolarization stimulates dendrite growth, (b) AP-1 (a Fos, Jun hetero-dimer) is required for normal motor neuron dendritic growth during development and in response to activity induction, and (c) neuronal Fos protein levels are rapidly but transiently induced in motor neurons following neural activity. Taken together, these results show that AP-1 mediated transcription is important for dendrite growth, and that neural activity influences global dendritic growth through a gene-expression dependent mechanism gated by AP-1.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Lower Motor Control Modeled by Neuron With Fuzzy Synapses

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    seen in parkinsonism , chorea, cerebellar disorders, and spasticity. In most cases, muscles work in opposing pairs: one muscle opens or extends a joint...performances of predictor schemes based on neurons with fuzzy synapses of order P = 3 in tremor prediction applications. The rules of these particular...Chelaru, A. Kandel, I. Tofan, M. Irimia, “Fuzzy methods in tremor assessment, prediction, and rehabilitation”, Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-12

    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.

  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. Impairments in Motor Neurons, Interneurons and Astrocytes Contribute to Hyperexcitability in ALS: Underlying Mechanisms and Paths to Therapy.

    PubMed

    Do-Ha, Dzung; Buskila, Yossi; Ooi, Lezanne

    2017-02-03

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterised by the loss of motor neurons leading to progressive paralysis and death. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and nerve excitability tests, several clinical studies have identified that cortical and peripheral hyperexcitability are among the earliest pathologies observed in ALS patients. The changes in the electrophysiological properties of motor neurons have been identified in both sporadic and familial ALS patients, despite the diverse etiology of the disease. The mechanisms behind the change in neuronal signalling are not well understood, though current findings implicate intrinsic changes in motor neurons and dysfunction of cells critical in regulating motor neuronal excitability, such as astrocytes and interneurons. Alterations in ion channel expression and/or function in motor neurons has been associated with changes in cortical and peripheral nerve excitability. In addition to these intrinsic changes in motor neurons, inhibitory signalling through GABAergic interneurons is also impaired in ALS, likely contributing to increased neuronal excitability. Astrocytes have also recently been implicated in increasing neuronal excitability in ALS by failing to adequately regulate glutamate levels and extracellular K(+) concentration at the synaptic cleft. As hyperexcitability is a common and early feature of ALS, it offers a therapeutic and diagnostic target. Thus, understanding the underlying pathways and mechanisms leading to hyperexcitability in ALS offers crucial insight for future development of ALS treatments.

  16. 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

  17. Toward an Interdisciplinary Perspective: A Review of Adult Learning Frameworks and Theoretical Models of Motor Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Roessger, Kevin M.

    2012-01-01

    Researchers have yet to agree on an approach that supports how adults best learn novel motor skills in formal educational contexts. The literature fails to adequately discuss adult motor learning from the standpoint of adult education. Instead, the subject is addressed by other disciplines. This review attempts to integrate perspectives across…

  18. Conditional deletion of Ndufs4 in dopaminergic neurons promotes Parkinson’s disease-like non-motor symptoms without loss of dopamine neurons

    PubMed Central

    Choi, Won-Seok; Kim, Hyung-Wook; Tronche, François; Palmiter, Richard D.; Storm, Daniel R.; Xia, Zhengui

    2017-01-01

    Reduction of mitochondrial complex I activity is one of the major hypotheses for dopaminergic neuron death in Parkinson’s disease. However, reduction of complex I activity in all cells or selectively in dopaminergic neurons via conditional deletion of the Ndufs4 gene, a subunit of the mitochondrial complex I, does not cause dopaminergic neuron death or motor impairment. Here, we investigated the effect of reduced complex I activity on non-motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease using conditional knockout (cKO) mice in which Ndufs4 was selectively deleted in dopaminergic neurons (Ndufs4 cKO). This conditional deletion of Ndufs4, which reduces complex I activity in dopamine neurons, did not cause a significant loss of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), and there was no loss of dopaminergic neurites in striatum or amygdala. However, Ndufs4 cKO mice had a reduced amount of dopamine in the brain compared to control mice. Furthermore, even though motor behavior were not affected, Ndufs4 cKO mice showed non-motor symptoms experienced by many Parkinson’s disease patients including impaired cognitive function and increased anxiety-like behavior. These data suggest that mitochondrial complex I dysfunction in dopaminergic neurons promotes non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and reduces dopamine content in the absence of dopamine neuron loss. PMID:28327638

  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.

  20. Selective Gating of Neuronal Activity by Intrinsic Properties in Distinct Motor Rhythms

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Many neural circuits show fast reconfiguration following altered sensory or modulatory inputs to generate stereotyped outputs. In the motor circuit of Xenopus tadpoles, I study how certain voltage-dependent ionic currents affect firing thresholds and contribute to circuit reconfiguration to generate two distinct motor patterns, swimming and struggling. Firing thresholds of excitatory interneurons [i.e., descending interneurons (dINs)] in the swimming central pattern generator are raised by depolarization due to the inactivation of Na+ currents. In contrast, the thresholds of other types of neurons active in swimming or struggling are raised by hyperpolarization from the activation of fast transient K+ currents. The firing thresholds are then compared with the excitatory synaptic drives, which are revealed by blocking action potentials intracellularly using QX314 during swimming and struggling. During swimming, transient K+ currents lower neuronal excitability and gate out neurons with weak excitation, whereas their inactivation by strong excitation in other neurons increases excitability and enables fast synaptic potentials to drive reliable firing. During struggling, continuous sensory inputs lead to high levels of network excitation. This allows the inactivation of Na+ currents and suppression of dIN activity while inactivating transient K+ currents, recruiting neurons that are not active in swimming. Therefore, differential expression of these currents between neuron types can explain why synaptic strength does not predict firing reliability/intensity during swimming and struggling. These data show that intrinsic properties can override fast synaptic potentials, mediate circuit reconfiguration, and contribute to motor–pattern switching. PMID:26156983

  1. IPLEX administration improves motor neuron survival and ameliorates motor functions in a severe mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-25

    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.

  2. New neurons clear the path of astrocytic processes for their rapid migration in the adult brain.

    PubMed

    Kaneko, Naoko; Marín, Oscar; Koike, Masato; Hirota, Yuki; Uchiyama, Yasuo; Wu, Jane Y; Lu, Qiang; Tessier-Lavigne, Marc; Alvarez-Buylla, Arturo; Okano, Hideyuki; Rubenstein, John L R; Sawamoto, Kazunobu

    2010-07-29

    In the long-range neuronal migration of adult mammals, young neurons travel from the subventricular zone to the olfactory bulb, a long journey (millimeters to centimeters, depending on the species). How can these neurons migrate through the dense meshwork of neuronal and glial processes of the adult brain parenchyma? Previous studies indicate that young neurons achieve this by migrating in chains through astrocytic tunnels. Here, we report that young migrating neurons actively control the formation and maintenance of their own migration route. New neurons secrete the diffusible protein Slit1, whose receptor, Robo, is expressed on astrocytes. We show that the Slit-Robo pathway is required for morphologic and organizational changes in astrocytes that result in the formation and maintenance of the astrocytic tunnels. Through this neuron-glia interaction, the new neurons regulate the formation of the astrocytic meshwork that is needed to enable their rapid and directional migration in adult brain.

  3. The C. elegans NeuroD homolog cnd-1 functions in multiple aspects of motor neuron fate specification.

    PubMed

    Hallam, S; Singer, E; Waring, D; Jin, Y

    2000-10-01

    The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor NeuroD (Neurod1) has been implicated in neuronal fate determination, differentiation and survival. Here we report the expression and functional analysis of cnd-1, a C. elegans NeuroD homolog. cnd-1 expression was first detected in neuroblasts of the AB lineage in 14 cell embryos and maintained in many neuronal descendants of the AB lineage during embryogenesis, diminishing in most terminally differentiated neurons prior to hatching. Specifically, cnd-1 reporter genes were expressed in the precursors of the embryonic ventral cord motor neurons and their progeny. A loss-of-function mutant, cnd-1(ju29), exhibited multiple defects in the ventral cord motor neurons. First, the number of motor neurons was reduced, possibly caused by the premature withdrawal of the precursors from mitotic cycles. Second, the strict correlation between the fate of a motor neuron with respect to its lineage and position in the ventral cord was disrupted, as manifested by the variable expression pattern of motor neuron fate specific markers. Third, motor neurons also exhibited defects in terminal differentiation characteristics including axonal morphology and synaptic connectivity. Finally, the expression patterns of three neuronal type-specific transcription factors, unc-3, unc-4 and unc-30, were altered. Our data suggest that cnd-1 may specify the identity of ventral cord motor neurons both by maintaining the mitotic competence of their precursors and by modulating the expression of neuronal type-specific determination factors. cnd-1 appears to have combined the functions of several vertebrate neurogenic bHLH proteins and may represent an ancestral form of this protein family.

  4. Gamma motor neurons express distinct genetic markers at birth and require muscle spindle-derived GDNF for postnatal survival

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Gamma motor neurons (γ-MNs) selectively innervate muscle spindle intrafusal fibers and regulate their sensitivity to stretch. They constitute a distinct subpopulation that differs in morphology, physiology and connectivity from α-MNs, which innervate extrafusal muscle fibers and exert force. The mechanisms that control the differentiation of functionally distinct fusimotor neurons are unknown. Progress on this question has been limited by the absence of molecular markers to specifically distinguish and manipulate γ-MNs. Recently, it was reported that early embryonic γ-MN precursors are dependent on GDNF. Using this knowledge we characterized genetic strategies to label developing γ-MNs based on GDNF receptor expression, showed their strict dependence for survival on muscle spindle-derived GDNF and generated an animal model in which γ-MNs are selectively lost. Results In mice heterozygous for both the Hb9::GFP transgene and a tau-lacZ-labeled (TLZ) allele of the GDNF receptor Gfrα1, we demonstrated that small motor neurons with high Gfrα1-TLZ expression and lacking Hb9::GFP display structural and synaptic features of γ-MNs and are selectively lost in mutants lacking target muscle spindles. Loss of muscle spindles also results in the downregulation of Gfrα1 expression in some large diameter MNs, suggesting that spindle-derived factors may also influence populations of α-MNs with β-skeletofusimotor collaterals. These molecular markers can be used to identify γ-MNs from birth to the adult and to distinguish γ- from β-motor axons in the periphery. We also found that postnatal γ-MNs are also distinguished by low expression of the neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN). With these markers of γ-MN identity, we show after conditional elimination of GDNF from muscle spindles that the survival of γ-MNs is selectively dependent on spindle-derived GDNF during the first 2 weeks of postnatal development. Conclusion Neonatal γ-MNs display a unique molecular

  5. 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.

  6. Trophic effect of olmesartan, a novel AT1R antagonist, on spinal motor neurons in vitro and in vivo.

    PubMed

    Iwasaki, Yasuo; Ichikawa, Yasumitsu; Igarashi, Osamu; Kinoshita, Masao; Ikeda, Ken

    2002-07-01

    Olmesartan is a novel compound which has been shown to exhibit various neuropharmacological effects. For the purpose of clarifying the effect of Olmesartan on spinal motor neurons, we studied the following tests. We studied the effect in vitro of Olmesartan on neurite outgrowth and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity in primary explant cultures of ventral spinal cord (VSCC) of fetal rats. Olmesartan-treated VSCC, compared with control VSCC, had a significant neurite outgrowth and increased activity of ChAT. The effect was dose-related in neurite outgrowth. However, there was no relationship between activity of ChAT andgiven doses of Olmesartan. We examined in vivo the effect of Olmesartan on axotomized spinal motor neuron death in the rat spinal cord. After post-natal unilateral section of sciatic nerve, there was approximately a 50% survival of motor neurons in the fourth lumbar segment. In comparison with vehicle, intraperitoneal injection of Olmesartan for consecutive 14 days reduced spinal motor neuron death. There was no relationship between number of surviving neurons and doses of Olmesartan. These in vitro and in vivo studies showed that Olmesartan has a neurotrophic effect on spinal motor neurons. Our data suggest a potential therapeutic use of Olmesartan in treating diseases that involve degeneration and death of motor neurons, such as motor neuropathy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

  7. AMPA receptor activation causes preferential mitochondrial Ca²⁺ load and oxidative stress in motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Joshi, Dinesh C; Tewari, Bhanu P; Singh, Mahendra; Joshi, Preeti G; Joshi, Nanda B

    2015-08-07

    It is well established that motor neurons are highly vulnerable to glutamate induced excitotoxicity. The selective vulnerability of these neurons has been attributed to AMPA receptor mediated excessive rise in cytosolic calcium and consequent mitochondrial Ca(2+) loading. Earlier we have reported that in motor neurons a generic rise in [Ca(2+)]i does not always lead to mitochondrial Ca(2+) loading and membrane depolarization but it occurs upon AMPA receptor activation. The mechanism of such specific mitochondrial involvement upon AMPA receptor activation is not known. The present study examines the mitochondrial Ca(2+) regulation and oxidative stress in spinal cord neurons upon AMPA subtype of glutamate receptor activation. Stimulating the spinal neurons with AMPA exhibited a sharp rise in [Ca(2+)]m in both motor and other spinal neurons that was sustained up to the end of recording time of 30min. The rise in [Ca(2+)]m was substantially higher in motor neurons than in other spinal neurons which could be due to the differential mitochondrial homeostasis in two types of neurons. To examine this possibility, we measured AMPA induced [Ca(2+)]m loading in the presence of mitochondrial inhibitors. In both cell types the AMPA induced [Ca(2+)]m loading was blocked by mitochondrial calcium uniporter blocker ruthenium red. In motor neurons it was also inhibited substantially by CGP37157 and cyclosporine-A, the blockers of Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger and mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) respectively, whereas no effect of these agents was observed in other spinal neurons. Thus in motor neurons the Ca(2+) sequestration by mitochondria occurs through mitochondrial calcium uniporter as well as due to reversal of Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger, in contrast the latter pathway does not contribute in other spinal neurons. The ROS formation was inhibited by nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor L-NAME in both types of neurons, however the mitochondrial complex-I inhibitor rotenone

  8. Neuronal intrinsic barriers for axon regeneration in the adult CNS

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Fang; He, Zhigang

    2010-01-01

    A major reason for the devastating and permanent disabilities after spinal cord and other types of CNS injury is the failure of injured axons to regenerate and to re-build the functional circuits. Thus, a long-standing goal has been to develop strategies that could promote axon regeneration and restore functions. Recent studies revealed that simply removing extracellular inhibitory activities is insufficient for successful axon regeneration in the adult CNS. On the other side, evidence from different species and different models is accumulating to support the notion that diminished intrinsic regenerative ability of mature neurons is a major contributor to regeneration failure. This review will summarize the molecular mechanisms regulating intrinsic axon growth capacity in the adult CNS and discuss potential implications for therapeutic strategies. PMID:20418094

  9. 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.

  10. Electrophysiological recording from neurons controlling sensory and motor functions of the esophagus.

    PubMed

    Sengupta, J N

    2001-12-03

    contractions of the distal esophagus. This response undergoes inhibition in response to proximal distension. In addition, there is a second, nonrhythmic firing response that occurs both proximal and distal esophageal distension. This observation suggests that swallow-induced inhibition of the distal esophagus is controlled by the preganglionic motor neurons in the brain stem. Electrophysiological studies allow direct understanding of neuronal activities regulating esophageal functions. In vivo recording has an advantage for studying functional roles of the neurons in regulatory reflexes, whereas in vitro recording is useful for more accurate study of receptor pharmacology. Recordings from the central nervous system allow study of the neurotransmitters involved in neuronal function and the circuitry of different reflex mechanisms.

  11. Functional Dopaminergic Neurons in Substantia Nigra are Required for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation-Induced Motor Plasticity.

    PubMed

    Hsieh, Tsung-Hsun; Huang, Ying-Zu; Rotenberg, Alexander; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Chiang, Yung-Hsiao; Wang, Jia-Yi; Chen, Jia-Jin J

    2015-07-01

    Repetitive magnetic stimulation (rTMS), including theta burst stimulation (TBS), is capable of modulating motor cortical excitability through plasticity-like mechanisms and might have therapeutic potential for Parkinson's disease (PD). An animal model would be helpful for elucidating the mechanism of rTMS that remain unclear and controversial. Here, we have established a TMS model in rat and applied this model to study the impact of substantia nigra dopamine neuron on TBS-induced motor plasticity in PD rats. In parallel with human results, continuous TBS (cTBS) successfully suppressed motor evoked potentials (MEPs), while MEPs increased after intermittent TBS (iTBS) in healthy rats. We then tested the effect of iTBS in early and advanced 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned PD. Moreover, dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra and rotation behavior were assessed to correlate with the amount of iTBS-induced plasticity. In results, iTBS-induced potentiation was reduced in early PD rats and was absent in advanced PD rats. Such reduction in plasticity strongly correlated with the dopaminergic cell loss and the count of rotation in PD rats. In conclusion, we have established a TMS PD rat model. With the help of this model, we confirmed the loss of domaninergic neurons in substantia nigra resulting in reduced rTMS-induced motor plasticity in PD.

  12. Nonlinear integration of visual and haltere inputs in fly neck motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Huston, Stephen J; Krapp, Holger G

    2009-10-21

    Animals use information from multiple sensory organs to generate appropriate behavior. Exactly how these different sensory inputs are fused at the motor system is not well understood. Here we study how fly neck motor neurons integrate information from two well characterized sensory systems: visual information from the compound eye and gyroscopic information from the mechanosensory halteres. Extracellular recordings reveal that a subpopulation of neck motor neurons display "gating-like" behavior: they do not fire action potentials in response to visual stimuli alone but will do so if the halteres are coactivated. Intracellular recordings show that these motor neurons receive small, sustained subthreshold visual inputs in addition to larger inputs that are phase locked to haltere movements. Our results suggest that the nonlinear gating-like effect results from summation of these two inputs with the action potential threshold providing the nonlinearity. As a result of this summation, the sustained visual depolarization is transformed into a temporally structured train of action potentials synchronized to the haltere beating movements. This simple mechanism efficiently fuses two different sensory signals and may also explain the context-dependent effects of visual inputs on fly behavior.

  13. Nonnative SOD1 trimer is toxic to motor neurons in a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Fee, Lanette; Tao, Yazhong; Redler, Rachel L.; Fay, James M.; Zhang, Yuliang; Lv, Zhengjian; Mercer, Ian P.; Deshmukh, Mohanish; Lyubchenko, Yuri L.; Dokholyan, Nikolay V.

    2016-01-01

    Since the linking of mutations in the Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase gene (sod1) to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 1993, researchers have sought the connection between SOD1 and motor neuron death. Disease-linked mutations tend to destabilize the native dimeric structure of SOD1, and plaques containing misfolded and aggregated SOD1 have been found in the motor neurons of patients with ALS. Despite advances in understanding of ALS disease progression and SOD1 folding and stability, cytotoxic species and mechanisms remain unknown, greatly impeding the search for and design of therapeutic interventions. Here, we definitively link cytotoxicity associated with SOD1 aggregation in ALS to a nonnative trimeric SOD1 species. We develop methodology for the incorporation of low-resolution experimental data into simulations toward the structural modeling of metastable, multidomain aggregation intermediates. We apply this methodology to derive the structure of a SOD1 trimer, which we validate in vitro and in hybridized motor neurons. We show that SOD1 mutants designed to promote trimerization increase cell death. Further, we demonstrate that the cytotoxicity of the designed mutants correlates with trimer stability, providing a direct link between the presence of misfolded oligomers and neuron death. Identification of cytotoxic species is the first and critical step in elucidating the molecular etiology of ALS, and the ability to manipulate formation of these species will provide an avenue for the development of future therapeutic strategies. PMID:26719414

  14. GABA and 5-HT chitosan nanoparticles decrease striatal neuronal degeneration and motor deficits during liver injury.

    PubMed

    Shilpa, J; Paulose, C S

    2014-07-01

    The metabolic alterations resulted from hepatic injury and cell loss lead to synaptic defects and neurodegeneration that undoubtedly contribute motor deficits. In the present study, GABA and 5-HT chitosan nanoparticles mediated liver cell proliferation influenced by growth factor and cytokines and neuronal survival in corpus striatum of partially hepatectomised rats was evaluated. Liver cell proliferation was initiated and progressed by the combined effect of increased expression of growth factor, insulin like growth factor-1 and decreased expressions of cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-α and Akt-1. This was confirmed by the extent of incorporation of thymidine analogue, BrdU, in the DNA of rapidly dividing cells. Inappropriate influx of compounds to corpus striatum resulting from incomplete metabolism elevated GABAB and 5-HT2A neurotransmissions compared to those treated with nanoparticles. This directly influenced cyclic AMP response element binding protein, glial cell derived neurotrophic factor and brain derived neurotrophic factor in the corpus striatum that facilitate neurogenesis, neuronal survival, development, differentiation and neuroprotection. Motor deficits due to liver injury followed striatal neuronal damage were scored by grid walk and rotarod studies, which confirmed the regain of motor activity by GABA and 5-HT chitosan nanoparticle treatment. The present study revealed the therapeutic significance of GABA and 5-HT chitosan nanoparticles in liver based diseases and related striatal neuronal damage that influenced by GABA and 5-HT.

  15. Reduced motor asymmetry in older adults when manually tracing paths.

    PubMed

    Raw, Rachael K; Wilkie, Richard M; Culmer, Peter R; Mon-Williams, Mark

    2012-03-01

    Handedness, a preference towards using the right or left hand, is established in early childhood. Such specialisation allows a higher level of skill to be maintained in the preferred hand on specific tasks through continuous practice and performance. Hand asymmetries might be expected to increase with age because of the time spent practising with the preferred hand. However, neurophysiological work has suggested reduced hemispheric function lateralisation in the ageing brain, and behavioural studies have found reduced motor asymmetries in older adults (Przybyla et al., in Neurosci Lett 489:99-104, 2011). We therefore tested the predictions of behavioural change from reduced hemispheric function by measuring tracing performance (arguably one of the most lateralised of human behaviours) along paths of different thickness in a group of healthy young and older adults. Participants completed the task once with their preferred (right) hand and once with their non-preferred (left) hand. Movement time (MT) and shape accuracy (SA) were dependant variables. A composite measure of MT and SA, the speed accuracy cost function (SACF) provided an overall measure of motor performance. Older participants were slower and less accurate when task demands were high. Combined analyses of both hands revealed reduced asymmetries in MT and SACF in the older group. The young were significantly faster when tracing with their preferred hand, but older participants were equally slow with either hand. Our results are consistent with the growing literature reporting decreased hemispheric function lateralisation in the ageing brain.

  16. SMN expression is required in motor neurons to rescue electrophysiological deficits in the SMNΔ7 mouse model of SMA.

    PubMed

    McGovern, Vicki L; Iyer, Chitra C; Arnold, W David; Gombash, Sara E; Zaworski, Phillip G; Blatnik, Anton J; Foust, Kevin D; Burghes, Arthur H M

    2015-10-01

    Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the most frequent cause of hereditary infant mortality. SMA is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder that results from the loss of the Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) gene and retention of the SMN2 gene. The SMN2 gene produces an insufficient amount of full-length SMN protein that results in loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and subsequent muscle paralysis. Previously we have shown that overexpression of human SMN in neurons in the SMA mouse ameliorates the SMA phenotype while overexpression of human SMN in skeletal muscle had no effect. Using Cre recombinase, here we show that either deletion or replacement of Smn in motor neurons (ChAT-Cre) significantly alters the functional output of the motor unit as measured with compound muscle action potential and motor unit number estimation. However ChAT-Cre alone did not alter the survival of SMA mice by replacement and did not appreciably affect survival when used to deplete SMN. However replacement of Smn in both neurons and glia in addition to the motor neuron (Nestin-Cre and ChAT-Cre) resulted in the greatest improvement in survival of the mouse and in some instances complete rescue was achieved. These findings demonstrate that high expression of SMN in the motor neuron is both necessary and sufficient for proper function of the motor unit. Furthermore, in the mouse high expression of SMN in neurons and glia, in addition to motor neurons, has a major impact on survival.

  17. Non-Aggregating Tau Phosphorylation by Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 Contributes to Motor Neuron Degeneration in Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Nimrod; Feng, Zhihua; Edens, Brittany M.; Yang, Ben; Shi, Han; Sze, Christie C.; Hong, Benjamin Taige; Su, Susan C.; Cantu, Jorge A.; Topczewski, Jacek; Crawford, Thomas O.; Ko, Chien-Ping; Sumner, Charlotte J.; Ma, Long

    2015-01-01

    Mechanisms underlying motor neuron degeneration in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the leading inherited cause of infant mortality, remain largely unknown. Many studies have established the importance of hyperphosphorylation of the microtubule-associated protein tau in various neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. However, tau phosphorylation in SMA pathogenesis has yet to be investigated. Here we show that tau phosphorylation on serine 202 (S202) and threonine 205 (T205) is increased significantly in SMA motor neurons using two SMA mouse models and human SMA patient spinal cord samples. Interestingly, phosphorylated tau does not form aggregates in motor neurons or neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), even at late stages of SMA disease, distinguishing it from other tauopathies. Hyperphosphorylation of tau on S202 and T205 is mediated by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) in SMA disease condition, because tau phosphorylation at these sites is significantly reduced in Cdk5 knock-out mice; genetic knock-out of Cdk5 activating subunit p35 in an SMA mouse model also leads to reduced tau phosphorylation on S202 and T205 in the SMA;p35−/− compound mutant mice. In addition, expression of the phosphorylation-deficient tauS202A,T205A mutant alleviates motor neuron defects in a zebrafish SMA model in vivo and mouse motor neuron degeneration in culture, whereas expression of phosphorylation-mimetic tauS202E,T205E promotes motor neuron defects. More importantly, genetic knock-out of tau in SMA mice rescues synapse stripping on motor neurons, NMJ denervation, and motor neuron degeneration in vivo. Altogether, our findings suggest a novel mechanism for SMA pathogenesis in which hyperphosphorylation of non-aggregating tau by Cdk5 contributes to motor neuron degeneration. PMID:25878277

  18. Alterations in the motor neuron-Renshaw cell circuit in the Sod1G93A mouse model

    PubMed Central

    Wootz, Hanna; FitzSimons-Kantamneni, Eileen; Larhammar, Martin; Rotterman, Travis M.; Enjin, Anders; Patra, Kalicharan; Andre, Elodie; van Zundert, Brigitte; Kullander, Klas; Alvarez, Francisco J.

    2012-01-01

    Motor neurons become hyperexcitable during progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This abnormal firing behavior has been explained by changes in their membrane properties, but more recently it has been suggested that changes in premotor circuits may also contribute to this abnormal activity. The specific circuits that may be altered during development of ALS have not been investigated. Here we examined the Renshaw cell recurrent circuit that exerts inhibitory feedback control on motor neuron firing. Using two markers for Renshaw cells (calbindin and Chrna2 , cholinergic nicotinic receptor subunit alpha2), two general markers for motor neurons (NeuN and VAChT, vesicular acethylcholine transporter ) and two markers for fast motor neurons (Chondrolectin and Calca, calcitonin-related polypeptide alpha), we analyzed the survival and connectivity of these cells during disease progression in the Sod1G93A mouse model. Most calbindin-immunoreactive (IR) Renshaw cells survive to end-stage but downregulate postsynaptic Chrna2 in presymptomatic animals. In motor neurons, some markers are downregulated early (NeuN, VAChT, Chondrolectin) and others at end-stage(Calca). Early downregulation of presynaptic VAChT and Chrna2 was correlated with disconnection from Renshaw cells as well as major structural abnormalities of motor axon synapses inside the spinal cord. Renshaw cell synapses on motor neurons underwent more complex changes, including transitional sprouting preferentially over remaining NeuN-IR motor neurons. We conclude that the loss of presynaptic motor axon input on Renshaw cells occurs at early stages of ALS and disconnects the recurrent inhibitory circuit, presumably resulting in a diminished control of motor neuron firing. PMID:23172249

  19. Regulation of motor patterns by the central spike-initiation zone of a sensory neuron.

    PubMed

    Daur, Nelly; Nadim, Farzan; Stein, Wolfgang

    2009-09-01

    Sensory feedback from muscles and peripheral sensors acts to initiate, tune or reshape motor activity according to the state of the body. Yet, sensory neurons often show low levels of activity even in the absence of sensory input. Here we examine the functional role of spontaneous low-frequency activity of such a sensory neuron. The anterior gastric receptor (AGR) is a muscle-tendon organ in the crab stomatogastric nervous system whose phasic activity shapes the well-characterized gastric mill (chewing) and pyloric (filtering) motor rhythms. Phasic activity is driven by a spike-initiation zone near the innervated muscle. We demonstrate that AGR possesses a second spike-initiation zone, which is located spatially distant from the innervated muscle in a central section of the axon. This initiation zone generates tonic activity and is responsible for the spontaneous activity of AGR in vivo, but does not code sensory information. Rather, it is sensitive to the neuromodulator octopamine. A computational model indicates that the activity at this initiation zone is not caused by excitatory input from another neuron, but generated intrinsically. This tonic activity is functionally relevant, because it modifies the activity state of the gastric mill motor circuit and changes the pyloric rhythm. The sensory function of AGR is not impaired as phasic activity suppresses spiking at the central initiation zone. Our results thus demonstrate that sensory neurons are not mere reporters of sensory signals. Neuromodulators can elicit non-sensory coding activity in these neurons that shapes the state of the motor system.

  20. Robust neuronal dynamics in premotor cortex during motor planning

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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 mouse premotor cortex to probe robustness of persistent neural representations during motor planning. 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 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 premotor cortex, is a hallmark of robust control systems. Network models incorporating these principles show robustness that is consistent with data. PMID:27074502

  1. 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

  2. Excitability properties of motor axons in adults with cerebral palsy

    PubMed Central

    Klein, Cliff S.; Zhou, Ping; Marciniak, Christina

    2015-01-01

    Cerebral palsy (CP) is a permanent disorder caused by a lesion to the developing brain that significantly impairs motor function. The neurophysiological mechanisms underlying motor impairment are not well understood. Specifically, few have addressed whether motoneuron or peripheral axon properties are altered in CP, even though disruption of descending inputs to the spinal cord may cause them to change. In the present study, we have compared nerve excitability properties in seven adults with CP and fourteen healthy controls using threshold tracking techniques by stimulating the median nerve at the wrist and recording the compound muscle action potential over the abductor pollicis brevis. The excitability properties in the CP subjects were found to be abnormal. Early and late depolarizing and hyperpolarizing threshold electrotonus was significantly larger (i.e., fanning out), and resting current–threshold (I/V) slope was smaller, in CP compared to control. In addition resting threshold and rheobase tended to be larger in CP. According to a modeling analysis of the data, an increase in leakage current under or through the myelin sheath, i.e., the Barrett–Barrett conductance, combined with a slight hyperpolarization of the resting membrane potential, best explained the group differences in excitability properties. There was a trend for those with greater impairment in gross motor function to have more abnormal axon properties. The findings indicate plasticity of motor axon properties far removed from the site of the lesion. We suspect that this plasticity is caused by disruption of descending inputs to the motoneurons at an early age around the time of their injury. PMID:26089791

  3. SynCAM 1 improves survival of adult-born neurons by accelerating synapse maturation.

    PubMed

    Doengi, Michael; Krupp, Alexander J; Körber, Nils; Stein, Valentin

    2016-03-01

    The survival of adult-born dentate gyrus granule cells critically depends on their synaptic integration into the existing neuronal network. Excitatory inputs are thought to increase the survival rate of adult born neurons. Therefore, whether enhancing the stability of newly formed excitatory synapses by overexpressing the synaptic cell adhesion molecule SynCAM 1 improves the survival of adult-born neurons was tested. Here it is shown that overexpression of SynCAM 1 improves survival of adult-born neurons, but has no effect on the proliferation rate of precursor cells. As expected, overexpression of SynCAM 1 increased the synapse density in adult-born granule neurons. While adult-born granule neurons have very few functional synapses 15 days after birth, it was found that at this age adult-born neurons in SynCAM 1 overexpressing mice exhibited around three times more excitatory synapses, which were stronger than synapses of adult-born neurons of control littermates. In summary, the data indicated that additional SynCAM 1 accelerated synapse maturation, which improved the stability of newly formed synapses and in turn increased the likelihood of survival of adult-born neurons.

  4. GABA regulates synaptic integration of newly generated neurons in the adult brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, Shaoyu; Goh, Eyleen L. K.; Sailor, Kurt A.; Kitabatake, Yasuji; Ming, Guo-Li; Song, Hongjun

    2006-02-01

    Adult neurogenesis, the birth and integration of new neurons from adult neural stem cells, is a striking form of structural plasticity and highlights the regenerative capacity of the adult mammalian brain. Accumulating evidence suggests that neuronal activity regulates adult neurogenesis and that new neurons contribute to specific brain functions. The mechanism that regulates the integration of newly generated neurons into the pre-existing functional circuitry in the adult brain is unknown. Here we show that newborn granule cells in the dentate gyrus of the adult hippocampus are tonically activated by ambient GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) before being sequentially innervated by GABA- and glutamate-mediated synaptic inputs. GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult brain, initially exerts an excitatory action on newborn neurons owing to their high cytoplasmic chloride ion content. Conversion of GABA-induced depolarization (excitation) into hyperpolarization (inhibition) in newborn neurons leads to marked defects in their synapse formation and dendritic development in vivo. Our study identifies an essential role for GABA in the synaptic integration of newly generated neurons in the adult brain, and suggests an unexpected mechanism for activity-dependent regulation of adult neurogenesis, in which newborn neurons may sense neuronal network activity through tonic and phasic GABA activation.

  5. 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.

  6. [Neuronal mechanisms of motor signal transmission in thalamic Voi nucleus in spasmodic torticollis patients].

    PubMed

    Sedov, A S; Raeva, S N; Pavlenko, V B

    2014-01-01

    Neural mechanisms of motor signal transmission in ventrooral (Voi) nucleus of motor thalamus during the realization-of voluntary and involuntary abnormal (dystonic) movements in patients with spasmodic torticollis were investigated by means of microelectrode technique. The high reactivity of the cellular Voi elements to various functional (mainly motor) tests was proved. Analysis of neuronal activity showed: (1) the difference of neural mechanisms of motor signal transmission in the realization of voluntary movement with and without the involvement of the pathological axial neck muscles, as well as passive and abnormal involuntary dystonic movements; (2) significance of sensory component in the mechanisms of sensorimotor interactions during realization of voluntary and involuntary dystonic head and neck movements, causing the activation of the axial neck muscles; (3) important role of the rhythmic and synchronized neuronal activity in motor signal transmission during the realization of active and passive movements. Participation of Voi nucleus in pathological mechanisms of spasmodic torticollis was shown. The data obtained can be used for identificatiori of Voi thalamic nucleus during stereotactic neurosurgical operations in patients with spasmodic torticollis for selection the optimum destruction (stimulation) target and reduction of postoperative effects.

  7. Beadex function in the motor neurons is essential for female reproduction in Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Kairamkonda, Subhash; Nongthomba, Upendra

    2014-01-01

    Drosophila melanogaster has served as an excellent model system for understanding the neuronal circuits and molecular mechanisms regulating complex behaviors. The Drosophila female reproductive circuits, in particular, are well studied and can be used as a tool to understand the role of novel genes in neuronal function in general and female reproduction in particular. In the present study, the role of Beadex, a transcription co-activator, in Drosophila female reproduction was assessed by generation of mutant and knock down studies. Null allele of Beadex was generated by transposase induced excision of P-element present within an intron of Beadex gene. The mutant showed highly compromised reproductive abilities as evaluated by reduced fecundity and fertility, abnormal oviposition and more importantly, the failure of sperm release from storage organs. However, no defect was found in the overall ovariole development. Tissue specific, targeted knock down of Beadex indicated that its function in neurons is important for efficient female reproduction, since its neuronal knock down led to compromised female reproductive abilities, similar to Beadex null females. Further, different neuronal class specific knock down studies revealed that Beadex function is required in motor neurons for normal fecundity and fertility of females. Thus, the present study attributes a novel and essential role for Beadex in female reproduction through neurons.

  8. Intracisternal delivery of AAV9 results in oligodendrocyte and motor neuron transduction in the whole central nervous system of cats.

    PubMed

    Bucher, T; Dubreil, L; Colle, M-A; Maquigneau, M; Deniaud, J; Ledevin, M; Moullier, P; Joussemet, B

    2014-05-01

    Systemic and intracerebrospinal fluid delivery of adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) has been shown to achieve widespread gene delivery to the central nervous system (CNS). However, after systemic injection, the neurotropism of the vector has been reported to vary according to age at injection, with greater neuronal transduction in newborns and preferential glial cell tropism in adults. This difference has not yet been reported after cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) delivery. The present study analyzed both neuronal and glial cell transduction in the CNS of cats according to age of AAV9 CSF injection. In both newborns and young cats, administration of AAV9-GFP in the cisterna magna resulted in high levels of motor neurons (MNs) transduction from the cervical (84±5%) to the lumbar (99±1%) spinal cord, demonstrating that the remarkable tropism of AAV9 for MNs is not affected by age at CSF delivery. Surprisingly, numerous oligodendrocytes were also transduced in the brain and in the spinal cord white matter of young cats, but not of neonates, indicating that (i) age of CSF delivery influences the tropism of AAV9 for glial cells and (ii) AAV9 intracisternal delivery could be relevant for both the treatment of MN and demyelinating disorders.

  9. Assessment of motor neuron excitability in parkinsonian rigidity by the F wave.

    PubMed

    Abbruzzese, G; Vische, M; Ratto, S; Abbruzzese, M; Favale, E

    1985-01-01

    F-wave responses from abductor pollicis brevis muscle occurred more frequently, with a larger amplitude and longer duration in rigid parkinsonian patients than in age-matched normal controls. F-wave potentiation during voluntary contraction was impaired in parkinsonian patients. These findings suggest that spinal motor neuron excitability is enhanced in rigidity. F-wave amplitude was significantly correlated to the clinical evaluation of motor disability, so that the F wave may be regarded as a useful approach to quantitative evaluation of rigidity.

  10. Functional mapping of protein kinase A reveals its importance in adult Schistosoma mansoni motor activity.

    PubMed

    de Saram, Paulu S R; Ressurreição, Margarida; Davies, Angela J; Rollinson, David; Emery, Aidan M; Walker, Anthony J

    2013-01-01

    Cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase/protein kinase A (PKA) is the major transducer of cAMP signalling in eukaryotic cells. Here, using laser scanning confocal microscopy and 'smart' anti-phospho PKA antibodies that exclusively detect activated PKA, we provide a detailed in situ analysis of PKA signalling in intact adult Schistosoma mansoni, a causative agent of debilitating human intestinal schistosomiasis. In both adult male and female worms, activated PKA was consistently found associated with the tegument, oral and ventral suckers, oesophagus and somatic musculature. In addition, the seminal vesicle and gynaecophoric canal muscles of the male displayed activated PKA whereas in female worms activated PKA localized to the ootype wall, the ovary, and the uterus particularly around eggs during expulsion. Exposure of live worms to the PKA activator forskolin (50 µM) resulted in striking PKA activation in the central and peripheral nervous system including at nerve endings at/near the tegument surface. Such neuronal PKA activation was also observed without forskolin treatment, but only in a single batch of worms. In addition, PKA activation within the central and peripheral nervous systems visibly increased within 15 min of worm-pair separation when compared to that observed in closely coupled worm pairs. Finally, exposure of adult worms to forskolin induced hyperkinesias in a time and dose dependent manner with 100 µM forskolin significantly increasing the frequency of gross worm movements to 5.3 times that of control worms (P≤0.001). Collectively these data are consistent with PKA playing a central part in motor activity and neuronal communication, and possibly interplay between these two systems in S. mansoni. This study, the first to localize a protein kinase when exclusively in an activated state in adult S. mansoni, provides valuable insight into the intricacies of functional protein kinase signalling in the context of whole schistosome physiology.

  11. Direct conversion of patient fibroblasts demonstrates non-cell autonomous toxicity of astrocytes to motor neurons in familial and sporadic ALS

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Kathrin; Ferraiuolo, Laura; Miranda, Carlos J.; Likhite, Shibi; McElroy, Sohyun; Renusch, Samantha; Ditsworth, Dara; Lagier-Tourenne, Clotilde; Smith, Richard A.; Ravits, John; Burghes, Arthur H.; Shaw, Pamela J.; Cleveland, Don W.; Kolb, Stephen J.; Kaspar, Brian K.

    2014-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) causes motor neuron degeneration, paralysis, and death. Accurate disease modeling, identifying disease mechanisms, and developing therapeutics is urgently needed. We previously reported motor neuron toxicity through postmortem ALS spinal cord-derived astrocytes. However, these cells can only be harvested after death, and their expansion is limited. We now report a rapid, highly reproducible method to convert adult human fibroblasts from living ALS patients to induced neuronal progenitor cells and subsequent differentiation into astrocytes (i-astrocytes). Non-cell autonomous toxicity to motor neurons is found following coculture of i-astrocytes from familial ALS patients with mutation in superoxide dismutase or hexanucleotide expansion in C9orf72 (ORF 72 on chromosome 9) the two most frequent causes of ALS. Remarkably, i-astrocytes from sporadic ALS patients are as toxic as those with causative mutations, suggesting a common mechanism. Easy production and expansion of i-astrocytes now enables rapid disease modeling and high-throughput drug screening to alleviate astrocyte-derived toxicity. PMID:24379375

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Techniques for studying protein trafficking and molecular motors in neurons

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Shanxi; Arnold, Don B.

    2016-01-01

    This review focuses on techniques that facilitate the visualization of protein trafficking. In the mid-1990’s the cloning of GFP allowed fluorescently tagged proteins to be expressed in cells and then visualized in real time. This advance allowed a glimpse, for the first time, of the complex system within cells for distributing proteins. It quickly became apparent, however, that time-lapse sequences of exogenously expressed GFP-labeled proteins can be difficult to interpret. Reasons for this include the relatively low signal that comes from moving proteins and high background rates from stationary proteins and other sources, as well as the difficulty of identifying the origins and destinations of specific vesicular carriers. In this review we will examine a range of techniques that have overcome these issues to varying degrees and discuss the insights into protein trafficking that they have enabled. We will concentrate on neurons, as they are highly polarized and, thus, their trafficking systems tend to be accessible for study. PMID:26800506

  15. Membrane potential dye imaging of ventromedial hypothalamus neurons from adult mice to study glucose sensing.

    PubMed

    Vazirani, Reema P; Fioramonti, Xavier; Routh, Vanessa H

    2013-11-27

    Studies of neuronal activity are often performed using neurons from rodents less than 2 months of age due to the technical difficulties associated with increasing connective tissue and decreased neuronal viability that occur with age. Here, we describe a methodology for the dissociation of healthy hypothalamic neurons from adult-aged mice. The ability to study neurons from adult-aged mice allows the use of disease models that manifest at a later age and might be more developmentally accurate for certain studies. Fluorescence imaging of dissociated neurons can be used to study the activity of a population of neurons, as opposed to using electrophysiology to study a single neuron. This is particularly useful when studying a heterogeneous neuronal population in which the desired neuronal type is rare such as for hypothalamic glucose sensing neurons. We utilized membrane potential dye imaging of adult ventromedial hypothalamic neurons to study their responses to changes in extracellular glucose. Glucose sensing neurons are believed to play a role in central regulation of energy balance. The ability to study glucose sensing in adult rodents is particularly useful since the predominance of diseases related to dysfunctional energy balance (e.g. obesity) increase with age.

  16. Identification of genes influencing dendrite morphogenesis in developing peripheral sensory and central motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Ou, Yimiao; Chwalla, Barbara; Landgraf, Matthias; van Meyel, Donald J

    2008-01-01

    Background Developing neurons form dendritic trees with cell type-specific patterns of growth, branching and targeting. Dendrites of Drosophila peripheral sensory neurons have emerged as a premier genetic model, though the molecular mechanisms that underlie and regulate their morphogenesis remain incompletely understood. Still less is known about this process in central neurons and the extent to which central and peripheral dendrites share common organisational principles and molecular features. To address these issues, we have carried out two comparable gain-of-function screens for genes that influence dendrite morphologies in peripheral dendritic arborisation (da) neurons and central RP2 motor neurons. Results We found 35 unique loci that influenced da neuron dendrites, including five previously shown as required for da dendrite patterning. Several phenotypes were class-specific and many resembled those of known mutants, suggesting that genes identified in this study may converge with and extend known molecular pathways for dendrite development in da neurons. The second screen used a novel technique for cell-autonomous gene misexpression in RP2 motor neurons. We found 51 unique loci affecting RP2 dendrite morphology, 84% expressed in the central nervous system. The phenotypic classes from both screens demonstrate that gene misexpression can affect specific aspects of dendritic development, such as growth, branching and targeting. We demonstrate that these processes are genetically separable. Targeting phenotypes were specific to the RP2 screen, and we propose that dendrites in the central nervous system are targeted to territories defined by Cartesian co-ordinates along the antero-posterior and the medio-lateral axes of the central neuropile. Comparisons between the screens suggest that the dendrites of peripheral da and central RP2 neurons are shaped by regulatory programs that only partially overlap. We focused on one common candidate pathway controlled by the

  17. Effect of a nonspiking neuron on motor patterns of the leech.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez, Mariano J; Alvarez, Rodrigo J; Szczupak, Lidia

    2012-04-01

    Premotor and motoneurons could play regulatory roles in motor control. We have investigated the role of a premotor nonspiking (NS) neuron of the leech nervous system in two locomotive patterns: swimming and crawling. The NS neuron is coupled through rectifying electrical junctions to all the excitatory motoneurons examined. In addition, activation of motoneurons evokes chemically mediated inhibitory responses in NS. During swimming and crawling, the NS membrane potential (Vm(NS)) oscillated phase locked to the motor output. Hyperpolarization or depolarization of NS had no effect on swimming, but hyperpolarization of NS slowed down the crawling activity and decreased the motoneuron firing frequency. Depolarization of NS increased the motoneuron activity, and, at stages where the crawling pattern was fading, depolarization of NS reinstated it. Future work should determine if NS is actually a member of the central pattern generator or a regulatory element.

  18. Recommendations to support informal carers of people living with motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Bergin, Susan; Mockford, Carole

    2016-10-02

    Informal carers are increasingly providing specialist care at home for people living with motor neurone disease. The carers may experience significant deterioration in their quality of life as a result of the physical and psychological burden they undertake. This systematic review seeks to provide evidence-based recommendations to enable healthcare professionals to support carers appropriately to maintain their wellbeing and to continue providing care at home. Inclusion criteria included articles focusing on the experience of informal carers of people with motor neurone disease, particularly when reporting on their perspective of professional services. Twenty-three studies were included and a thematic analysis was undertaken. Four key recommendations were identified: providing support, early access to palliative care, information regarding availability of services, and offering carers training for using specialist equipment. These recommendations offer healthcare professionals practical, cost-effective suggestions to improve existing services.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Neuromuscular Ultrasound in the Assessment of Polyneuropathies and Motor Neuron Disease

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Jack; Cartwright, Michael S.

    2015-01-01

    Neuromuscular ultrasound is an emerging technology for the evaluation of conditions affecting nerve and muscle, with the majority of research focusing on focal neuropathies. Despite this focus, researchers have also investigated the ultrasonographic changes that occur in the nerves and muscles of those with more diffuse polyneuropathies and motor neuron diseases, and this review will detail the findings in these conditions. Specific findings are discussed in this paper, but general themes will also be presented and include the following: hereditary polyneuropathies show diffuse nerve enlargement whereas immune-mediated polyneuropathies show more patchy involvement; nerve enlargement is more profound in demyelinating than axonal polyneuropathies; and muscle changes in motor neuron diseases include heterogeneous increases in echogenicity, atrophy, readily detectable fasciculations, and increased subcutaneous tissue thickness. PMID:27035248

  2. Allosteric modulation by benzodiazepines of GABA-gated chloride channels of an identified insect motor neurone.

    PubMed

    Buckingham, Steven D; Higashino, Yoshiaki; Sattelle, David B

    2009-11-01

    The actions of benzodiazepines were studied on the responses to GABA of the fast coxal depressor (D(f)) motor neurone of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana. Ro5-4864, diazepam and clonazepam were investigated. Responses to GABA receptors were enhanced by both Ro5-4864 and diazepam, whereas clonazepam, a potent-positive allosteric modulator of human GABA(A) receptors, was ineffective on the native insect GABA receptors of the D(f) motor neurone. Thus, clear pharmacological differences exist between insect and mammalian native GABA-gated chloride channels with respect to the actions of benzodiazepines. The results enhance our understanding of invertebrate GABA-gated chloride channels which have recently proved important in (a) comparative studies aimed at identifying human allosteric drug-binding sites and (b) understanding the actions of compounds used to control ectoparasites and insect crop pests.

  3. BMP4 is a peripherally-derived factor for motor neurons and attenuates glutamate-induced excitotoxicity in vitro.

    PubMed

    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.

  4. 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

  5. Mitochondrial dysfunction and death in motor neurons exposed to the glutathione-depleting agent ethacrynic acid.

    PubMed

    Rizzardini, M; Lupi, M; Bernasconi, S; Mangolini, A; Cantoni, L

    2003-03-15

    This study investigated the mechanisms of toxicity of glutathione (GSH) depletion in one cell type, the motor neuron. Ethacrynic acid (EA) (100 microM) was added to immortalized mouse motor neurons (NSC-34) to deplete both cytosolic and mitochondrial glutathione rapidly. This caused a drop in GSH to 25% of the initial level in 1 h and complete loss in 4 h. This effect was accompanied by enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) with a peak after 2 h of exposure, and by signs of mitochondrial dysfunction such as a decrease in 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazoyl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) (30% less after 4 h). The increase in ROS and the MTT reduction were both EA concentration-dependent. Expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a marker of oxidative stress, also increased. The mitochondrial damage was monitored by measuring the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) from the uptake of rhodamine 123 into mitochondria. MMP dropped (20%) after only 1 h exposure to EA, and slowly continued to decline until 3 h, with a steep drop at 5 h (50% decrease), i.e. after the complete GSH loss. Quantification of DNA fragmentation by the TUNEL technique showed that the proportion of cells with fragmented nuclei rose from 10% after 5 h EA exposure to about 65% at 18 h. These results indicate that EA-induced GSH depletion rapidly impairs the mitochondrial function of motor neurons, and this precedes cell death. This experimental model of oxidative toxicity could be useful to study mechanisms of diseases like spinal cord injury (SCI) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), where motor neurons are the vulnerable population and oxidative stress has a pathogenic role.

  6. Development of Young Adults' Fine Motor Skills when Learning to Play Percussion Instruments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gzibovskis, Talis; Marnauza, Mara

    2012-01-01

    When playing percussion instruments, the main activity is done with the help of a motion or motor skills; to perform it, developed fine motor skills are necessary: the speed and precision of fingers, hands and palms. The aim of the research was to study and test the development of young adults' fine motor skills while learning to play percussion…

  7. How does environmental enrichment reduce repetitive motor behaviors? Neuronal activation and dendritic morphology in the indirect basal ganglia pathway of a mouse model.

    PubMed

    Bechard, Allison R; Cacodcar, Nadia; King, Michael A; Lewis, Mark H

    2016-02-15

    Repetitive motor behaviors are observed in many neurodevelopmental and neurological disorders (e.g., autism spectrum disorders, Tourette syndrome, fronto-temporal dementia). Despite their clinical importance, the neurobiology underlying these highly stereotyped, apparently functionless behaviors is poorly understood. Identification of mechanisms that mediate the development of repetitive behaviors will aid in the discovery of new therapeutic targets and treatment development. Using a deer mouse model, we have shown that decreased indirect basal ganglia pathway activity is associated with high levels of repetitive behavior. Environmental enrichment (EE) markedly attenuates the development of such aberrant behaviors in mice, although mechanisms driving this effect are unknown. We hypothesized that EE would reduce repetitive motor behaviors by increasing indirect basal ganglia pathway function. We assessed neuronal activation and dendritic spine density in basal ganglia of adult deer mice reared in EE and standard housing. Significant increases in neuronal activation and dendritic spine densities were observed only in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and globus pallidus (GP), and only for those mice that exhibited an EE-induced decrease in repetitive motor behavior. As the STN and GP lie within the indirect pathway, these data suggest that EE-induced attenuation of repetitive motor behaviors is associated with increased functional activation of the indirect basal ganglia pathway. These results are consistent with our other findings highlighting the importance of the indirect pathway in mediating repetitive motor behaviors.

  8. How does environmental enrichment reduce repetitive motor behaviors? Neuronal activation and dendritic morphology in the indirect basal ganglia pathway of a mouse model

    PubMed Central

    Bechard, Allison R.; Cacodcar, Nadia; King, Michael A.; Lewis, Mark H.

    2015-01-01

    Repetitive motor behaviors are observed in many neurodevelopmental and neurological disorders (e.g. autism spectrum disorders, Tourette syndrome, fronto-temporal dementia). Despite their clinical importance, the neurobiology underlying these highly stereotyped, apparently functionless behaviors is poorly understood. Identification of mechanisms that mediate the development of repetitive behaviors will aid in the discovery of new therapeutic targets and treatment development. Using a deer mouse model, we have shown that decreased indirect basal ganglia pathway activity is associated with high levels of repetitive behavior. Environmental enrichment (EE) markedly attenuates the development of such aberrant behaviors in mice, although mechanisms driving this effect are unknown. We hypothesized that EE would reduce repetitive motor behaviors by increasing indirect basal ganglia pathway function. We assessed neuronal activation and dendritic spine density in basal ganglia of adult deer mice reared in EE and standard housing. Significant increases in neuronal activation and dendritic spine densities were observed only in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and globus pallidus (GP), and only for those mice that exhibited an EE-induced decrease in repetitive motor behavior. As the STN and GP lie within the indirect pathway, these data suggest that EE-induced attenuation of repetitive motor behaviors is associated with increased functional activation of the indirect basal ganglia pathway. These results are consistent with our other findings highlighting the importance of the indirect pathway in mediating repetitive motor behaviors. PMID:26620495

  9. 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

  10. Astrocytes show reduced support of motor neurons with aging that is accelerated in a rodent model of ALS.

    PubMed

    Das, Melanie M; Svendsen, Clive N

    2015-02-01

    Astrocytes play a crucial role in supporting motor neurons in health and disease. However, there have been few attempts to understand how aging may influence this effect. Here, we report that rat astrocytes show an age-dependent senescence phenotype and a significant reduction in their ability to support motor neurons. In a rodent model of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) overexpressing mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), the rate of astrocytes acquiring a senescent phenotype is accelerated and they subsequently provide less support to motor neurons. This can be partially reversed by glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Replacing aging astrocytes with young ones producing GDNF may therefore have a significant survival promoting affect on aging motor neurons and those lost through diseases such as ALS.

  11. Known and unexpected constraints evoke different kinematic, muscle, and motor cortical neuron responses during locomotion.

    PubMed

    Stout, Erik E; Sirota, Mikhail G; Beloozerova, Irina N

    2015-11-01

    During navigation through complex natural environments, people and animals must adapt their movements when the environment changes. The neural mechanisms of such adaptations are poorly understood, especially with respect to constraints that are unexpected and must be adapted to quickly. In this study, we recorded forelimb-related kinematics, muscle activity, and the activity of motor cortical neurons in cats walking along a raised horizontal ladder, a complex locomotion task requiring accurate limb placement. One of the crosspieces was motorized, and displaced before the cat stepped on the ladder or at different points along the cat's progression over the ladder, either towards or away from the cat. We found that, when the crosspiece was displaced before the cat stepped onto the ladder, the kinematic modifications were complex and involved all forelimb joints. When the crosspiece displaced unexpectedly while the cat was on the ladder, the kinematic modifications were minimalistic and primarily involved distal joints. The activity of M. triceps and M. extensor digitorum communis differed based on the direction of displacement. Out of 151 neurons tested, 69% responded to at least one condition; however, neurons were significantly more likely to respond when crosspiece displacement was unexpected. Most often they responded during the swing phase. These results suggest that different neural mechanisms and motor control strategies are used to overcome constraints for locomotor movements depending on whether they are known or emerge unexpectedly.

  12. Accuracy of regenerating motor neurons: influence of diffusion in denervated nerve.

    PubMed

    Madison, R D; Robinson, G A

    2014-07-25

    Following injury to a peripheral nerve the denervated distal nerve segment undergoes remarkable changes including loss of the blood-nerve barrier, Schwann cell proliferation, macrophage invasion, and the production of many cytokines and neurotrophic factors. The aggregate consequence of such changes is that the denervated nerve becomes a permissive and even preferred target for regenerating axons from the proximal nerve segment. The possible role that an original end-organ target (e.g. muscle) may play in this phenomenon during the regeneration period is largely unexplored. We used the rat femoral nerve as an in vivo model to begin to address this question. We also examined the effects of disrupting communication with muscle in terms of accuracy of regenerating motor neurons as judged by their ability to correctly project to their original terminal nerve branch. Our results demonstrate that the accuracy of regenerating motor neurons is dependent upon the denervated nerve segment remaining in uninterrupted continuity with muscle. We hypothesized that this influence of muscle on the denervated nerve might be via diffusion-driven movement of biomolecules or the active axonal transport that continues in severed axons for several days in the rat, so we devised experiments to separate these two possibilities. Our data show that disrupting ongoing diffusion-driven movement in a denervated nerve significantly reduces the accuracy of regenerating motor neurons.

  13. Reversible disruption of dynactin 1-mediated retrograde axonal transport in polyglutamine-induced motor neuron degeneration.

    PubMed

    Katsuno, Masahisa; Adachi, Hiroaki; Minamiyama, Makoto; Waza, Masahiro; Tokui, Keisuke; Banno, Haruhiko; Suzuki, Keisuke; Onoda, Yu; Tanaka, Fumiaki; Doyu, Manabu; Sobue, Gen

    2006-11-22

    Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disease caused by an expansion of a trinucleotide CAG repeat encoding the polyglutamine tract in the androgen receptor (AR) gene. To elucidate the pathogenesis of polyglutamine-mediated motor neuron dysfunction, we investigated histopathological and biological alterations in a transgenic mouse model of SBMA carrying human pathogenic AR. In affected mice, neurofilaments and synaptophysin accumulated at the distal motor axon. A similar intramuscular accumulation of neurofilament was detected in the skeletal muscle of SBMA patients. Fluoro-gold labeling and sciatic nerve ligation demonstrated an impaired retrograde axonal transport in the transgenic mice. The mRNA level of dynactin 1, an axon motor for retrograde transport, was significantly reduced in the SBMA mice resulting from pathogenic AR-induced transcriptional dysregulation. These pathological events were observed before the onset of neurological symptoms, but were reversed by castration, which prevents nuclear accumulation of pathogenic AR. Overexpression of dynactin 1 mitigated neuronal toxicity of the pathogenic AR in a cell culture model of SBMA. These observations indicate that polyglutamine-dependent transcriptional dysregulation of dynactin 1 plays a crucial role in the reversible neuronal dysfunction in the early stage of SBMA.

  14. Small GSK-3 Inhibitor Shows Efficacy in a Motor Neuron Disease Murine Model Modulating Autophagy

    PubMed Central

    de Munck, Estefanía; Palomo, Valle; Muñoz-Sáez, Emma; Perez, Daniel I.; Gómez-Miguel, Begoña; Solas, M. Teresa; Gil, Carmen; Martínez, Ana; Arahuetes, Rosa M.

    2016-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron degenerative disease that has no effective treatment up to date. Drug discovery tasks have been hampered due to the lack of knowledge in its molecular etiology together with the limited animal models for research. Recently, a motor neuron disease animal model has been developed using β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (L-BMAA), a neurotoxic amino acid related to the appearing of ALS. In the present work, the neuroprotective role of VP2.51, a small heterocyclic GSK-3 inhibitor, is analysed in this novel murine model together with the analysis of autophagy. VP2.51 daily administration for two weeks, starting the first day after L-BMAA treatment, leads to total recovery of neurological symptoms and prevents the activation of autophagic processes in rats. These results show that the L-BMAA murine model can be used to test the efficacy of new drugs. In addition, the results confirm the therapeutic potential of GSK-3 inhibitors, and specially VP2.51, for the disease-modifying future treatment of motor neuron disorders like ALS. PMID:27631495

  15. A Screen for Regulators of Survival of Motor Neuron Protein Levels

    PubMed Central

    Makhortova, Nina R.; Hayhurst, Monica; Cerqueira, Antonio; Sinor-Anderson, Amy D.; Zhao, Wen-Ning; Heiser, Patrick W.; Arvanites, Anthony C.; Davidow, Lance S.; Waldon, Zachary O.; Steen, Judith A.; Lam, Kelvin; Ngo, Hien D.; Rubin, Lee L.

    2011-01-01

    The motor neuron disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) results from mutations that lead to low levels of the ubiquitously expressed protein Survival of Motor Neuron (SMN). Ever-increasing data suggest that therapeutics that elevate SMN may be effective in treating SMA. We executed an image-based screen of annotated chemical libraries and discovered multiple classes of compounds that were able to increase cellular SMN. Among the most important was the RTK/PI3K/AKT/GSK-3 signaling cascade. Chemical inhibitors of GSK-3, as well as shRNAs directed against this target, elevate SMN levels primarily by stabilizing the protein. Of particular significance is that GSK-3 chemical inhibitors were also effective in motor neurons, not only in elevating SMN levels, but also in blocking the death that was produced when SMN was acutely reduced by a SMN-specific shRNA. Thus, we have established a screen capable of detecting drug-like compounds that correct the main phenotypic change that underlies SMA. PMID:21685895

  16. Small GSK-3 Inhibitor Shows Efficacy in a Motor Neuron Disease Murine Model Modulating Autophagy.

    PubMed

    de Munck, Estefanía; Palomo, Valle; Muñoz-Sáez, Emma; Perez, Daniel I; Gómez-Miguel, Begoña; Solas, M Teresa; Gil, Carmen; Martínez, Ana; Arahuetes, Rosa M

    2016-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron degenerative disease that has no effective treatment up to date. Drug discovery tasks have been hampered due to the lack of knowledge in its molecular etiology together with the limited animal models for research. Recently, a motor neuron disease animal model has been developed using β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (L-BMAA), a neurotoxic amino acid related to the appearing of ALS. In the present work, the neuroprotective role of VP2.51, a small heterocyclic GSK-3 inhibitor, is analysed in this novel murine model together with the analysis of autophagy. VP2.51 daily administration for two weeks, starting the first day after L-BMAA treatment, leads to total recovery of neurological symptoms and prevents the activation of autophagic processes in rats. These results show that the L-BMAA murine model can be used to test the efficacy of new drugs. In addition, the results confirm the therapeutic potential of GSK-3 inhibitors, and specially VP2.51, for the disease-modifying future treatment of motor neuron disorders like ALS.

  17. 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.

  18. Motor Control Test Responses to Balance Perturbations in Adults with an Intellectual Disability

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hale, Leigh; Miller, Rebekah; Barach, Alice; Skinner, Margot; Gray, Andrew

    2009-01-01

    Background: The aims of this small exploratory study were to determine (1) whether adults with intellectual disability who had a recent history of falling had slower motor responses to postural perturbations than a sample of adults without disability when measured with the Motor Control Test (MCT) and (2) to identify any learning effects…

  19. Sleep benefits consolidation of visuo-motor adaptation learning in older adults.

    PubMed

    Mantua, Janna; Baran, Bengi; Spencer, Rebecca M C

    2016-02-01

    Sleep is beneficial for performance across a range of memory tasks in young adults, but whether memories are similarly consolidated in older adults is less clear. Performance benefits have been observed following sleep in older adults for declarative learning tasks, but this benefit may be reduced for non-declarative, motor skill learning tasks. To date, studies of sleep-dependent consolidation of motor learning in older adults are limited to motor sequence tasks. To examine whether reduced sleep-dependent consolidation in older adults is generalizable to other forms of motor skill learning, we examined performance changes over intervals of sleep and wake in young (n = 62) and older adults (n = 61) using a mirror-tracing task, which assesses visuo-motor adaptation learning. Participants learned the task either in the morning or in evening, and performance was assessed following a 12-h interval containing overnight sleep or daytime wake. Contrary to our prediction, both young adults and older adults exhibited sleep-dependent gains in visuo-motor adaptation. There was a correlation between performance improvement over sleep and percent of the night in non-REM stage 2 sleep. These results indicate that motor skill consolidation remains intact with increasing age although this relationship may be limited to specific forms of motor skill learning.

  20. 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

  1. Transplantation of embryonic motor neurons into peripheral nerve combined with functional electrical stimulation restores functional muscle activity in the rat sciatic nerve transection model.

    PubMed

    Kurimoto, Shigeru; Kato, Shuichi; Nakano, Tomonori; Yamamoto, Michiro; Takanobu, Nishizuka; Hirata, Hitoshi

    2016-10-01

    Reinnervation of denervated muscle by motor neurons transplanted into the peripheral nerve may provide the potential to excite muscles artificially with functional electrical stimulation (FES). Here we investigated whether transplantation of embryonic motor neurons into peripheral nerve combined with FES restored functional muscle activity in adult Fischer 344 rats after transection of the sciatic nerve. One week after sciatic nerve transection, cell culture medium containing (cell transplantation group, n = 6) or lacking (surgical control group, n = 6) dissociated embryonic spinal neurons was injected into the distal stump of the tibial and peroneal nerves. Electrophysiological and tissue analyses were performed in the cell transplantation and surgical control groups 12 weeks after transplantation, as well as a in naïve control group (n = 6) that received no surgery. In the cell transplantation group, ankle angle was measured during gait, with and without FES of the peroneal nerve. Ankle angle at mid-swing was more flexed during gait with FES (26.6 ± 8.7°) than gait without FES (51.4 ± 12.8°, p = 0.011), indicating that transplantated motor neurons in conjunction with FES restored ankle flexion in gait, even though no neural connection between central nervous system and muscle was present. These results indicate that transplantation of embryonic motor neurons into peripheral nerve combined with FES can provide a novel treatment strategy for paralysed muscles. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  2. [The neuronal level of motor activity: determination of motor cortex excitability by TMS].

    PubMed

    Eichhammer, Peter; Langguth, Berthold; Müller, Jürgen; Hajak, Göran

    2005-04-01

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation as mapping method offers the possibility to measure aspects of motor cortex excitability painlessly and non-invasively. Using this neurophysiological tool, new insights into the effects of central-acting drugs are possible. Particularly striking seems to be the potential of this approach to gain new insights into neurobiological processes associated with neuropsychiatric diseases like schizophrenia or major depression. In combination with genetic aspects, TMS is able to bridge the gap between molecular research and clinical approach.

  3. [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.

  4. 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

  5. Anti-Excitotoxic and Antioxidant TGF-BETA Family Neurotropic Factors: In Vitro Screening Models of Motor Neuron Degeneration

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2001-07-01

    acid, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and chloride channeiblocker, caused Qil ae Sent iza tin; Q ipflSeff Syte xIS is coneated in interneurons ...or b) PDC, a than CNTF, NGF, BDNF , and IGF-I for motor neuron survival, disorder with parkinsonian features including rigidity and’bradykinesia...ucsd.edu. 638.9 638.10 GDNF AND BDNF IN CEREBROSPINAL FLUID FROM NEUROGFLAMENT SIDE-ARMS ARE PHOSPHORYLATED BY MULTIPLE PATIENTS WITH MOTOR NEURON

  6. Rabies virus envelope glycoprotein targets lentiviral vectors to the axonal retrograde pathway in motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Hislop, James N; Islam, Tarin A; Eleftheriadou, Ioanna; Carpentier, David C J; Trabalza, Antonio; Parkinson, Michael; Schiavo, Giampietro; Mazarakis, Nicholas D

    2014-06-06

    Rabies pseudotyped lentiviral vectors have great potential in gene therapy, not least because of their ability to transduce neurons following their distal axonal application. However, very little is known about the molecular processes that underlie their retrograde transport and cell transduction. Using multiple labeling techniques and confocal microscopy, we demonstrated that pseudotyping with rabies virus envelope glycoprotein (RV-G) enabled the axonal retrograde transport of two distinct subtypes of lentiviral vector in motor neuron cultures. Analysis of this process revealed that these vectors trafficked through Rab5-positive endosomes and accumulated within a non-acidic Rab7 compartment. RV-G pseudotyped vectors were co-transported with both the tetanus neurotoxin-binding fragment and the membrane proteins thought to mediate rabies virus endocytosis (neural cell adhesion molecule, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, and p75 neurotrophin receptor), thus demonstrating that pseudotyping with RV-G targets lentiviral vectors for transport along the same pathway exploited by several toxins and viruses. Using motor neurons cultured in compartmentalized chambers, we demonstrated that axonal retrograde transport of these vectors was rapid and efficient; however, it was not able to transduce the targeted neurons efficiently, suggesting that impairment in processes occurring after arrival of the viral vector in the soma is responsible for the low transduction efficiency seen in vivo, which suggests a novel area for improvement of gene therapy vectors.

  7. Activity Parameters of Subthalamic Nucleus Neurons Selectively Predict Motor Symptom Severity in Parkinson's Disease

    PubMed Central

    Gulberti, Alessandro; Zittel, Simone; Tudor Jones, Adam A.; Fickel, Ulrich; Münchau, Alexander; Köppen, Johannes A.; Gerloff, Christian; Westphal, Manfred; Buhmann, Carsten; Hamel, Wolfgang; Engel, Andreas K.

    2014-01-01

    Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous disorder that leads to variable expression of several different motor symptoms. While changes in firing rate, pattern, and oscillation of basal ganglia neurons have been observed in PD patients and experimental animals, there is limited evidence linking them to specific motor symptoms. Here we examined this relationship using extracellular recordings of subthalamic nucleus neurons from 19 PD patients undergoing surgery for deep brain stimulation. For each patient, ≥10 single units and/or multi-units were recorded in the OFF medication state. We correlated the proportion of neurons displaying different activities with preoperative Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale subscores (OFF medication). The mean spectral power at sub-beta frequencies and percentage of units oscillating at beta frequencies were positively correlated with the axial and limb rigidity scores, respectively. The percentage of units oscillating at gamma frequency was negatively correlated with the bradykinesia scores. The mean intraburst rate was positively correlated with both bradykinesia and axial scores, while the related ratio of interspike intervals below/above 10 ms was positively correlated with these symptoms and limb rigidity. None of the activity parameters correlated with tremor. The grand average of all the significantly correlated subthalamic nucleus activities accounted for >60% of the variance of the combined bradykinetic-rigid and axial scores. Our results demonstrate that the occurrence of alterations in the rate and pattern of basal ganglia neurons could partly underlie the variability in parkinsonian phenotype. PMID:24790198

  8. Activity parameters of subthalamic nucleus neurons selectively predict motor symptom severity in Parkinson's disease.

    PubMed

    Sharott, Andrew; Gulberti, Alessandro; Zittel, Simone; Tudor Jones, Adam A; Fickel, Ulrich; Münchau, Alexander; Köppen, Johannes A; Gerloff, Christian; Westphal, Manfred; Buhmann, Carsten; Hamel, Wolfgang; Engel, Andreas K; Moll, Christian K E

    2014-04-30

    Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous disorder that leads to variable expression of several different motor symptoms. While changes in firing rate, pattern, and oscillation of basal ganglia neurons have been observed in PD patients and experimental animals, there is limited evidence linking them to specific motor symptoms. Here we examined this relationship using extracellular recordings of subthalamic nucleus neurons from 19 PD patients undergoing surgery for deep brain stimulation. For each patient, ≥ 10 single units and/or multi-units were recorded in the OFF medication state. We correlated the proportion of neurons displaying different activities with preoperative Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale subscores (OFF medication). The mean spectral power at sub-beta frequencies and percentage of units oscillating at beta frequencies were positively correlated with the axial and limb rigidity scores, respectively. The percentage of units oscillating at gamma frequency was negatively correlated with the bradykinesia scores. The mean intraburst rate was positively correlated with both bradykinesia and axial scores, while the related ratio of interspike intervals below/above 10 ms was positively correlated with these symptoms and limb rigidity. None of the activity parameters correlated with tremor. The grand average of all the significantly correlated subthalamic nucleus activities accounted for >60% of the variance of the combined bradykinetic-rigid and axial scores. Our results demonstrate that the occurrence of alterations in the rate and pattern of basal ganglia neurons could partly underlie the variability in parkinsonian phenotype.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Older adults learn less, but still reduce metabolic cost, during motor adaptation.

    PubMed

    Huang, Helen J; Ahmed, Alaa A

    2014-01-01

    The ability to learn new movements and dynamics is important for maintaining independence with advancing age. Age-related sensorimotor changes and increased muscle coactivation likely alter the trial-and-error-based process of adapting to new movement demands (motor adaptation). Here, we asked, to what extent is motor adaptation to novel dynamics maintained in older adults (≥65 yr)? We hypothesized that older adults would adapt to the novel dynamics less well than young adults. Because older adults often use muscle coactivation, we expected older adults to use greater muscle coactivation during motor adaptation than young adults. Nevertheless, we predicted that older adults would reduce muscle activity and metabolic cost with motor adaptation, similar to young adults. Seated older (n = 11, 73.8 ± 5.6 yr) and young (n = 15, 23.8 ± 4.7 yr) adults made targeted reaching movements while grasping a robotic arm. We measured their metabolic rate continuously via expired gas analysis. A force field was used to add novel dynamics. Older adults had greater movement deviations and compensated for just 65% of the novel dynamics compared with 84% in young adults. As expected, older adults used greater muscle coactivation than young adults. Last, older adults reduced muscle activity with motor adaptation and had consistent reductions in metabolic cost later during motor adaptation, similar to young adults. These results suggest that despite increased muscle coactivation, older adults can adapt to the novel dynamics, albeit less accurately. These results also suggest that reductions in metabolic cost may be a fundamental feature of motor adaptation.

  12. Older adults learn less, but still reduce metabolic cost, during motor adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Helen J.

    2013-01-01

    The ability to learn new movements and dynamics is important for maintaining independence with advancing age. Age-related sensorimotor changes and increased muscle coactivation likely alter the trial-and-error-based process of adapting to new movement demands (motor adaptation). Here, we asked, to what extent is motor adaptation to novel dynamics maintained in older adults (≥65 yr)? We hypothesized that older adults would adapt to the novel dynamics less well than young adults. Because older adults often use muscle coactivation, we expected older adults to use greater muscle coactivation during motor adaptation than young adults. Nevertheless, we predicted that older adults would reduce muscle activity and metabolic cost with motor adaptation, similar to young adults. Seated older (n = 11, 73.8 ± 5.6 yr) and young (n = 15, 23.8 ± 4.7 yr) adults made targeted reaching movements while grasping a robotic arm. We measured their metabolic rate continuously via expired gas analysis. A force field was used to add novel dynamics. Older adults had greater movement deviations and compensated for just 65% of the novel dynamics compared with 84% in young adults. As expected, older adults used greater muscle coactivation than young adults. Last, older adults reduced muscle activity with motor adaptation and had consistent reductions in metabolic cost later during motor adaptation, similar to young adults. These results suggest that despite increased muscle coactivation, older adults can adapt to the novel dynamics, albeit less accurately. These results also suggest that reductions in metabolic cost may be a fundamental feature of motor adaptation. PMID:24133222

  13. [The effect of noradrenaline on the neuronal reactions of the motor cortex evoked by conditional stimulation].

    PubMed

    Storozhuk, V M; Stezhka, V V; Ivanova, S F

    1990-01-01

    In chronic experiments on cats the influence of iontophoretic application of adrenomimetic ephedrin and beta-adrenoblocker obsidan (propranolol) on motor cortex neuron reactions following conditional stimuli was investigated under instrumental placing reaction. It was shown for a majority of neurons that the background impulse activity and reactions following conditional stimulation were suppressed by the influence of ephedrin and on the contrary were increased by obsidan application. It is concluded that there exists a consistent tonic suppressing influence of the noradrenergic system on background and evoked cortical neurons impulse activity in the natural state. It is supposed that noradrenergic influence temporal increase may serve as an important link in mechanisms of external inhibition during stress situations, aversive effects, and distractive external excitations.

  14. Xenotransplantation of embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons into the developing chick spinal cord.

    PubMed

    Wichterle, Hynek; Peljto, Mirza; Nedelec, Stephane

    2009-01-01

    A growing number of specific cell types have been successfully derived from embryonic stem cells (ES cells), including a variety of neural cells. In vitro generated cells need to be extensively characterized to establish functional equivalency with their in vivo counterparts. The ultimate test for the ability of ES cell-derived neurons to functionally integrate into neural networks is transplantation into the developing central nervous system, a challenging technique limited by the poor accessibility of mammalian embryos. Here we describe xenotransplantation of mouse embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons into the developing chick neural tube as an alternative for testing the ability of in vitro generated neurons to survive, integrate, extend axons, and form appropriate synaptic contacts with functionally relevant targets in vivo. Similar methods can be adapted to study functionality of other mammalian cells, including derivatives of human ES cells.

  15. Expression of polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecules on adult stem cells after neuronal differentiation of inner ear spiral ganglion neurons

    SciTech Connect

    Park, Kyoung Ho; Yeo, Sang Won; Troy, Frederic A.

    2014-10-17

    Highlights: • PolySia expressed on neurons primarily during early stages of neuronal development. • PolySia–NCAM is expressed on neural stem cells from adult guinea pig spiral ganglion. • PolySia is a biomarker that modulates neuronal differentiation in inner ear stem cells. - Abstract: During brain development, polysialylated (polySia) neural cell adhesion molecules (polySia–NCAMs) modulate cell–cell adhesive interactions involved in synaptogenesis, neural plasticity, myelination, and neural stem cell (NSC) proliferation and differentiation. Our findings show that polySia–NCAM is expressed on NSC isolated from adult guinea pig spiral ganglion (GPSG), and in neurons and Schwann cells after differentiation of the NSC with epidermal, glia, fibroblast growth factors (GFs) and neurotrophins. These differentiated cells were immunoreactive with mAb’s to polySia, NCAM, β-III tubulin, nestin, S-100 and stained with BrdU. NSC could regenerate and be differentiated into neurons and Schwann cells. We conclude: (1) polySia is expressed on NSC isolated from adult GPSG and on neurons and Schwann cells differentiated from these NSC; (2) polySia is expressed on neurons primarily during the early stage of neuronal development and is expressed on Schwann cells at points of cell–cell contact; (3) polySia is a functional biomarker that modulates neuronal differentiation in inner ear stem cells. These new findings suggest that replacement of defective cells in the inner ear of hearing impaired patients using adult spiral ganglion neurons may offer potential hope to improve the quality of life for patients with auditory dysfunction and impaired hearing disorders.

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  18. Motor neuron-specific overexpression of the presynaptic choline transporter: impact on motor endurance and evoked muscle activity.

    PubMed

    Lund, D; Ruggiero, A M; Ferguson, S M; Wright, J; English, B A; Reisz, P A; Whitaker, S M; Peltier, A C; Blakely, R D

    2010-12-29

    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 h. 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 h, 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.

  19. The complete genome sequences, unique mutational spectra and developmental potency of adult neurons revealed by cloning

    PubMed Central

    Rodriguez, Alberto R.; Ferguson, William C.; Shumilina, Svetlana; Clark, Royden A.; Boland, Michael J.; Martin, Greg; Chubukov, Pavel; Tsunemoto, Rachel K.; Torkamani, Ali; Kupriyanov, Sergey; Hall, Ira M.; Baldwin, Kristin K.

    2016-01-01

    Somatic mutation in neurons is linked to neurologic disease and implicated in cell type diversification. However, the origin, extent and patterns of genomic mutation in neurons remain unknown. We established a nuclear transfer method to clonally amplify the genomes of neurons from adult mice for whole genome sequencing. Comprehensive mutation detection and independent validation revealed that individual neurons harbor ~100 unique mutations from all classes, but lack recurrent rearrangements. Most neurons contain at least one gene disrupting mutation and rare (0-2) mobile element insertions. The frequency and gene bias of neuronal mutations differs from other lineages, potentially due to novel mechanisms governing post-mitotic mutation. Fertile mice were cloned from several neurons, establishing the compatibility of mutated adult neuronal genomes with reprogramming to pluripotency and development. PMID:26948891

  20. The Complete Genome Sequences, Unique Mutational Spectra, and Developmental Potency of Adult Neurons Revealed by Cloning.

    PubMed

    Hazen, Jennifer L; Faust, Gregory G; Rodriguez, Alberto R; Ferguson, William C; Shumilina, Svetlana; Clark, Royden A; Boland, Michael J; Martin, Greg; Chubukov, Pavel; Tsunemoto, Rachel K; Torkamani, Ali; Kupriyanov, Sergey; Hall, Ira M; Baldwin, Kristin K

    2016-03-16

    Somatic mutation in neurons is linked to neurologic disease and implicated in cell-type diversification. However, the origin, extent, and patterns of genomic mutation in neurons remain unknown. We established a nuclear transfer method to clonally amplify the genomes of neurons from adult mice for whole-genome sequencing. Comprehensive mutation detection and independent validation revealed that individual neurons harbor ∼100 unique mutations from all classes but lack recurrent rearrangements. Most neurons contain at least one gene-disrupting mutation and rare (0-2) mobile element insertions. The frequency and gene bias of neuronal mutations differ from other lineages, potentially due to novel mechanisms governing postmitotic mutation. Fertile mice were cloned from several neurons, establishing the compatibility of mutated adult neuronal genomes with reprogramming to pluripotency and development.

  1. 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…

  2. Empathy, autistic traits, and motor resonance in adults with Turner syndrome.

    PubMed

    Lepage, Jean-François; Lortie, Mélissa; Deal, Cheri L; Théoret, Hugo

    2014-01-01

    Turner syndrome is a genetic condition resulting from the partial or complete absence of an X-chromosome in phenotypic females. Individuals with Turner syndrome often display social difficulties that are reminiscent of those associated with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), conditions associated with empathy and mirror-neuron system (MNS) deficits. The goal of the present study was (1) to investigate the extent to which adults with Turner syndrome display autistic and empathic traits, and (2) to probe the integrity of the MNS in this neurogenetic disorder. Sixteen individuals with Turner syndrome and 16 age-, sex-, and IQ-matched controls took part in a neuropsychological assessment where the Weschler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, the Autism Spectrum Quotient and the Empathy Quotient were administered. Functioning of the MNS was assessed by measuring motor cortex activity with transcranial magnetic stimulation during an action-observation task. Results show that individuals with Turner syndrome do not differ significantly from controls regarding autistic or empathic traits, and present normal functioning of the MNS during action observation. Correlational analysis showed a significant positive relationship between scores on the Empathy Quotient and motor facilitation during action observation, bringing further support to the hypothesis that MNS activity is related to sociocognitive competence.

  3. Expression of polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecules on adult stem cells after neuronal differentiation of inner ear spiral ganglion neurons.

    PubMed

    Park, Kyoung Ho; Yeo, Sang Won; Troy, Frederic A

    2014-10-17

    During brain development, polysialylated (polySia) neural cell adhesion molecules (polySia-NCAMs) modulate cell-cell adhesive interactions involved in synaptogenesis, neural plasticity, myelination, and neural stem cell (NSC) proliferation and differentiation. Our findings show that polySia-NCAM is expressed on NSC isolated from adult guinea pig spiral ganglion (GPSG), and in neurons and Schwann cells after differentiation of the NSC with epidermal, glia, fibroblast growth factors (GFs) and neurotrophins. These differentiated cells were immunoreactive with mAb's to polySia, NCAM, β-III tubulin, nestin, S-100 and stained with BrdU. NSC could regenerate and be differentiated into neurons and Schwann cells. We conclude: (1) polySia is expressed on NSC isolated from adult GPSG and on neurons and Schwann cells differentiated from these NSC; (2) polySia is expressed on neurons primarily during the early stage of neuronal development and is expressed on Schwann cells at points of cell-cell contact; (3) polySia is a functional biomarker that modulates neuronal differentiation in inner ear stem cells. These new findings suggest that replacement of defective cells in the inner ear of hearing impaired patients using adult spiral ganglion neurons may offer potential hope to improve the quality of life for patients with auditory dysfunction and impaired hearing disorders.

  4. 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

  5. Emergency Department Visits by Older Adults for Motor Vehicle Collisions

    PubMed Central

    Vogel, Jody A.; Ginde, Adit A.; Lowenstein, Steven R.; Betz, Marian E.

    2013-01-01

    Introduction: To describe the epidemiology and characteristics of emergency department (ED) visits by older adults for motor vehicle collisions (MVC) in the United States (U.S.). Methods: We analyzed ED visits for MVCs using data from the 2003–2007 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). Using U.S. Census data, we calculated annual incidence rates of driver or passenger MVC-related ED visits and examined visit characteristics, including triage acuity, tests performed and hospital admission or discharge. We compared older (65+ years) and younger (18–64 years) MVC patients and calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to measure the strength of associations between age group and various visit characteristics. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of admissions for MVC-related injuries among older adults. Results: From 2003–2007, there were an average of 237,000 annual ED visits by older adults for MVCs. The annual ED visit rate for MVCs was 6.4 (95% CI 4.6–8.3) visits per 1,000 for older adults and 16.4 (95% CI 14.0–18.8) visits per 1,000 for younger adults. Compared to younger MVC patients, after adjustment for gender, race and ethnicity, older MVC patients were more likely to have at least one imaging study performed (OR 3.69, 95% CI 1.46–9.36). Older MVC patients were not significantly more likely to arrive by ambulance (OR 1.47; 95% CI 0.76–2.86), have a high triage acuity (OR 1.56; 95% CI 0.77–3.14), or to have a diagnosis of a head, spinal cord or torso injury (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.42–2.23) as compared to younger MVC patients after adjustment for gender, race and ethnicity. Overall, 14.5% (95% CI 9.8–19.2) of older MVC patients and 6.1% (95% CI 4.8–7.5) of younger MVC patients were admitted to the hospital. There was also a non-statistically significant trend toward hospital admission for older versus younger MVC patients (OR 1.78; 95% CI 0.71–4.43), and

  6. KIF4 motor regulates activity-dependent neuronal survival by suppressing PARP-1 enzymatic activity.

    PubMed

    Midorikawa, Ryosuke; Takei, Yosuke; Hirokawa, Nobutaka

    2006-04-21

    In brain development, apoptosis is a physiological process that controls the final numbers of neurons. Here, we report that the activity-dependent prevention of apoptosis in juvenile neurons is regulated by kinesin superfamily protein 4 (KIF4), a microtubule-based molecular motor. The C-terminal domain of KIF4 is a module that suppresses the activity of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), a nuclear enzyme known to maintain cell homeostasis by repairing DNA and serving as a transcriptional regulator. When neurons are stimulated by membrane depolarization, calcium signaling mediated by CaMKII induces dissociation of KIF4 from PARP-1, resulting in upregulation of PARP-1 activity, which supports neuron survival. After dissociation from PARP-1, KIF4 enters into the cytoplasm from the nucleus and moves to the distal part of neurites in a microtubule-dependent manner. We suggested that KIF4 controls the activity-dependent survival of postmitotic neurons by regulating PARP-1 activity in brain development.

  7. An investigation into the inter-relationships of sulphur xeno-biotransformation pathways in Parkinson's and motor neurone diseases.

    PubMed

    Steventon, Glyn B; Waring, Rosemary H; Williams, Adrian C

    2003-01-01

    The role of defective 'sulphur xenobiotic' biotransformations in the aetiology of Parkinson's and motor neurone diseases has been in the literature for over a decade. Problems in the S-oxidation of aliphatic thioethers, sulphation of phenolic compounds and the S-methylation of aliphatic sulphydryl groups have all been reported. These reports have also been consistent in observing that only a 'significant minority' of patients express these problems in sulphur biotransformation pathways. However, no investigation has yet reported on the incidence of these three defective pathways in control invididuals and in patients with Parkinson's and motor neurone disease. This investigation has found that: 1. Forty percent of patients with Parkinson's and motor neurone disease have a defect in the S-oxidation of S-carboxymethyl-L-cysteine compared to 4% of controls. 2. 35-40% of patients with Parkinson's and motor neurone disease have a defect in the sulphation of paracetamol compared to 4% of controls. 3. 60% of patients with motor neurone disease have a high capacity for the S-methylation of 2-mercaptoethanol compared to 4% of controls. 4. 38% of patients with Parkinson's disease have a low capacity for the S-methylation of 2-mercaptoethanol compared to 4% of controls. 5. There is no correlation between the S-oxidation phenotype, low paracetamol sulphation phenotype and low or high S-methylation phenotype in controls or patients with Parkinson's or motor neurone disease. 6. The number of controls that expressed one of the aberrant phenotypes was 4% compared to 38% of the patients with Parkinson's disease and 47% of the patients with motor neurone disease. 7. The number of controls that expressed two of the aberrant phenotypes was 0% compared to 18% of the patients with Parkinson's disease and 19% of those with motor neurone disease. 8. No controls or patients with Parkinson's disease or motor neurone disease expressed all three of the aberrant phenotypes. The results

  8. Spinal motor and sensory neurons are androgen targets in an acrobatic bird.

    PubMed

    Fuxjager, Matthew J; Schultz, J Douglas; Barske, Julia; Feng, Ni Y; Fusani, Leonida; Mirzatoni, Anahid; Day, Lainy B; Hau, Michaela; Schlinger, Barney A

    2012-08-01

    Sex steroids affect the motivation to court mates, but less is known about how they influence motor movements associated with courtship behavior. Steroidal control of motor function may be especially important for species in which courtship requires superior strength, stamina, and neuromuscular coordination. Here we use the golden-collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus) to examine whether the neuromuscular circuitry that controls motoric aspects of courtship activity is sensitive to androgens. Males of this tropical species attract mates by rapidly jumping among branches in a courtship arena and using their wings to produce loud wing snaps. Testosterone activates this display via the androgen receptor (AR), and past work reveals that manakins injected with radio-labeled T ((3)H-T) accumulate radioactivity in the spinal cord. Thus, we used quantitative PCR to measure AR, estrogen receptor-α (ER-α) subtype, and aromatase (AROM) mRNA in spinal cords of male and female manakins and zebra finches. Expression of AR, but not ER-α or aromatase, was higher throughout the manakin spinal cord compared with the zebra finch. Next, we tested whether AR-expressing skeletal muscles are innervated by motor and sensory neurons that also express AR. To do this, we backfilled spinal neurons by injecting fluorescent tracers into select AR-sensitive wing and leg muscles of wild caught male and female manakins. We then removed these spinal cords and measured AR expression with in situ hybridization. Both sexes showed abundant AR mRNA in the cervical and lumbosacral spinal enlargements as well as in dorsal root ganglia attached to these enlargements. Together our findings suggest that androgens act widely on peripheral motor and sensory circuits in golden-collared manakins to influence wing snapping displays.

  9. Reduced high-frequency motor neuron firing, EMG fractionation, and gait variability in awake walking ALS mice

    PubMed Central

    Hadzipasic, Muhamed; Ni, Weiming; Nagy, Maria; Steenrod, Natalie; McGinley, Matthew J.; Kaushal, Adi; Thomas, Eleanor; McCormick, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a lethal neurodegenerative disease prominently featuring motor neuron (MN) loss and paralysis. A recent study using whole-cell patch clamp recording of MNs in acute spinal cord slices from symptomatic adult ALS mice showed that the fastest firing MNs are preferentially lost. To measure the in vivo effects of such loss, awake symptomatic-stage ALS mice performing self-initiated walking on a wheel were studied. Both single-unit extracellular recordings within spinal cord MN pools for lower leg flexor and extensor muscles and the electromyograms (EMGs) of the corresponding muscles were recorded. In the ALS mice, we observed absent or truncated high-frequency firing of MNs at the appropriate time in the step cycle and step-to-step variability of the EMG, as well as flexor-extensor coactivation. In turn, kinematic analysis of walking showed step-to-step variability of gait. At the MN level, the higher frequencies absent from recordings from mutant mice corresponded with the upper range of frequencies observed for fast-firing MNs in earlier slice measurements. These results suggest that, in SOD1-linked ALS mice, symptoms are a product of abnormal MN firing due at least in part to loss of neurons that fire at high frequency, associated with altered EMG patterns and hindlimb kinematics during gait. PMID:27821773

  10. Induction of human umbilical Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells toward motor neuron-like cells.

    PubMed

    Bagher, Zohreh; Ebrahimi-Barough, Somayeh; Azami, Mahmoud; Mirzadeh, Hamid; Soleimani, Mansooreh; Ai, Jafar; Nourani, Mohammad Reza; Joghataei, Mohammad Taghi

    2015-10-01

    The most important property of stem cells from different sources is the capacity to differentiate into various cells and tissue types. However, problems including contamination, normal karyotype, and ethical issues cause many limitations in obtaining and using these cells from different sources. The cells in Wharton's jelly region of umbilical cord represent a pool source of primitive cells with properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The aim of this study was to determine the potential of human Wharton's jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (WJMSCs) for differentiation to motor neuron cells. WJMSCs were induced to differentiate into motor neuron-like cells by using different signaling molecules and neurotrophic factors in vitro. Differentiated neurons were then characterized for expression of motor neuron markers including nestin, PAX6, NF-H, Islet 1, HB9, and choline acetyl transferase (ChAT) by quantitative reverse transcription PCR and immunocytochemistry. Our results showed that differentiated WJMSCs could significantly express motor neuron biomarkers in RNA and protein levels 15 d post induction. These results suggested that WJMSCs can differentiate to motor neuron-like cells and might provide a potential source in cell therapy for neurodegenerative disease.

  11. 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

    2016-07-08

    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.

  12. Subacute motor neuron hyperexcitability with mercury poisoning: a case series and literature review.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Zhibin; Zhang, Xingwen; Cui, Fang; Liu, Ruozhuo; Dong, Zhao; Wang, Xiaolin; Yu, Shengyuan

    2014-01-01

    Motor neuron hyperexcitability (MNH) indicates a disorder characterized by an ectopic motor nerve discharge on electromyogram (EMG). Here, we present a series of three cases of subacute MNH with mercury poisoning. The first case showed hyperhidrosis, insomnia, generalied myokymia, cramps, tremor, weight loss, and myokymic and neuromyotonic discharges, followed by encephalopathy with confusion, hallucinations, and memory decrease. The second case was similar to the former but without encephalopathic features. The third case showed widespread fasciculation, fatigue, insomnia, weight loss, and autonomic dysfunction, including constipation, micturition difficulty, and impotence, with multiple fibrillation, unstable fasciculation, widened motor neuron potential, and an incremental response at high-rate stimulation in repetitive nerve stimulation. Based on the symptoms, the three cases were diagnosed as Morvan's syndrome, Isaacs' syndrome, and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome with ALS-like syndrome, respectively. Mercury poisoning in the three cases was confirmed by analysis of blood and urine samples. All cases recovered several months after chelation therapy and were in good condition at follow-up. Very few cases of MNH linked with mercury exposure have been reported in the literature. The mechanism of mercury-induced MNH may be associated with ion channel dysfunction.

  13. 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

  14. Post-translational Modifications and Protein Quality Control in Motor Neuron and Polyglutamine Diseases

    PubMed Central

    Sambataro, Fabio; Pennuto, Maria

    2017-01-01

    Neurodegenerative diseases, including motor neuron and polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases, are a broad class of neurological disorders. These diseases are characterized by neuronal dysfunction and death, and by the accumulation of toxic aggregation-prone proteins in the forms of inclusions and micro-aggregates. Protein quality control is a cellular mechanism to reduce the burden of accumulation of misfolded proteins, a function that results from the coordinated actions of chaperones and degradation systems, such as the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy-lysosomal degradation system. The rate of turnover, aggregation and degradation of the disease-causing proteins is modulated by post-translational modifications (PTMs), such as phosphorylation, arginine methylation, palmitoylation, acetylation, SUMOylation, ubiquitination, and proteolytic cleavage. Here, we describe how PTMs of proteins linked to motor neuron and polyQ diseases can either enhance or suppress protein quality control check and protein aggregation and degradation. The identification of molecular strategies targeting these modifications may offer novel avenues for the treatment of these yet incurable diseases.

  15. Riluzole suppresses postinhibitory rebound in an excitatory motor neuron of the medicinal leech.

    PubMed

    Angstadt, James D; Simone, Amanda M

    2014-08-01

    Postinhibitory rebound (PIR) is an intrinsic property often exhibited by neurons involved in generating rhythmic motor behaviors. Cell DE-3, a dorsal excitatory motor neuron in the medicinal leech exhibits PIR responses that persist for several seconds following the offset of hyperpolarizing stimuli and are suppressed in reduced Na(+) solutions or by Ca(2+) channel blockers. The long duration and Na(+) dependence of PIR suggest a possible role for persistent Na(+) current (I NaP). In vertebrate neurons, the neuroprotective agent riluzole can produce a selective block of I NaP. This study demonstrates that riluzole inhibits cell DE-3 PIR in a concentration- and Ca(2+)-dependent manner. In 1.8 mM Ca(2+) solution, 50-100 µM riluzole selectively blocked the late phase of PIR, an effect similar to that of the neuromodulator serotonin. However, 200 µM riluzole blocked both the early and late phases of PIR. Increasing extracellular Ca(2+) to 10 mM strengthened PIR, but high riluzole concentrations continued to suppress both phases of PIR. These results indicate that riluzole may suppress PIR via a nonspecific inhibition of Ca(2+) conductances and suggest that a Ca(2+)-activated nonspecific current (I(CAN)), rather than I NaP, may underlie the Na(+)-dependent component of PIR.

  16. 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.

  17. The Role of Adult-Born Neurons in the Constantly Changing Olfactory Bulb Network

    PubMed Central

    Malvaut, Sarah; Saghatelyan, Armen

    2016-01-01

    The adult mammalian brain is remarkably plastic and constantly undergoes structurofunctional modifications in response to environmental stimuli. In many regions plasticity is manifested by modifications in the efficacy of existing synaptic connections or synapse formation and elimination. In a few regions, however, plasticity is brought by the addition of new neurons that integrate into established neuronal networks. This type of neuronal plasticity is particularly prominent in the olfactory bulb (OB) where thousands of neuronal progenitors are produced on a daily basis in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) towards the OB. In the OB, these neuronal precursors differentiate into local interneurons, mature, and functionally integrate into the bulbar network by establishing output synapses with principal neurons. Despite continuous progress, it is still not well understood how normal functioning of the OB is preserved in the constantly remodelling bulbar network and what role adult-born neurons play in odor behaviour. In this review we will discuss different levels of morphofunctional plasticity effected by adult-born neurons and their functional role in the adult OB and also highlight the possibility that different subpopulations of adult-born cells may fulfill distinct functions in the OB neuronal network and odor behaviour. PMID:26839709

  18. The Role of Adult-Born Neurons in the Constantly Changing Olfactory Bulb Network.

    PubMed

    Malvaut, Sarah; Saghatelyan, Armen

    2016-01-01

    The adult mammalian brain is remarkably plastic and constantly undergoes structurofunctional modifications in response to environmental stimuli. In many regions plasticity is manifested by modifications in the efficacy of existing synaptic connections or synapse formation and elimination. In a few regions, however, plasticity is brought by the addition of new neurons that integrate into established neuronal networks. This type of neuronal plasticity is particularly prominent in the olfactory bulb (OB) where thousands of neuronal progenitors are produced on a daily basis in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) towards the OB. In the OB, these neuronal precursors differentiate into local interneurons, mature, and functionally integrate into the bulbar network by establishing output synapses with principal neurons. Despite continuous progress, it is still not well understood how normal functioning of the OB is preserved in the constantly remodelling bulbar network and what role adult-born neurons play in odor behaviour. In this review we will discuss different levels of morphofunctional plasticity effected by adult-born neurons and their functional role in the adult OB and also highlight the possibility that different subpopulations of adult-born cells may fulfill distinct functions in the OB neuronal network and odor behaviour.

  19. [Experimental approach to the gene therapy of motor neuron disease with the use of genes hypoxia-inducible factors].

    PubMed

    Ismailov, Sh M; Barykova, Iu A; Shmarov, M M; Tarantul, V Z; Barskov, I V; Kucherianu, V G; Brylev, L V; Logunov, D Iu; Tutykhina, I L; Bocharov, E V; Zakharova, M N; Naroditskiĭ, B S; Illarioshkin, S N

    2014-05-01

    Motor neuron disease (MND), or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a progressive loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and the brain. Several angiogenic and neurogenic growth factors, such as the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), angiogenin (ANG), insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and others, have been shown to promote survival of the spinal motor neurons during ischemia. We constructed recombinant vectors using human adenovirus 5 (Ad5) carrying the VEGF, ANG or IGF genes under the control of the cytomegalovirus promoter. As a model for MND, we employed a transgenic mice strain, B6SJL-Tg (SOD1*G93A)d11 Gur/J that develops a progressive degeneration of the spinal motor neurons caused by the expression of a mutated Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase gene SOD1. Delivery of the therapeutic genes to the spinal motor neurons was done using the effect of the retrograde axonal transport after multiple injections of the Ad5-VEGF, Ad5-ANG and Ad5-IGF vectors and their combinations into the limbs and back muscles of the SOD1(G93A) mice. Viral transgene expression in the spinal cord motor neurons was confirmed by immunocytochemistry and RT-RCR. We assessed the neurological status, motor activity and lifespan of experimental and control animal groups. We discovered that SOD1(G93A) mice injected with the Ad5-VEGF + Ad5-ANG combination showed a 2-3 week delay in manifestation of the disease, higher motor activity at the advanced stages of the disease, and at least a 10% increase in the lifespan compared to the control and other experimental groups. These results support the safety and therapeutic efficacy of the tested recombinant treatment. We propose that the developed experimental MND treatment based on viral delivery of VEGF + ANG can be used as a basis for gene therapy drug development and testing in the preclinical and clinical trials of the MND.

  20. A critical period for experience-dependent remodeling of adult-born neuron connectivity.

    PubMed

    Bergami, Matteo; Masserdotti, Giacomo; Temprana, Silvio G; Motori, Elisa; Eriksson, Therese M; Göbel, Jana; Yang, Sung Min; Conzelmann, Karl-Klaus; Schinder, Alejandro F; Götz, Magdalena; Berninger, Benedikt

    2015-02-18

    Neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the adult hippocampus is a process regulated by experience. To understand whether experience also modifies the connectivity of new neurons, we systematically investigated changes in their innervation following environmental enrichment (EE). We found that EE exposure between 2-6 weeks following neuron birth, rather than merely increasing the number of new neurons, profoundly affected their pattern of monosynaptic inputs. Both local innervation by interneurons and to even greater degree long-distance innervation by cortical neurons were markedly enhanced. Furthermore, following EE, new neurons received inputs from CA3 and CA1 inhibitory neurons that were rarely observed under control conditions. While EE-induced changes in inhibitory innervation were largely transient, cortical innervation remained increased after returning animals to control conditions. Our findings demonstrate an unprecedented experience-dependent reorganization of connections impinging onto adult-born neurons, which is likely to have important impact on their contribution to hippocampal information processing.

  1. Clinicopathological features of adult-onset neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease

    PubMed Central

    Sone, Jun; Mori, Keiko; Inagaki, Tomonori; Katsumata, Ryu; Takagi, Shinnosuke; Yokoi, Satoshi; Araki, Kunihiko; Kato, Toshiyasu; Nakamura, Tomohiko; Koike, Haruki; Takashima, Hiroshi; Hashiguchi, Akihiro; Kohno, Yutaka; Kurashige, Takashi; Kuriyama, Masaru; Takiyama, Yoshihisa; Tsuchiya, Mai; Kitagawa, Naoyuki; Kawamoto, Michi; Yoshimura, Hajime; Suto, Yutaka; Nakayasu, Hiroyuki; Uehara, Naoko; Sugiyama, Hiroshi; Takahashi, Makoto; Kokubun, Norito; Konno, Takuya; Katsuno, Masahisa; Tanaka, Fumiaki; Iwasaki, Yasushi; Yoshida, Mari

    2016-01-01

    Neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease (NIID) is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by eosinophilic hyaline intranuclear inclusions in the central and peripheral nervous system, and also in the visceral organs. NIID has been considered to be a heterogeneous disease because of the highly variable clinical manifestations, and ante-mortem diagnosis has been difficult. However, since we reported the usefulness of skin biopsy for the diagnosis of NIID, the number of NIID diagnoses has increased, in particular adult-onset NIID. In this study, we studied 57 cases of adult-onset NIID and described their clinical and pathological features. We analysed both NIID cases diagnosed by post-mortem dissection and by ante-mortem skin biopsy based on the presence of characteristic eosinophilic, hyaline and ubiquitin-positive intanuclear inclusion: 38 sporadic cases and 19 familial cases, from six families. In the sporadic NIID cases with onset age from 51 to 76, dementia was the most prominent initial symptom (94.7%) as designated ‘dementia dominant group’, followed by miosis, ataxia and unconsciousness. Muscle weakness and sensory disturbance were also observed. It was observed that, in familial NIID cases with onset age less than 40 years, muscle weakness was seen most frequently (100%), as designated ‘limb weakness group’, followed by sensory disturbance, miosis, bladder dysfunction, and dementia. In familial cases with more than 40 years of onset age, dementia was most prominent (100%). Elevated cerebrospinal fluid protein and abnormal nerve conduction were frequently observed in both sporadic and familial NIID cases. Head magnetic resonance imaging showed high intensity signal in corticomedullary junction in diffusion-weighted image in both sporadic and familial NIID cases, a strong clue to the diagnosis. All of the dementia dominant cases presented with this type of leukoencephalopathy on head magnetic resonance imaging. Both sporadic and

  2. Expression of Sex Steroid Hormone Receptors in Vagal Motor Neurons Innervating the Trachea and Esophagus in Mouse

    PubMed Central

    Mukudai, Shigeyuki; Ichi Matsuda, Ken; Bando, Hideki; Takanami, Keiko; Nishio, Takeshi; Sugiyama, Yoichiro; Hisa, Yasuo; Kawata, Mitsuhiro

    2016-01-01

    The medullary vagal motor nuclei, the nucleus ambiguus (NA) and dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV), innervate the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. We conducted immunohistochemical analysis of expression of the androgen receptor (AR) and estrogen receptor α (ERα), in relation to innervation of the trachea and esophagus via vagal motor nuclei in mice. AR and ERα were expressed in the rostral NA and in part of the DMV. Tracing experiments using cholera toxin B subunit demonstrated that neurons of vagal motor nuclei that innervate the trachea and esophagus express AR and ERα. There was no difference in expression of sex steroid hormone receptors between trachea- and esophagus-innervating neurons. These results suggest that sex steroid hormones may act on vagal motor nuclei via their receptors, thereby regulating functions of the trachea and esophagus. PMID:27006520

  3. Multiple forebrain systems converge on motor neurons innervating the thyroarytenoid muscle

    PubMed Central

    Van Daele, Douglas J.; Cassell, Martin D.

    2009-01-01

    The present study investigated the central connections of motor neurons innervating the thyroarytenoid laryngeal muscle that is active in swallowing, respiration and vocalization. In both intact and sympathectomized rats, the pseudorabies virus (PRV) was inoculated into the muscle. After initial infection of laryngomotor neurons in the ipsilateral loose division of the nucleus ambiguous (NA) by 3 days post-inoculation., PRV spread to the ipsilateral compact portion of the NA, the central and intermediate divisions of the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS), the Botzinger complex, and the parvocellular reticular formation by 4 days. Infection was subsequently expanded to include the ipsilateral granular and dysgranular parietal insular cortex, the ipsilateral medial division of the central nucleus of the amygdala, the lateral, paraventricular, ventrolateral and medial preoptic nuclei of the hypothalamus (generally bilaterally), the lateral periaqueductal gray, the A7 and oral and caudal pontine nuclei. At the latest time points sampled post-inoculation (5 days), infected neurons were identified in the ipsilateral agranular insular cortex, the caudal parietal insular cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the contralateral motor cortex. In the amygdala, infection had spread to the lateral central nucleus and the parvocellular portion of the basolateral nucleus. Hypothalamic infection was largely characterized by an increase in the number of infected cells in earlier infected regions though the posterior, dorsomedial, tuberomammillary and mammillary nuclei contained infected cells. Comparison with previous connectional data suggest PRV followed three interconnected systems originating in the forebrain; a bilateral system including the ventral anterior cingulate cortex, periaqueductal gray and ventral respiratory group; an ipsilateral system involving the parietal insular cortex, central nucleus of the amygdala and parvicellular reticular formation, and a minor

  4. 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

  5. Exome Sequencing Links Corticospinal Motor Neuron Disease to Common Neurodegenerative Disorders

    PubMed Central

    Hofree, Matan; Silhavy, Jennifer L.; Heiberg, Andrew D.; Abdellateef, Mostafa; Rosti, Basak; Scott, Eric; Mansour, Lobna; Masri, Amira; Kayserili, Hulya; Al-Aama, Jumana Y.; Abdel-Salam, Ghada M. H.; Karminejad, Ariana; Kara, Majdi; Kara, Bulent; Bozorgmehri, Bita; Ben-Omran, Tawfeg; Mojahedi, Faezeh; El Din Mahmoud, Iman Gamal; Bouslam, Naima; Bouhouche, Ahmed; Benomar, Ali; Hanein, Sylvain; Raymond, Laure; Forlani, Sylvie; Mascaro, Massimo; Selim, Laila; Shehata, Nabil; Al-Allawi, Nasir; Bindu, P.S.; Azam, Matloob; Gunel, Murat; Caglayan, Ahmet; Bilguvar, Kaya; Tolun, Aslihan; Issa, Mahmoud Y.; Schroth, Jana; Spencer, Emily G.; Rosti, Rasim O.; Akizu, Naiara; Vaux, Keith K.; Johansen, Anide; Koh, Alice A.; Megahed, Hisham; Durr, Alexandra; Brice, Alexis; Stevanin, Giovanni; Gabriel, Stacy B.; Ideker, Trey; Gleeson, Joseph G.

    2014-01-01

    Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are neurodegenerative motor neuron diseases characterized by progressive age-dependent loss of corticospinal motor tract function. Although the genetic basis is partly understood, only a fraction of cases can receive a genetic diagnosis, and a global view of HSP is lacking. By using whole-exome sequencing in combination with network analysis, we identified 18 previously unknown putative HSP genes and validated nearly all of these genes functionally or genetically. The pathways highlighted by these mutations link HSP to cellular transport, nucleotide metabolism, and synapse and axon development. Network analysis revealed a host of further candidate genes, of which three were mutated in our cohort. Our analysis links HSP to other neurodegenerative disorders and can facilitate gene discovery and mechanistic understanding of disease. PMID:24482476

  6. Neuronal connectome of a sensory-motor circuit for visual navigation.

    PubMed

    Randel, Nadine; Asadulina, Albina; Bezares-Calderón, Luis A; Verasztó, Csaba; Williams, Elizabeth A; Conzelmann, Markus; Shahidi, Réza; Jékely, Gáspár

    2014-05-27

    Animals use spatial differences in environmental light levels for visual navigation; however, how light inputs are translated into coordinated motor outputs remains poorly understood. Here we reconstruct the neuronal connectome of a four-eye visual circuit in the larva of the annelid Platynereis using serial-section transmission electron microscopy. In this 71-neuron circuit, photoreceptors connect via three layers of interneurons to motorneurons, which innervate trunk muscles. By combining eye ablations with behavioral experiments, we show that the circuit compares light on either side of the body and stimulates body bending upon left-right light imbalance during visual phototaxis. We also identified an interneuron motif that enhances sensitivity to different light intensity contrasts. The Platynereis eye circuit has the hallmarks of a visual system, including spatial light detection and contrast modulation, illustrating how image-forming eyes may have evolved via intermediate stages contrasting only a light and a dark field during a simple visual task.

  7. Aging in Sensory and Motor Neurons Results in Learning Failure in Aplysia californica.

    PubMed

    Kempsell, Andrew T; Fieber, Lynne A

    2015-01-01

    The physiological and molecular mechanisms of age-related memory loss are complicated by the complexity of vertebrate nervous systems. This study takes advantage of a simple neural model to investigate nervous system aging, focusing on changes in learning and memory in the form of behavioral sensitization in vivo and synaptic facilitation in vitro. The effect of aging on the tail withdrawal reflex (TWR) was studied in Aplysia californica at maturity and late in the annual lifecycle. We found that short-term sensitization in TWR was absent in aged Aplysia. This implied that the neuronal machinery governing nonassociative learning was compromised during aging. Synaptic plasticity in the form of short-term facilitation between tail sensory and motor neurons decreased during aging whether the sensitizing stimulus was tail shock or the heterosynaptic modulator serotonin (5-HT). Together, these results suggest that the cellular mechanisms governing behavioral sensitization are compromised during aging, thereby nearly eliminating sensitization in aged Aplysia.

  8. [Prolonged homosynaptic depression of the impulse reactions of the motor cortex neurons in the cat].

    PubMed

    Sil'kis, I G; Rapoport, S Sh; Veber, N V; Gushchin, A M

    1993-01-01

    It is shown that in the motor and the visual cortices of the cat the homosynaptic long-term posttetanic depression (LTD) of monosynaptic impulse responses of the cortical neurons may be induced in the tetanized input. Homosynaptic LTD appears as a decrease of the probability of the monosynaptic discharges or an increase in the latency of the monosynaptic responses. The cortical homosynaptic depression possesses the same properties as the hippocampal LTD, namely, the longevity, input specificity, cooperativity, and associativity. The possible mechanisms of the homosynaptic LTD induction are discussed. The effect may be determined, on the one hand, as Ca-dependent phenomenon, and on the other hand, as the LTP of monosynaptic reactions of the input inhibitory interneurons. It is supposed that the homosynaptic LTD of the impulse reactions of the cortical neurons may be one of the basic mechanisms in certain learning tasks, such as habituation or extinction.

  9. 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

  10. Initial Observations of Fruit Fly;s Flight with its b1 Motor Neuron Altered

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Z. Jane; Melfi, James, Jr.

    2015-11-01

    Recently we have suggested that one of the fly's 17 steering muscles, the first basalar muscle (b1) is responsible for maintaining flight stability. To test this, we compare the flight behavior of normal flies with genetically modified flies whose motor neuron to the b1 muscle is silenced. We report our initial observation of the difference and similarity between these two lines supplied by Janelia Farm. We also discuss the basic question for quantifying flight, what makes a good flier? Partly supported by the Visiting Scientist program at HHMI-Janelia Farm.

  11. Motor Behavior Mediated by Continuously Generated Dopaminergic Neurons in the Zebrafish Hypothalamus Recovers After Cell Ablation

    PubMed Central

    McPherson, Adam D.; Barrios, Joshua P.; Luks-Morgan, Sasha J.; Manfredi, John P.; Bonkowsky, Joshua L.; Douglass, Adam D.; Dorsky, Richard I.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Postembryonic neurogenesis has been observed in several regions of the vertebrate brain, including the dentate gyrus and rostral migratory stream in mammals, and is required for normal behavior [1–3]. Recently the hypothalamus has also been shown to undergo continuous neurogenesis as a way to mediate energy balance [4–10]. As the hypothalamus regulates multiple functional outputs, it is likely that additional behaviors may be affected by postembryonic neurogenesis in this brain structure. Here, we have identified a progenitor population in the zebrafish hypothalamus that continuously generates neurons that express tyrosine hydroxylase 2 (th2). We develop and use novel transgenic tools to characterize the lineage of th2+ cells and demonstrate that they are dopaminergic. Through genetic ablation and optogenetic activation we then show that th2+ neurons modulate the initiation of swimming behavior in zebrafish larvae. Finally we find that the generation of new th2+ neurons following ablation correlates with restoration of normal behavior. This work thus identifies for the first time a population of dopaminergic neurons that regulates motor behavior capable of functional recovery. PMID:26774784

  12. The relationship between executive function and fine motor control in young and older adults.

    PubMed

    Corti, Emily J; Johnson, Andrew R; Riddle, Hayley; Gasson, Natalie; Kane, Robert; Loftus, Andrea M

    2017-01-01

    The present study examined the relationship between executive function (EF) and fine motor control in young and older healthy adults. Participants completed 3 measures of executive function; a spatial working memory (SWM) task, the Stockings of Cambridge task (planning), and the Intra-Dimensional Extra-Dimensional Set-Shift task (set-shifting). Fine motor control was assessed using 3 subtests of the Purdue Pegboard (unimanual, bimanual, sequencing). For the younger adults, there were no significant correlations between measures of EF and fine motor control. For the older adults, all EFs significantly correlated with all measures of fine motor control. Three separate regressions examined whether planning, SWM and set-shifting independently predicted unimanual, bimanual, and sequencing scores for the older adults. Planning was the primary predictor of performance on all three Purdue subtests. A multiple-groups mediation model examined whether planning predicted fine motor control scores independent of participants' age, suggesting that preservation of planning ability may support fine motor control in older adults. Planning remained a significant predictor of unimanual performance in the older age group, but not bimanual or sequencing performance. The findings are discussed in terms of compensation theory, whereby planning is a key compensatory resource for fine motor control in older adults.

  13. Reinforcement learning of targeted movement in a spiking neuronal model of motor cortex.

    PubMed

    Chadderdon, George L; Neymotin, Samuel A; Kerr, Cliff C; Lytton, William W

    2012-01-01

    Sensorimotor control has traditionally been considered from a control theory perspective, without relation to neurobiology. In contrast, here we utilized a spiking-neuron model of motor cortex and trained it to perform a simple movement task, which consisted of rotating a single-joint "forearm" to a target. Learning was based on a reinforcement mechanism analogous to that of the dopamine system. This provided a global reward or punishment signal in response to decreasing or increasing distance from hand to target, respectively. Output was partially driven by Poisson motor babbling, creating stochastic movements that could then be shaped by learning. The virtual forearm consisted of a single segment rotated around an elbow joint, controlled by flexor and extensor muscles. The model consisted of 144 excitatory and 64 inhibitory event-based neurons, each with AMPA, NMDA, and GABA synapses. Proprioceptive cell input to this model encoded the 2 muscle lengths. Plasticity was only enabled in feedforward connections between input and output excitatory units, using spike-timing-dependent eligibility traces for synaptic credit or blame assignment. Learning resulted from a global 3-valued signal: reward (+1), no learning (0), or punishment (-1), corresponding to phasic increases, lack of change, or phasic decreases of dopaminergic cell firing, respectively. Successful learning only occurred when both reward and punishment were enabled. In this case, 5 target angles were learned successfully within 180 s of simulation time, with a median error of 8 degrees. Motor babbling allowed exploratory learning, but decreased the stability of the learned behavior, since the hand continued moving after reaching the target. Our model demonstrated that a global reinforcement signal, coupled with eligibility traces for synaptic plasticity, can train a spiking sensorimotor network to perform goal-directed motor behavior.

  14. Reinforcement Learning of Targeted Movement in a Spiking Neuronal Model of Motor Cortex

    PubMed Central

    Chadderdon, George L.; Neymotin, Samuel A.; Kerr, Cliff C.; Lytton, William W.

    2012-01-01

    Sensorimotor control has traditionally been considered from a control theory perspective, without relation to neurobiology. In contrast, here we utilized a spiking-neuron model of motor cortex and trained it to perform a simple movement task, which consisted of rotating a single-joint “forearm” to a target. Learning was based on a reinforcement mechanism analogous to that of the dopamine system. This provided a global reward or punishment signal in response to decreasing or increasing distance from hand to target, respectively. Output was partially driven by Poisson motor babbling, creating stochastic movements that could then be shaped by learning. The virtual forearm consisted of a single segment rotated around an elbow joint, controlled by flexor and extensor muscles. The model consisted of 144 excitatory and 64 inhibitory event-based neurons, each with AMPA, NMDA, and GABA synapses. Proprioceptive cell input to this model encoded the 2 muscle lengths. Plasticity was only enabled in feedforward connections between input and output excitatory units, using spike-timing-dependent eligibility traces for synaptic credit or blame assignment. Learning resulted from a global 3-valued signal: reward (+1), no learning (0), or punishment (−1), corresponding to phasic increases, lack of change, or phasic decreases of dopaminergic cell firing, respectively. Successful learning only occurred when both reward and punishment were enabled. In this case, 5 target angles were learned successfully within 180 s of simulation time, with a median error of 8 degrees. Motor babbling allowed exploratory learning, but decreased the stability of the learned behavior, since the hand continued moving after reaching the target. Our model demonstrated that a global reinforcement signal, coupled with eligibility traces for synaptic plasticity, can train a spiking sensorimotor network to perform goal-directed motor behavior. PMID:23094042

  15. Differential activation of an identified motor neuron and neuromodulation provide Aplysia's retractor muscle an additional function.

    PubMed

    McManus, Jeffrey M; Lu, Hui; Cullins, Miranda J; Chiel, Hillel J

    2014-08-15

    To survive, animals must use the same peripheral structures to perform a variety of tasks. How does a nervous system employ one muscle to perform multiple functions? We addressed this question through work on the I3 jaw muscle of the marine mollusk Aplysia californica's feeding system. This muscle mediates retraction of Aplysia's food grasper in multiple feeding responses and is innervated by a pool of identified neurons that activate different muscle regions. One I3 motor neuron, B38, is active in the protraction phase, rather than the retraction phase, suggesting the muscle has an additional function. We used intracellular, extracellular, and muscle force recordings in several in vitro preparations as well as recordings of nerve and muscle activity from intact, behaving animals to characterize B38's activation of the muscle and its activity in different behavior types. We show that B38 specifically activates the anterior region of I3 and is specifically recruited during one behavior, swallowing. The function of this protraction-phase jaw muscle contraction is to hold food; thus the I3 muscle has an additional function beyond mediating retraction. We additionally show that B38's typical activity during in vivo swallowing is insufficient to generate force in an unmodulated muscle and that intrinsic and extrinsic modulation shift the force-frequency relationship to allow contraction. Using methods that traverse levels from individual neuron to muscle to intact animal, we show how regional muscle activation, differential motor neuron recruitment, and neuromodulation are key components in Aplysia's generation of multifunctionality.

  16. Effect of Octreotide on Enteric Motor Neurons in Experimental Acute Necrotizing Pancreatitis

    PubMed Central

    Zou, Duowu; Wu, Wenbin; Li, Zhaoshen

    2012-01-01

    Background/Aims Amelioration of intestinal dysmotility and stasis during the early period of acute necrotizing pancreatitis (ANP) appears to be important to reduce the risks of secondary pancreatic infection. We aimed to characterize the association between the neuropathy of the enteric nervous system and gut dysfunction and to examine the effect of octreotide on motor innervation in the early stage of ANP. Methodology/Principal Findings The rats were randomly divided into eight groups: control+saline; control+octreotide; ANP+saline and ANP+octreotide (24 h, 48 h, 72 h). The spontaneous activity of ileal segments and the response to ACh, l-NNA were recorded. The alterations of myenteric neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), choline acetyltransferase (CHAT), PGP9.5 and somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) immunoreactive cells were evaluated by immunofluorescence and the protein expression of nNOS and CHAT were evaluated by western blot. We found the amplitude of spontaneous contractions at 48 h and the response to ACh at 24 h declined in the ANP+saline rats. A higher contractile response to both ACh and to l-NNA was observed in the ANP+octreotide group, compared with the ANP+saline rats at 24 h. A significant reduction in the nNOS and cholinergic neurons was observed in ANP+saline rats at the three time points. However, this reduction was greatly ameliorated in the presence of octreotide at 24 h and 48 h. The protein expression of CHAT neurons at 24 h and the nNOS neurons at 48 h in the ANP+octreotide rats was much higher than the ANP+saline rats. Conclusion The pathogenesis of ileus in the early stage of ANP may be related to the neuropathy of the enteric nervous system. Octreotide may reduce the severity of ileus by lessening the damage to enteric motor innervation. PMID:23300603

  17. Exendin-4 Ameliorates Motor Neuron Degeneration in Cellular and Animal Models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yazhou; Chigurupati, Srinivasulu; Holloway, Harold W.; Mughal, Mohamed; Tweedie, David; Bruestle, Daniel A.; Mattson, Mark P.; Wang, Yun; Harvey, Brandon K.; Ray, Balmiki; Lahiri, Debomoy K.; Greig, Nigel H.

    2012-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive loss of lower motor neurons in the spinal cord. The incretin hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), facilitates insulin signaling, and the long acting GLP-1 receptor agonist exendin-4 (Ex-4) is currently used as an anti-diabetic drug. GLP-1 receptors are widely expressed in the brain and spinal cord, and our prior studies have shown that Ex-4 is neuroprotective in several neurodegenerative disease rodent models, including stroke, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Here we hypothesized that Ex-4 may provide neuroprotective activity in ALS, and hence characterized Ex-4 actions in both cell culture (NSC-19 neuroblastoma cells) and in vivo (SOD1 G93A mutant mice) models of ALS. Ex-4 proved to be neurotrophic in NSC-19 cells, elevating choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity, as well as neuroprotective, protecting cells from hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and staurosporine-induced apoptosis. Additionally, in both wild-type SOD1 and mutant SOD1 (G37R) stably transfected NSC-19 cell lines, Ex-4 protected against trophic factor withdrawal-induced toxicity. To assess in vivo translation, SOD1 mutant mice were administered vehicle or Ex-4 at 6-weeks of age onwards to end-stage disease via subcutaneous osmotic pump to provide steady-state infusion. ALS mice treated with Ex-4 showed improved glucose tolerance and normalization of behavior, as assessed by running wheel, compared to control ALS mice. Furthermore, Ex-4 treatment attenuated neuronal cell death in the lumbar spinal cord; immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated the rescue of neuronal markers, such as ChAT, associated with motor neurons. Together, our results suggest that GLP-1 receptor agonists warrant further evaluation to assess whether their neuroprotective potential is of therapeutic relevance in ALS. PMID:22384126

  18. Diagnosis and misdiagnosis of adult neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (Kufs disease)

    PubMed Central

    Staropoli, John F.; Carpenter, Stirling; Oliver, Karen L.; Kmoch, Stanislav; Anderson, Glenn W.; Damiano, John A.; Hildebrand, Michael S.; Sims, Katherine B.; Cotman, Susan L.; Bahlo, Melanie; Smith, Katherine R.; Cadieux-Dion, Maxime; Cossette, Patrick; Jedličková, Ivana; Přistoupilová, Anna; Mole, Sara E.

    2016-01-01

    Objective: To critically re-evaluate cases diagnosed as adult neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (ANCL) in order to aid clinicopathologic diagnosis as a route to further gene discovery. Methods: Through establishment of an international consortium we pooled 47 unsolved cases regarded by referring centers as ANCL. Clinical and neuropathologic experts within the Consortium established diagnostic criteria for ANCL based on the literature to assess each case. A panel of 3 neuropathologists independently reviewed source pathologic data. Cases were given a final clinicopathologic classification of definite ANCL, probable ANCL, possible ANCL, or not ANCL. Results: Of the 47 cases, only 16 fulfilled the Consortium's criteria of ANCL (5 definite, 2 probable, 9 possible). Definitive alternate diagnoses were made in 10, including Huntington disease, early-onset Alzheimer disease, Niemann-Pick disease, neuroserpinopathy, prion disease, and neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation. Six cases had features suggesting an alternate diagnosis, but no specific condition was identified; in 15, the data were inadequate for classification. Misinterpretation of normal lipofuscin as abnormal storage material was the commonest cause of misdiagnosis. Conclusions: Diagnosis of ANCL remains challenging; expert pathologic analysis and recent molecular genetic advances revealed misdiagnoses in >1/3 of cases. We now have a refined group of cases that will facilitate identification of new causative genes. PMID:27412140

  19. Motor neurons derived from ALS-related mouse iPS cells recapitulate pathological features of ALS

    PubMed Central

    Park, Ju-Hwang; Park, Hang-Soo; Hong, Sunghoi; Kang, Seongman

    2016-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a late-onset progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. Mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) are known to induce ALS. Although many research models have been developed, the exact pathological mechanism of ALS remains unknown. The recently developed induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology is expected to illuminate the pathological mechanisms and new means of treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. To determine the pathological mechanism of ALS, we generated mouse iPS (miPS) cells from experimental ALS transgenic mice and control mice and characterized the cells using molecular biological methods. The generated miPS cells expressed many pluripotent genes and differentiated into three germ layers in vitro and in vivo. Motor neurons derived from ALS-related miPS cells recapitulated the pathological features of ALS. The ALS-model motor neurons showed SOD1 aggregates, as well as decreased cell survival rate and neurite length compared with wild-type motor neurons. Our study will be helpful in revealing the mechanism of motor neuronal cell death in ALS. PMID:27932790

  20. NSC-34 Motor Neuron-Like Cells Are Unsuitable as Experimental Model for Glutamate-Mediated Excitotoxicity

    PubMed Central

    Madji Hounoum, Blandine; Vourc’h, Patrick; Felix, Romain; Corcia, Philippe; Patin, Franck; Guéguinou, Maxime; Potier-Cartereau, Marie; Vandier, Christophe; Raoul, Cédric; Andres, Christian R.; Mavel, Sylvie; Blasco, Hélène

    2016-01-01

    Glutamate-induced excitotoxicity is a major contributor to motor neuron degeneration in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The spinal cord × Neuroblastoma hybrid cell line (NSC-34) is often used as a bona fide cellular model to investigate the physiopathological mechanisms of ALS. However, the physiological response of NSC-34 to glutamate remains insufficiently described. In this study, we evaluated the relevance of differentiated NSC-34 (NSC-34D) as an in vitro model for glutamate excitotoxicity studies. NSC-34D showed morphological and physiological properties of motor neuron-like cells and expressed glutamate receptor subunits GluA1–4, GluN1 and GluN2A/D. Despite these diverse characteristics, no specific effect of glutamate was observed on cultured NSC-34D survival and morphology, in contrast to what has been described in primary culture of motor neurons (MN). Moreover, a small non sustained increase in the concentration of intracellular calcium was observed in NSC-34D after exposure to glutamate compared to primary MN. Our findings, together with the inability to obtain cultures containing only differentiated cells, suggest that the motor neuron-like NSC-34 cell line is not a suitable in vitro model to study glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. We suggest that the use of primary cultures of MN is more suitable than NSC-34 cell line to explore the pathogenesis of glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity at the cellular level in ALS and other motor neuron diseases. PMID:27242431

  1. Motor neurons derived from ALS-related mouse iPS cells recapitulate pathological features of ALS.

    PubMed

    Park, Ju-Hwang; Park, Hang-Soo; Hong, Sunghoi; Kang, Seongman

    2016-12-09

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a late-onset progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. Mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) are known to induce ALS. Although many research models have been developed, the exact pathological mechanism of ALS remains unknown. The recently developed induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology is expected to illuminate the pathological mechanisms and new means of treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. To determine the pathological mechanism of ALS, we generated mouse iPS (miPS) cells from experimental ALS transgenic mice and control mice and characterized the cells using molecular biological methods. The generated miPS cells expressed many pluripotent genes and differentiated into three germ layers in vitro and in vivo. Motor neurons derived from ALS-related miPS cells recapitulated the pathological features of ALS. The ALS-model motor neurons showed SOD1 aggregates, as well as decreased cell survival rate and neurite length compared with wild-type motor neurons. Our study will be helpful in revealing the mechanism of motor neuronal cell death in ALS.

  2. Sleep-dependent motor memory consolidation in older adults depends on task demands.

    PubMed

    Gudberg, Christel; Wulff, Katharina; Johansen-Berg, Heidi

    2015-03-01

    It is often suggested that sleep-dependent consolidation of motor learning is impaired in older adults. The current study challenges this view and suggests that the degree of motor consolidation seen with sleep in older age groups depends on the kinematic demands of the task. We show that, when tested with a classic sequence learning task, requiring individuated finger movements, older adults did not show sleep-dependent consolidation. By contrast, when tested with an adapted sequence learning task, in which movements were performed with the whole hand, sleep-dependent motor improvement was observed in older adults. We suggest that age-related decline in fine motor dexterity may in part be responsible for the previously described deficit in sleep-dependent motor consolidation with aging.

  3. Sleep-dependent motor memory consolidation in older adults depends on task demands

    PubMed Central

    Gudberg, Christel; Wulff, Katharina; Johansen-Berg, Heidi

    2015-01-01

    It is often suggested that sleep-dependent consolidation of motor learning is impaired in older adults. The current study challenges this view and suggests that the degree of motor consolidation seen with sleep in older age groups depends on the kinematic demands of the task. We show that, when tested with a classic sequence learning task, requiring individuated finger movements, older adults did not show sleep-dependent consolidation. By contrast, when tested with an adapted sequence learning task, in which movements were performed with the whole hand, sleep-dependent motor improvement was observed in older adults. We suggest that age-related decline in fine motor dexterity may in part be responsible for the previously described deficit in sleep-dependent motor consolidation with aging. PMID:25618616

  4. Sensory deprivation increases phagocytosis of adult-born neurons by activated microglia in the olfactory bulb.

    PubMed

    Denizet, Marie; Cotter, Laurent; Lledo, Pierre-Marie; Lazarini, Françoise

    2017-02-01

    The olfactory bulb (OB) is a highly plastic structure that can change organizational networks depending on environmental inputs in adult mammals. Particularly, in rodents, adult neurogenesis underlies plastic changes in the OB circuitry by continuously adding new interneurons to the network. We addressed the question of whether microglia, the immune cells of the brain, were involved in pruning OB neurons. Using lentiviral labeling of neurons in neonatal or adult mice and confocal analysis, we showed that microglia engulfed parts of neonatal-born and adult-born neurons in the healthy OB. We demonstrated that OB deafferentation by Dichlobenil administration induced sensory deprivation. It also increased phagocytosis of adult-born, but not neonatal-born neurons, by activated microglia. Conversely, intranasal lipopolysaccharide administration induced activation of microglia but changed neither adult neurogenesis nor olfaction. Our data reveal that steady-state microglia eliminate adult-born neurons and their synapses in both healthy and sensory deprived OBs, thereby adapting neuronal connections to the sensory experience.

  5. The Association between Motor Skill Competence and Physical Fitness in Young Adults

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stodden, David; Langendorfer, Stephen; Roberton, Mary Ann

    2009-01-01

    We examined the relationship between competence in three fundamental motor skills (throwing, kicking, and jumping) and six measures of health-related physical fitness in young adults (ages 18-25). We assessed motor skill competence using product scores of maximum kicking and throwing speed and maximum jumping distance. A factor analysis indicated…

  6. Mutant HSPB1 overexpression in neurons is sufficient to cause age-related motor neuronopathy in mice

    PubMed Central

    Srivastava, Amit K.; Renusch, Samantha R.; Naiman, Nicole E.; Gu, Shuping; Sneh, Amita; Arnold, W. David; Sahenk, Zarife; Kolb, Stephen J.

    2012-01-01

    The small heat shock protein HSPB1 is a multifunctional, α-crystallin-based protein that has been shown to be neuroprotective in animal models of motor neuron disease and peripheral nerve injury. Missense mutations in HSPB1 result in axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease with minimal sensory involvement (CMT2F) and distal hereditary motor neuropathy type 2 (dHMN-II). These disorders are characterized by a selective loss of motor axons in peripheral nerve resulting in distal muscle weakness and often severe disability. To investigate the pathogenic mechanisms of HSPB1 mutations in motor neurons in vivo, we have developed and characterized transgenic PrP-HSPB1 and PrP-HSPB1(R136W) mice. These mice express the human HSPB1 protein throughout the nervous system including in axons of peripheral nerve. Although both mouse strains lacked obvious motor deficits, the PrP-HSPB1(R136W) mice developed an age-dependent motor axonopathy. Mutant mice showed axonal pathology in spinal cord and peripheral nerve with evidence of impaired neurofilament cytoskeleton, associated with organelle accumulation. Accompanying these findings, increases in the number of Schmidt-Lanterman incisures, as evidence of impaired axon-Schwann cell interactions, were present. These observations suggest that overexpression of HSPB1(R136W) in neurons is sufficient to cause pathological and electrophysiological changes in mice that are seen in patients with hereditary motor neuropathy. PMID:22521462

  7. Prevalence of secondary impairments of adults with cerebral palsy according to gross motor function classification system

    PubMed Central

    Park, Eun-Young; Kim, Won-Ho

    2017-01-01

    [Purpose] This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of secondary impairments in adults with cerebral palsy. [Subjects and Methods] The study sample included 52 adults with cerebral palsy who attended a convalescent or rehabilitation center for disabled individuals or a special school for physical disabilities in South Korea. [Results] The univariate analysis showed that the Gross Motor Functional Classification System level was a significant predictor of spondylopathies, general pain, arthropathies, and motor ability loss. The prevalence of these impairments at Gross Motor Functional Classification System level I and II was low compared with the prevalence found at Gross Motor Functional Classification System level III–V. The prevalence of secondary impairments among adults with cerebral palsy at Gross Motor Functional Classification System level III–V was high: loss of motor ability, 42.3%; spondylopathies, 38.4%; general pain, 32.7%; and arthropathies, 28.8%. [Conclusion] In this study, adults with severe cerebral palsy showed a high prevalence of motor ability loss, spondylopathies, arthropathies, and pain. It is necessary to develop intervention programs to prevent secondary impairments in adults with cerebral palsy. PMID:28265154

  8. Prevalence of secondary impairments of adults with cerebral palsy according to gross motor function classification system.

    PubMed

    Park, Eun-Young; Kim, Won-Ho

    2017-02-01

    [Purpose] This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of secondary impairments in adults with cerebral palsy. [Subjects and Methods] The study sample included 52 adults with cerebral palsy who attended a convalescent or rehabilitation center for disabled individuals or a special school for physical disabilities in South Korea. [Results] The univariate analysis showed that the Gross Motor Functional Classification System level was a significant predictor of spondylopathies, general pain, arthropathies, and motor ability loss. The prevalence of these impairments at Gross Motor Functional Classification System level I and II was low compared with the prevalence found at Gross Motor Functional Classification System level III-V. The prevalence of secondary impairments among adults with cerebral palsy at Gross Motor Functional Classification System level III-V was high: loss of motor ability, 42.3%; spondylopathies, 38.4%; general pain, 32.7%; and arthropathies, 28.8%. [Conclusion] In this study, adults with severe cerebral palsy showed a high prevalence of motor ability loss, spondylopathies, arthropathies, and pain. It is necessary to develop intervention programs to prevent secondary impairments in adults with cerebral palsy.

  9. Survival of motor neurone protein is required for normal postnatal development of the spleen.

    PubMed

    Thomson, Alison K; Somers, Eilidh; Powis, Rachael A; Shorrock, Hannah K; Murphy, Kelley; Swoboda, Kathryn J; Gillingwater, Thomas H; Parson, Simon H

    2017-02-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), traditionally described as a predominantly childhood form of motor neurone disease, is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. Although motor neurones are undoubtedly the primary affected cell type, the severe infantile form of SMA (Type I SMA) is now widely recognised to represent a multisystem disorder where a variety of organs and systems in the body are also affected. Here, we report that the spleen is disproportionately small in the 'Taiwanese' murine model of severe SMA (Smn(-/-) ;SMN2(tg/0) ), correlated to low levels of cell proliferation and increased cell death. Spleen lacks its distinctive red appearance and presents with a degenerated capsule and a disorganised fibrotic architecture. Histologically distinct white pulp failed to form and this was reflected in an almost complete absence of B lymphocytes necessary for normal immune function. In addition, megakaryoctyes persisted in the red pulp. However, the vascular density remained unchanged in SMA spleen. Assessment of the spleen in SMA patients with the infantile form of the disease indicated a range of pathologies. We conclude that development of the spleen fails to occur normally in SMA mouse models and human patients. Thus, further analysis of immune function is likely to be required to fully understand the full extent of systemic disease pathology in SMA.

  10. Specific Kinematics and Motor-Related Neurons for Aversive Chemotaxis in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Xiaojing J; Potter, Christopher J; Gohl, Daryl M; Silies, Marion; Katsov, Alexander Y

    2013-01-01

    Summary Background Chemotaxis, the ability to direct movements according to chemical cues in the environment, is important for the survival of most organisms. The vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, displays robust olfactory aversion and attraction, but how these behaviors are executed via changes in locomotion remains poorly understood. In particular, it is not clear whether aversion and attraction bi-directionally modulate a shared circuit or recruit distinct circuits for execution. Results Using a quantitative behavioral assay, we determined that both aversive and attractive odorants modulate