Science.gov

Sample records for motor neurons

  1. Motor Neuron Diseases

    MedlinePlus

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

  2. Motor Neuron Diseases

    MedlinePlus

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

  3. Motor Neurons that Multitask

    PubMed Central

    Goulding, Martyn

    2013-01-01

    Animals use a form of sensory feedback termed proprioception to monitor their body position and modify the motor programs that control movement. In this issue of Neuron, Wen et al. (2012) provide evidence that a subset of motor neurons function as proprioceptors in C. elegans, where B-type motor neurons sense body curvature to control the bending movements that drive forward locomotion. PMID:23177952

  4. Electrodiagnosis of motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Duleep, Anuradha; Shefner, Jeremy

    2013-02-01

    Electrodiagnostic testing has proved useful in helping to establish the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by eliminating possible disease mimics and by demonstrating abnormalities in body areas that are clinically unaffected. Electrodiagnosis begins with an understanding of the clinical features of the disease, because clinical correlation is essential. To improve the sensitivity of the electrophysiologic evaluation, the Awaji criteria have been proposed as a modification to the revised El Escorial criteria. Although techniques to evaluate corticomotor neuron abnormalities and to quantify lower motor neuron loss have been developed, they remain primarily research techniques and have not yet influenced clinical practice.

  5. 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

  6. Changes in motor unit populations in motor neurone disease.

    PubMed Central

    Carleton, S A; Brown, W F

    1979-01-01

    In motor neurone disease changes in the functional properties of motor units, including the surface voltage, latency, conduction velocity, and response to repetitive stimulation, were investigated. Progression was marked by motor unit loss, increase in the proportion of larger motor unit potentials, and inclusion of motor unit potentials larger than normal in the remaining motor unit population. Even late in the disease, motor unit potentials with a low surface voltage persisted. The relationship between motor unit potentials, surface voltage, and latency, present in control subjects, broke down in motor neurone disease, large motor unit potentials having abnormally long latencies and small motor unit potentials unexpectedly short latencies. Amplitude decrements were more frequent and severe in motor unit potentials at later stages in the disease, particularly in those units with lower surface voltages. In one surviving motor unit potential there was evidence suggestive of functional recovery. The observations point to complex changes in the functional properties of motor units in motor neurone disease. PMID:216781

  7. Multidisciplinary Interventions in Motor Neuron Disease

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Stifani, Nicolas

    2014-01-01

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

  10. Motor neurons and the sense of place.

    PubMed

    Jessell, Thomas M; Sürmeli, Gülşen; Kelly, John S

    2011-11-01

    Seventy years ago George Romanes began to document the anatomical organization of the spinal motor system, uncovering a multilayered topographic plan that links the clustering and settling position of motor neurons to the spatial arrangement and biomechanical features of limb muscles. To this day, these findings have provided a structural foundation for analysis of the neural control of movement and serve as a guide for studies to explore mechanisms that direct the wiring of spinal motor circuits. In this brief essay we outline the core of Romanes's findings and place them in the context of recent studies that begin to provide insight into molecular programs that assign motor pool position and to resolve how motor neuron position shapes circuit assembly. Romanes's findings reveal how and why neuronal positioning contributes to sensory-motor connectivity and may have relevance to circuit organization in other regions of the central nervous system.

  11. A computational model of motor neuron degeneration.

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-20

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

  12. Lower motor neuron dysfunction in ALS.

    PubMed

    de Carvalho, Mamede; Swash, Michael

    2016-07-01

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

  13. Neuronal control of turtle hindlimb motor rhythms.

    PubMed

    Stein, P S G

    2005-03-01

    The turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans, uses its hindlimb during the rhythmic motor behaviors of walking, swimming, and scratching. For some tasks, one or more motor strategies or forms may be produced, e.g., forward swimming or backpaddling. This review discusses experiments that reveal characteristics of the spinal neuronal networks producing these motor behaviors. Limb-movement studies show shared properties such as rhythmic alternation between hip flexion and hip extension, as well as variable properties such as the timing of knee extension in the cycle of hip movements. Motor-pattern studies show shared properties such as rhythmic alternation between hip flexor and hip extensor motor activities, as well as variable properties such as modifiable timing of knee extensor motor activity in the cycle of hip motor activity. Motor patterns also display variations such as the hip-extensor deletion of rostral scratching. Neuronal-network studies reveal mechanisms responsible for movement and motor-pattern properties. Some interneurons in the spinal cord have shared activities, e.g., each unit is active during more than one behavior, and have distinct characteristics, e.g., each unit is most excited during a specific behavior. Interneuronal recordings during variations support the concept of modular organization of central pattern generators in the spinal cord.

  14. 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

  15. Frontal lobe dementia and motor neuron disease.

    PubMed Central

    Neary, D; Snowden, J S; Mann, D M; Northen, B; Goulding, P J; Macdermott, N

    1990-01-01

    Four patients are described, in whom a profound and rapidly progressive dementia occurred in association with clinical features of motor neuron disease. The pattern of dementia indicated impaired frontal lobe function, confirmed by reduced tracer uptake in the frontal lobes on single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Pathological examination of the brains of two patients revealed frontal-lobe atrophy, with mild gliosis and spongiform change. The spinal cord changes were consistent with motor neuron disease. The clinical picture and pathological findings resembled those of dementia of frontal-lobe type and were distinct from those of Alzheimer's disease. The findings have implications for the understanding of the spectrum of non-Alzheimer forms of primary degenerative dementia. Images PMID:2303828

  16. Motor neuron disease and polio in Scotland.

    PubMed Central

    Swingler, R J; Fraser, H; Warlow, C P

    1992-01-01

    An analysis of mortality and morbidity rates for motor neuron disease (MND) in Scotland has confirmed earlier observations that the disease is more common in men and older age groups. The geographical distribution is non-uniform and related to discharge rates for all neurological diseases. Discharge and mortality rates are increasing but there has been no decline in populations who would have been vaccinated against polio. PMID:1479388

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-26

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

  18. The frontotemporal dementia-motor neuron disease continuum.

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-27

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

  19. 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

  20. Chronic multifocal demyelinating neuropathy simulating motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Di Bella, P; Logullo, F; Dionisi, L; Danni, M; Scarpelli, M; Angeleri, F

    1991-02-01

    We describe a patient with a chronic acquired predominantly motor polyneuropathy. His clinical picture initially led to a diagnosis of lower motor neuron form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However electrophysiological examination revealed multifocal, prevalently proximal, conduction blocks at sites not prone to compression. Distinguishing this unusual polyneuropathy from motor neuron diseases is critical, since the former is a potentially, treatable disorder.

  1. Motor neurons control locomotor circuit function retrogradely via gap junctions.

    PubMed

    Song, Jianren; Ampatzis, Konstantinos; Björnfors, E Rebecka; El Manira, Abdeljabbar

    2016-01-21

    Motor neurons are the final stage of neural processing for the execution of motor behaviours. Traditionally, motor neurons have been viewed as the 'final common pathway', serving as passive recipients merely conveying to the muscles the final motor program generated by upstream interneuron circuits. Here we reveal an unforeseen role of motor neurons in controlling the locomotor circuit function via gap junctions in zebrafish. These gap junctions mediate a retrograde analogue propagation of voltage fluctuations from motor neurons to control the synaptic release and recruitment of the upstream V2a interneurons that drive locomotion. Selective inhibition of motor neurons during ongoing locomotion de-recruits V2a interneurons and strongly influences locomotor circuit function. Rather than acting as separate units, gap junctions unite motor neurons and V2a interneurons into functional ensembles endowed with a retrograde analogue computation essential for locomotor rhythm generation. These results show that motor neurons are not a passive recipient of motor commands but an integral component of the neural circuits responsible for motor behaviour.

  2. Excitation BolsTORs motor neurons in ALS mice.

    PubMed

    Mattson, Mark P

    2013-10-01

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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  5. 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

  6. Pleiotrophin is a neurotrophic factor for spinal motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Mi, Ruifa; Chen, Weiran; Höke, Ahmet

    2007-03-13

    Regeneration in the peripheral nervous system is poor after chronic denervation. Denervated Schwann cells act as a "transient target" by secreting growth factors to promote regeneration of axons but lose this ability with chronic denervation. We discovered that the mRNA for pleiotrophin (PTN) was highly up-regulated in acutely denervated distal sciatic nerves, but high levels of PTN mRNA were not maintained in chronically denervated nerves. PTN protected spinal motor neurons against chronic excitotoxic injury and caused increased outgrowth of motor axons out of the spinal cord explants and formation of "miniventral rootlets." In neonatal mice, PTN protected the facial motor neurons against cell death induced by deprivation from target-derived growth factors. Similarly, PTN significantly enhanced regeneration of myelinated axons across a graft in the transected sciatic nerve of adult rats. Our findings suggest a neurotrophic role for PTN that may lead to previously unrecognized treatment options for motor neuron disease and motor axonal regeneration.

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:24486622

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Reward-modulated motor information in identified striatum neurons.

    PubMed

    Isomura, Yoshikazu; Takekawa, Takashi; Harukuni, Rie; Handa, Takashi; Aizawa, Hidenori; Takada, Masahiko; Fukai, Tomoki

    2013-06-19

    It is widely accepted that dorsal striatum neurons participate in either the direct pathway (expressing dopamine D1 receptors) or the indirect pathway (expressing D2 receptors), controlling voluntary movements in an antagonistically balancing manner. The D1- and D2-expressing neurons are activated and inactivated, respectively, by dopamine released from substantia nigra neurons encoding reward expectation. However, little is known about the functional representation of motor information and its reward modulation in individual striatal neurons constituting the two pathways. In this study, we juxtacellularly recorded the spike activity of single neurons in the dorsolateral striatum of rats performing voluntary forelimb movement in a reward-predictable condition. Some of these neurons were identified morphologically by a combination of juxtacellular visualization and in situ hybridization for D1 mRNA. We found that the striatal neurons exhibited distinct functional activations before and during the forelimb movement, regardless of the expression of D1 mRNA. They were often positively, but rarely negatively, modulated by expecting a reward for the correct motor response. The positive reward modulation was independent of behavioral differences in motor performance. In contrast, regular-spiking and fast-spiking neurons in any layers of the motor cortex displayed only minor and unbiased reward modulation of their functional activation in relation to the execution of forelimb movement. Our results suggest that the direct and indirect pathway neurons cooperatively rather than antagonistically contribute to spatiotemporal control of voluntary movements, and that motor information is subcortically integrated with reward information through dopaminergic and other signals in the skeletomotor loop of the basal ganglia.

  13. Reward-modulated motor information in identified striatum neurons.

    PubMed

    Isomura, Yoshikazu; Takekawa, Takashi; Harukuni, Rie; Handa, Takashi; Aizawa, Hidenori; Takada, Masahiko; Fukai, Tomoki

    2013-06-19

    It is widely accepted that dorsal striatum neurons participate in either the direct pathway (expressing dopamine D1 receptors) or the indirect pathway (expressing D2 receptors), controlling voluntary movements in an antagonistically balancing manner. The D1- and D2-expressing neurons are activated and inactivated, respectively, by dopamine released from substantia nigra neurons encoding reward expectation. However, little is known about the functional representation of motor information and its reward modulation in individual striatal neurons constituting the two pathways. In this study, we juxtacellularly recorded the spike activity of single neurons in the dorsolateral striatum of rats performing voluntary forelimb movement in a reward-predictable condition. Some of these neurons were identified morphologically by a combination of juxtacellular visualization and in situ hybridization for D1 mRNA. We found that the striatal neurons exhibited distinct functional activations before and during the forelimb movement, regardless of the expression of D1 mRNA. They were often positively, but rarely negatively, modulated by expecting a reward for the correct motor response. The positive reward modulation was independent of behavioral differences in motor performance. In contrast, regular-spiking and fast-spiking neurons in any layers of the motor cortex displayed only minor and unbiased reward modulation of their functional activation in relation to the execution of forelimb movement. Our results suggest that the direct and indirect pathway neurons cooperatively rather than antagonistically contribute to spatiotemporal control of voluntary movements, and that motor information is subcortically integrated with reward information through dopaminergic and other signals in the skeletomotor loop of the basal ganglia. PMID:23785137

  14. Activity of motor cortex neurons during backward locomotion.

    PubMed

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

    2011-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1987-05-01

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

  17. Motor neuron disease: a chemical perspective.

    PubMed

    Wood, Laura K; Langford, Steven J

    2014-08-14

    This Perspective provides a background to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease and specifically amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and gives an overview of the many pathways, both genetically inheritable and sporadic, that may lead to the premature activation of apoptotic pathways in neurons, as well as current and proposed approaches toward interrupting these pathways.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-26

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

  1. Progranulin is expressed within motor neurons and promotes neuronal cell survival

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Progranulin is a secreted high molecular weight growth factor bearing seven and one half copies of the cysteine-rich granulin-epithelin motif. While inappropriate over-expression of the progranulin gene has been associated with many cancers, haploinsufficiency leads to atrophy of the frontotemporal lobes and development of a form of dementia (frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin positive inclusions, FTLD-U) associated with the formation of ubiquitinated inclusions. Recent reports indicate that progranulin has neurotrophic effects, which, if confirmed would make progranulin the only neuroprotective growth factor that has been associated genetically with a neurological disease in humans. Preliminary studies indicated high progranulin gene expression in spinal cord motor neurons. However, it is uncertain what the role of Progranulin is in normal or diseased motor neuron function. We have investigated progranulin gene expression and subcellular localization in cultured mouse embryonic motor neurons and examined the effect of progranulin over-expression and knockdown in the NSC-34 immortalized motor neuron cell line upon proliferation and survival. Results In situ hybridisation and immunohistochemical techniques revealed that the progranulin gene is highly expressed by motor neurons within the mouse spinal cord and in primary cultures of dissociated mouse embryonic spinal cord-dorsal root ganglia. Confocal microscopy coupled to immunocytochemistry together with the use of a progranulin-green fluorescent protein fusion construct revealed progranulin to be located within compartments of the secretory pathway including the Golgi apparatus. Stable transfection of the human progranulin gene into the NSC-34 motor neuron cell line stimulates the appearance of dendritic structures and provides sufficient trophic stimulus to survive serum deprivation for long periods (up to two months). This is mediated at least in part through an anti-apoptotic mechanism

  2. 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.

  3. The role of motor neuron drive in muscle fatigue.

    PubMed

    Ranieri, Federico; Di Lazzaro, Vincenzo

    2012-12-01

    Large experimental evidence indicates that motor neuron drive plays an important role in the origin of fatigue. Some key findings from electrophysiological investigations provide evidence for central fatigue during prolonged exercise: (1) maximal voluntary activation is usually below maximal muscle force; (2) the amount of voluntary activation decreases and (3) motor unit firing rate tends to decline during maximal voluntary isometric contractions. Spinal and supra-spinal mechanisms can be involved. A fundamental contribution to the comprehension of these mechanisms is provided by non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. They have revealed a general reduction of motor cortical excitability and central drive during fatiguing exercise, also confirmed by direct recording of corticospinal activity. Additional data suggesting concomitant intracortical inhibitory and facilitatory phenomena during sustained muscle contraction are discussed. The picture is made more complex in all pathological conditions where the motor unit pool is reduced by muscle disease. Recent findings showed the capacity of specific repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation protocols to reinforce facilitatory processes within the motor cortex and to reduce the loss of muscle force during exercise. This approach might represent a way of access to central processes underlying muscle fatigue in motor neuron and neuromuscular disorders. PMID:23182631

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    1984-01-01

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

  7. 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

  8. Long-range neuronal circuits underlying the interaction between sensory and motor cortex.

    PubMed

    Mao, Tianyi; Kusefoglu, Deniz; Hooks, Bryan M; Huber, Daniel; Petreanu, Leopoldo; Svoboda, Karel

    2011-10-01

    In the rodent vibrissal system, active sensation and sensorimotor integration are mediated in part by connections between barrel cortex and vibrissal motor cortex. Little is known about how these structures interact at the level of neurons. We used Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) expression, combined with anterograde and retrograde labeling, to map connections between barrel cortex and pyramidal neurons in mouse motor cortex. Barrel cortex axons preferentially targeted upper layer (L2/3, L5A) neurons in motor cortex; input to neurons projecting back to barrel cortex was particularly strong. Barrel cortex input to deeper layers (L5B, L6) of motor cortex, including neurons projecting to the brainstem, was weak, despite pronounced geometric overlap of dendrites with axons from barrel cortex. Neurons in different layers received barrel cortex input within stereotyped dendritic domains. The cortico-cortical neurons in superficial layers of motor cortex thus couple motor and sensory signals and might mediate sensorimotor integration and motor learning.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Tosolini, Andrew Paul; Morris, Renée

    2016-01-01

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

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Shaw, Christopher A.; Petrik, Michael S.

    2010-01-01

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

  16. Motor neuronal activity varies least among individuals when it matters most for behavior

    PubMed Central

    Cullins, Miranda J.; Shaw, Kendrick M.; Gill, Jeffrey P.

    2014-01-01

    How does motor neuronal variability affect behavior? To explore this question, we quantified activity of multiple individual identified motor neurons mediating biting and swallowing in intact, behaving Aplysia californica by recording from the protractor muscle and the three nerves containing the majority of motor neurons controlling the feeding musculature. We measured multiple motor components: duration of the activity of identified motor neurons as well as their relative timing. At the same time, we measured behavioral efficacy: amplitude of grasping movement during biting and amplitude of net inward food movement during swallowing. We observed that the total duration of the behaviors varied: Within animals, biting duration shortened from the first to the second and third bites; between animals, biting and swallowing durations varied. To study other sources of variation, motor components were divided by behavior duration (i.e., normalized). Even after normalization, distributions of motor component durations could distinguish animals as unique individuals. However, the degree to which a motor component varied among individuals depended on the role of that motor component in a behavior. Motor neuronal activity that was essential for the expression of biting or swallowing was similar among animals, whereas motor neuronal activity that was not essential for that behavior varied more from individual to individual. These results suggest that motor neuronal activity that matters most for the expression of a particular behavior may vary least from individual to individual. Shaping individual variability to ensure behavioral efficacy may be a general principle for the operation of motor systems. PMID:25411463

  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 Central

    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. PMID:26222784

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  1. 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

    2013-12-01

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:24705136

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  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. PMID:26400084

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-29

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

  11. Clinical significance of upper airway dysfunction in motor neurone disease.

    PubMed Central

    García-Pachón, E.; Martí, J.; Mayos, M.; Casan, P.; Sanchis, J.

    1994-01-01

    BACKGROUND--To assess the occurrence, functional characteristics and prognostic value of upper airway dysfunction in motor neurone disease, 27 patients unselected for respiratory symptoms were studied. METHODS--Upper airway function was evaluated by analysis of the maximal flow-volume loop. Neurological diagnosis was established from the clinical history and physical examination. The degree of impairment was quantified by the Appel score. RESULTS--Twelve patients (group A) showed abnormalities of the maximal flow-volume loop consistent with flow limitation (seven patients) or instability of upper airway function (gross oscillations of airflow, five patients). The remaining 15 patients (group B) exhibited a normal or generally reduced maximal flow-volume loop, suggestive of muscle weakness. No differences were observed between groups in general physical condition, rate of disease progression, or duration of disease. CONCLUSIONS--Upper airway dysfunction in patients with motor neurone disease was a frequent finding. It was present more often, but not exclusively, in patients with bulbar features and was unrelated to prognosis. PMID:7940430

  12. Fishing for causes and cures of motor neuron disorders

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  15. Activity-driven synaptic and axonal degeneration in canine motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Carrasco, Dario I; Rich, Mark M; Wang, Qingbo; Cope, Timothy C; Pinter, Martin J

    2004-08-01

    The role of neuronal activity in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease is largely unknown. In this study, we examined the effects of increasing motor neuron activity on the pathogenesis of a canine version of inherited motor neuron disease (hereditary canine spinal muscular atrophy). Activity of motor neurons innervating the ankle extensor muscle medial gastrocnemius (MG) was increased by denervating close synergist muscles. In affected animals, 4 wk of synergist denervation accelerated loss of motor-unit function relative to control muscles and decreased motor axon conduction velocities. Slowing of axon conduction was greatest in the most distal portions of motor axons. Morphological analysis of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) showed that these functional changes were associated with increased loss of intact innervation and with the appearance of significant motor axon and motor terminal sprouting. These effects were not observed in the MG muscles of age-matched, normal animals with synergist denervation for 5 wk. The results indicate that motor neuron action potential activity is a major contributing factor to the loss of motor-unit function and degeneration in inherited canine motor neuron disease.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Ravanelli, Andrew M.; Appel, Bruce

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Holt, Lori L; Lotto, Andrew J

    2014-04-01

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

  20. Accelerated and widespread neuronal loss occurs in motor neuron degeneration (mnd) mice expressing a neurofilament-disrupting transgene.

    PubMed

    Plummer, J; Peterson, A; Messer, A

    1995-12-01

    To examine the effects of multiple stressors on the onset and specificity of a neurodegenerative disease, we derived mnd/mnd mice expressing a neurofilament-H/lacZ transgene. The mnd mutation causes adult-onset motor dysfunction, and produces abnormal ubiquitous accumulation of autofluorescent lipopigment, with retinal degeneration and late-onset motor neuron degeneration. The neurofilament H-beta-galactosidase fusion protein causes endogenous neurofilament subunits to precipitate in perikarya, but shows neither significant neuronal degeneration nor behavioral changes until advanced age. In mnd/mnd-transgenic animals, neurological symptoms, lipopigment accumulation, and motor neuron loss were substantially accelerated. Newly vulnerable populations of neurons also degenerated, including cerebellar Purkinje cells and dorsal roots. This study exemplifies a synergistic interaction between a neuron-specific and a ubiquitous defect, leading to significant neurological consequences. It further indicates that cytoskeletal abnormalities similar to those observed in late-onset human neurodegenerative disorders can interact with other cellular defects and contribute to pathogenesis.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-03-01

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

  2. Recruitment of motor neuronal persistent inward currents shapes withdrawal reflexes in the frog

    PubMed Central

    Perrier, Jean-François; Tresch, Matthew C

    2005-01-01

    The details of behaviour are determined by the interplay of synaptic connectivity within neuronal circuitry and the intrinsic membrane properties of individual neurones. One particularly dramatic intrinsic property displayed by neurones in many regions of the nervous system is membrane potential bistability, in which transient excitation of a neurone results in a persistent depolarization outlasting the initial excitation. Here we characterize the contribution of such intrinsic bistability, also referred to as plateau properties and mediated by persistent inward currents (PICs), in spinal motor neurones to the production of withdrawal behaviours in the frog. We performed experiments on the isolated frog spinal cord with attached hindlimb. This preparation allowed the simultaneous monitoring of muscle activations during motor behaviour and intracellular neuronal recordings. We found that PICs, following their potentiation by serotonin (5-HT), are recruited and contribute to the production of withdrawal behaviours. These properties conferred a voltage-dependent prolongation to the duration of motor neuronal activity. Consistent with this potentiation of motor neuronal PICs, 5-HT also increased the duration of evoked muscle activations. This behavioural potentiation, as well as the expression of PICs in individual neurones, was reduced following antagonism of L-type Ca2+ channels. These results demonstrate that PICs in motor neurones can be recruited during the production of behaviour and play a role in specifying the temporal details of motor output. PMID:15528248

  3. A compensatory subpopulation of motor neurons in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Schaefer, Anneliese M; Sanes, Joshua R; Lichtman, Jeff W

    2005-09-26

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a fatal paralytic disease that targets motor neurons, leading to motor neuron death and widespread denervation atrophy of muscle. Previous electrophysiological data have shown that some motor axon branches attempt to compensate for loss of innervation, resulting in enlarged axonal arbors. Recent histological assays have shown that during the course of the disease some axonal branches die back. We thus asked whether the two types of behavior, die-back and compensatory growth, occur in different branches of single neurons or, alternatively, whether entire motor units are of one type or the other. We used high-resolution in vivo imaging in the G93A SOD1 mouse model, bred to express transgenic yellow fluorescent protein in all or subsets of motor neurons. Time-lapse imaging showed that degenerative axon branches are easily distinguished from those undergoing compensatory reinnervation, showing fragmentation of terminal branches but sparing of the more proximal axon. Reconstruction of entire motor units showed that some were abnormally large. Surprisingly, these large motor units contained few if any degenerating synapses. Some small motor units, however, no longer possessed any neuromuscular contacts at all, giving the appearance of "winter trees." Thus, degenerative versus regenerative changes are largely confined to distinct populations of neurons within the same motor pool. Identification of factors that protect "compensatory" motor neurons from degenerative changes may provide new targets for therapeutic intervention.

  4. Spinal motor neuron migration and the significance of topographic organization in the nervous system.

    PubMed

    Kania, Artur

    2014-01-01

    The nervous system displays a high degree of topographic organisation such that neuronal soma position is closely correlated to axonal trajectory. One example of such order is the myotopic organisation of the motor system where spinal motor neuron position parallels that of target muscles. This chapter will discuss the molecular mechanisms underlying motor neuron soma positioning, which include transcriptional control of Reelin signaling and cadherin expression. As the same transcription factors have been shown to control motor axon innervation of target muscles, a simple mechanism of topographic organisation specification is becoming evident raising the question of how coordinating soma position with axon trajectory might be important for nervous system wiring and its function.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  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. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor as a component of selective vulnerability of motor neurons in ALS

    PubMed Central

    Abu-Hamad, Salah; Israelson, Adrian

    2015-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of upper and lower motor neurons. Mutations in superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause about 20 percent of familial ALS which is accompanied by accumulation of misfolded SOD1 onto intracellular organelles. Recently, we identified the 12 kDa macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) as a chaperone for mutant SOD1 which is abundant in non-neuronal tissues. Purified recombinant MIF was shown to directly inhibit mutant SOD1 misfolding and association with mitochondria and ER. Elevating MIF in neuronal cells inhibited the accumulation of misfolded SOD1 and its association with mitochondria and ER, and extended survival of mutant SOD1-expressing motor neurons. Our results revealed that the levels of MIF protein are very low in motor neurons, implicating low chaperone activity as a component of selective vulnerability of motor neurons to mutant SOD1 misfolding and toxicity. PMID:26459694

  9. Dynamics of survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein interaction with the mRNA-binding protein IMP1 facilitates its trafficking into motor neuron axons

    PubMed Central

    Fallini, Claudia; Guo, Peng; Zhang, Honglai; Singer, Robert H.; Rossoll, Wilfried; Bassell, Gary J.

    2013-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a lethal neurodegenerative disease specifically affecting spinal motor neurons. SMA is caused by the homozygous deletion or mutation of the survival of motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. The SMN protein plays an essential role in the assembly of spliceosomal ribonucleoproteins. However, it is still unclear how low levels of the ubiquitously expressed SMN protein lead to the selective degeneration of motor neurons. An additional role for SMN in the regulation of the axonal transport of mRNA-binding proteins (mRBPs) and their target mRNAs has been proposed. Indeed, several mRBPs have been shown to interact with SMN, and the axonal levels of few mRNAs, such as the β-actin mRNA, are reduced in SMA motor neurons. In this study we have identified the β-actin mRNA-binding protein IMP1/ZBP1 as a novel SMN-interacting protein. Using a combination of biochemical assays and quantitative imaging techniques in primary motor neurons, we show that IMP1 associates with SMN in individual granules that are actively transported in motor neuron axons. Furthermore, we demonstrate that IMP1 axonal localization depends on SMN levels, and that SMN deficiency in SMA motor neurons leads to a dramatic reduction of IMP1 protein levels. In contrast, no difference in IMP1 protein levels was detected in whole brain lysates from SMA mice, further suggesting neuron specific roles of SMN in IMP1 expression and localization. Taken together, our data support a role for SMN in the regulation of mRNA localization and axonal transport through its interaction with mRBPs such as IMP1. PMID:23897586

  10. 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

  11. Neuronal mechanisms of motor learning are age dependent.

    PubMed

    Berghuis, Kelly M M; De Rond, Veerle; Zijdewind, Inge; Koch, Giacomo; Veldman, Menno P; Hortobágyi, Tibor

    2016-10-01

    There is controversy whether age-related neuroanatomical and neurophysiological changes in the central nervous system affect healthy old adults' abilities to acquire and retain motor skills. We examined the effects of age on motor skill acquisition and retention and potential underlying mechanisms by measuring corticospinal and intracortical excitability, using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Healthy young (n = 24, 22 years) and old (n = 22, 71 years) adults practiced a wrist flexion-extention visuomotor task or only watched the templates as an attentional control for 20 minutes. Old compared with young adults performed less well at baseline. Although the absolute magnitude of skill acquisition and retention was similar in the 2 age groups (age × intervention × time, p = 0.425), a comparison of baseline-similar age sub-groups revealed impaired skill acquisition but not retention in old versus young. Furthermore, the neuronal mechanisms differed as revealed by an opposite direction of associations in the age-groups between relative skill acquisition and intracortical facilitation during the task, and opposite changes during skill retention in corticospinal excitability at rest and during the task and intracortical inhibition during the task. PMID:27494184

  12. Neuronal mechanisms of motor learning are age dependent.

    PubMed

    Berghuis, Kelly M M; De Rond, Veerle; Zijdewind, Inge; Koch, Giacomo; Veldman, Menno P; Hortobágyi, Tibor

    2016-10-01

    There is controversy whether age-related neuroanatomical and neurophysiological changes in the central nervous system affect healthy old adults' abilities to acquire and retain motor skills. We examined the effects of age on motor skill acquisition and retention and potential underlying mechanisms by measuring corticospinal and intracortical excitability, using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Healthy young (n = 24, 22 years) and old (n = 22, 71 years) adults practiced a wrist flexion-extention visuomotor task or only watched the templates as an attentional control for 20 minutes. Old compared with young adults performed less well at baseline. Although the absolute magnitude of skill acquisition and retention was similar in the 2 age groups (age × intervention × time, p = 0.425), a comparison of baseline-similar age sub-groups revealed impaired skill acquisition but not retention in old versus young. Furthermore, the neuronal mechanisms differed as revealed by an opposite direction of associations in the age-groups between relative skill acquisition and intracortical facilitation during the task, and opposite changes during skill retention in corticospinal excitability at rest and during the task and intracortical inhibition during the task.

  13. ACR-12 ionotropic acetylcholine receptor complexes regulate inhibitory motor neuron activity in Caenorhabditis elegans.

    PubMed

    Petrash, Hilary A; Philbrook, Alison; Haburcak, Marian; Barbagallo, Belinda; Francis, Michael M

    2013-03-27

    Heterogeneity in the composition of neurotransmitter receptors is thought to provide functional diversity that may be important in patterning neural activity and shaping behavior (Dani and Bertrand, 2007; Sassoè-Pognetto, 2011). However, this idea has remained difficult to evaluate directly because of the complexity of neuronal connectivity patterns and uncertainty about the molecular composition of specific receptor types in vivo. Here we dissect how molecular diversity across receptor types contributes to the coordinated activity of excitatory and inhibitory motor neurons in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that excitatory and inhibitory motor neurons express distinct populations of ionotropic acetylcholine receptors (iAChRs) requiring the ACR-12 subunit. The activity level of excitatory motor neurons is influenced through activation of nonsynaptic iAChRs (Jospin et al., 2009; Barbagallo et al., 2010). In contrast, synaptic coupling of excitatory and inhibitory motor neurons is achieved through a second population of iAChRs specifically localized at postsynaptic sites on inhibitory motor neurons. Loss of ACR-12 iAChRs from inhibitory motor neurons leads to reduced synaptic drive, decreased inhibitory neuromuscular signaling, and variability in the sinusoidal motor pattern. Our results provide new insights into mechanisms that establish appropriately balanced excitation and inhibition in the generation of a rhythmic motor behavior and reveal functionally diverse roles for iAChR-mediated signaling in this process. PMID:23536067

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    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 hSOD1(G93A) 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 hSOD1(G93A) transgenic ALS mice. Our findings set the stage for CSMN gene therapy in ALS and related motor neuron diseases. PMID:26704722

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Coordinated motor neuron axon growth and neuromuscular synaptogenesis are promoted by CPG15 in vivo.

    PubMed

    Javaherian, Ashkan; Cline, Hollis T

    2005-02-17

    We have used in vivo time-lapse two-photon imaging of single motor neuron axons labeled with GFP combined with labeling of presynaptic vesicle clusters and postsynaptic acetylcholine receptors in Xenopus laevis tadpoles to determine the dynamic rearrangement of individual axon branches and synaptogenesis during motor axon arbor development. Control GFP-labeled axons are highly dynamic during the period when axon arbors are elaborating. Axon branches emerge from sites of synaptic vesicle clusters. These data indicate that motor neuron axon elaboration and synaptogenesis are concurrent and iterative. We tested the role of Candidate Plasticity Gene 15 (CPG15, also known as Neuritin), an activity-regulated gene that is expressed in the developing motor neurons in this process. CPG15 expression enhances the development of motor neuron axon arbors by promoting neuromuscular synaptogenesis and by increasing the addition of new axon branches. PMID:15721237

  1. Motor-circuit communication matrix from spinal cord to brainstem neurons revealed by developmental origin.

    PubMed

    Pivetta, Chiara; Esposito, Maria Soledad; Sigrist, Markus; Arber, Silvia

    2014-01-30

    Accurate motor-task execution relies on continuous comparison of planned and performed actions. Motor-output pathways establish internal circuit collaterals for this purpose. Here we focus on motor collateral organization between spinal cord and upstream neurons in the brainstem. We used a newly developed mouse genetic tool intersectionally with viruses to uncover the connectivity rules of these ascending pathways by capturing the transient expression of neuronal subpopulation determinants. We reveal a widespread and diverse network of spinal dual-axon neurons, with coincident input to forelimb motor neurons and the lateral reticular nucleus (LRN) in the brainstem. Spinal information to the LRN is not segregated by motor pool or neurotransmitter identity. Instead, it is organized according to the developmental domain origin of the progenitor cells. Thus, excerpts of most spinal information destined for action are relayed to supraspinal centers through exquisitely organized ascending connectivity modules, enabling precise communication between command and execution centers of movement.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  3. Long-Range Neuronal Circuits Underlying the Interaction between Sensory and Motor Cortex

    PubMed Central

    Mao, Tianyi; Kusefoglu, Deniz; Hooks, Bryan M.; Huber, Daniel; Petreanu, Leopoldo; Svoboda, Karel

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY In the rodent vibrissal system, active sensation and sensorimotor integration are mediated in part by connections between barrel cortex and vibrissal motor cortex. Little is known about how these structures interact at the level of neurons. We used Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) expression, combined with anterograde and retrograde labeling, to map connections between barrel cortex and pyramidal neurons in mouse motor cortex. Barrel cortex axons preferentially targeted upper layer (L2/3, L5A) neurons in motor cortex; input to neurons projecting back to barrel cortex was particularly strong. Barrel cortex input to deeper layers (L5B, L6) of motor cortex, including neurons projecting to the brainstem, was weak, despite pronounced geometric overlap of dendrites with axons from barrel cortex. Neurons in different layers received barrel cortex input within stereotyped dendritic domains. The cortico-cortical neurons in superficial layers of motor cortex thus couple motor and sensory signals and might mediate sensorimotor integration and motor learning. PMID:21982373

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-27

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. PTEN regulates AMPA receptor-mediated cell viability in iPS-derived motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Yang, D-J; Wang, X-L; Ismail, A; Ashman, C J; Valori, C F; Wang, G; Gao, S; Higginbottom, A; Ince, P G; Azzouz, M; Xu, J; Shaw, P J; Ning, K

    2014-02-27

    Excitatory transmission in the brain is commonly mediated by the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptors. In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), AMPA receptors allow cytotoxic levels of calcium into neurons, contributing to motor neuron injury. We have previously shown that oculomotor neurons resistant to the disease process in ALS show reduced AMPA-mediated inward calcium currents compared with vulnerable spinal motor neurons. We have also shown that PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) knockdown via siRNA promotes motor neuron survival in models of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and ALS. It has been reported that inhibition of PTEN attenuates the death of hippocampal neurons post injury by decreasing the effective translocation of the GluR2 subunit into the membrane. In addition, leptin can regulate AMPA receptor trafficking via PTEN inhibition. Thus, we speculate that manipulation of AMPA receptors by PTEN may represent a potential therapeutic strategy for neuroprotective intervention in ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders. To this end, the first step is to establish a fibroblast-iPS-motor neuron in vitro cell model to study AMPA receptor manipulation. Here we report that iPS-derived motor neurons from human fibroblasts express AMPA receptors. PTEN depletion decreases AMPA receptor expression and AMPA-mediated whole-cell currents, resulting in inhibition of AMPA-induced neuronal death in primary cultured and iPS-derived motor neurons. Taken together, our results imply that PTEN depletion may protect motor neurons by inhibition of excitatory transmission that represents a therapeutic strategy of potential benefit for the amelioration of excitotoxicity in ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders.

  7. Diversity of layer 5 projection neurons in the mouse motor cortex

    PubMed Central

    Oswald, Manfred J.; Tantirigama, Malinda L. S.; Sonntag, Ivo; Hughes, Stephanie M.; Empson, Ruth M.

    2013-01-01

    In the primary motor cortex (M1), layer 5 projection neurons signal directly to distant motor structures to drive movement. Despite their pivotal position and acknowledged diversity these neurons are traditionally separated into broad commissural and corticofugal types, and until now no attempt has been made at resolving the basis for their diversity. We therefore probed the electrophysiological and morphological properties of retrogradely labeled M1 corticospinal (CSp), corticothalamic (CTh), and commissural projecting corticostriatal (CStr) and corticocortical (CC) neurons. An unsupervised cluster analysis established at least four phenotypes with additional differences between lumbar and cervical projecting CSp neurons. Distinguishing parameters included the action potential (AP) waveform, firing behavior, the hyperpolarisation-activated sag potential, sublayer position, and soma and dendrite size. CTh neurons differed from CSp neurons in showing spike frequency acceleration and a greater sag potential. CStr neurons had the lowest AP amplitude and maximum rise rate of all neurons. Temperature influenced spike train behavior in corticofugal neurons. At 26°C CTh neurons fired bursts of APs more often than CSp neurons, but at 36°C both groups fired regular APs. Our findings provide reliable phenotypic fingerprints to identify distinct M1 projection neuron classes as a tool to understand their unique contributions to motor function. PMID:24137110

  8. Non-motor function of the midbrain dopaminergic neurons.

    PubMed

    Da Cunha, Claudio; Wietzikoski, Evellyn Claudia; Bortolanza, Mariza; Dombrowski, Patricia Andréia; dos Santos, Lucélia Mendes; Boschen, Suelen Lúcio; Miyoshi, Edmar; Vital, Maria Aparecida Barbato Frazão; Boerngen-Lacerda, Roseli; Andreatini, Roberto

    2009-01-01

    The roles of the nigrostriatal pathway are far beyond the simple control of motor functions. The tonic release of dopamine in the dorsal and ventral striatum controls the choice of proper actions toward a given environmental situation. In the striatum, a specific action is triggered by a specific stimulus associated with it. When the subject faces a novel and salient stimulus, the phasic release of dopamine allows synaptic plasticity in the cortico-striatal synapses. Neurons of different regions of cortical areas make synapses that converge to the same medium spine neurons of the striatum. The convergent associations form functional units encoding body parts, objects, locations, and symbolic representations of the subject's world. Such units emerge in the striatum in a repetitive manner, like a mosaic of broken mirrors. The phasic release of dopamine allows the association of units to encode an action of the subject directed to an object or location with the outcome of this action. Reinforced stimulus-action-outcome associations will affect future decision making when the same stimulus (object, location, idea) is presented to the subject in the future. In the absence of a minimal amount of striatal dopamine, no action is initiated as seen in Parkinson's disease subjects. The abnormal and improper association of these units leads to the initiation of unpurposeful and sometimes repetitive actions, as those observed in dyskinetic patients. The association of an excessive reinforcement of some actions, like drug consumption, leads to drug addiction. Improper associations of ideas and unpleasant outcomes may be related to traumatic and depressive symptoms common in many diseases, including Parkinson's disease. The same can be said about the learning and memory impairments observed in demented and nondemented Parkinson's disease patients.

  9. Development of the Motor Neuron Disease Carer Questionnaire.

    PubMed

    Mockford, Carole; Jenkinson, Crispin; Fitzpatrick, Raymond

    2009-01-01

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

  10. [Pharmacological therapy of sialorrhea in patients with motor neuron disease].

    PubMed

    Levitskiĭ, G N; Alekhin, A V; Serdiuk, A V; Morgunova, M S; Koneva, O N; Skvortsova, V I

    2005-01-01

    A comparative trial of amithryptiline and dysport (botulinic toxin type A) in the treatment of sialorrhea in patients with motor neuron disease (MND) was conducted in 10 MND patients with sialorrhea, of whom 5 were treated with subcutaneous injections of Dysport and 5 with Amithriptiline, and 6 controls without salivary dysfunction. Gravimetry and scintigraphy of salivary glands were used before and after treatment. Compared to controls, saliva production was significantly decreased in MND patients. Both amithryptilin and dysport used in mean therapeutic doses decreased sialorrhea with similar effect. However, 3 patients, receiving amythryptiline in dosage 50 mg/day, experienced side effects (constipation, accommodation disturbances, dry mouth, sleepiness and poor concentration). Reducing of amithryptiline dose, along with prescribing dysport, removed the side-effects in these patients, while sialorrhea did not increase. The authors concluded that due to high efficacy and low cost of amithryptiline therapy of sialorrhea proved to be a golden standard of palliative care in MDN. However, in these terms dysport can not be an alternative to amithryptiline in sialorrhea therapy. Nevertheless, in cases when amithryptiline treatment is accomplished with side-effects, the drug dosage can be reduced and combined with dysport.

  11. Response of serotonergic caudal raphe neurons in relation to specific motor activities in freely moving cats.

    PubMed

    Veasey, S C; Fornal, C A; Metzler, C W; Jacobs, B L

    1995-07-01

    Serotonergic neuronal responses during three specific motor activities were studied in nuclei raphe obscurus (NRO) and raphe pallidus (NRP) of freely moving cats by means of extracellular single-unit recordings. Responses to treadmill-induced locomotion were primarily excitatory, with 21 of 24 neurons displaying increased firing rates, directly related to treadmill speed. Individual regression analyses determined three response patterns: maximal activation at low speed (0.25 m/sec), augmentation of neuronal activity only at high treadmill speed (0.77 m/sec), and a linear increase. A smaller fraction of NRO and NRP serotonergic neurons (6 of 27) also responded to hypercarbic ventilatory challenge with increased firing rates. The magnitude of neuronal response was dependent upon the fraction of inspired CO2 and was related to ventilatory motor output, specifically, inspiratory amplitude. A subgroup of neurons responsive to hypercarbia in wakefulness demonstrated significant reductions in neuronal response to hypercarbia in slow-wave sleep. Finally, unit activity for 12 of 29 cells increased in response to spontaneous feeding, displaying two distinct patterns of neuronal response in relation to onset and termination of feeding: rapid activation and deactivation versus a gradual increase and decrease. More than half of the cells studied under all three conditions were responsive to more than one motor task. These results indicate that serotonergic caudal raphe neurons are responsive to specific motor system challenges, with many neurons responsive to multiple motor tasks, and that the responsiveness of serotonergic neurons to at least one motor task, hypercarbic ventilatory challenge, is state dependent.

  12. 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).

  13. Histological and Functional Benefit Following Transplantation of Motor Neuron Progenitors to the Injured Rat Spinal Cord

    PubMed Central

    Wyatt, Tanya; Yin, Hong Zhen; Poole, Aleksandra J.; Weiss, John H.; Gardener, Matthew J.; Dijkstra, Sipke; Fischer, David F.; Keirstead, Hans S.

    2010-01-01

    Background Motor neuron loss is characteristic of cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) and contributes to functional deficit. Methodology/Principal Findings In order to investigate the amenability of the injured adult spinal cord to motor neuron differentiation, we transplanted spinal cord injured animals with a high purity population of human motor neuron progenitors (hMNP) derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). In vitro, hMNPs displayed characteristic motor neuron-specific markers, a typical electrophysiological profile, functionally innervated human or rodent muscle, and secreted physiologically active growth factors that caused neurite branching and neuronal survival. hMNP transplantation into cervical SCI sites in adult rats resulted in suppression of intracellular signaling pathways associated with SCI pathogenesis, which correlated with greater endogenous neuronal survival and neurite branching. These neurotrophic effects were accompanied by significantly enhanced performance on all parameters of the balance beam task, as compared to controls. Interestingly, hMNP transplantation resulted in survival, differentiation, and site-specific integration of hMNPs distal to the SCI site within ventral horns, but hMNPs near the SCI site reverted to a neuronal progenitor state, suggesting an environmental deficiency for neuronal maturation associated with SCI. Conclusions/Significance These findings underscore the barriers imposed on neuronal differentiation of transplanted cells by the gliogenic nature of the injured spinal cord, and the physiological relevance of transplant-derived neurotrophic support to functional recovery. PMID:20686613

  14. The complement factor C5a receptor is upregulated in NFL-/- mouse motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Humayun, Saima; Gohar, May; Volkening, Kathryn; Moisse, Katie; Leystra-Lantz, Cheryl; Mepham, Jennifer; McLean, Jesse; Strong, Michael J

    2009-05-29

    In NFL-/- mice, a model of motor neuron degeneration in ALS, degenerating spinal motor neurons express high levels of the receptor for the C5a anaphylatoxin (C5aR) early in the disease process. C5a is a potent in vitro neurotoxin for both Neuro2A and NGF-differentiated PC12 cells. While no interaction was observed between glutamate and C5a, both C5a and kainate upregulated the expression of activated C5aR. C5aR expression was increased in motor neurons in ALS. This data suggests that the early upregulation of C5aR may contribute to motor neuron damage that potentiates excitotoxicity in ALS.

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

    PubMed Central

    Genç, Barış; Özdinler, P. Hande

    2014-01-01

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

  16. RANK-ORDER-SELECTIVE NEURONS FORM A TEMPORAL BASIS SET FOR THE GENERATION OF MOTOR SEQUENCES

    PubMed Central

    Salinas, Emilio

    2009-01-01

    Many behaviors are composed of a series of elementary motor actions that must occur in a specific order, but the neuronal mechanisms by which such motor sequences are generated are poorly understood. In particular, if a sequence consists of a few motor actions, a primate can learn to replicate it from memory after practicing it for just a few trials. How do the motor and premotor areas of the brain assemble motor sequences so fast? The network model presented here reveals part of the solution to this problem. The model is based on experiments showing that, during the performance of motor sequences, some cortical neurons are always activated at specific times, regardless of which motor action is being executed. In the model, a population of such rank-order-selective (ROS) cells drives a layer of downstream motor neurons so that these generate specific movements at different times in different sequences. A key ingredient of the model is that the amplitude of the ROS responses must be modulated by sequence identity. Because of this modulation, which is consistent with experimental reports, the network is able not only to produce multiple sequences accurately but also to learn a new sequence with minimal changes in connectivity. The ROS neurons modulated by sequence identity thus serve as a basis set for constructing arbitrary sequences of motor responses downstream. The underlying mechanism is analogous to the mechanism described in parietal areas for generating coordinate transformations in the spatial domain. PMID:19357265

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

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

  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. Androgen-induced neurite outgrowth is mediated by neuritin in motor neurones.

    PubMed

    Marron, T U; Guerini, V; Rusmini, P; Sau, D; Brevini, T A L; Martini, L; Poletti, A

    2005-01-01

    In the brain, the spinal cord motor neurones express the highest levels of the androgen receptor (AR). Experimental data have suggested that neurite outgrowth in these neurones may be regulated by testosterone or its derivative 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), formed by the 5alpha-reductase type 2 enzyme. In this study we have produced and characterized a model of immortalized motor neuronal cells expressing the mouse AR (mAR) [neuroblastoma-spinal cord (NSC) 34/mAR] and analysed the role of androgens in motor neurones. Androgens either activated or repressed several genes; one has been identified as the mouse neuritin, a protein responsible for neurite elongation. Real-time PCR analysis has shown that the neuritin gene is expressed in the basal condition in immortalized motor neurones and is selectively up-regulated by androgens in NSC34/mAR cells; the DHT effect is counteracted by the anti-androgen Casodex. Moreover, DHT induced neurite outgrowth in NSC34/mAR, while testosterone was less effective and its action was counteracted by the 5alpha-reductase type 2 enzyme inhibitor finasteride. Finally, the androgenic effect on neurite outgrowth was abolished by silencing neuritin with siRNA. Therefore, the trophic effects of androgens in motor neurones may be explained by the androgenic regulation of neuritin, a protein linked to neurone development, elongation and regeneration. PMID:15606892

  1. Zebrafish embryos exposed to alcohol undergo abnormal development of motor neurons and muscle fibers.

    PubMed

    Sylvain, Nicole J; Brewster, Daniel L; Ali, Declan W

    2010-01-01

    Children exposed to alcohol in utero have significantly delayed gross and fine motor skills, as well as deficiencies in reflex development. The reasons that underlie the motor deficits caused by ethanol (EtOH) exposure remain to be fully elucidated. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effects of embryonic alcohol exposure (1.5%, 2% and 2.5% EtOH) on motor neuron and muscle fiber morphology in 3 days post fertilization (dpf) larval zebrafish. EtOH treated fish exhibited morphological deformities and fewer bouts of swimming in response to touch, compared with untreated fish. Immunolabelling with anti-acetylated tubulin indicated that fish exposed to 2.5% EtOH had significantly higher rates of motor neuron axon defects. Immunolabelling of primary and secondary motor neurons, using znp-1 and zn-8, revealed that fish exposed to 2% and 2.5% EtOH exhibited significantly higher rates of primary and secondary motor neuron axon defects compared to controls. Examination of red and white muscle fibers revealed that fish exposed to EtOH had significantly smaller fibers compared with controls. These findings indicate that motor neuron and muscle fiber morphology is affected by early alcohol exposure in zebrafish embryos, and that this may be related to deficits in locomotion. PMID:20211721

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  3. LGR5/GPR49 is implicated in motor neuron specification in nervous system.

    PubMed

    Song, Shao-jun; Mao, Xing-gang; Wang, Chao; Han, An-guo; Yan, Ming; Xue, Xiao-yan

    2015-01-01

    The biological roles of stem cell marker LGR5, the receptor for the Wnt-agonistic R-spondins, for nervous system are poorly known. Bioinformatics analysis in normal human brain tissues revealed that LGR5 is closely related with neuron development and functions. Interestingly, LGR5 and its ligands R-spondins (RSPO2 and RSPO3) are specifically highly expressed in projection motor neurons in the spinal cord, brain stem and cerebral. Inhibition of Notch activity in neural stem cells (NSCs) increased the percentage of neuronal cells and promoted LGR5 expression, while activation of Notch signal decreased neuronal cells and inhibited the LGR5 expression. Furthermore, knockdown of LGR5 inhibited the expression of neuronal markers MAP2, NeuN, GAP43, SYP and CHRM3, and also reduced the expression of genes that program the identity of motor neurons, including Isl1, Lhx3, PHOX2A, TBX20 and NEUROG2. Our data demonstrated that LGR5 is highly expressed in motor neurons in nervous system and is involved in their development by regulating transcription factors that program motor neuron identity.

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

    PubMed

    Zelenin, Pavel V; Deliagina, Tatiana G; Orlovsky, Grigori N; Karayannidou, Anastasia; Dasgupta, Namrata M; Sirota, Mikhail G; Beloozerova, Irina N

    2011-03-23

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

  5. 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. PMID:25765841

  6. 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.

  7. Unique nuclear vacuoles in the motor neurons of conditional ADAR2-knockout mice.

    PubMed

    Sasaki, Shoichi; Takenari Yamashita; Hideyama, Takuto; Kwak, Shin

    2014-03-01

    A reduction in adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 2 (ADAR2) activity causes the death of spinal motor neurons specifically via the GluA2 Q/R site-RNA editing failure in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We studied, over time, the spinal cords of ADAR2-knockout mice, which are the mechanistic model mice for sporadic ALS, using homozygous ADAR2(flox/flox)/VAChT-Cre.Fast (AR2), homozygous ADAR2(flox/flox)/VAChT-Cre.Slow (AR2Slow), and heterozygous ADAR2(flox/+)/VAChT-Cre.Fast (AR2H) mice. The conditional ADAR2-knockout mice were divided into 3 groups by stage: presymptomatic (AR2H mice), early symptomatic (AR2 mice, AR2H mice) and late symptomatic (AR2Slow mice). Light-microscopically, some motor neurons in AR2 and AR2H mice (presymptomatic) showed simple neuronal atrophy and astrogliosis, and AR2H (early symptomatic) and AR2Slow mice often showed vacuoles predominantly in motor neurons. The number of vacuole-bearing anterior horn neurons decreased with the loss of anterior horn neurons in AR2H mice after 40 weeks of age. Electron-microscopically, in AR2 mice, while the cytoplasm of normal-looking motor neurons was almost always normal-appearing, the interior of dendrites was frequently loose and disorganized. In AR2H and AR2Slow mice, large vacuoles without a limiting membrane were observed in the anterior horns, preferentially in the nuclei of motor neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Nuclear vacuoles were not observed in AR2res (ADAR2(flox/flox)/VAChT-Cre.Fast/GluR-B(R/R)) mice, in which motor neurons express edited GluA2 in the absence of ADAR2. These findings suggest that ADAR2-reduction is associated with progressive deterioration of nuclear architecture, resulting in vacuolated nuclei due to a Ca(2+)-permeable AMPA receptor-mediated mechanism.

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

    PubMed

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

    2000-04-01

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

  9. Engrailed-1 and netrin-1 regulate axon pathfinding by association interneurons that project to motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Saueressig, H; Burrill, J; Goulding, M

    1999-10-01

    During early development, multiple classes of interneurons are generated in the spinal cord including association interneurons that synapse with motor neurons and regulate their activity. Very little is known about the molecular mechanisms that generate these interneuron cell types, nor is it known how axons from association interneurons are guided toward somatic motor neurons. By targeting the axonal reporter gene &tgr;-lacZ to the En1 locus, we show the cell-type-specific transcription factor Engrailed-1 (EN1) defines a population of association neurons that project locally to somatic motor neurons. These EN1 interneurons are born early and their axons pioneer an ipsilateral longitudinal projection in the ventral spinal cord. The EN1 interneurons extend axons in a stereotypic manner, first ventrally, then rostrally for one to two segments where their axons terminate close to motor neurons. We show that the growth of EN1 axons along a ventrolateral pathway toward motor neurons is dependent on netrin-1 signaling. In addition, we demonstrate that En1 regulates pathfinding and fasciculation during the second phase of EN1 axon growth in the ventrolateral funiculus (VLF); however, En1 is not required for the early specification of ventral interneuron cell types in the embryonic spinal cord.

  10. Engrailed-1 and netrin-1 regulate axon pathfinding by association interneurons that project to motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Saueressig, H; Burrill, J; Goulding, M

    1999-10-01

    During early development, multiple classes of interneurons are generated in the spinal cord including association interneurons that synapse with motor neurons and regulate their activity. Very little is known about the molecular mechanisms that generate these interneuron cell types, nor is it known how axons from association interneurons are guided toward somatic motor neurons. By targeting the axonal reporter gene &tgr;-lacZ to the En1 locus, we show the cell-type-specific transcription factor Engrailed-1 (EN1) defines a population of association neurons that project locally to somatic motor neurons. These EN1 interneurons are born early and their axons pioneer an ipsilateral longitudinal projection in the ventral spinal cord. The EN1 interneurons extend axons in a stereotypic manner, first ventrally, then rostrally for one to two segments where their axons terminate close to motor neurons. We show that the growth of EN1 axons along a ventrolateral pathway toward motor neurons is dependent on netrin-1 signaling. In addition, we demonstrate that En1 regulates pathfinding and fasciculation during the second phase of EN1 axon growth in the ventrolateral funiculus (VLF); however, En1 is not required for the early specification of ventral interneuron cell types in the embryonic spinal cord. PMID:10477289

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-16

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  13. Interaction of survival of motor neuron (SMN) and HuD proteins with mRNA cpg15 rescues motor neuron axonal deficits.

    PubMed

    Akten, Bikem; Kye, Min Jeong; Hao, Le T; Wertz, Mary H; Singh, Sasha; Nie, Duyu; Huang, Jia; Merianda, Tanuja T; Twiss, Jeffery L; Beattie, Christine E; Steen, Judith A J; Sahin, Mustafa

    2011-06-21

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), caused by the deletion of the SMN1 gene, is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMN protein is present at high levels in both axons and growth cones, and loss of its function disrupts axonal extension and pathfinding. SMN is known to associate with the RNA-binding protein hnRNP-R, and together they are responsible for the transport and/or local translation of β-actin mRNA in the growth cones of motor neurons. However, the full complement of SMN-interacting proteins in neurons remains unknown. Here we used mass spectrometry to identify HuD as a novel neuronal SMN-interacting partner. HuD is a neuron-specific RNA-binding protein that interacts with mRNAs, including candidate plasticity-related gene 15 (cpg15). We show that SMN and HuD form a complex in spinal motor axons, and that both interact with cpg15 mRNA in neurons. CPG15 is highly expressed in the developing ventral spinal cord and can promote motor axon branching and neuromuscular synapse formation, suggesting a crucial role in the development of motor axons and neuromuscular junctions. Cpg15 mRNA previously has been shown to localize into axonal processes. Here we show that SMN deficiency reduces cpg15 mRNA levels in neurons, and, more importantly, cpg15 overexpression partially rescues the SMN-deficiency phenotype in zebrafish. Our results provide insight into the function of SMN protein in axons and also identify potential targets for the study of mechanisms that lead to the SMA pathology and related neuromuscular diseases. PMID:21652774

  14. 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.

  15. Transcription factor-induced lineage programming of noradrenaline and motor neurons from embryonic stem cells.

    PubMed

    Mong, Jamie; Panman, Lia; Alekseenko, Zhanna; Kee, Nigel; Stanton, Lawrence W; Ericson, Johan; Perlmann, Thomas

    2014-03-01

    An important goal in stem cell biology is to develop methods for efficient generation of clinically interesting cell types from relevant stem cell populations. This is particularly challenging for different types of neurons of the central nervous system where hundreds of distinct neuronal cell types are generated during embryonic development. We previously used a strategy based on forced transcription factor expression in embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitors to generate specific types of neurons, including dopamine and serotonin neurons. Here, we extend these studies and show that noradrenergic neurons can also be generated from pluripotent embryonic stem cells by forced expression of the homeobox transcription factor Phox2b under the signaling influence of fibroblast growth factor 8 (FGF8) and bone morphogenetic proteins. In neural progenitors exposed to FGF8 and sonic hedgehog both Phox2b and the related Phox2a instead promoted the generation of neurons with the characteristics of mid- and hindbrain motor neurons. The efficient generation of these neuron types enabled a comprehensive genome-wide gene expression analysis that provided further validation of the identity of generated cells. Moreover, we also demonstrate that the generated cell types are amenable to drug testing in vitro and we show that variants of the differentiation protocols can be applied to cultures of human pluripotent stem cells for the generation of human noradrenergic and visceral motor neurons. Thus, these studies provide a basis for characterization of yet an additional highly clinically relevant neuronal cell type.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  19. 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

  20. Effects of limb exercise after spinal cord injury on motor neuron dendrite structure.

    PubMed

    Gazula, Valeswara-Rao; Roberts, Melinda; Luzzio, Christopher; Jawad, Abbas F; Kalb, Robert Gordon

    2004-08-16

    An integration center subserving locomotor leg movements resides in the upper lumbar spinal cord. If this neuronal network is preserved after a spinal cord injury, it is possible to stimulate this circuitry to initiate and promote walking. The several effective approaches (electrical stimulation, pharmacologic agents, physical therapy training programs) may all share a common modus operandi of altering synaptic activity within segmental spinal cord. To understand the neural substrate for the use-dependent behavioral improvement, we studied the dendritic architecture of spinal motor neurons. In the first experiment, we compared three groups of animals: animals with an intact spinal cord, animals that had a complete spinal cord transection (SCT) and animals with SCT who engaged in a daily exercise program of actively moving paralyzed hindlimbs through the motions of walking. When compared with animals with an intact spinal cord, the motor neurons from animals with SCT displayed marked atrophy, with loss of dendritic membrane and elimination of branching throughout the visible tree within transverse tissue slices. None of these regressive changes were found in the motor neurons from SCT animals that underwent exercise. In a second experiment, we inquired whether exercise of animals with an intact spinal cord influenced dendrite structure. Increased exercise had very modest effects on dendrite morphology, indicating an upper limit of use-dependent dendrite growth. Our findings suggest that the dendritic tree of motor neurons deprived of descending influences is rapidly pruned, and this finding is not observed in motor neurons after SCT if hindlimbs are exercised. The functional benefits of exercise after SCT injury may be subserved, in part, by stabilizing or remodeling the dendritic tree of motor neurons below the injury site.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-24

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-24

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

  4. A θ-γ oscillation code for neuronal coordination during motor behavior.

    PubMed

    Igarashi, Jun; Isomura, Yoshikazu; Arai, Kensuke; Harukuni, Rie; Fukai, Tomoki

    2013-11-20

    Sequential motor behavior requires a progression of discrete preparation and execution states. However, the organization of state-dependent activity in neuronal ensembles of motor cortex is poorly understood. Here, we recorded neuronal spiking and local field potential activity from rat motor cortex during reward-motivated movement and observed robust behavioral state-dependent coordination between neuronal spiking, γ oscillations, and θ oscillations. Slow and fast γ oscillations appeared during distinct movement states and entrained neuronal firing. γ oscillations, in turn, were coupled to θ oscillations, and neurons encoding different behavioral states fired at distinct phases of θ in a highly layer-dependent manner. These findings indicate that θ and nested dual band γ oscillations serve as the temporal structure for the selection of a conserved set of functional channels in motor cortical layer activity during animal movement. Furthermore, these results also suggest that cross-frequency couplings between oscillatory neuronal ensemble activities are part of the general coding mechanism in cortex.

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

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Hong; Boychuk, Jeffery A.; Boychuk, Carie R.; Uteshev, Victor V.

    2014-01-01

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

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

    Gunawardena, Shermali; Goldstein, Lawrence S B

    2004-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Osses, Nelson; Henríquez, Juan P.

    2015-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Spinal muscular atrophy: a motor neuron disorder or a multi-organ disease?

    PubMed

    Shababi, Monir; Lorson, Christian L; Rudnik-Schöneborn, Sabine S

    2014-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disorder that is the leading genetic cause of infantile death. SMA is characterized by loss of motor neurons in the ventral horn of the spinal cord, leading to weakness and muscle atrophy. SMA occurs as a result of homozygous deletion or mutations in Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1). Loss of SMN1 leads to a dramatic reduction in SMN protein, which is essential for motor neuron survival. SMA disease severity ranges from extremely severe to a relatively mild adult onset form of proximal muscle atrophy. Severe SMA patients typically die mostly within months or a few years as a consequence of respiratory insufficiency and bulbar paralysis. SMA is widely known as a motor neuron disease; however, there are numerous clinical reports indicating the involvement of additional peripheral organs contributing to the complete picture of the disease in severe cases. In this review, we have compiled clinical and experimental reports that demonstrate the association between the loss of SMN and peripheral organ deficiency and malfunction. Whether defective peripheral organs are a consequence of neuronal damage/muscle atrophy or a direct result of SMN loss will be discussed.

  13. Hindlimb Motor Neurons Require Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase for Maintenance of Neuromuscular Junctions

    PubMed Central

    Flood, Dorothy G.; Reaume, Andrew G.; Gruner, John A.; Hoffman, Eric K.; Hirsch, James D.; Lin, Yin-Guo; Dorfman, Karen S.; Scott, Richard W.

    1999-01-01

    The role of oxidative damage in neurodegenerative disease was investigated in mice lacking cytoplasmic Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD), created by deletion of the SOD1 gene (SOD1−/−). SOD1−/− mice developed a chronic peripheral hindlimb axonopathy. Mild denervation of muscle was detected at 2 months, and behavioral and physiological motor deficits were present at 5–7 months of age. Ventral root axons were shrunken but were normal in number. The somatosensory system in SOD1−/− mice was mildly affected. SOD1−/− mice expressing Cu/Zn SOD only in brain and spinal cord were generated using transgenic mice expressing mouse SOD1 driven by the neuron-specific synapsin promoter. Neuron-specific expression of Cu/Zn SOD in SOD1−/− mice rescued motor neurons from the neuropathy. Therefore, Cu/Zn SOD is not required for normal motor neuron survival, but is necessary for the maintenance of normal neuromuscular junctions by hindlimb motor neurons. PMID:10433959

  14. Spinal muscular atrophy: a motor neuron disorder or a multi-organ disease?

    PubMed Central

    Shababi, Monir; Lorson, Christian L; Rudnik-Schöneborn, Sabine S

    2014-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disorder that is the leading genetic cause of infantile death. SMA is characterized by loss of motor neurons in the ventral horn of the spinal cord, leading to weakness and muscle atrophy. SMA occurs as a result of homozygous deletion or mutations in Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1). Loss of SMN1 leads to a dramatic reduction in SMN protein, which is essential for motor neuron survival. SMA disease severity ranges from extremely severe to a relatively mild adult onset form of proximal muscle atrophy. Severe SMA patients typically die mostly within months or a few years as a consequence of respiratory insufficiency and bulbar paralysis. SMA is widely known as a motor neuron disease; however, there are numerous clinical reports indicating the involvement of additional peripheral organs contributing to the complete picture of the disease in severe cases. In this review, we have compiled clinical and experimental reports that demonstrate the association between the loss of SMN and peripheral organ deficiency and malfunction. Whether defective peripheral organs are a consequence of neuronal damage/muscle atrophy or a direct result of SMN loss will be discussed. PMID:23876144

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. Motor neurone acetylcholinesterase release precedes neurotoxicity caused by systemic administration of excitatory amino acids and strychnine.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Ithurralde, D; Maruri, A; Rodríguez, X

    1998-10-01

    We have proposed that neuronal overactivation by either stimulation of excitatory receptors or hypofunction of inhibitory circuits is a cause of excessive acetylcholinesterase (AChE) release, which, in turn, can contribute to ALS/MND pathogenesis. We investigated histochemical and histopathological changes in cell populations of the mouse spinal ventral horn upon in vivo stimulation of glutamate receptors with L-aspartate (ASP, 10-50 mg/kg, intraperitoneal: i.p.), or blockade of glycine receptors with strychnine (STRY, 2 mg/kg, i.p.). ASP in P4-P13 (postnatal age in days) but not in older mice, and STRY irrespective of age, provoked rapid, striking depletions of motor neurone AChE, and appearance of AChE activity in astrocytes. This was followed by recovery of the enzyme in most motor neurones, astrocyte activation and statistically significant changes in: brain macrophage infiltration, loss of interneurones and motor neurones and neuronophagic images including rosettes of glial cells surrounding a central 'ghost-like' motor neurone. Although AChE release preceded the neuropathology found, it is not known if its uptake is a cause of glial activation. However, it has been shown that the enzyme potentiates non-N-metyl-D-aspartate receptors identical to those that mediate astrocyte activation. AChE activity produces protons and choline, possible microglial activators. These are putative routes towards long-lasting neuropathology.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Li, Wen-Chang

    2015-07-01

    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.

  19. Global control of motor neuron topography mediated by the repressive actions of a single hox gene.

    PubMed

    Jung, Heekyung; Lacombe, Julie; Mazzoni, Esteban O; Liem, Karel F; Grinstein, Jonathan; Mahony, Shaun; Mukhopadhyay, Debnath; Gifford, David K; Young, Richard A; Anderson, Kathryn V; Wichterle, Hynek; Dasen, Jeremy S

    2010-09-01

    In the developing spinal cord, regional and combinatorial activities of Hox transcription factors are critical in controlling motor neuron fates along the rostrocaudal axis, exemplified by the precise pattern of limb innervation by more than fifty Hox-dependent motor pools. The mechanisms by which motor neuron diversity is constrained to limb levels are, however, not well understood. We show that a single Hox gene, Hoxc9, has an essential role in organizing the motor system through global repressive activities. Hoxc9 is required for the generation of thoracic motor columns, and in its absence, neurons acquire the fates of limb-innervating populations. Unexpectedly, multiple Hox genes are derepressed in Hoxc9 mutants, leading to motor pool disorganization and alterations in the connections by thoracic and forelimb-level subtypes. Genome-wide analysis of Hoxc9 binding suggests that this mode of repression is mediated by direct interactions with Hox regulatory elements, independent of chromatin marks typically associated with repressed Hox genes.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    1998-01-01

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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ng, Louisa; Talman, Paul; Khan, Fary

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

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

  9. Normal Dendrite Growth in Drosophila Motor Neurons Requires the AP-1 Transcription Factor

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 heterodimer) 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. PMID:18548486

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Patani, Rickie

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  14. Morphological characteristics of motor neurons do not determine their relative susceptibility to degeneration in a mouse model of severe spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Thomson, Sophie R; Nahon, Joya E; Mutsaers, Chantal A; Thomson, Derek; Hamilton, Gillian; Parson, Simon H; Gillingwater, Thomas H

    2012-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a leading genetic cause of infant mortality, resulting primarily from the degeneration and loss of lower motor neurons. Studies using mouse models of SMA have revealed widespread heterogeneity in the susceptibility of individual motor neurons to neurodegeneration, but the underlying reasons remain unclear. Data from related motor neuron diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), suggest that morphological properties of motor neurons may regulate susceptibility: in ALS larger motor units innervating fast-twitch muscles degenerate first. We therefore set out to determine whether intrinsic morphological characteristics of motor neurons influenced their relative vulnerability to SMA. Motor neuron vulnerability was mapped across 10 muscle groups in SMA mice. Neither the position of the muscle in the body, nor the fibre type of the muscle innervated, influenced susceptibility. Morphological properties of vulnerable and disease-resistant motor neurons were then determined from single motor units reconstructed in Thy.1-YFP-H mice. None of the parameters we investigated in healthy young adult mice - including motor unit size, motor unit arbor length, branching patterns, motor endplate size, developmental pruning and numbers of terminal Schwann cells at neuromuscular junctions - correlated with vulnerability. We conclude that morphological characteristics of motor neurons are not a major determinant of disease-susceptibility in SMA, in stark contrast to related forms of motor neuron disease such as ALS. This suggests that subtle molecular differences between motor neurons, or extrinsic factors arising from other cell types, are more likely to determine relative susceptibility in SMA.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Tissue Plasminogen Activator Induction in Purkinje Neurons After Cerebellar Motor Learning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seeds, Nicholas W.; Williams, Brian L.; Bickford, Paula C.

    1995-12-01

    The cerebellar cortex is implicated in the learning of complex motor skills. This learning may require synaptic remodeling of Purkinje cell inputs. An extracellular serine protease, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), is involved in remodeling various nonneural tissues and is associated with developing and regenerating neurons. In situ hybridization showed that expression of tPA messenger RNA was increased in the Purkinje neurons of rats within an hour of their being trained for a complex motor task. Antibody to tPA also showed the induction of tPA protein associated with cerebellar Purkinje cells. Thus, the induction of tPA during motor learning may play a role in activity-dependent synaptic plasticity.

  18. [Pathophysiological aspects of the use of botulinum toxin dysport in the upper motor neuron lesion].

    PubMed

    Zalialova, Z A

    2014-01-01

    The most frequent causes of disability of patients with neurological diseases are motor disorders in the upper motor neuron lesion caused by the damage of the brain and/or the spinal cord that resulted in the formation of spastic paresis and paralysis. The correct understanding of the pathophysiological basis of clinical presentations of the upper motor neuron lesion will allow to chose the most adequate and prognostically successful methods of treatment. Currently, treatment with botulotoxin can be considered as such a method. This method in the combination with non-pharmacological rehabilitation decreases the activity of phasic and tonic stretching reflexes, associated contractions, synkinesia, spastic dystonia and spasticity that leads to the increase in muscle elasticity, mobility of extremities, reduction of pain, joint stiffness and soft tissue deformation that, in its turn, can increase the independence of the patient from any help. PMID:25389539

  19. 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

  20. 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

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

    PubMed

    Burrows, Malcolm; Bräunig, Peter

    2010-04-15

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Yu, You-lai; Li, Hai-yan; Zhang, Pei-xun; Yin, Xiao-feng; Han, Na; Kou, Yu-hui; Jiang, Bao-guo

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-03-01

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

  4. Cell and neuron densities in the primary motor cortex of primates

    PubMed Central

    Young, Nicole A.; Collins, Christine E.; Kaas, Jon H.

    2013-01-01

    Cell and neuron densities vary across the cortical sheet in a predictable manner across different primate species (Collins et al., 2010b). Primary motor cortex, M1, is characterized by lower neuron densities relative to other cortical areas. M1 contains a motor representation map of contralateral body parts from tail to tongue in a mediolateral sequence. Different functional movement representations within M1 likely require specialized microcircuitry for control of different body parts, and these differences in circuitry may be reflected by variation in cell and neuron densities. Here we determined cell and neuron densities for multiple sub-regions of M1 in six primate species, using the semi-automated flow fractionator method. The results verify previous reports of lower overall neuron densities in M1 compared to other parts of cortex in the six primate species examined. The most lateral regions of M1 that correspond to face and hand movement representations, are more neuron dense relative to medial locations in M1, which suggests differences in cortical circuitry within movement zones. PMID:23450743

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

    PubMed

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

    1999-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-15

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

  11. Lower motor neuron degeneration and familial predisposition to colonic neoplasia in two adult siblings.

    PubMed

    Shaw, P J; Ince, P G; Slade, J; Burn, J; Cartlidge, N E

    1991-11-01

    A previously unreported association between a familial predisposition to colonic neoplasia and familial adult onset lower motor neuron (LMN) degeneration is reported. Two brothers presented at the ages of 53 and 44 years with multiple colonic adenomata and invasive colonic carcinoma respectively. Subsequently both developed a virtually identical pattern of motor neuron disease of progressive muscular atrophy type. At presentation both had LMN weakness affecting predominantly the upper limb and neck muscles. The disease progressed rapidly to involve the lower limb and bulbar musculature and both brothers died after a 15 month course. Necropsy was performed on one brother and showed pathological changes confined to the LMNs with no evidence of involvement of the pyramidal tracts or motor cortex. The combination of these diseases in two brothers may be of importance in the search for genes responsible for familial motor neuron disorders. It is suggested that a genomic search should be directed initially to the vicinity of known colon neoplasia genes, particularly 5q, 17q and 18q.

  12. Slow active potentials in ventral inhibitory motor neurons of the nematode Ascaris.

    PubMed

    Angstadt, J D; Stretton, A O

    1989-12-01

    The ability of ventral inhibitory motor neurons of the nematode Ascaris to generate slow depolarizing potentials was investigated using intracellular recording and current injection. In quiescent cells, regenerative depolarizations with peak amplitudes of approximately 20 mV and durations of several 100 ms were evoked in response to brief depolarizing current pulses. Repetitive slow potentials were produced in response to sustained depolarizing currents in a threshold-dependent manner. Repetitive slow potentials also occurred spontaneously, exhibiting cycle periods of about 700 ms. The ability of inhibitory motor neurons to generate slow potentials was blocked by addition of Co++, Cd++, or other Ca-channel blockers to the saline but not by TTX or substitution of Na+ with Tris. The amplitude and duration of slow potentials were increased in the presence of Ba++, Sr++, and TEA. Spontaneous slow potentials exhibited characteristics expected of intrinsically generated oscillations, including frequency modulation by injection of prolonged offset currents, phase resetting by brief current pulses, and suppression by strong hyperpolarization. Slow potentials appear to be generated in the ventral nerve cord processes and/or cell body of the motor neuron, and they produce rhythmic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials in ventral muscle cells. Slow potentials may therefore contribute to locomotory or other motor behaviors of the animal. PMID:2607486

  13. Non-aggregating tau phosphorylation by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 contributes to motor neuron degeneration in spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    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; Ma, Yong-Chao

    2015-04-15

    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.

  14. 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

  15. Genetic and functional modularity of Hox activities in the specification of limb-innervating motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Lacombe, Julie; Hanley, Olivia; Jung, Heekyung; Philippidou, Polyxeni; Surmeli, Gulsen; Grinstein, Jonathan; Dasen, Jeremy S

    2013-01-01

    A critical step in the assembly of the neural circuits that control tetrapod locomotion is the specification of the lateral motor column (LMC), a diverse motor neuron population targeting limb musculature. Hox6 paralog group genes have been implicated as key determinants of LMC fate at forelimb levels of the spinal cord, through their ability to promote expression of the LMC-restricted genes Foxp1 and Raldh2 and to suppress thoracic fates through exclusion of Hoxc9. The specific roles and mechanisms of Hox6 gene function in LMC neurons, however, are not known. We show that Hox6 genes are critical for diverse facets of LMC identity and define motifs required for their in vivo specificities. Although Hox6 genes are necessary for generating the appropriate number of LMC neurons, they are not absolutely required for the induction of forelimb LMC molecular determinants. In the absence of Hox6 activity, LMC identity appears to be preserved through a diverse array of Hox5-Hox8 paralogs, which are sufficient to reprogram thoracic motor neurons to an LMC fate. In contrast to the apparently permissive Hox inputs to early LMC gene programs, individual Hox genes, such as Hoxc6, have specific roles in promoting motor neuron pool diversity within the LMC. Dissection of motifs required for Hox in vivo specificities reveals that either cross-repressive interactions or cooperativity with Pbx cofactors are sufficient to induce LMC identity, with the N-terminus capable of promoting columnar, but not pool, identity when transferred to a heterologous homeodomain. These results indicate that Hox proteins orchestrate diverse aspects of cell fate specification through both the convergent regulation of gene programs regulated by many paralogs and also more restricted actions encoded through specificity determinants in the N-terminus.

  16. 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.

  17. Motor neuron disease. SMN2 splicing modifiers improve motor function and longevity in mice with spinal muscular atrophy.

    PubMed

    Naryshkin, Nikolai A; Weetall, Marla; Dakka, Amal; Narasimhan, Jana; Zhao, Xin; Feng, Zhihua; Ling, Karen K Y; Karp, Gary M; Qi, Hongyan; Woll, Matthew G; Chen, Guangming; Zhang, Nanjing; Gabbeta, Vijayalakshmi; Vazirani, Priya; Bhattacharyya, Anuradha; Furia, Bansri; Risher, Nicole; Sheedy, Josephine; Kong, Ronald; Ma, Jiyuan; Turpoff, Anthony; Lee, Chang-Sun; Zhang, Xiaoyan; Moon, Young-Choon; Trifillis, Panayiota; Welch, Ellen M; Colacino, Joseph M; Babiak, John; Almstead, Neil G; Peltz, Stuart W; Eng, Loren A; Chen, Karen S; Mull, Jesse L; Lynes, Maureen S; Rubin, Lee L; Fontoura, Paulo; Santarelli, Luca; Haehnke, Daniel; McCarthy, Kathleen D; Schmucki, Roland; Ebeling, Martin; Sivaramakrishnan, Manaswini; Ko, Chien-Ping; Paushkin, Sergey V; Ratni, Hasane; Gerlach, Irene; Ghosh, Anirvan; Metzger, Friedrich

    2014-08-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disease caused by mutation or deletion of the survival of motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. A paralogous gene in humans, SMN2, produces low, insufficient levels of functional SMN protein due to alternative splicing that truncates the transcript. The decreased levels of SMN protein lead to progressive neuromuscular degeneration and high rates of mortality. Through chemical screening and optimization, we identified orally available small molecules that shift the balance of SMN2 splicing toward the production of full-length SMN2 messenger RNA with high selectivity. Administration of these compounds to Δ7 mice, a model of severe SMA, led to an increase in SMN protein levels, improvement of motor function, and protection of the neuromuscular circuit. These compounds also extended the life span of the mice. Selective SMN2 splicing modifiers may have therapeutic potential for patients with SMA.

  18. 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

  19. Reduced survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein in motor neuronal progenitors functions cell autonomously to cause spinal muscular atrophy in model mice expressing the human centromeric (SMN2) gene.

    PubMed

    Park, Gyu-Hwan; Maeno-Hikichi, Yuka; Awano, Tomoyuki; Landmesser, Lynn T; Monani, Umrao R

    2010-09-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common (approximately 1:6400) autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder caused by a paucity of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein. Although widely recognized to cause selective spinal motor neuron loss when deficient, the precise cellular site of action of the SMN protein in SMA remains unclear. In this study we sought to determine the consequences of selectively depleting SMN in the motor neurons of model mice. Depleting but not abolishing the protein in motor neuronal progenitors causes an SMA-like phenotype. Neuromuscular weakness in the model mice is accompanied by peripheral as well as central synaptic defects, electrophysiological abnormalities of the neuromuscular junctions, muscle atrophy, and motor neuron degeneration. However, the disease phenotype is more modest than that observed in mice expressing ubiquitously low levels of the SMN protein, and both symptoms as well as early electrophysiological abnormalities that are readily apparent in neonates were attenuated in an age-dependent manner. We conclude that selective knock-down of SMN in motor neurons is sufficient but may not be necessary to cause a disease phenotype and that targeting these cells will be a requirement of any effective therapeutic strategy. This realization is tempered by the relatively mild SMA phenotype in our model mice, one explanation for which is the presence of normal SMN levels in non-neuronal tissue that serves to modulate disease severity.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2001-01-01

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

  8. Progressive synaptic pathology of motor cortical neurons in a BAC transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease.

    PubMed

    Spampanato, J; Gu, X; Yang, X W; Mody, I

    2008-12-01

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine repeat expansion in huntingtin. A newly developed bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic mouse model (BACHD) reproduces phenotypic features of HD including predominantly neuropil-associated protein aggregation and progressive motor dysfunction with selective neurodegenerative pathology. Motor dysfunction has been shown to precede neuropathology in BACHD mice. We therefore investigated the progression of synaptic pathology in pyramidal cells and interneurons of the superficial motor cortex of BACHD mice. Whole-cell patch clamp recordings were performed on layer 2/3 primary motor cortical pyramidal cells and parvalbumin interneurons from BACHD mice at 3 months, when the mice begin to demonstrate mild motor dysfunction, and at 6 months, when the motor dysfunction is more severe. Changes in synaptic variances were detectable at 3 months, and at 6 months BACHD mice display progressive synaptic pathology in the form of reduced cortical excitation and loss of inhibition onto pyramidal cells. These results suggest that progressive alterations of the superficial cortical circuitry may contribute to the decline of motor function in BACHD mice. The synaptic pathology occurs prior to neuronal degeneration and may therefore prove useful as a target for future therapeutic design. PMID:18854207

  9. 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

  10. In vitro reactive nitrating species toxicity in dissociated spinal motor neurons from NFL (-/-) and hNFL (+/+) transgenic mice.

    PubMed

    Strong, Michael; Sopper, Maggie; He, Bei Ping

    2003-06-01

    We utilized fetal spinal motor neurons isolated from either NFL (-/-) or hNFL (+/+) transgenic mice to determine whether the loss of the low molecular weight neurofilament protein (NFL) places spinal motor neurons at a greater risk for cell death triggered by reactive nitrating species (RNS). After 21 days in serum-free, antibiotic-free medium, both the NFL (-/-) and hNFL (+/+) motor neurons developed neurofilamentous aggregates. Cultures were then exposed to nitric oxide(100 microM NOC 5, 100 microM NOC 12, or 2 mM sodium nitroprusside) or to peroxynitrite (250 mM SIN-1) forvarying intervals. NFL (-/-) cultures demonstrated extensive numbers of apoptotic neurons within six hours and complete cell loss by 24 hours in response to NOC 5 and NOC 12. In contrast, apoptosis was only observed in the motor neurons derived from control (C57bl/6) or hNLF (+/+) mice at 24 hours. In response to 2 mM sodium nitroprusside, necrosis was induced in all cells within 60 minutes. In response to 250 mM SIN-1, both C57bl/6 and hNFL (+/+) cells survived to six hours with only minimal evidence of degeneration while NFL (-/-) motor neurons were necrotic by 60 minutes. These observations suggest that NFL deficient motor neurons are at an enhanced risk of cell death mediated by RNS.

  11. 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.

  12. Lentiviral and adeno-associated vector-based therapy for motor neuron disease through RNAi.

    PubMed

    Towne, Chris; Aebischer, Patrick

    2009-01-01

    RNAi holds promise for neurodegenerative disorders caused by gain-of-function mutations. We and others have demonstrated proof-of-principle for viral-mediated RNAi in a mouse model of motor neuron disease. Lentivirus and adeno-associated virus have been used to knockdown levels of mutated superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) in the G93A SOD1 mouse model of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (fALS) to result in beneficial therapeutic outcomes. This chapter describes the design, production, and titration of lentivirus and adeno-associated virus capable of mediating SOD1 knockdown in vivo. The delivery of the virus to the spinal cord directly, through intraspinal injection, or indirectly, through intramuscular injection, is also described, as well as the methods pertaining to the analysis of spinal cord transduction, SOD1 silencing, and determination of motor neuron protection.

  13. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    Haase, Georg; Rabouille, Catherine

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Haase, Georg; Rabouille, Catherine

    2015-01-01

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

  1. Recruitment in a heterogeneous population of motor neurons that innervates the depressor muscle of the crayfish walking leg muscle.

    PubMed

    Hill, Andrew A V; Cattaert, Daniel

    2008-02-01

    According to the size principle the fine control of muscle tension depends on the orderly recruitment of motor neurons from a heterogeneous pool. We took advantage of the small number of excitatory motor neurons (about 12) that innervate the depressor muscle of the crayfish walking leg to determine if the size principle applies to this muscle. We found that in accordance with the size principle, when stimulated by proprioceptive input, neurons with small extracellular spikes were recruited before neurons with medium or large spikes. Because only a small fraction of the motor neurons responded strongly enough to sensory input to be recruited in this way, we extended our analysis to all neurons by characterizing properties that have classically been associated with recruitment order such as speed of axonal conduction and extracellular spike amplitude. Through a combination of physiological and anatomical criteria we were able to identify seven classes of excitatory depressor motor neurons. The majority of these classes responded to proprioceptive input with a resistance reflex, while a few responded with an assistance reflex, and yet others did not respond. Our results are in general agreement with the size principle. However, we found qualitative differences between neuronal classes in terms of synaptic input and neuronal structure that would in theory be unnecessary, according to a strict interpretation of the size principle. We speculate that the qualitative heterogeneity observed may be due to the fact that the depressor is a complex muscle, consisting of two muscle bundles that share a single insertion but have multiple origins.

  2. 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

  3. Impairment of spinal motor neurons in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1-knock-in mice.

    PubMed

    Takechi, Yasuhiko; Mieda, Tokue; Iizuka, Akira; Toya, Syutaro; Suto, Nana; Takagishi, Kenji; Nakazato, Yoichi; Nakamura, Kazuhiro; Hirai, Hirokazu

    2013-02-22

    Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of polyglutamine repeats in the Ataxin-1 protein. An accumulating body of cerebellar, histological and behavioral analyses has proven that SCA1-knock-in mice (in which the endogenous Atxn1 gene is replaced with mutant Atxn1 that has abnormally expanded 154 CAG repeats) work as a good tool, which resembles the central nervous system pathology of SCA1 patients. However, the peripheral nervous system pathology of the model mice has not been studied despite the fact that the clinical manifestation is also characterized by peripheral involvement. We show here that spinal motor neurons are degenerated in SCA1-knock-in mice. Histologically, some spinal motor neurons of the SCA1-knock-in mice have polyglutamine aggregates in their nuclei and also thinner and demyelinated axons. Electrophysiological examinations of the mice showed slower nerve conduction velocities in spinal motor neurons and lower amplitudes of muscle action potential, compared to wild-type mice. Consistently, the mice displayed decrease in rearing number and total rearing time. These results suggest that the knock-in mice serve as a definite model that reproduces peripheral involvement and are therefore useful for research on the peripheral nervous system pathology in SCA1 patients.

  4. 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. PMID:27631495

  5. MicroRNA-125b regulates microglia activation and motor neuron death in ALS

    PubMed Central

    Parisi, C; Napoli, G; Amadio, S; Spalloni, A; Apolloni, S; Longone, P; Volonté, C

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the means by which microglia self-regulate the neuroinflammatory response helps modulating their reaction during neurodegeneration. In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), classical NF-κB pathway is related to persistent microglia activation and motor neuron injury; however, mechanisms of negative control of NF-κB activity remain unexplored. One of the major players in the termination of classical NF-κB pathway is the ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20, which has recognized anti-inflammatory functions. Lately, microRNAs are emerging as potent fine-tuners of neuroinflammation and reported to be regulated in ALS, for instance, by purinergic P2X7 receptor activation. In this work, we uncover an interplay between miR-125b and A20 protein in the modulation of classical NF-κB signaling in microglia. In particular, we establish the existence of a pathological circuit in which termination of A20 function by miR-125b strengthens and prolongs the noxious P2X7 receptor-dependent activation of NF-κB in microglia, with deleterious consequences on motor neurons. We prove that, by restoring A20 levels, miR-125b inhibition then sustains motor neuron survival. These results introduce miR-125b as a key mediator of microglia dynamics in ALS. PMID:26794445

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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 in 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 toward or away from the cat. We found that when the crosspiece was displaced before the cat stepped onto the ladder, kinematic modifications were complex and involved alterations of dynamics of all forelimb joints. When the crosspiece displaced unexpectedly while the cat was on the ladder, 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 unexpectedly emerge. PMID:26302230

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Grasping synergies: a motor-control approach to the mirror neuron mechanism.

    PubMed

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. Dynamic restructuring of a rhythmic motor program by a single mechanoreceptor neuron in lobster.

    PubMed

    Combes, D; Meyrand, P; Simmers, J

    1999-05-01

    We have explored the synaptic and cellular mechanisms by which a single primary mechanosensory neuron, the anterior gastric receptor (AGR), reconfigures motor output of the gastric mill central pattern generator (CPG) in the stomatogastric nervous system (STNS) of the lobster Homarus gammarus. AGR is activated in vivo by contraction of the medial tooth protractor muscle gm1 and accesses the gastric CPG via excitation of two in-parallel interneurons, the excitatory commissural gastric (CG) and the inhibitory gastric inhibitor (GI). In the spontaneously active STNS in vitro, weak firing of AGR in time with gastric mill motoneurons (GM) reinforces an ongoing type I gastric mill rhythm in which all gastric teeth power-stroke motoneurons are synchronously active. With strong AGR firing, these phase relationships switch abruptly to a type II pattern in which lateral and medial teeth power-stroke motoneurons fire in antiphase. Our results suggest that these bimodal actions on the gastric mill rhythm depend on the balance of firing of the CG and GI interneurons and that selection of the pathway resides in their different postsynaptic sensitivities to AGR. Whereas high intrinsic firing rates of the CG neuron ensure that the excitatory pathway predominates during low levels of sensory input, strong synaptic facilitation in the GI neuron favors the inhibitory pathway during high levels of receptor activity. Feedback from a single mechanosensory neuron is thus able, in an activity-dependent manner, to specify different motor programs from a single central pattern-generating network. PMID:10212320

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-15

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

  13. Frizzled3 controls axonal development in distinct populations of cranial and spinal motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Hua, Zhong L; Smallwood, Philip M; Nathans, Jeremy

    2013-01-01

    Disruption of the Frizzled3 (Fz3) gene leads to defects in axonal growth in the VIIth and XIIth cranial motor nerves, the phrenic nerve, and the dorsal motor nerve in fore- and hindlimbs. In Fz3−/− limbs, dorsal axons stall at a precise location in the nerve plexus, and, in contrast to the phenotypes of several other axon path-finding mutants, Fz3−/− dorsal axons do not reroute to other trajectories. Affected motor neurons undergo cell death 2 days prior to the normal wave of developmental cell death that coincides with innervation of muscle targets, providing in vivo evidence for the idea that developing neurons with long-range axons are programmed to die unless their axons arrive at intermediate targets on schedule. These experiments implicate planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling in motor axon growth and they highlight the question of how PCP proteins, which form cell–cell complexes in epithelia, function in the dynamic context of axonal growth. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01482.001 PMID:24347548

  14. [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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Rhythmic patterns evoked in locust leg motor neurons by the muscarinic agonist pilocarpine.

    PubMed

    Ryckebusch, S; Laurent, G

    1993-05-01

    1. When an isolated metathoracic ganglion of the locust was superfused with the muscarinic cholinergic agonist pilocarpine, rhythmic activity was induced in leg motor neurons. The frequency of this induced rhythm increased approximately linearly from 0 to 0.2 Hz with concentrations of pilocarpine from 10(-5) to 10(-4) M. Rhythmic activity evoked by pilocarpine could be completely and reversibly blocked by 3 x 10(-5) M atropine, but was unaffected by 10(-4) M d-tubocurarine. 2. For each hemiganglion, the observed rhythm was characterized by two main phases: a levator phase, during which the anterior coxal rotator, levators of the trochanter, flexors of the tibia, and common inhibitory motor neurons were active; and a depressor phase, during which depressors of the trochanter, extensors of the tibia, and depressors of the tarsus were active. Activity in depressors of the trochanter followed the activity of the levators of the trochanter with a short, constant interburst latency. Activity in the levator of the tarsus spanned both phases. 3. The levator phase was short compared with the period (0.5-2 s, or 10-20% of the period) and did not depend on the period. The interval between the end of a levator burst and the beginning of the following one thus increased with cycle period. The depressor phase was more variable, and was usually shorter than the interval between successive levator bursts. 4. Motor neurons in a same pool often received common discrete synaptic potentials (e.g., levators of trochanter or extensors of tibia), suggesting common drive during the rhythm. Coactive motor neurons on opposite sides (such as left trochanteral depressors and right trochanteral levators), however, did not share obvious common postsynaptic potentials. Depolarization of a pool of motor neurons during its phase of activity was generally accompanied by hyperpolarization of its antagonist(s) on the same side. 5. Rhythmic activity was generally evoked in both hemiganglia of the

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  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. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-01-01

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

  6. Differential involvement of excitatory and inhibitory neurons of cat motor cortex in coincident spike activity related to behavioral context.

    PubMed

    Putrino, David; Brown, Emery N; Mastaglia, Frank L; Ghosh, Soumya

    2010-06-01

    To assess temporal associations in spike activity between pairs of neurons in the primary motor cortex (MI) related to different behaviors, we compared the incidence of coincident spiking activity of task-related (TR) and non-task-related (NTR) neurons during a skilled motor task and sitting quietly in adult cats (Felis domestica). Chronically implanted microwires were used to record spike activity of MI neurons in four animals (two male and two female) trained to perform a skilled reaching task or sit quietly. Neurons were identified as TR if spike activity was modulated during the task (and NTR if not). Based on spike characteristics, they were also classified as either regular-spiking (RS, putatively excitatory) or fast-spiking (FS, putatively inhibitory) neurons. Temporal associations in the activities of simultaneously recorded neurons were evaluated using shuffle-corrected cross-correlograms. Pairs of NTR and TR neurons showed associations in their firing patterns over wide areas of MI (representing forelimb and hindlimb movements) during quiet sitting, more commonly involving RS neurons. During skilled task performance, however, significantly coincident firing was seen almost exclusively between TR neurons in a smaller part of MI (representing forelimb movements), involving mainly FS neurons. The findings of this study show evidence for widespread interactions in MI when the animal sits quietly, which changes to a more specific and restricted pattern of interactions during task performance. Different populations of excitatory and inhibitory neurons appear to be synchronized during skilled movement and quiet sitting.

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

    PubMed Central

    Day, Nancy F.; Nick, Teresa A.

    2014-01-01

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

  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. PMID:22635677

  9. 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

  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. Retinoid signaling and Neurogenin2 function are coupled for the specification of spinal motor neurons through a chromatin modifier CBP

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Seunghee; Lee, Bora; Lee, Jae W.; Lee, Soo-Kyung

    2009-01-01

    SUMMARY Extracellular signals and cell-intrinsic transcription factors cooperatively instruct generation of diverse neurons. However, little is known about how neural progenitors integrate both cues and orchestrate chromatin changes for neuronal specification. Here, we report that extrinsic signal retinoic acid (RA) and intrinsic transcription factor Neurogenin2 (Ngn2) collaboratively trigger transcriptionally active chromatin in spinal motor neuron genes during development. Retinoic acid receptor (RAR) binds Ngn2 and is thereby recruited to motor neuron genes targeted by Ngn2. RA then facilitates the recruitment of a histone acetyltransferase CBP to the Ngn2/RAR-complex, markedly inducing histone H3/H4-acetylation. Correspondingly, timely inactivation of CBP and its paralogue p300 results in profound defects in motor neuron specification and motor axonal projection, accompanied by significantly reduced histone H3-acetylation of the motor neuron enhancer. Our study uncovers the mechanism by which extrinsic RA-signal and intrinsic transcription factor Ngn2 cooperate for cell-fate specification through their synergistic activity to trigger transcriptionally active chromatin. PMID:19524524

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Nakayama, Yoshihisa; Yokoyama, Osamu

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Nakayama, Yoshihisa; Yokoyama, Osamu; Hoshi, Eiji

    2015-04-01

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

  20. [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.

  1. Functional analysis of the sensory motor pathway of resistance reflex in crayfish. II. Integration Of sensory inputs in motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Le Ray, D; Clarac, F; Cattaert, D

    1997-12-01

    The in vitro preparation of the fifth thoracic ganglion of the crayfish was used to analyze the connections supporting the monosynaptic reflex responses recorded from the depressor motor neurons (Dep MNs). Dep MNs are directly connected by the release-sensitive afferents from a proprioceptor, the coxo-basipodite chordotonal organ (CBCO), which is released by upward movements of the leg. Sine-wave movements, applied to the CBCO strand from the most released position, allowed us to stimulate the greatest part of release-sensitive CBCO fibers. Systematic intracellular recordings from all Dep MNs performed in high divalent cation saline allowed us to determine the connections between CBCO afferents and their postsynaptic Dep MNs: it highlighted the sequential activation of the different Dep MNs involved in the monosynaptic reflex. The convergence of different sensory afferents onto a given Dep MN, and the divergence of a given sensory afferent onto several Dep MNs illustrates the complexity of the sensory-motor reflex loops involved in the control of locomotion and posture. Electrophysiological experiments and simulations were performed to analyze the mechanisms by which Dep MNs integrate the large amount of sensory input that they receive. Paired intracellular recording experiments demonstrated that postsynaptic response shapes characteristic of both phasic and phaso-tonic afferents could be induced by varying the presynaptic firing frequency, whatever the postsynaptic Dep MN. Compartment model simulations were used to analyze the role of the sensory-motor synapse characteristics in the summation properties of postsynaptic MN. They demonstrated the importance of the postsynaptic compartment geometry, because large postsynaptic compartments allowed to generate greater excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) summations than small ones. The results presented show that velocity information is the most effective to elicit large compound EPSPs in MNs. We therefore suggest

  2. 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

  3. Antinociception induced by motor cortex stimulation: somatotopy of behavioral response and profile of neuronal activation.

    PubMed

    França, Nubia R M; Toniolo, Elaine F; Franciosi, Adriano C; Alves, Adilson S; de Andrade, Daniel C; Fonoff, Erich T; Britto, Luiz R; Dale, Camila S

    2013-08-01

    Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) is used as a therapy for patients with refractory neuropathic pain. Experimental evidence suggests that the motor cortex (MC) is involved in the modulation of normal nociceptive response, but the underlying mechanisms have not been clarified yet. In previous studies, we demonstrated that MCS increases the nociceptive threshold of naive conscious rats by inhibiting thalamic sensory neurons and disinhibiting the neurons in periaqueductal gray (PAG), with the involvement of the opioid system. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible somatotopy of the motor cortex on MCS-induced antinociception and the pattern of neuronal activation evaluated by Fos and Egr-1 immunolabel in an attempt to better understand the relation between MC and analgesia. Rats received epidural electrode implants placed over the MC, in three distinct areas (forelimb, hindlimb or tail), according to a functional mapping established in previous studies. Nociceptive threshold was evaluated under 15-min electrical stimulating sessions. MCS induced selective antinociception in the limb related to the stimulated cortex, with no changes in other evaluated areas. MCS decreased Fos immunoreactivity (Fos-IR) in the superficial layers of the dorsal horn of the spinal cord for all evaluated groups and increased Fos-IR in the PAG, although no changes were observed in the PAG for the tail group. Egr-1 results were similar to those obtained for Fos. Data shown herein demonstrate that MCS elicits a substantial and selective antinociceptive effect, which is mediated, at least in part, by the activation of descendent inhibitory pain pathway.

  4. 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

  5. Deletions of the survival motor neuron gene in unaffected siblings of patients with spinal muscular atrophy

    SciTech Connect

    Cobben, J.M.; Steege, G. van der; Grootscholten, P.

    1995-10-01

    DNA studies in 103 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) patients from The Netherlands revealed homozygosity for a survival motor neuron (SMN) deletion in 96 (93%) of 103. Neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein deletions were found in 38 (37%) of 103 and occurred most frequently in SMA type 1. SMN deletions have not yet been described to occur in healthy subjects. In this study, however, four unaffected sibs from two SMA families showed homozygosity for SMN deletions. Homozygosity for an SMN deletion in unaffected persons seems to be very rare. Therefore, demonstration of a homozygous SMN deletion in a clinically presumed SMA patient should be considered as a confirmation of the diagnosis, whether or not SMN is in fact the causal gene for SMA. 19 refs., 2 figs.

  6. Aging in Sensory and Motor Neurons Results in Learning Failure in Aplysia californica

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:25970633

  7. Functional and morphological assessment of diaphragm innervation by phrenic motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Martin, Melanie; Li, Ke; Wright, Megan C; Lepore, Angelo C

    2015-01-01

    This protocol specifically focuses on tools for assessing phrenic motor neuron (PhMN) innervation of the diaphragm at both the electrophysiological and morphological levels. Compound muscle action potential (CMAP) recording following phrenic nerve stimulation can be used to quantitatively assess functional diaphragm innervation by PhMNs of the cervical spinal cord in vivo in anesthetized rats and mice. Because CMAPs represent simultaneous recording of all myofibers of the whole hemi-diaphragm, it is useful to also examine the phenotypes of individual motor axons and myofibers at the diaphragm NMJ in order to track disease- and therapy-relevant morphological changes such as partial and complete denervation, regenerative sprouting and reinnervation. This can be accomplished via whole-mount immunohistochemistry (IHC) of the diaphragm, followed by detailed morphological assessment of individual NMJs throughout the muscle. Combining CMAPs and NMJ analysis provides a powerful approach for quantitatively studying diaphragmatic innervation in rodent models of CNS and PNS disease. PMID:26066371

  8. Information transfer between neurons in the motor cortex triggered by visual cues.

    PubMed

    Kim, Sanggyun; Takahashi, Kazutaka; Hatsopoulos, Nicholas G; Coleman, Todd P

    2011-01-01

    It was previously shown that beta oscillations of local field potentials in the arm area of the primary motor cortex (MI) of nonhuman primates propagate as travelling waves across MI of monkeys during movement preparation and execution and are believed to subserve cortical information transfer. To investigate the information transfer and its change over time at the single-cell level, we analyzed simultaneously recorded multiple MI neural spike trains of a monkey using a Granger causality measure for point process models before and after visual cues instructing the onset of reaching movements. In this analysis, we found that more pairs of neurons showed information transfer between them after appearances of upcoming movement targets than before, and the directions of the information transfer across neurons in MI were coincident with the directions of the propagating waves. These results suggest that the neuron pairs identified in the current study are the candidates of neurons that travel with spatiotemporal dynamics of beta oscillations in the MI.

  9. Ceftriaxone Ameliorates Motor Deficits and Protects Dopaminergic Neurons in 6-Hydroxydopamine-Lesioned Rats

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Parkinson’s disease is caused by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra. There is no current promising treatment for neuroprotection of dopaminergic neurons. Ceftriaxone is a beta-lactam antibiotic and has been reported to offer neuroprotective effects (Rothstein, J.-D., Patel, S., Regan, M.-R., Haenggeli, C., Huang, Y.-H., Bergles, D.-E., Jin, L., Dykes, H.-M., Vidensky, S., Chung, D.-S., Toan, S.-V., Bruijn, L.-I., Su, Z.-Z., Gupta, P., and Fisher, P.-B. (2005) Beta-lactam antibiotics offer neuroprotection by increasing glutamate transporter expression Nature433, 73–77). In the present study, efficacy of ceftriaxone in neuroprotection of dopaminergic neurons and amelioration of motor deficits in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease were investigated. Ceftriaxone was administrated in 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats. Using behavioral tests, grip strength and numbers of apomorphine-induced contralateral rotation were declined in the ceftriaxone-treated group. More importantly, cell death of dopaminergic neurons was found to decrease. In addition, both the protein expression and immunoreactivity for GLT-1 were up-regulated. The present results strongly indicate that ceftriaxone is a potential agent in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. PMID:22860178

  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. Pool-specific regulation of motor neuron survival by neurotrophic support.

    PubMed

    Lamballe, Fabienne; Genestine, Matthieu; Caruso, Nathalie; Arce, Vilma; Richelme, Sylvie; Helmbacher, Françoise; Maina, Flavio

    2011-08-01

    The precise control of motor neuron (MN) death and survival following initial innervation of skeletal muscle targets is a key step in sculpting a functional motor system, but how this is regulated at the level of individual motor pools remains unclear. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor Met play key developmental roles in both muscle and MNs. We generated mice (termed "Nes-Met") in which met is inactivated from midembryonic stages onward in the CNS only. Adult animals showed motor behavioral defects suggestive of impaired innervation of pectoral muscles. Correspondingly, in neonatal spinal cords of Nes-Met mutants, we observed death of a discrete population of pea3-expressing MNs at brachial levels. Axonal tracing using pea3 reporter mice revealed a novel target muscle of pea3-expressing MNs: the pectoralis minor muscle. In Nes-Met mice, the pectoralis minor pool initially innervated its target muscle, but required HGF/Met for survival, hence for proper maintenance of muscle innervation. In contrast, HGF/Met was dispensable for the survival of neighboring Met-expressing MN pools, despite its earlier functions for their specification and axon growth. Our results demonstrate the exquisite degree to which outcomes of signaling by receptor tyrosine kinases are regulated on a cell-by-cell basis. They also provide a model for one way in which the multiplicity of neurotrophic factors may allow for regulation of MN numbers in a pool-specific manner. PMID:21813676

  12. Variants of the elongator protein 3 (ELP3) gene are associated with motor neuron degeneration.

    PubMed

    Simpson, Claire L; Lemmens, Robin; Miskiewicz, Katarzyna; Broom, Wendy J; Hansen, Valerie K; van Vught, Paul W J; Landers, John E; Sapp, Peter; Van Den Bosch, Ludo; Knight, Joanne; Neale, Benjamin M; Turner, Martin R; Veldink, Jan H; Ophoff, Roel A; Tripathi, Vineeta B; Beleza, Ana; Shah, Meera N; Proitsi, Petroula; Van Hoecke, Annelies; Carmeliet, Peter; Horvitz, H Robert; Leigh, P Nigel; Shaw, Christopher E; van den Berg, Leonard H; Sham, Pak C; Powell, John F; Verstreken, Patrik; Brown, Robert H; Robberecht, Wim; Al-Chalabi, Ammar

    2009-02-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a spontaneous, relentlessly progressive motor neuron disease, usually resulting in death from respiratory failure within 3 years. Variation in the genes SOD1 and TARDBP accounts for a small percentage of cases, and other genes have shown association in both candidate gene and genome-wide studies, but the genetic causes remain largely unknown. We have performed two independent parallel studies, both implicating the RNA polymerase II component, ELP3, in axonal biology and neuronal degeneration. In the first, an association study of 1884 microsatellite markers, allelic variants of ELP3 were associated with ALS in three human populations comprising 1483 people (P=1.96 x 10(-9)). In the second, an independent mutagenesis screen in Drosophila for genes important in neuronal communication and survival identified two different loss of function mutations, both in ELP3 (R475K and R456K). Furthermore, knock down of ELP3 protein levels using antisense morpholinos in zebrafish embryos resulted in dose-dependent motor axonal abnormalities [Pearson correlation: -0.49, P=1.83 x 10(-12) (start codon morpholino) and -0.46, P=4.05 x 10(-9) (splice-site morpholino), and in humans, risk-associated ELP3 genotypes correlated with reduced brain ELP3 expression (P=0.01). These findings add to the growing body of evidence implicating the RNA processing pathway in neurodegeneration and suggest a critical role for ELP3 in neuron biology and of ELP3 variants in ALS.

  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. 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

  15. NSC-34 Motor Neuron-Like Cells Are Unsuitable as Experimental Model for Glutamate-Mediated Excitotoxicity.

    PubMed

    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

  16. Lentiviral vectors carrying enhancer elements of Hb9 promoter drive selective transgene expression in mouse spinal cord motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Peviani, Marco; Kurosaki, Mami; Terao, Mineko; Lidonnici, Dario; Gensano, Francesco; Battaglia, Elisa; Tortarolo, Massimo; Piva, Roberto; Bendotti, Caterina

    2012-03-30

    Recombinant lentiviral vectors (rLVs) have emerged as versatile tools for gene delivery applications due to a number of favorable features, such as the possibility to maintain long-term transgene expression, the flexibility in the design of the expression cassettes and recent improvements in their biosafety profile. Since rLVs are able to infect multiple cell types including post-mitotic cells such as neurons and skeletal muscle cells, several studies have been exploring their application for the study and cure of neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, the introduction of rLVs carrying cell-type specific promoters could restrict the transgene expression either to neuronal or glial cells, thus helping to better dissect in vivo the role played by these cell populations in several neurodegenerative processes. In this study we developed rLVs carrying motor neuron specific regulatory sequences derived from the promoter of homeobox gene Hb9, and demonstrated that these constructs can represent a suitable platform for selective gene-targeting of murine spinal cord motor neurons, in vivo. This tool could be instrumental in the dissection of the molecular mechanisms involved in the selective degeneration of motor neurons occurring in Motor Neuron Diseases.

  17. Ethanol withdrawal hyper-responsiveness mediated by NMDA receptors in spinal cord motor neurons

    PubMed Central

    Li, Hui-Fang; Kendig, Joan J

    2003-01-01

    Following ethanol (EtOH) exposure, population excitatory postsynaptic potentials (pEPSPs) in isolated spinal cord increase to a level above control (withdrawal hyper-responsiveness). The present studies were designed to characterize this phenomenon and in particular to test the hypothesis that protein kinases mediate withdrawal. Patch-clamp studies were carried out in motor neurons in rat spinal cord slices. Currents were evoked by brief pulses of glutamate, alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) or N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA). Of 15 EtOH-sensitive neurons in which currents were evoked by glutamate, four (27%) displayed withdrawal hyper-responsiveness in the washout period. Mean current area after washout was 129.6±5% of control. When currents were evoked by AMPA, two of 10 neurons (20%) displayed withdrawal hyper-responsiveness, with a mean current area 122±8% of control on washout. Of a group of 11 neurons in which currents were evoked by NMDA, nine (82%) displayed withdrawal hyper-responsiveness. Mean increase in current area at the end of the washout period was to 133±6% of control (n=9, P<0.001). When NMDA applications were stopped durithe period of EtOH exposure, mean area of NMDA-evoked responses on washout was only 98.0±5% of control (n=6, P>0.05). The tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein (10–20 μM) blocked withdrawal hyper-responsiveness. Of six EtOH-sensitive neurons, the mean NMDA-evoked current area after washout was 89±6% of control, P>0.05. The protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor Rp-cAMP (20–500 μM) did not block withdrawal hyper-responsiveness. On washout, the mean NMDA-evoked current area was 124±6% of control (n=5, P<0.05). Two broad-spectrum specific protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors, GF-109203X (0.3 μM) and chelerythrine chloride (0.5–2 nM), blocked withdrawal hyper-responsiveness. Responses on washout were 108±7%, n=5 and 88±4%, n=4 of control, respectively, P>0.05. NMDA activation during EtOH exposure

  18. Age-related changes in soma size of neurons in the spinal cord motor column of the cat.

    PubMed

    Liu, R H; Bertolotto, C; Engelhardt, J K; Chase, M H

    1996-06-28

    The present study was undertaken to examine the effect of the aging process on the soma size and number of motoneurons and interneurons in the motor column of the spinal cord of old cats. Neurons in the motor column were divided into small and large populations based on a bimodal distribution of their soma cross-sectional areas. A 17% decrease in the cross-sectional area of small neurons was observed, this decrease was statistically significant (P < 0.0001). The cross-sectional area of large neurons decreased by only 6%, which was statistically significant (P < 0.05). On the other hand, there was no significant difference in the number of large, small or of these combined population of ventral horn neurons in the aged cats compared with the control animals. This data suggest that neurons in the motor column are not uniformly affected by the aging process because morphological changes are proportionally greater in small neurons than in large neurons. PMID:8817566

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Motor neurone responses during a postural reflex in solitarious and gregarious desert locusts.

    PubMed

    Blackburn, Laura M; Ott, Swidbert R; Matheson, Tom; Burrows, Malcolm; Rogers, Stephen M

    2010-08-01

    Desert locusts show extreme phenotypic plasticity and can change reversibly between two phases that differ radically in morphology, physiology and behaviour. Solitarious locusts are cryptic in appearance and behaviour, walking slowly with the body held close to the ground. Gregarious locusts are conspicuous in appearance and much more active, walking rapidly with the body held well above the ground. During walking, the excursion of the femoro-tibial (F-T) joint of the hind leg is smaller in solitarious locusts, and the joint is kept more flexed throughout an entire step. Under open loop conditions, the slow extensor tibiae (SETi) motor neurone of solitarious locusts shows strong tonic activity that increases at more extended F-T angles. SETi of gregarious locusts by contrast showed little tonic activity. Simulated flexion of the F-T joint elicits resistance reflexes in SETi in both phases, but regardless of the initial and final position of the leg, the spiking rate of SETi during these reflexes was twice as great in solitarious compared to gregarious locusts. This increased sensory-motor gain in the neuronal networks controlling postural reflexes in solitarious locusts may be linked to the occurrence of pronounced behavioural catalepsy in this phase similar to other cryptic insects such as stick insects.

  3. Myopathic involvement and mitochondrial pathology in Kennedy disease and in other motor neuron diseases.

    PubMed

    Orsucci, D; Rocchi, A; Caldarazzo Ienco, E; Alì, G; LoGerfo, A; Petrozzi, L; Scarpelli, M; Filosto, M; Carlesi, C; Siciliano, G; Bonuccelli, U; Mancuso, M

    2014-01-01

    Kennedy disease (spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, or SBMA) is a motor neuron disease caused by a CAG expansion in the androgen-receptor (AR) gene. Increasing evidence shows that SBMA may have a primary myopathic component and that mitochondrial dysfunction may have some role in the pathogenesis of this disease. In this article, we review the role of mitochondrial dysfunction and of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) in SBMA, and we present the illustrative case of a patient who presented with increased CK levels and exercise intolerance. Molecular analysis led to definitive diagnosis of SBMA, whereas muscle biopsy showed a mixed myopathic and neurogenic process with "mitochondrial features" and multiple mtDNA deletions, supporting some role of mitochondria in the pathogenesis of the myopathic component of Kennedy disease. Furthermore, we briefly review the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in two other motor neuron diseases (namely spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Most likely, in most cases mtDNA does not play a primary role and it is involved subsequently. MtDNA deletions may contribute to the neurodegenerative process, but the exact mechanisms are still unclear. It will be important to develop a better understanding of the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in motoneuron diseases, since it may lead to the development of more effective strategies for the treatment of this devastating disorder. PMID:24894177

  4. SMN control of RNP assembly: from post-transcriptional gene regulation to motor neuron disease

    PubMed Central

    Li, Darrick K.; Tisdale, Sarah; Lotti, Francesco; Pellizzoni, Livio

    2014-01-01

    At the post-transcriptional level, expression of protein-coding genes is controlled by a series of RNA regulatory events including nuclear processing of primary transcripts, transport of mature mRNAs to specific cellular compartments, translation and ultimately, turnover. These processes are orchestrated through the dynamic association of mRNAs with RNA binding proteins and ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. Accurate formation of RNPs in vivo is fundamentally important to cellular development and function, and its impairment often leads to human disease. The survival motor neuron (SMN) protein is key to this biological paradigm: SMN is essential for the biogenesis of various RNPs that function in mRNA processing, and genetic mutations leading to SMN deficiency cause the neurodegenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy. Here we review the expanding role of SMN in the regulation of gene expression through its multiple functions in RNP assembly. We discuss advances in our understanding of SMN activity as a chaperone of RNPs and how disruption of SMN-dependent RNA pathways can cause motor neuron disease. PMID:24769255

  5. Motor neuron degeneration in spastic paraplegia 11 mimics amyotrophic lateral sclerosis lesions.

    PubMed

    Denora, Paola S; Smets, Katrien; Zolfanelli, Federica; Ceuterick-de Groote, Chantal; Casali, Carlo; Deconinck, Tine; Sieben, Anne; Gonzales, Michael; Zuchner, Stephan; Darios, Frédéric; Peeters, Dirk; Brice, Alexis; Malandrini, Alessandro; De Jonghe, Peter; Santorelli, Filippo M; Stevanin, Giovanni; Martin, Jean-Jacques; El Hachimi, Khalid H

    2016-06-01

    The most common form of autosomal recessive hereditary spastic paraplegia is caused by mutations in the SPG11/KIAA1840 gene on chromosome 15q. The nature of the vast majority of SPG11 mutations found to date suggests a loss-of-function mechanism of the encoded protein, spatacsin. The SPG11 phenotype is, in most cases, characterized by a progressive spasticity with neuropathy, cognitive impairment and a thin corpus callosum on brain MRI. Full neuropathological characterization has not been reported to date despite the description of >100 SPG11 mutations. We describe here the clinical and pathological features observed in two unrelated females, members of genetically ascertained SPG11 families originating from Belgium and Italy, respectively. We confirm the presence of lesions of motor tracts in medulla oblongata and spinal cord associated with other lesions of the central nervous system. Interestingly, we report for the first time pathological hallmarks of SPG11 in neurons that include intracytoplasmic granular lysosome-like structures mainly in supratentorial areas, and others in subtentorial areas that are partially reminiscent of those observed in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, such as ubiquitin and p62 aggregates, except that they are never labelled with anti-TDP-43 or anti-cystatin C. The neuropathological overlap with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, associated with some shared clinical manifestations, opens up new fields of investigation in the physiopathological continuum of motor neuron degeneration. PMID:27016404

  6. Targeted assessment of lower motor neuron burden is associated with survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Devine, Matthew S; Ballard, Emma; O'Rourke, Peter; Kiernan, Matthew C; Mccombe, Pamela A; Henderson, Robert D

    2016-01-01

    Estimating survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is challenging due to heterogeneity in clinical features of disease and a lack of suitable markers that predict survival. Our aim was to determine whether scoring of upper or lower motor neuron weakness is associated with survival. With this objective, 161 ALS subjects were recruited from two tertiary referral centres. Scoring of upper (UMN) and lower motor neuron (LMN) signs was performed, in addition to a brief questionnaire. Subjects were then followed until the censorship date. Univariate analysis was performed to identify variables associated with survival to either non-invasive ventilation (NIV) or death, which were then further characterized using Cox regression. Results showed that factors associated with reduced survival included older age, bulbar and respiratory involvement and shorter diagnostic delay (all p < 0.05). Whole body LMN score was strongly associated with time to NIV or death (p ≤0.001) whereas UMN scores were poorly associated with survival. In conclusion, our results suggest that, early in disease assessment and in the context of other factors (age, bulbar, respiratory status), the burden of LMN weakness provides an accurate estimate of outcome. Such a scoring system could predict prognosis, and thereby aid in selection of patients for clinical trials. PMID:26700804

  7. Influence of respiratory motor neurone activity on human autonomic and haemodynamic rhythms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gonschorek, A. S.; Lu, L. L.; Halliwill, J. R.; Beightol, L. A.; Taylor, J. A.; Painter, J. A.; Warzel, H.; Eckberg, D. L.

    2001-01-01

    Although humans hold great advantages over other species as subjects for biomedical research, they also bring major disadvantages. One is that among the many rhythmic physiological signals that can be recorded, there is no sure way to know which individual change precedes another, or which change represents cause and which represents effect. In an attempt to deal with the inherent complexity of research conducted in intact human subjects, we developed and used a structural equation model to analyse responses of healthy young men to pharmacological changes of arterial pressure and graded inspiratory resistance, before and after vagomimetic atropine. Our model yielded a good fit of the experimental data, with a system weighted R2 of 0.77, and suggested that our treatments exerted both direct and indirect influences on the variables we measured. Thus, infusions of nitroprusside and phenylephrine exerted all of their direct effects by lowering and raising arterial pressure; the changes of R-R intervals, respiratory sinus arrhythmia and arterial pressure fluctuations that these drugs provoked, were indirect consequences of arterial pressure changes. The only direct effect of increased inspiratory resistance was augmentation of arterial pressure fluctuations. These results may provide a new way to disentangle and understand responses of intact human subjects to experimental forcings. The principal new insight we derived from our modelling is that respiratory gating of vagal-cardiac motor neurone firing is nearly maximal at usual levels of arterial pressure and inspiratory motor neurone activity.

  8. Trends in motor neuron disease: association with latitude and air lead levels in Spain.

    PubMed

    Santurtún, Ana; Villar, Alejandro; Delgado-Alvarado, Manuel; Riancho, Javier

    2016-08-01

    Motor neuron diseases (MND) are a group of disorders characterized by motor neuron degeneration. Among them, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is by far the most common in adulthood. This paper assesses the trend and geographical pattern in MND incidence in Spain and the possible air lead levels effect on this pathology. To confirm this concept, we performed a retrospective analysis of the deaths due to MND in Spain during 2000 and 2013, determined the geographical differences, and explored the relationship between MND and the air levels of lead. Overall, between 2000 and 2013, 11,355 people died in Spain because of MND. Disease mortality significantly increased in recent years (2007-2013) when compared with the first time of the period. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient also showed a statistically significant positive trend (CC = 0.824, p = 0.0002). Among people over 65 years, mortality rates were higher in Northern provinces. Moreover, we found a significant association of MND mortality with higher air lead levels (CC = 0.457, p = 0.01). Our study confirms that MND mortality is increasing in Spain, with a significant latitude gradient, which suggests an important role of environmental exposures. This ecological study suggests that air lead levels may be implicated in ALS pathogenesis.

  9. Motor neurone responses during a postural reflex in solitarious and gregarious desert locusts.

    PubMed

    Blackburn, Laura M; Ott, Swidbert R; Matheson, Tom; Burrows, Malcolm; Rogers, Stephen M

    2010-08-01

    Desert locusts show extreme phenotypic plasticity and can change reversibly between two phases that differ radically in morphology, physiology and behaviour. Solitarious locusts are cryptic in appearance and behaviour, walking slowly with the body held close to the ground. Gregarious locusts are conspicuous in appearance and much more active, walking rapidly with the body held well above the ground. During walking, the excursion of the femoro-tibial (F-T) joint of the hind leg is smaller in solitarious locusts, and the joint is kept more flexed throughout an entire step. Under open loop conditions, the slow extensor tibiae (SETi) motor neurone of solitarious locusts shows strong tonic activity that increases at more extended F-T angles. SETi of gregarious locusts by contrast showed little tonic activity. Simulated flexion of the F-T joint elicits resistance reflexes in SETi in both phases, but regardless of the initial and final position of the leg, the spiking rate of SETi during these reflexes was twice as great in solitarious compared to gregarious locusts. This increased sensory-motor gain in the neuronal networks controlling postural reflexes in solitarious locusts may be linked to the occurrence of pronounced behavioural catalepsy in this phase similar to other cryptic insects such as stick insects. PMID:20416321

  10. β-catenin stabilization in skeletal muscles, but not in motor neurons, leads to aberrant motor innervation of the muscle during neuromuscular development in mice

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Yun; Sugiura, Yoshie; Wu, Fenfen; Mi, Wentao; Taketo, Makoto M.; Cannon, Steve; Carroll, Thomas; Lin, Weichun

    2012-01-01

    β-catenin, a key component of the Wnt signaling pathway, has been implicated in the development of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in mice, but its precise role in this process remains unclear. Here we use a β-catenin gain-of-function mouse model to stabilize β-catenin selectively in either skeletal muscles or motor neurons. We found that β-catenin stabilization in skeletal muscles resulted in increased motor axon number and excessive intramuscular nerve defasciculation and branching. In contrast, β-catenin stabilization in motor neurons had no adverse effect on motor innervation pattern. Furthermore, stabilization of β-catenin, either in skeletal muscles or in motor neurons, had no adverse effect on the formation and function of the NMJ. Our findings demonstrate that β-catenin levels in developing muscles in mice are crucial for proper muscle innervation, rather than specifically affecting synapse formation at the NMJ, and that the regulation of muscle innervation by β-catenin is mediated by a non-cell autonomous mechanism. PMID:22537499

  11. β-Catenin stabilization in skeletal muscles, but not in motor neurons, leads to aberrant motor innervation of the muscle during neuromuscular development in mice.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yun; Sugiura, Yoshie; Wu, Fenfen; Mi, Wentao; Taketo, Makoto M; Cannon, Steve; Carroll, Thomas; Lin, Weichun

    2012-06-15

    β-Catenin, a key component of the Wnt signaling pathway, has been implicated in the development of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in mice, but its precise role in this process remains unclear. Here we use a β-catenin gain-of-function mouse model to stabilize β-catenin selectively in either skeletal muscles or motor neurons. We found that β-catenin stabilization in skeletal muscles resulted in increased motor axon number and excessive intramuscular nerve defasciculation and branching. In contrast, β-catenin stabilization in motor neurons had no adverse effect on motor innervation pattern. Furthermore, stabilization of β-catenin, either in skeletal muscles or in motor neurons, had no adverse effect on the formation and function of the NMJ. Our findings demonstrate that β-catenin levels in developing muscles in mice are crucial for proper muscle innervation, rather than specifically affecting synapse formation at the NMJ, and that the regulation of muscle innervation by β-catenin is mediated by a non-cell autonomous mechanism.

  12. Loss of Npn1 from motor neurons causes postnatal deficits independent from Sema3A signaling.

    PubMed

    Helmbrecht, Michaela S; Soellner, Heidi; Truckenbrodt, Anna M L; Sundermeier, Julia; Cohrs, Christian; Hans, Wolfgang; de Angelis, Martin Hrabě; Feuchtinger, Annette; Aichler, Michaela; Fouad, Karim; Huber, Andrea B

    2015-03-01

    The correct wiring of neuronal circuits is of crucial importance for the function of the vertebrate nervous system. Guidance cues like the neuropilin receptors (Npn) and their ligands, the semaphorins (Sema) provide a tight spatiotemporal control of sensory and motor axon growth and guidance. Among this family of guidance partners the Sema3A-Npn1 interaction has been shown to be of great importance, since defective signaling leads to wiring deficits and defasciculation. For the embryonic stage these defects have been well described, however, also after birth the organism can adapt to new challenges by compensational mechanisms. Therefore, we used the mouse lines Olig2-Cre;Npn1(cond) and Npn1(Sema-) to investigate how postnatal organisms cope with the loss of Npn1 selectively from motor neurons or a systemic dysfunctional Sema3A-Npn1 signaling in the entire organism, respectively. While in Olig2-Cre(+);Npn1(cond-/-) mice clear anatomical deficits in paw posturing, bone structure, as well as muscle and nerve composition became evident, Npn1(Sema-) mutants appeared anatomically normal. Furthermore, Olig2-Cre(+);Npn1(cond) mutants revealed a dysfunctional extensor muscle innervation after single-train stimulation of the N.radial. Interestingly, these mice did not show obvious deficits in voluntary locomotion, however, skilled motor function was affected. In contrast, Npn1(Sema-) mutants were less affected in all behavioral tests and able to improve their performance over time. Our data suggest that loss of Sema3A-Npn1 signaling is not the only cause for the observed deficits in Olig2-Cre(+);Npn1(cond-/-) mice and that additional, yet unknown binding partners for Npn1 may be involved that allow Npn1(Sema-) mutants to compensate for their developmental deficits.

  13. The neocortex of cetartiodactyls. II. Neuronal morphology of the visual and motor cortices in the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis).

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Bob; Harland, Tessa; Kennedy, Deborah; Schall, Matthew; Wicinski, Bridget; Butti, Camilla; Hof, Patrick R; Sherwood, Chet C; Manger, Paul R

    2015-09-01

    The present quantitative study extends our investigation of cetartiodactyls by exploring the neuronal morphology in the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) neocortex. Here, we investigate giraffe primary visual and motor cortices from perfusion-fixed brains of three subadults stained with a modified rapid Golgi technique. Neurons (n = 244) were quantified on a computer-assisted microscopy system. Qualitatively, the giraffe neocortex contained an array of complex spiny neurons that included both "typical" pyramidal neuron morphology and "atypical" spiny neurons in terms of morphology and/or orientation. In general, the neocortex exhibited a vertical columnar organization of apical dendrites. Although there was no significant quantitative difference in dendritic complexity for pyramidal neurons between primary visual (n = 78) and motor cortices (n = 65), there was a significant difference in dendritic spine density (motor cortex > visual cortex). The morphology of aspiny neurons in giraffes appeared to be similar to that of other eutherian mammals. For cross-species comparison of neuron morphology, giraffe pyramidal neurons were compared to those quantified with the same methodology in African elephants and some cetaceans (e.g., bottlenose dolphin, minke whale, humpback whale). Across species, the giraffe (and cetaceans) exhibited less widely bifurcating apical dendrites compared to elephants. Quantitative dendritic measures revealed that the elephant and humpback whale had more extensive dendrites than giraffes, whereas the minke whale and bottlenose dolphin had less extensive dendritic arbors. Spine measures were highest in the giraffe, perhaps due to the high quality, perfusion fixation. The neuronal morphology in giraffe neocortex is thus generally consistent with what is known about other cetartiodactyls.

  14. The neocortex of cetartiodactyls. II. Neuronal morphology of the visual and motor cortices in the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis).

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Bob; Harland, Tessa; Kennedy, Deborah; Schall, Matthew; Wicinski, Bridget; Butti, Camilla; Hof, Patrick R; Sherwood, Chet C; Manger, Paul R

    2015-09-01

    The present quantitative study extends our investigation of cetartiodactyls by exploring the neuronal morphology in the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) neocortex. Here, we investigate giraffe primary visual and motor cortices from perfusion-fixed brains of three subadults stained with a modified rapid Golgi technique. Neurons (n = 244) were quantified on a computer-assisted microscopy system. Qualitatively, the giraffe neocortex contained an array of complex spiny neurons that included both "typical" pyramidal neuron morphology and "atypical" spiny neurons in terms of morphology and/or orientation. In general, the neocortex exhibited a vertical columnar organization of apical dendrites. Although there was no significant quantitative difference in dendritic complexity for pyramidal neurons between primary visual (n = 78) and motor cortices (n = 65), there was a significant difference in dendritic spine density (motor cortex > visual cortex). The morphology of aspiny neurons in giraffes appeared to be similar to that of other eutherian mammals. For cross-species comparison of neuron morphology, giraffe pyramidal neurons were compared to those quantified with the same methodology in African elephants and some cetaceans (e.g., bottlenose dolphin, minke whale, humpback whale). Across species, the giraffe (and cetaceans) exhibited less widely bifurcating apical dendrites compared to elephants. Quantitative dendritic measures revealed that the elephant and humpback whale had more extensive dendrites than giraffes, whereas the minke whale and bottlenose dolphin had less extensive dendritic arbors. Spine measures were highest in the giraffe, perhaps due to the high quality, perfusion fixation. The neuronal morphology in giraffe neocortex is thus generally consistent with what is known about other cetartiodactyls. PMID:25048683

  15. 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

  16. Fusion protein Isl1-Lhx3 specifies motor neuron fate by inducing motor neuron genes and concomitantly suppressing the interneuron programs.

    PubMed

    Lee, Seunghee; Cuvillier, James M; Lee, Bora; Shen, Rongkun; Lee, Jae W; Lee, Soo-Kyung

    2012-02-28

    Combinatorial transcription codes generate the myriad of cell types during development and thus likely provide crucial insights into directed differentiation of stem cells to a specific cell type. The LIM complex composed of Isl1 and Lhx3 directs the specification of spinal motor neurons (MNs) in embryos. Here, we report that Isl1-Lhx3, a LIM-complex mimicking fusion, induces a signature of MN transcriptome and concomitantly suppresses interneuron differentiation programs, thereby serving as a potent and specific inducer of MNs in stem cells. We show that an equimolar ratio of Isl1 and Lhx3 and the LIM domain of Lhx3 are crucial for generating MNs without up-regulating interneuron genes. These led us to design Isl1-Lhx3, which maintains the desirable 1:1 ratio of Isl1 and Lhx3 and the LIM domain of Lhx3. Isl1-Lhx3 drives MN differentiation with high specificity and efficiency in the spinal cord and embryonic stem cells, bypassing the need for sonic hedgehog (Shh). RNA-seq analysis revealed that Isl1-Lhx3 induces the expression of a battery of MN genes that control various functional aspects of MNs, while suppressing key interneuron genes. Our studies uncover a highly efficient method for directed MN generation and MN gene networks. Our results also demonstrate a general strategy of using embryonic transcription complexes for producing specific cell types from stem cells. PMID:22343290

  17. Cocaine increases dopaminergic neuron and motor activity via midbrain α1 adrenergic signaling.

    PubMed

    Goertz, Richard Brandon; Wanat, Matthew J; Gomez, Jorge A; Brown, Zeliene J; Phillips, Paul E M; Paladini, Carlos A

    2015-03-13

    Cocaine reinforcement is mediated by increased extracellular dopamine levels in the forebrain. This neurochemical effect was thought to require inhibition of dopamine reuptake, but cocaine is still reinforcing even in the absence of the dopamine transporter. Here, we demonstrate that the rapid elevation in dopamine levels and motor activity elicited by cocaine involves α1 receptor activation within the ventral midbrain. Activation of α1 receptors increases dopaminergic neuron burst firing by decreasing the calcium-activated potassium channel current (SK), as well as elevates dopaminergic neuron pacemaker firing through modulation of both SK and the hyperpolarization-activated cation currents (Ih). Furthermore, we found that cocaine increases both the pacemaker and burst-firing frequency of rat ventral-midbrain dopaminergic neurons through an α1 adrenergic receptor-dependent mechanism within the ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra pars compacta. These results demonstrate the mechanism underlying the critical role of α1 adrenergic receptors in the regulation of dopamine neurotransmission and behavior by cocaine.

  18. Neurochemical, morphologic, and laminar characterization of cortical projection neurons in the cingulate motor areas of the macaque monkey

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nimchinsky, E. A.; Hof, P. R.; Young, W. G.; Morrison, J. H.; Bloom, F. E. (Principal Investigator)

    1996-01-01

    The primate cingulate gyrus contains multiple cortical areas that can be distinguished by several neurochemical features, including the distribution of neurofilament protein-enriched pyramidal neurons. In addition, connectivity and functional properties indicate that there are multiple motor areas in the cortex lining the cingulate sulcus. These motor areas were targeted for analysis of potential interactions among regional specialization, connectivity, and cellular characteristics such as neurochemical profile and morphology. Specifically, intracortical injections of retrogradely transported dyes and intracellular injection were combined with immunocytochemistry to investigate neurons projecting from the cingulate motor areas to the putative forelimb region of the primary motor cortex, area M1. Two separate groups of neurons projecting to area M1 emanated from the cingulate sulcus, one anterior and one posterior, both of which furnished commissural and ipsilateral connections with area M1. The primary difference between the two populations was laminar origin, with the anterior projection originating largely in deep layers, and the posterior projection taking origin equally in superficial and deep layers. With regard to cellular morphology, the anterior projection exhibited more morphologic diversity than the posterior projection. Commissural projections from both anterior and posterior fields originated largely in layer VI. Neurofilament protein distribution was a reliable tool for localizing the two projections and for discriminating between them. Comparable proportions of the two sets of projection neurons contained neurofilament protein, although the density and distribution of the total population of neurofilament protein-enriched neurons was very different in the two subareas of origin. Within a projection, the participating neurons exhibited a high degree of morphologic heterogeneity, and no correlation was observed between somatodendritic morphology and

  19. Failure of lower motor neuron radial outgrowth precedes retrograde degeneration in a feline model of SMA

    PubMed Central

    Wakeling, Erin N.; Joussemet, Béatrice; Costiou, Patrick; Fanuel, Dominique; Moullier, Philippe; Barkats, Martine; Fyfe, John C.

    2012-01-01

    Feline SMA is a fully penetrant, autosomal recessive lower motor neuron disease in domestic cats that clinically resembles human SMA Type III. A whole genome linkage scan identified a ~140 kilobase deletion that abrogates expression of LIX1, a novel SMA candidate gene of unknown function. To characterize the progression of feline SMA, we assessed pathological changes in muscle and spinal cord from 3 days of age to beyond onset of clinical signs. EMG analysis indicating denervation occurred between 10 and 12 weeks, with the first neurological signs occurring at the same time. CMAP amplitudes were significantly reduced in the soleus and extensor carpi radialis muscles at 8 to 11 weeks. Quadriceps femoris muscle fibers from affected cats appeared smaller at 10 weeks; by 12 weeks atrophic fibers were more prevalent than in age-matched controls. In affected cats, significant loss of L5 ventral root axons was observed at 12 weeks. By 21 weeks of age, affected cats had 40% fewer L5 motor axons than normal. There was no significant difference in total L5 soma number, even at 21 weeks; thus degeneration begins distal to the cell body and proceeds retrogradely. Morphometric analysis of L5 ventral roots and horns revealed that 4 weeks prior to axon loss, motor axons in affected cats failed to undergo radial enlargement, suggesting a role for the putative disease gene, LIX1, in radial growth of axons. PMID:22120001

  20. The advantage of flexible neuronal tunings in neural network models for motor learning

    PubMed Central

    Marongelli, Ellisha N.; Thoroughman, Kurt A.

    2013-01-01

    Human motor adaptation to novel environments is often modeled by a basis function network that transforms desired movement properties into estimated forces. This network employs a layer of nodes that have fixed broad tunings that generalize across the input domain. Learning is achieved by updating the weights of these nodes in response to training experience. This conventional model is unable to account for rapid flexibility observed in human spatial generalization during motor adaptation. However, added plasticity in the widths of the basis function tunings can achieve this flexibility, and several neurophysiological experiments have revealed flexibility in tunings of sensorimotor neurons. We found a model, Locally Weighted Projection Regression (LWPR), which uniquely possesses the structure of a basis function network in which both the weights and tuning widths of the nodes are updated incrementally during adaptation. We presented this LWPR model with training functions of different spatial complexities and monitored incremental updates to receptive field widths. An inverse pattern of dependence of receptive field adaptation on experienced error became evident, underlying both a relationship between generalization and complexity, and a unique behavior in which generalization always narrows after a sudden switch in environmental complexity. These results implicate a model that is flexible in both basis function widths and weights, like LWPR, as a viable alternative model for human motor adaptation that can account for previously observed plasticity in spatial generalization. This theory can be tested by using the behaviors observed in our experiments as novel hypotheses in human studies. PMID:23888141

  1. Motor neuron-astrocyte interactions and levels of Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    O'Reilly, S A; Roedica, J; Nagy, D; Hallewell, R A; Alderson, K; Marklund, S L; Kuby, J; Kushner, P D

    1995-02-01

    Copper, zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is involved in neutralizing free radicals within cells, and mutant forms of the enzyme have recently been shown to occur in about 20% of familial cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To explore the mechanism of SOD1 involvement in ALS, we have analyzed SOD1 in sporadic ALS using activity assays and immunocyto-chemistry. Analyses of SOD1 activity in washed erythrocytes revealed no difference between 13 ALS cases and 4 controls. Spinal cord sections from 6 ALS cases, 1 primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) case, and 1 control case were stained using three different antibodies to SOD1. Since astrocytes are closely associated with motor neurons, antibodies to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin were used as independent monitors of astrocytes. The principal findings from localizations are: (1) normal motor neurons do not have higher levels of SOD1 than other neurons, (2) there was no detectable difference in SOD1 levels in motor neurons of ALS cases and controls, (3) ALS spinal cord displayed a reduction or absence of SOD1-reactive astrocytes compared to the control and PLS cases, and (4) examination of GFAP-stained sections and morphometry showed that the normal close association between astrocytic processes and motor neuron somata was decreased in the ALS and PLS cases. These results indicate the disease mechanism in sporadic ALS may involve alterations in spinal cord astrocytes.

  2. Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase is Dynamically Expressed on Subsets of Motor Neurons and in the Peripheral Nervous System

    PubMed Central

    Hurley, Shawn P.; Clary, Douglas O.; Copié, Valérie; Lefcort, Frances

    2008-01-01

    During embryonic development, complex events such as cellular proliferation, differentiation, survival, and guidance of axons are orchestrated and regulated by a variety of extracellular signals. Receptor tyrosine kinases mediate many of these events with several playing critical roles in neuronal survival and axonal guidance. It is evident that not all the receptor tyrosine kinases that play key roles in regulating neuronal development have been identified. In this study, we have characterized the spatial-temporal expression profile of a recently identified receptor tyrosine kinase, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), in embryonic chick by means of whole mount in situ hybridization in conjunction with immunohistochemistry. Our findings reveal that Alk is expressed in sympathetic and dorsal root ganglia as early as stage 19. In addition, mRNA is expressed from stage 23/24 (E4) until stage 39 (E13) in discrete motor neuron subsets of chick spinal cord along with a select group of muscles that are innervated by one of these particular motor neuron clusters. Interestingly, expression within the spinal cord is coincident with the onset and duration of motor neuron programmed cell death and during the period of musculature innervation and synapse formation. Hence, the data presented here identify ALK as a novel candidate receptor for regulating critical events in the development of neurons in both the central and peripheral nervous system. PMID:16435287

  3. Nkx2.2 and Nkx2.9 Are the Key Regulators to Determine Cell Fate of Branchial and Visceral Motor Neurons in Caudal Hindbrain

    PubMed Central

    Jarrar, Wassan; Dias, Jose M.; Ericson, Johan; Arnold, Hans-Henning; Holz, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Cranial motor nerves in vertebrates are comprised of the three principal subtypes of branchial, visceral, and somatic motor neurons, which develop in typical patterns along the anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes of hindbrain. Here we demonstrate that the formation of branchial and visceral motor neurons critically depends on the transcription factors Nkx2.2 and Nkx2.9, which together determine the cell fate of neuronal progenitor cells. Disruption of both genes in mouse embryos results in complete loss of the vagal and spinal accessory motor nerves, and partial loss of the facial and glossopharyngeal motor nerves, while the purely somatic hypoglossal and abducens motor nerves are not diminished. Cell lineage analysis in a genetically marked mouse line reveals that alterations of cranial nerves in Nkx2.2; Nkx2.9 double-deficient mouse embryos result from changes of cell fate in neuronal progenitor cells. As a consequence progenitors of branchiovisceral motor neurons in the ventral p3 domain of hindbrain are transformed to somatic motor neurons, which use ventral exit points to send axon trajectories to their targets. Cell fate transformation is limited to the caudal hindbrain, as the trigeminal nerve is not affected in double-mutant embryos suggesting that Nkx2.2 and Nkx2.9 proteins play no role in the development of branchiovisceral motor neurons in hindbrain rostral to rhombomere 4. PMID:25919494

  4. 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.

  5. Motor neuronal control of tail-directed and head-directed siphon responses in Aplysia californica.

    PubMed

    Hickie, C; Walters, E T

    1995-07-01

    1. Cutaneous stimulation of opposite ends of the body causes qualitatively different siphon responses: tail stimulation causes flaring and backward bending (the siphon T response), whereas head stimulation causes constriction and slight anterior bending (the siphon H response). This paper characterizes the motor neuronal control of siphon T and siphon H responses. 2. The siphon response to tail nerve (p9) shock in a semi-intact preparation was indistinguishable from the siphon T response in intact or parapodectomized animals. Similarly, the siphon response to head nerve (c2) shock in this preparation was indistinguishable from the siphon H response in intact or parapodectomized animals. 3. Central siphon motor neurons (SMNs) were found to cause a wider variety of movements than previously reported. The movements produced by the LFSB cells strongly resemble the flaring response of the siphon to tail or tail nerve stimulation. The movements produced by RDS and LDS1 resemble components of the constricting response of the siphon to head or head nerve stimulation. 4. Among central SMNs, the LFSB cells show the strongest activation by posterior stimulation, whereas RDS and LDS1 show the strongest activation by anterior stimulation. The LFSA cells, which produce much weaker siphon constriction, are only activated slightly by posterior stimulation and are inhibited by anterior stimulation. Peripheral SMNs are inhibited by stimulation of head and tail nerves, and thus their activity does not directly contribute to siphon T and H responses. 5. Artificially activating central SMNs with the pattern of activity previously exhibited after tail or head nerve stimulation indicated the sufficiency of the LFSB cells for the siphon T response, and of RDS and LDS1 for the siphon H response. 6. Dramatic behavioral deficits produced by hyperpolarizing the LFSB cells during tail nerve stimulation, or by hyperpolarizing RDS and LDS1 during head nerve stimulation, indicated the necessity

  6. Juvenile-onset motor neuron disease caused by novel mutations in β-hexosaminidase

    PubMed Central

    Pierson, Tyler Mark; Torres, Paola A.; Zeng, Bei-Jin; Glanzman, Allan M.; Adams, David; Finkel, Richard S.; Mahuran, Don J.; Pastores, Gregory M.; Tennekoon, Gihan I.; Kolodny, Edwin H.

    2013-01-01

    A 12 year-old female presented with a seven-year history of progressive muscle weakness, atrophy, tremor and fasciculations. Cognition was normal. Rectal biopsy revealed intracellular storage material and biochemical testing indicated low hexosaminidase activity consistent with juvenile-onset GM2-gangliosidosis. Genetic evaluation revealed compound heterozygosity with two novel mutations in the hexosaminidase β-subunit (c.512-3 C>A and c.1613+15_1613+18dup). Protein analysis was consistent with biochemical findings and indicated only a small portion of β-subunits were properly processed. These results provide additional insight into juvenile-onset GM2-gangliosidoses and further expand the number of β-hexosaminidase mutations associated with motor neuron disease. PMID:23158871

  7. "It Gives Me My Freedom": Technology and Responding to Bodily Limitations in Motor Neuron Disease.

    PubMed

    Pavey, Amanda; Warren, Narelle; Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn

    2015-01-01

    People living with motor neuron disease (MND) experience profound and rapidly progressing impairment. In order to maintain their physical and social functioning, people so affected employ a range of technologies and technological aids (body auxiliaries) to enhance their life and maintain well-being. Using a phenomenological study design, we explored the experiences of 42 men and women who had been diagnosed with MND. Although many participants initially resisted the adoption of aids (often-electronic devices that enabled continued participation in daily life) or tools (the instruments that allowed achievement of specific tasks), such technologies offered a way for people with MND to overcome, to some extent, the limitations posed by their physical degeneration. Through generating a sense of 'normality,' these kinds of 'enabling' technologies promoted social engagement and the maintenance of valued relationships or activities. Technologies can provide people with MND with some positive experiences within a way of being-in-the-world that has become so difficult and challenging.

  8. In vivo and in vitro studies of glycine- and glutamate-evoked acetylcholinesterase release from spinal motor neurones: implications for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neurone disease pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Ithurralde, D; Olivera, S; Vincent, O; Maruri, A

    1997-10-01

    To investigate the spinal cellular structures and molecular mechanisms involved in acetylcholinesterase (AChE) release evoked by both glycine (GLY) and glutamate (GLU)--responses that might play a role in chronic neurotoxicity--we analysed AChE histochemistry and histology upon systemic administration of aspartate (ASP), and conducted in vitro experiments in synaptosomes and slices prepared from mouse spinal ventral horns. Upon superfusion and incubation exposure of these preparations to GLY- and GLU-receptor agonists, we assayed both tissue content and release of AChE, butyrylcholinesterase and lactic dehydrogenase. Histochemical reduction of motor neurone (MN) AChE, calcium dependency, decreases in intracellular AChE and the ratio amongst molecular forms released, suggest that both synaptosomal GLY-evoked AChE release (GLY-EAR) and GLU-receptor-elicited AChE release (GEAR) have release sites located at MN presynaptic terminals. These responses exhibited remarkable postnatal regulation. GEAR seems to be mediated through alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid/kainate receptors after the fourth postnatal week and through both NMDA and non-NMDA receptors at earlier stages. Sustained rises of extracellular AChE might link acute excitotoxic injury with several long-lasting pathways leading to chronic neurotoxicity, since AChE molecular properties include: (1) the ability to block cholinergic mechanisms that protect MN against overactivity; (2) activation of ATP-dependent potassium channels; (3) promotion of neurite and axon outgrowth; and possibly (4) stimulation of brain macrophage migration and activation.

  9. Identification and outcomes of clinical phenotypes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease: Australian National Motor Neuron Disease observational cohort

    PubMed Central

    Talman, Paul; Duong, Thi; Vucic, Steve; Mathers, Susan; Venkatesh, Svetha; Henderson, Robert; Rowe, Dominic; Schultz, David; Edis, Robert; Needham, Merrilee; Macdonnell, Richard; McCombe, Pamela; Birks, Carol; Kiernan, Matthew

    2016-01-01

    Objective To capture the clinical patterns, timing of key milestones and survival of patients presenting with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease (ALS/MND) within Australia. Methods Data were prospectively collected and were timed to normal clinical assessments. An initial registration clinical report form (CRF) and subsequent ongoing assessment CRFs were submitted with a completion CRF at the time of death. Design Prospective observational cohort study. Participants 1834 patients with a diagnosis of ALS/MND were registered and followed in ALS/MND clinics between 2005 and 2015. Results 5 major clinical phenotypes were determined and included ALS bulbar onset, ALS cervical onset and ALS lumbar onset, flail arm and leg and primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). Of the 1834 registered patients, 1677 (90%) could be allocated a clinical phenotype. ALS bulbar onset had a significantly lower length of survival when compared with all other clinical phenotypes (p<0.004). There were delays in the median time to diagnosis of up to 12 months for the ALS phenotypes, 18 months for the flail limb phenotypes and 19 months for PLS. Riluzole treatment was started in 78–85% of cases. The median delays in initiating riluzole therapy, from symptom onset, varied from 10 to 12 months in the ALS phenotypes and 15–18 months in the flail limb phenotypes. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy was implemented in 8–36% of ALS phenotypes and 2–9% of the flail phenotypes. Non-invasive ventilation was started in 16–22% of ALS phenotypes and 21–29% of flail phenotypes. Conclusions The establishment of a cohort registry for ALS/MND is able to determine clinical phenotypes, survival and monitor time to key milestones in disease progression. It is intended to expand the cohort to a more population-based registry using opt-out methodology and facilitate data linkage to other national registries. PMID:27694488

  10. Targeted axonal import (TAxI) peptide delivers functional proteins into spinal cord motor neurons after peripheral administration.

    PubMed

    Sellers, Drew L; Bergen, Jamie M; Johnson, Russell N; Back, Heidi; Ravits, John M; Horner, Philip J; Pun, Suzie H

    2016-03-01

    A significant unmet need in treating neurodegenerative disease is effective methods for delivery of biologic drugs, such as peptides, proteins, or nucleic acids into the central nervous system (CNS). To date, there are no operative technologies for the delivery of macromolecular drugs to the CNS via peripheral administration routes. Using an in vivo phage-display screen, we identify a peptide, targeted axonal import (TAxI), that enriched recombinant bacteriophage accumulation and delivered protein cargo into spinal cord motor neurons after intramuscular injection. In animals with transected peripheral nerve roots, TAxI delivery into motor neurons after peripheral administration was inhibited, suggesting a retrograde axonal transport mechanism for delivery into the CNS. Notably, TAxI-Cre recombinase fusion proteins induced selective recombination and tdTomato-reporter expression in motor neurons after intramuscular injections. Furthermore, TAxI peptide was shown to label motor neurons in the human tissue. The demonstration of a nonviral-mediated delivery of functional proteins into the spinal cord establishes the clinical potential of this technology for minimally invasive administration of CNS-targeted therapeutics.

  11. Targeted axonal import (TAxI) peptide delivers functional proteins into spinal cord motor neurons after peripheral administration

    PubMed Central

    Sellers, Drew L.; Bergen, Jamie M.; Johnson, Russell N.; Back, Heidi; Ravits, John M.; Horner, Philip J.; Pun, Suzie H.

    2016-01-01

    A significant unmet need in treating neurodegenerative disease is effective methods for delivery of biologic drugs, such as peptides, proteins, or nucleic acids into the central nervous system (CNS). To date, there are no operative technologies for the delivery of macromolecular drugs to the CNS via peripheral administration routes. Using an in vivo phage-display screen, we identify a peptide, targeted axonal import (TAxI), that enriched recombinant bacteriophage accumulation and delivered protein cargo into spinal cord motor neurons after intramuscular injection. In animals with transected peripheral nerve roots, TAxI delivery into motor neurons after peripheral administration was inhibited, suggesting a retrograde axonal transport mechanism for delivery into the CNS. Notably, TAxI-Cre recombinase fusion proteins induced selective recombination and tdTomato-reporter expression in motor neurons after intramuscular injections. Furthermore, TAxI peptide was shown to label motor neurons in the human tissue. The demonstration of a nonviral-mediated delivery of functional proteins into the spinal cord establishes the clinical potential of this technology for minimally invasive administration of CNS-targeted therapeutics. PMID:26888285

  12. Increased cytoplasmic TARDBP mRNA in affected spinal motor neurons in ALS caused by abnormal autoregulation of TDP-43

    PubMed Central

    Koyama, Akihide; Sugai, Akihiro; Kato, Taisuke; Ishihara, Tomohiko; Shiga, Atsushi; Toyoshima, Yasuko; Koyama, Misaki; Konno, Takuya; Hirokawa, Sachiko; Yokoseki, Akio; Nishizawa, Masatoyo; Kakita, Akiyoshi; Takahashi, Hitoshi; Onodera, Osamu

    2016-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal motor neuron disorder. In motor neurons of ALS, TAR DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43), a nuclear protein encoded by TARDBP, is absent from the nucleus and forms cytoplasmic inclusions. TDP-43 auto-regulates the amount by regulating the TARDBP mRNA, which has three polyadenylation signals (PASs) and three additional alternative introns within the last exon. However, it is still unclear how the autoregulatory mechanism works and how the status of autoregulation in ALS motor neurons without nuclear TDP-43 is. Here we show that TDP-43 inhibits the selection of the most proximal PAS and induces splicing of multiple alternative introns in TARDBP mRNA to decrease the amount of cytoplasmic TARDBP mRNA by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. When TDP-43 is depleted, the TARDBP mRNA uses the most proximal PAS and is increased in the cytoplasm. Finally, we have demonstrated that in ALS motor neurons—especially neurons with mislocalized TDP-43—the amount of TARDBP mRNA is increased in the cytoplasm. Our observations indicate that nuclear TDP-43 contributes to the autoregulation and suggests that the absence of nuclear TDP-43 induces an abnormal autoregulation and increases the amount of TARDBP mRNA. The vicious cycle might accelerate the disease progression of ALS. PMID:27257061

  13. Corticospinal Motor Neurons Are Susceptible to Increased ER Stress and Display Profound Degeneration in the Absence of UCHL1 Function

    PubMed Central

    Jara, Javier H.; Genç, Barış; Cox, Gregory A.; Bohn, Martha C.; Roos, Raymond P.; Macklis, Jeffrey D.; Ulupınar, Emel; Özdinler, P. Hande

    2015-01-01

    Corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN) receive, integrate, and relay cerebral cortex's input toward spinal targets to initiate and modulate voluntary movement. CSMN degeneration is central for numerous motor neuron disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Previously, 5 patients with mutations in the ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCHL1) gene were reported to have neurodegeneration and motor neuron dysfunction with upper motor neuron involvement. To investigate the role of UCHL1 on CSMN health and stability, we used both in vivo and in vitro approaches, and took advantage of the Uchl1nm3419 (UCHL1−/−) mice, which lack all UCHL1 function. We report a unique role of UCHL1 in maintaining CSMN viability and cellular integrity. CSMN show early, selective, progressive, and profound cell loss in the absence of UCHL1. CSMN degeneration, evident even at pre-symptomatic stages by disintegration of the apical dendrite and spine loss, is mediated via increased ER stress. These findings bring a novel understanding to the basis of CSMN vulnerability, and suggest UCHL1−/− mice as a tool to study CSMN pathology. PMID:25596590

  14. Alterations in cyclin-dependent protein kinase 5 (CDK5) protein levels, activity and immunocytochemistry in canine motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Green, S L; Vulliet, P R; Pinter, M J; Cork, L C

    1998-11-01

    Hereditary canine spinal muscular atrophy (HCSMA) is a dominantly inherited motor neuron disease in Brittany spaniels that is clinically characterized by progressive muscle weakness leading to paralysis. Histopathologically, degeneration is confined to motor neurons with accumulation of phosphorylated neurofilaments in axonal internodes. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5), a kinase related to the cell cycle kinase cdc2, phosphorylates neurofilaments and regulates neurofilament dynamics. We examined CDK5 activity, protein levels, and cellular immunoreactivity in nervous tissue from dogs with HCSMA, from closely age-matched controls and from dogs with other neurological diseases. On immunoblot analysis, CDK5 protein levels were increased in the HCSMA dogs (by approximately 1.5-fold in both the cytosolic and the particulate fractions). CDK5 activity was significantly increased (by approximately 3-fold) in the particulate fractions in the HCSMA dogs compared to all controls. The finding that CDK5 activity was increased in the young HCSMA homozygotes with the accelerated form of the disease, who do not show axonal swellings histologically, suggests that alterations in CDK5 occurs early in the pathogenesis, prior to the development of significant neurofilament pathology. Immunocytochemically, there was strong CDK5 staining of the nuclei, cytoplasm and axonal processes of the motor neurons in both control dogs and dogs with HCSMA. Further immunocytochemical studies demonstrated CDK5 staining where neurofilaments accumulated, in axonal swellings in the dogs with HCSMA. Our observations suggest phosphorylation-dependent events mediated by CDK5 occur in canine motor neuron disease.

  15. Motor activity is modulated via different neuronal circuits in rats with chronic liver failure than in normal rats.

    PubMed

    Cauli, Omar; Mlili, Nisrin; Llansola, Marta; Felipo, Vicente

    2007-04-01

    The mechanisms by which liver failure alters motor function remain unclear. It has been suggested that liver disease alters the neuronal circuit between basal ganglia and cortex that modulates motor function. Activation of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) by injecting (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG) activates this circuit and induces locomotion We analysed by in vivo brain microdialysis the function of the circuits that modulate motor function in rats with liver failure due to portacaval shunt (PCS). We inserted cannulae in the NAcc and microdialysis probes in the NAcc, ventral pallidum (VP), substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), medio-dorsal thalamus (MDT), ventro-medial thalamus (VMT) or prefrontal cortex (PFCx). We injected DHPG in the NAcc and analysed extracellular neurotransmitters concentration in these areas. The results indicate that in control rats DHPG induces locomotion by activating the 'normal' neuronal circuit: NAcc --> VP --> MDT --> PFCx. In PCS rats this circuit is not activated. In PCS rats, DHPG injection activates an 'alternative' circuit: NAcc --> SNr --> VMT --> PFCx. This circuit is not activated in control rats. DHPG injection increases dopamine in the NAcc of control but not of PCS rats, and glutamate in PCS but not in control rats. DHPG-induced increase in dopamine would activate the 'normal' neuronal circuit, while an increase in glutamate would activate the 'alternative' circuit. The identification of the mechanisms responsible for altered motor function and coordination in liver disease would allow designing treatments to improve motor function in patients with hepatic encephalopathy.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Transgenic Enrichment of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell-derived Progenitor Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    McCreedy, Dylan A.; Rieger, Cara R.; Gottlieb, David I.; Sakiyama-Elbert, Shelly E.

    2011-01-01

    Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) hold great potential for replacing neurons following injury or disease. The therapeutic and diagnostic potential of ESCs may be hindered by heterogeneity in ESC-derived populations. Drug selection has been used to purify ESC-derived cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells but has not been applied to specific neural lineages. In this study we investigated positive selection of progenitor motor neurons (pMNs) through transgenic expression of the puromycin resistance enzyme, puromycin N-acetyl-transferase (PAC), under the Olig2 promoter. The protein-coding region in one allele of Olig2 was replaced with PAC to generate the P-Olig2 cell line. This cell line provided specific puromycin resistance in cells that express Olig2, while Olig2− cells were killed by puromycin. Positive selection significantly enriched populations of Olig2+ pMNs. Committed motoneurons (MNs) expressing Hb9, a common progeny of pMNs, were also enriched by the end of the selection period. Selected cells remained viable and differentiated into mature cholinergic MNs and oligodendrocyte precursor cells. Drug resistance may provide a scalable and inexpensive method for enriching desired neural cell types for use in research applications. PMID:22297157

  19. Phosphorylation Regulates OLIG2 Cofactor Choice and the Motor Neuron-Oligodendrocyte Fate Switch

    PubMed Central

    Li, Huiliang; Paes de Faria, Joana; Andrew, Paul; Nitarska, Justyna; Richardson, William D.

    2011-01-01

    Summary A fundamental feature of central nervous system development is that neurons are generated before glia. In the embryonic spinal cord, for example, a group of neuroepithelial stem cells (NSCs) generates motor neurons (MNs), before switching abruptly to oligodendrocyte precursors (OLPs). We asked how transcription factor OLIG2 participates in this MN-OLP fate switch. We found that Serine 147 in the helix-loop-helix domain of OLIG2 was phosphorylated during MN production and dephosphorylated at the onset of OLP genesis. Mutating Serine 147 to Alanine (S147A) abolished MN production without preventing OLP production in transgenic mice, chicks, or cultured P19 cells. We conclude that S147 phosphorylation, possibly by protein kinase A, is required for MN but not OLP genesis and propose that dephosphorylation triggers the MN-OLP switch. Wild-type OLIG2 forms stable homodimers, whereas mutant (unphosphorylated) OLIG2S147A prefers to form heterodimers with Neurogenin 2 or other bHLH partners, suggesting a molecular basis for the switch. PMID:21382552

  20. Central nervous system-specific deletion of transcription factor Nrf1 causes progressive motor neuronal dysfunction.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Akira; Tsukide, Takako; Miyasaka, Tomohiro; Morita, Tomoko; Mizoroki, Tatsuya; Saito, Yoshiro; Ihara, Yasuo; Takashima, Akihiko; Noguchi, Noriko; Fukamizu, Akiyoshi; Hirotsu, Yosuke; Ohtsuji, Makiko; Katsuoka, Fumiki; Yamamoto, Masayuki

    2011-06-01

    Cap'n'Collar (CNC) proteins heterodimerize with small Maf proteins and regulate the transcription of various genes. Small Maf-deficient mice develop severe neurodegeneration, and it remains unclear whether CNC proteins are involved in this process. In this study, we examined the contribution of Nrf1, one of the CNC proteins, to neuronal homeostasis in vivo. As Nrf1 gene knockout mice are embryonic lethal, we developed a central nervous system (CNS)-specific Nrf1 knockout (CKO) mouse line using mice bearing an Nrf1(flox) allele and Nestin-Cre allele. At birth, the CKO mice appeared indistinguishable from control mice, but thereafter they showed progressive motor ataxia and severe weight loss. All Nrf1 CKO mice died within 3 weeks. These phenotypes are similar to those reported in small Maf-deficient mice, suggesting the presence of collaboration between Nrf1 and small Maf proteins. We also found aberrant accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins in various CNS regions and apparent neuronal loss in the hippocampus of Nrf1 CKO mice. An oxidative stress marker was accumulated in the spinal cords of the mice, but the expression patterns of oxidative stress response genes regulated by Nrf2 did not change substantially. These results show that Nrf1 sustains the CNS homeostasis through regulating target genes distinct from those regulated by Nrf2. PMID:21554501

  1. Neuronal connectome of a sensory-motor circuit for visual navigation

    PubMed Central

    Randel, Nadine; Asadulina, Albina; Bezares-Calderón, Luis A; Verasztó, Csaba; Williams, Elizabeth A; Conzelmann, Markus; Shahidi, Réza; Jékely, Gáspár

    2014-01-01

    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. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02730.001 PMID:24867217

  2. The beneficial effects of berries on cognition, motor behaviour and neuronal function in ageing.

    PubMed

    Shukitt-Hale, Barbara; Bielinski, Donna F; Lau, Francis C; Willis, Lauren M; Carey, Amanda N; Joseph, James A

    2015-11-28

    Previously, it has been shown that strawberry (SB) or blueberry (BB) supplementations, when fed to rats from 19 to 21 months of age, reverse age-related decrements in motor and cognitive performance. We have postulated that these effects may be the result of a number of positive benefits of the berry polyphenols, including decreased stress signalling, increased neurogenesis, and increased signals involved in learning and memory. Thus, the present study was carried out to examine these mechanisms in aged animals by administering a control, 2 % SB- or 2 % BB-supplemented diet to aged Fischer 344 rats for 8 weeks to ascertain their effectiveness in reversing age-related deficits in behavioural and neuronal function. The results showed that rats consuming the berry diets exhibited enhanced motor performance and improved cognition, specifically working memory. In addition, the rats supplemented with BB and SB diets showed increased hippocampal neurogenesis and expression of insulin-like growth factor 1, although the improvements in working memory performance could not solely be explained by these increases. The diverse polyphenolics in these berry fruits may have additional mechanisms of action that could account for their relative differences in efficacy. PMID:26392037

  3. Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) protein is required for normal mouse liver development

    PubMed Central

    Szunyogova, Eva; Zhou, Haiyan; Maxwell, Gillian K.; Powis, Rachael A.; Francesco, Muntoni; Gillingwater, Thomas H.; Parson, Simon H.

    2016-01-01

    Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is caused by mutation or deletion of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. Decreased levels of, cell-ubiquitous, SMN protein is associated with a range of systemic pathologies reported in severe patients. Despite high levels of SMN protein in normal liver, there is no comprehensive study of liver pathology in SMA. We describe failed liver development in response to reduced SMN levels, in a mouse model of severe SMA. The SMA liver is dark red, small and has: iron deposition; immature sinusoids congested with blood; persistent erythropoietic elements and increased immature red blood cells; increased and persistent megakaryocytes which release high levels of platelets found as clot-like accumulations in the heart. Myelopoiesis in contrast, was unaffected. Further analysis revealed significant molecular changes in SMA liver, consistent with the morphological findings. Antisense treatment from birth with PMO25, increased lifespan and ameliorated all morphological defects in liver by postnatal day 21. Defects in the liver are evident at birth, prior to motor system pathology, and impair essential liver function in SMA. Liver is a key recipient of SMA therapies, and systemically delivered antisense treatment, completely rescued liver pathology. Liver therefore, represents an important therapeutic target in SMA. PMID:27698380

  4. Selective Modulation of Histaminergic Inputs on Projection Neurons of Cerebellum Rapidly Promotes Motor Coordination via HCN Channels.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jun; Zhuang, Qian-Xing; Li, Bin; Wu, Guan-Yi; Yung, Wing-Ho; Zhu, Jing-Ning; Wang, Jian-Jun

    2016-03-01

    Insights into function of central histaminergic system, a general modulator originating from the hypothalamus for whole brain activity, in motor control are critical for understanding the mechanism underlying somatic-nonsomatic integration. Here, we show a novel selective role of histamine in the cerebellar nuclei, the final integrative center and output of the cerebellum. Histamine depolarizes projection neurons but not interneurons in the cerebellar nuclei via the hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels coupled to histamine H2 receptors, which are exclusively expressed on glutamatergic and glycinergic projection neurons. Furthermore, blockage of HCN channels to block endogenous histaminergic afferent inputs in the cerebellar nuclei significantly attenuates motor balance and coordination. Therefore, through directly and quickly modulation on projection neurons but not interneurons in the cerebellar nuclei, central histaminergic system may act as a critical biasing force to not only promptly regulate ongoing movement but also realize a rapid integration of somatic and nonsomatic response.

  5. Optogenetically induced spatiotemporal gamma oscillations and neuronal spiking activity in primate motor cortex.

    PubMed

    Lu, Yao; Truccolo, Wilson; Wagner, Fabien B; Vargas-Irwin, Carlos E; Ozden, Ilker; Zimmermann, Jonas B; May, Travis; Agha, Naubahar S; Wang, Jing; Nurmikko, Arto V

    2015-06-01

    Transient gamma-band (40-80 Hz) spatiotemporal patterns are hypothesized to play important roles in cortical function. Here we report the direct observation of gamma oscillations as spatiotemporal waves induced by targeted optogenetic stimulation, recorded by intracortical multichannel extracellular techniques in macaque monkeys during their awake resting states. Microelectrode arrays integrating an optical fiber at their center were chronically implanted in primary motor (M1) and ventral premotor (PMv) cortices of two subjects. Targeted brain tissue was transduced with the red-shifted opsin C1V1(T/T). Constant (1-s square pulses) and ramp stimulation induced narrowband gamma oscillations during awake resting states. Recordings across 95 microelectrodes (4 × 4-mm array) enabled us to track the transient gamma spatiotemporal patterns manifested, e.g., as concentric expanding and spiral waves. Gamma oscillations were induced well beyond the light stimulation volume, via network interactions at distal electrode sites, depending on optical power. Despite stimulation-related modulation in spiking rates, neuronal spiking remained highly asynchronous during induced gamma oscillations. In one subject we examined stimulation effects during preparation and execution of a motor task and observed that movement execution largely attenuated optically induced gamma oscillations. Our findings demonstrate that, beyond previously reported induced gamma activity under periodic drive, a prolonged constant stimulus above a certain threshold may carry primate motor cortex network dynamics into gamma oscillations, likely via a Hopf bifurcation. More broadly, the experimental capability in combining microelectrode array recordings and optogenetic stimulation provides an important approach for probing spatiotemporal dynamics in primate cortical networks during various physiological and behavioral conditions. PMID:25761956

  6. Optogenetically induced spatiotemporal gamma oscillations and neuronal spiking activity in primate motor cortex

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Yao; Truccolo, Wilson; Wagner, Fabien B.; Vargas-Irwin, Carlos E.; Ozden, Ilker; Zimmermann, Jonas B.; May, Travis; Agha, Naubahar S.; Wang, Jing

    2015-01-01

    Transient gamma-band (40–80 Hz) spatiotemporal patterns are hypothesized to play important roles in cortical function. Here we report the direct observation of gamma oscillations as spatiotemporal waves induced by targeted optogenetic stimulation, recorded by intracortical multichannel extracellular techniques in macaque monkeys during their awake resting states. Microelectrode arrays integrating an optical fiber at their center were chronically implanted in primary motor (M1) and ventral premotor (PMv) cortices of two subjects. Targeted brain tissue was transduced with the red-shifted opsin C1V1(T/T). Constant (1-s square pulses) and ramp stimulation induced narrowband gamma oscillations during awake resting states. Recordings across 95 microelectrodes (4 × 4-mm array) enabled us to track the transient gamma spatiotemporal patterns manifested, e.g., as concentric expanding and spiral waves. Gamma oscillations were induced well beyond the light stimulation volume, via network interactions at distal electrode sites, depending on optical power. Despite stimulation-related modulation in spiking rates, neuronal spiking remained highly asynchronous during induced gamma oscillations. In one subject we examined stimulation effects during preparation and execution of a motor task and observed that movement execution largely attenuated optically induced gamma oscillations. Our findings demonstrate that, beyond previously reported induced gamma activity under periodic drive, a prolonged constant stimulus above a certain threshold may carry primate motor cortex network dynamics into gamma oscillations, likely via a Hopf bifurcation. More broadly, the experimental capability in combining microelectrode array recordings and optogenetic stimulation provides an important approach for probing spatiotemporal dynamics in primate cortical networks during various physiological and behavioral conditions. PMID:25761956

  7. Inhibition of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 2 Exacerbates Loss of Lower Motor Neurons and Axons during Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Yifeng; Stone, Sarrabeth; Cvetanovic, Marija; Lin, Wensheng

    2016-01-01

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) are inflammatory demyelinating and neurodegenerative diseases in the central nervous system (CNS). It is believed that MS and EAE are initiated by autoreactive T lymphocytes that recognize myelin antigens; however, the mechanisms responsible for neurodegeneration in these diseases remain elusive. Data indicate that vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) plays a role in the development of MS and EAE. Interestingly, VEGF-A is regarded as a neurotrophic factor in the CNS that promotes neuron survival and neurogenesis in various neurodegenerative diseases by activating VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2). In this study, we sought to explore the role of the VEGF-A/VEGFR2 signaling in neurodegeneration in MS and EAE. We showed that the expression of VEGF-A was decreased in the spinal cord during EAE and that VEGFR2 was activated in lower motor neurons in the spinal cord of EAE mice. Interestingly, we found that treatment with SU5416, a selective VEGFR2 inhibitor, starting after the onset of EAE clinical symptoms exacerbated lower motor neuron loss and axon loss in the lumbar spinal cord of mice undergoing EAE, but did not alter Purkinje neuron loss in the cerebellum or upper motor neuron loss in the cerebral cortex. Moreover, SU5416 treatment had a minimal effect on EAE clinical symptoms as well as inflammation, demyelination, and oligodendrocyte loss in the lumbar spinal cord. These results imply the protective effects of the VEGF-A/VEGFR2 signaling on lower motor neurons and axons in the spinal cord in MS and EAE. PMID:27466819

  8. AMPA Receptor Phosphorylation and Synaptic Colocalization on Motor Neurons Drive Maladaptive Plasticity below Complete Spinal Cord Injury

    PubMed Central

    Stuck, Ellen D.; Irvine, Karen-Amanda; Bresnahan, Jacqueline C.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Clinical spinal cord injury (SCI) is accompanied by comorbid peripheral injury in 47% of patients. Human and animal modeling data have shown that painful peripheral injuries undermine long-term recovery of locomotion through unknown mechanisms. Peripheral nociceptive stimuli induce maladaptive synaptic plasticity in dorsal horn sensory systems through AMPA receptor (AMPAR) phosphorylation and trafficking to synapses. Here we test whether ventral horn motor neurons in rats demonstrate similar experience-dependent maladaptive plasticity below a complete SCI in vivo. Quantitative biochemistry demonstrated that intermittent nociceptive stimulation (INS) rapidly and selectively increases AMPAR subunit GluA1 serine 831 phosphorylation and localization to synapses in the injured spinal cord, while reducing synaptic GluA2. These changes predict motor dysfunction in the absence of cell death signaling, suggesting an opportunity for therapeutic reversal. Automated confocal time-course analysis of lumbar ventral horn motor neurons confirmed a time-dependent increase in synaptic GluA1 with concurrent decrease in synaptic GluA2. Optical fractionation of neuronal plasma membranes revealed GluA2 removal from extrasynaptic sites on motor neurons early after INS followed by removal from synapses 2 h later. As GluA2-lacking AMPARs are canonical calcium-permeable AMPARs (CP-AMPARs), their stimulus- and time-dependent insertion provides a therapeutic target for limiting calcium-dependent dynamic maladaptive plasticity after SCI. Confirming this, a selective CP-AMPAR antagonist protected against INS-induced maladaptive spinal plasticity, restoring adaptive motor responses on a sensorimotor spinal training task. These findings highlight the critical involvement of AMPARs in experience-dependent spinal cord plasticity after injury and provide a pharmacologically targetable synaptic mechanism by which early postinjury experience shapes motor plasticity. PMID:26668821

  9. AMPA Receptor Phosphorylation and Synaptic Colocalization on Motor Neurons Drive Maladaptive Plasticity below Complete Spinal Cord Injury.

    PubMed

    Huie, J Russell; Stuck, Ellen D; Lee, Kuan H; Irvine, Karen-Amanda; Beattie, Michael S; Bresnahan, Jacqueline C; Grau, James W; Ferguson, Adam R

    2015-01-01

    Clinical spinal cord injury (SCI) is accompanied by comorbid peripheral injury in 47% of patients. Human and animal modeling data have shown that painful peripheral injuries undermine long-term recovery of locomotion through unknown mechanisms. Peripheral nociceptive stimuli induce maladaptive synaptic plasticity in dorsal horn sensory systems through AMPA receptor (AMPAR) phosphorylation and trafficking to synapses. Here we test whether ventral horn motor neurons in rats demonstrate similar experience-dependent maladaptive plasticity below a complete SCI in vivo. Quantitative biochemistry demonstrated that intermittent nociceptive stimulation (INS) rapidly and selectively increases AMPAR subunit GluA1 serine 831 phosphorylation and localization to synapses in the injured spinal cord, while reducing synaptic GluA2. These changes predict motor dysfunction in the absence of cell death signaling, suggesting an opportunity for therapeutic reversal. Automated confocal time-course analysis of lumbar ventral horn motor neurons confirmed a time-dependent increase in synaptic GluA1 with concurrent decrease in synaptic GluA2. Optical fractionation of neuronal plasma membranes revealed GluA2 removal from extrasynaptic sites on motor neurons early after INS followed by removal from synapses 2 h later. As GluA2-lacking AMPARs are canonical calcium-permeable AMPARs (CP-AMPARs), their stimulus- and time-dependent insertion provides a therapeutic target for limiting calcium-dependent dynamic maladaptive plasticity after SCI. Confirming this, a selective CP-AMPAR antagonist protected against INS-induced maladaptive spinal plasticity, restoring adaptive motor responses on a sensorimotor spinal training task. These findings highlight the critical involvement of AMPARs in experience-dependent spinal cord plasticity after injury and provide a pharmacologically targetable synaptic mechanism by which early postinjury experience shapes motor plasticity.

  10. Bunina bodies in motor and non-motor neurons revisited: a pathological study of an ALS patient after long-term survival on a respirator.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Tadashi; Jiang, Haishan; Konno, Takuya; Seto, Makiko; Iwanaga, Keisuke; Tsujihata, Mitsuhiro; Satoh, Akira; Onodera, Osamu; Kakita, Akiyoshi; Takahashi, Hitoshi

    2014-08-01

    Bunina bodies (BBs) are small eosinophilic neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs) found in the remaining lower motor neurons (LMNs) of patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS), being a specific feature of the cellular pathology. We examined a case of SALS, unassociated with TDP-43 or C9ORF72 mutation, of 12 years duration in a 75-year-old man, who had received artificial respiratory support for 9 years, and showed widespread multisystem degeneration with TDP-43 pathology. Interestingly, in this patient, many NCIs reminiscent of BBs were observed in the oculomotor nucleus, medullary reticular formation and cerebellar dentate nucleus. As BBs in the cerebellar dentate nucleus have not been previously described, we performed ultrastructural and immunohistochemical studies of these NCIs to gain further insight into the nature of BBs. In each region, the ultrastructural features of these NCIs were shown to be identical to those of BBs previously described in LMNs. These three regions and the relatively well preserved sacral anterior horns (S1 and S2) and facial motor nucleus were immunostained with antibodies against cystatin C (CC) and TDP-43. Importantly, it was revealed that BBs exhibiting immunoreactivity for CC were a feature of LMNs, but not of non-motor neurons, and that in the cerebellar dentate nucleus, the ratio of neurons with BBs and TDP-43 inclusions/neurons with BBs was significantly lower than in other regions. These findings suggest that the occurrence of BBs with CC immunoreactivity is intrinsically associated with the particular cellular properties of LMNs, and that the mechanism responsible for the formation of BBs is distinct from that for TDP-43 inclusions. PMID:24444375

  11. Activity of neurons of the subthalamic nucleus in relation to motor performance in the cat.

    PubMed

    Cheruel, F; Dormont, J F; Farin, D

    1996-03-01

    The activity of subthalamic nucleus neurons related to motor performance was studied in three unrestrained cats operantly conditioned to perform a lever-release movement. The movement was initiated either rapidly after the trigger stimulus (a brief sound) in a simple reaction-time paradigm or after a delay in trials identified by a tone cue. These paradigms were randomly presented. The activity of 171 neurons was recorded in the contralateral and in the ipsilateral subthalamic nucleus, with respect to the performing limb. The mean spontaneous activity of cells in the ipsilateral side (18.5 +/- 13.8 imp/s, mean +/- SD) was higher than that in the contralateral side (8.5 +/- 8.1 imp/s). A total of 145 cells (85%) presented significant changes in activity in relation to the lever-release movement (task-related cells). The remaining 26 cells were either related to other events of the task (n = 15; lever-press or reinforcement occurrence) or not related at all to the task performance (n = 11). The majority of changes of activity of task-related cells were initial increases in discharge, which started on average, 127 ms before movement onset and lasted several hundreds of milliseconds. These increases in discharge were more frequent in the contralateral side (75 of 80 task-related cells, 94%) than in the ipsilateral side (43 of 65 task-related cells, 66%). The changes in activity, either increases or decreases, occurred early after the trigger stimulus, since 62% of them had a latency of less than 100 ms. Although the mean latency of initial increases was rather similar in both sides (97 ms contralateral versus 104 ms ipsilateral), the contralateral side was characterized by a high proportion of very early responses (less than 20 ms). For most neurons, the early changes in activity described above were absent after the trigger stimulus in the delayed condition. For certain neurons, the changes in activity prior to movement were different in reaction-time condition and in

  12. Neuronal ubiquitinated intranuclear inclusions in familial and non-familial frontotemporal dementia of the motor neuron disease type associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Bigio, Eileen H; Johnson, Nancy A; Rademaker, Alfred W; Fung, Bing B; Mesulam, M-Marsel; Siddique, Nailah; Dellefave, Lisa; Caliendo, Janice; Freeman, Stefanie; Siddique, Teepu

    2004-08-01

    Ubiquitinated cytoplasmic inclusions (Ub-CIs) in superficial frontal cortex and dentate gyrus neurons are the hallmark of frontotemporal degeneration of the motor neuron disease-type (FTD-MND-type). To date, 2 reports have described intranuclear ubiquitinated inclusions (Ub-INIs) in 9 cases of familial FTD-MND-type (without clinical or pathologic motor neuron disease, MND). In the current study we found an additional 11 cases with Ub-INIs. We have identified for the first time among these cases 2 with a negative family history and 3 that have concomitant amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The results of the present study i) confirm a previous report of significantly lower average brain weight and longer duration in cases with Ub-INIs, ii) reveal significantly greater striatal neuronal loss and gliosis in cases with intranuclear inclusions, and iii) demonstrate that intranuclear inclusions correlate with cytoplasmic inclusions and dystrophic neurites in frontal cortex and striatum but not in dentate gyrus. In addition, the current study confirms that Ub-INIs are found in familial FTD-MND-type, but also extends the presence of Ub-INIs to familial FTD-MND (with concomitant ALS), and probably also to non-familial FTD-MND-type.

  13. Co-occurrence of TDP-43 mislocalization with reduced activity of an RNA editing enzyme, ADAR2, in aged mouse motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Hideyama, Takuto; Teramoto, Sayaka; Hachiga, Kosuke; Yamashita, Takenari; Kwak, Shin

    2012-01-01

    TDP-43 pathology in spinal motor neurons is a neuropathological hallmark of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and has recently been shown to be closely associated with the downregulation of an RNA editing enzyme called adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 2 (ADAR2) in the motor neurons of sporadic ALS patients. Because TDP-43 pathology is found more frequently in the brains of elderly patients, we investigated the age-related changes in the TDP-43 localization and ADAR2 activity in mouse motor neurons. We found that ADAR2 was developmentally upregulated, and its mRNA expression level was progressively decreased in the spinal cords of aged mice. Motor neurons normally exhibit nuclear ADAR2 and TDP-43 immunoreactivity, whereas fast fatigable motor neurons in aged mice demonstrated a loss of ADAR2 and abnormal TDP-43 localization. Importantly, these motor neurons expressed significant amounts of the Q/R site-unedited AMPA receptor subunit 2 (GluA2) mRNA. Because expression of unedited GluA2 has been demonstrated as a lethality-causing molecular abnormality observed in the motor neurons, these results suggest that age-related decreases in ADAR2 activity play a mechanistic role in aging and serve as one of risk factors for ALS.

  14. [The motor organization of cerebral cortex and the role of the mirror neuron system. Clinical impact for rehabilitation].

    PubMed

    Sallés, Laia; Gironès, Xavier; Lafuente, José Vicente

    2015-01-01

    The basic characteristics of Penfield homunculus (somatotopy and unique representation) have been questioned. The existence of a defined anatomo-functional organization within different segments of the same region is controversial. The presence of multiple motor representations in the primary motor area and in the parietal lobe interconnected by parieto-frontal circuits, which are widely overlapped, form a complex organization. Both features support the recovery of functions after brain injury. Regarding the movement organization, it is possible to yield a relevant impact through the understanding of actions and intentions of others, which is mediated by the activation of mirror-neuron systems. The implementation of cognitive functions (observation, image of the action and imitation) from the acute treatment phase allows the activation of motor representations without having to perform the action and it plays an important role in learning motor patterns.

  15. The Neurotoxic Tau45-230 Fragment Accumulates in Upper and Lower Motor Neurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Subjects

    PubMed Central

    Vintilescu, Claudia R; Afreen, Sana; Rubino, Ashlee E; Ferreira, Adriana

    2016-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and lethal neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of upper and lower motor neurons leading to muscle paralysis in affected individuals. Numerous mechanisms have been implicated in the death of these neurons. However, the pathobiology of this disease has not been completely elucidated. In the present study, we investigated to what extent tau cleavage and generation of the neurotoxic tau45-230 fragment is associated with ALS. Quantitative western blot analysis indicated that high levels of tau45-230 accumulated in lumbar and cervical spinal cord specimens obtained from ALS subjects. This neurotoxic tau fragment was also detected in ALS upper motor neurons located in the precentral gyrus. Our results also showed that tau45-230 aggregates were present in the spinal cord of ALS patients. On the other hand, this neurotoxic fragment was not generated in a mouse model of a familial form of this disease. Together, these results suggest a potential role for this neurotoxic tau fragment in the mechanisms leading to the degeneration of motor neurons in the context of sporadic ALS. PMID:27496042

  16. A Review on Locomotor Training after Spinal Cord Injury: Reorganization of Spinal Neuronal Circuits and Recovery of Motor Function

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Locomotor training is a classic rehabilitation approach utilized with the aim of improving sensorimotor function and walking ability in people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Recent studies have provided strong evidence that locomotor training of persons with clinically complete, motor complete, or motor incomplete SCI induces functional reorganization of spinal neuronal networks at multisegmental levels at rest and during assisted stepping. This neuronal reorganization coincides with improvements in motor function and decreased muscle cocontractions. In this review, we will discuss the manner in which spinal neuronal circuits are impaired and the evidence surrounding plasticity of neuronal activity after locomotor training in people with SCI. We conclude that we need to better understand the physiological changes underlying locomotor training, use physiological signals to probe recovery over the course of training, and utilize established and contemporary interventions simultaneously in larger scale research studies. Furthermore, the focus of our research questions needs to change from feasibility and efficacy to the following: what are the physiological mechanisms that make it work and for whom? The aforementioned will enable the scientific and clinical community to develop more effective rehabilitation protocols maximizing sensorimotor function recovery in people with SCI. PMID:27293901

  17. A Review on Locomotor Training after Spinal Cord Injury: Reorganization of Spinal Neuronal Circuits and Recovery of Motor Function.

    PubMed

    Smith, Andrew C; Knikou, Maria

    2016-01-01

    Locomotor training is a classic rehabilitation approach utilized with the aim of improving sensorimotor function and walking ability in people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Recent studies have provided strong evidence that locomotor training of persons with clinically complete, motor complete, or motor incomplete SCI induces functional reorganization of spinal neuronal networks at multisegmental levels at rest and during assisted stepping. This neuronal reorganization coincides with improvements in motor function and decreased muscle cocontractions. In this review, we will discuss the manner in which spinal neuronal circuits are impaired and the evidence surrounding plasticity of neuronal activity after locomotor training in people with SCI. We conclude that we need to better understand the physiological changes underlying locomotor training, use physiological signals to probe recovery over the course of training, and utilize established and contemporary interventions simultaneously in larger scale research studies. Furthermore, the focus of our research questions needs to change from feasibility and efficacy to the following: what are the physiological mechanisms that make it work and for whom? The aforementioned will enable the scientific and clinical community to develop more effective rehabilitation protocols maximizing sensorimotor function recovery in people with SCI. PMID:27293901

  18. Motor neuron cell death in a mouse model of FALS is not mediated by the p53 cell survival regulator.

    PubMed

    Prudlo, J; Koenig, J; Gräser, J; Burckhardt, E; Mestres, P; Menger, M; Roemer, K

    2000-10-01

    Mutant Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) causes selective motor neuron loss through unknown mechanisms of cell damage. Damaged neurons frequently undergo apoptosis mediated by the p53 cell survival regulator. We therefore studied whether motor neuron disease (MND) in mice expressing the human SOD1 mutant G93A is dependent on p53 by crossing G93A mice with p53-knockout mice. Since p53-/- mice's life expectance is usually shorter (160+/-49 days, n=11) than the time at which the G93A mice die from MND (212+/-50 days, n=7), only a few of the G93A/p53-/- double transgenics were expected to live to experience MND. Nevertheless, four of the 22 G93A/p53-/- mice succumbed to MND after 160+/-28 days, as expected under these conditions of competing death risks if the absence of p53 fails to protect from MND. Thus, MND in mice expressing G93A does not require p53. This conclusion is supported by histology: pre-symptomatic G93A mice display disease-associated vacuoles within the dendrites of motor neurons regardless of p53 status.

  19. Concentration dependent requirement for local protein synthesis in motor neuron subtype specific response to axon guidance cues

    PubMed Central

    Nedelec, Stephane; Peljto, Mirza; Shi, Peng; Amoroso, Mackenzie W.; Kam, Lance C.; Wichterle, Hynek

    2012-01-01

    Formation of functional motor circuits relies on the ability of distinct spinal motor neuron subtypes to project their axons with high precision to appropriate muscle targets. While guidance cues contributing to motor axon pathfinding have been identified, the intracellular pathways underlying subtype specific responses to these cues remain poorly understood. In particular, it remains controversial whether responses to axon guidance cues depend on axonal protein synthesis. Using a growth cone collapse assay, we demonstrate that mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) derived spinal motor neurons (ES-MNs) respond to ephrin-A5, Sema3f and Sema3a in a concentration dependent manner. At low doses, ES-MNs exhibit segmental or subtype specific responses, while this selectivity is lost at higher concentrations. Response to high doses of semaphorins and to all doses of ephrin-A5 is protein synthesis independent. In contrast, using microfluidic devices and stripe assays, we show that growth cone collapse and guidance at low concentrations of semaphorins relies on local protein synthesis in the axonal compartment. Similar bimodal response to low and high concentrations of guidance cues is observed in human ES-MNs, pointing to a general mechanism by which neurons increase their repertoire of responses to the limited set of guidance cues involved in neural circuit formation. PMID:22279234

  20. Zonisamide Enhances Neurite Elongation of Primary Motor Neurons and Facilitates Peripheral Nerve Regeneration In Vitro and in a Mouse Model

    PubMed Central

    Yagi, Hideki; Ohkawara, Bisei; Nakashima, Hiroaki; Ito, Kenyu; Tsushima, Mikito; Ishii, Hisao; Noto, Kimitoshi; Ohta, Kyotaro; Masuda, Akio; Imagama, Shiro; Ishiguro, Naoki; Ohno, Kinji

    2015-01-01

    No clinically applicable drug is currently available to enhance neurite elongation after nerve injury. To identify a clinically applicable drug, we screened pre-approved drugs for neurite elongation in the motor neuron-like NSC34 cells. We found that zonisamide, an anti-epileptic and anti-Parkinson’s disease drug, promoted neurite elongation in cultured primary motor neurons and NSC34 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. The neurite-scratch assay revealed that zonisamide enhanced neurite regeneration. Zonisamide was also protective against oxidative stress-induced cell death of primary motor neurons. Zonisamide induced mRNA expression of nerve growth factors (BDNF, NGF, and neurotrophin-4/5), and their receptors (tropomyosin receptor kinase A and B). In a mouse model of sciatic nerve autograft, intragastric administration of zonisamide for 1 week increased the size of axons distal to the transected site 3.9-fold. Zonisamide also improved the sciatic function index, a marker for motor function of hindlimbs after sciatic nerve autograft, from 6 weeks after surgery. At 8 weeks after surgery, zonisamide was protective against denervation-induced muscle degeneration in tibialis anterior, and increased gene expression of Chrne, Colq, and Rapsn, which are specifically expressed at the neuromuscular junction. We propose that zonisamide is a potential therapeutic agent for peripheral nerve injuries as well as for neuropathies due to other etiologies. PMID:26571146

  1. Overexpression of human mutated G93A SOD1 changes dynamics of the ER mitochondria calcium cycle specifically in mouse embryonic motor neurons.

    PubMed

    Lautenschläger, Janin; Prell, Tino; Ruhmer, Julia; Weidemann, Lisa; Witte, Otto W; Grosskreutz, Julian

    2013-09-01

    Motor neurons vulnerable to the rapidly progressive deadly neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) inherently express low amounts of calcium binding proteins (CaBP), likely to allow physiological motor neuron firing frequency modulation. At the same time motor neurons are susceptible to AMPA receptor mediated excitotoxicity and internal calcium deregulation which is not fully understood. We analysed ER mitochondria calcium cycle (ERMCC) dynamics with subsecond resolution in G93A hSOD1 overexpressing motor neurons as a model of ALS using fluorescent calcium imaging. When comparing vulnerable motor neurons and non-motor neurons from G93A hSOD1 mice and their non-transgenic littermates, we found a decelerated cytosolic calcium clearance in the presence of G93A hSOD1. While both non-transgenic as well as G93A hSOD1 motor neurons displayed large mitochondrial calcium uptake by the mitochondrial uniporter (mUP), the mitochondrial calcium extrusion system was altered in the presence of G93A hSOD1. In addition, ER calcium uptake by the sarco-/endoplasmic reticulum ATPase (SERCA) was increased in G93A hSOD1 motor neurons. In survival assays, blocking the mitochondrial sodium calcium exchanger (mNCE) by CGP37157 as well as inhibiting SERCA by cyclopiazonic acid showed protective effects against kainate induced excitotoxicity. Thus, our study shows for the first time that the functional consequence of G93A hSOD1 overexpression in intact motor neurons is indeed a disturbance of the ER mitochondria calcium cycle, and identified two promising targets for therapeutic intervention in the pathology of ALS. PMID:23578819

  2. Selective occurrence of TDP-43-immunoreactive inclusions in the lower motor neurons in Machado-Joseph disease.

    PubMed

    Tan, Chun-Feng; Yamada, Mitsunori; Toyoshima, Yasuko; Yokoseki, Akio; Miki, Yukari; Hoshi, Yasuhiro; Kaneko, Hiroyuki; Ikeuchi, Takeshi; Onodera, Osamu; Kakita, Akiyoshi; Takahashi, Hitoshi

    2009-10-01

    Pathological transactivation-responsive DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) has been identified as a component of ubiquitinated inclusions in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron disease, as well as in sporadic and some forms of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. To clarify whether pathological TDP-43 is present in other neurodegenerative diseases involving the motor neuron system, we immunohistochemically examined the brain and spinal cord affected by two CAG repeat (polyglutamine) diseases, Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) and spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), using polyclonal antibody against TDP-43. In all the MJD cases, TDP-43-immunoreactive (ir) neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs), although few in number, were found only in the lower motor neurons in the brainstem and spinal cord. TDP-43-ir NCIs appeared as linear wisp-like, skein-like, or thick, somewhat rod-like bodies. These inclusions were also visualized with antibodies against phosphoserines 409 and 410 of TDP-43, and ubiquitin, but were not recognized by antibody against expanded polyglutamine stretches or ataxin-3. The ultrastructure of the TDP-43-ir NCIs was similar to that of the inclusions seen in sporadic ALS, consisting of bundles of parallel filaments. None of the SBMA cases showed abnormal TDP-43 immunoreactivity in any of the regions examined. Immunoblot analysis failed to recognize hyperphosphorylated TDP-43 at ~23 kDa in two MJD cases examined. However, the immunohistochemical findings strongly suggested that in MJD, in addition to the polyglutamine-dependent disease process, TDP-43-related pathogenesis is associated with degeneration and death of the lower motor neurons. PMID:19526244

  3. PACAP27 prevents Parkinson-like neuronal loss and motor deficits but not microglia activation induced by prostaglandin J2.

    PubMed

    Shivers, Kai-Yvonne; Nikolopoulou, Anastasia; Machlovi, Saima Ishaq; Vallabhajosula, Shankar; Figueiredo-Pereira, Maria E

    2014-09-01

    Neuroinflammation is a major risk factor in Parkinson's disease (PD). Alternative approaches are needed to treat inflammation, as anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs that inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) can produce devastating side effects, including heart attack and stroke. New therapeutic strategies that target factors downstream of COX-2, such as prostaglandin J2 (PGJ2), hold tremendous promise because they will not alter the homeostatic balance offered by COX-2 derived prostanoids. In the current studies, we report that repeated microinfusion of PGJ2 into the substantia nigra of non-transgenic mice, induces three stages of pathology that mimic the slow-onset cellular and behavioral pathology of PD: mild (one injection) when only motor deficits are detectable, intermediate (two injections) when neuronal and motor deficits as well as microglia activation are detectable, and severe (four injections) when dopaminergic neuronal loss is massive accompanied by microglia activation and motor deficits. Microglia activation was evaluated in vivo by positron emission tomography (PET) with [(11)C](R)PK11195 to provide a regional estimation of brain inflammation. PACAP27 reduced dopaminergic neuronal loss and motor deficits induced by PGJ2, without preventing microglia activation. The latter could be problematic in that persistent microglia activation can exert long-term deleterious effects on neurons and behavior. In conclusion, this PGJ2-induced mouse model that mimics in part chronic inflammation, exhibits slow-onset PD-like pathology and is optimal for testing diagnostic tools such as PET, as well as therapies designed to target the integrated signaling across neurons and microglia, to fully benefit patients with PD.

  4. PACAP27 prevents Parkinson-like neuronal loss and motor deficits but not microglia activation induced by prostaglandin J2

    PubMed Central

    Shivers, Kai-Yvonne; Nikolopoulou, Anastasia; Machlovi, Saima Ishaq; Vallabhajosula, Shankar; Figueiredo-Pereira, Maria E.

    2014-01-01

    Neuroinflammation is a major risk factor in Parkinson disease (PD). Alternative approaches are needed to treat inflammation, as anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs that inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) can produce devastating side effects, including heart attack and stroke. New therapeutic strategies that target factors downstream of COX-2, such as prostaglandin J2 (PGJ2), hold tremendous promise because they will not alter the homeostatic balance offered by COX-2 derived prostanoids. In the current studies, we report that repeated microinfusion of PGJ2 into the substantia nigra of non-transgenic mice, induces three stages of pathology that mimic the slow-onset cellular and behavioral pathology of PD: mild (one injection) when only motor deficits are detectable, intermediate (two injections) when neuronal and motor deficits as well as microglia activation are detectable, and severe (four injections) when dopaminergic neuronal loss is massive accompanied by microglia activation and motor deficits. Microglia activation was evaluated in vivo by positron emission tomography (PET) with [11C](R)PK11195 to provide a regional estimation of brain inflammation. PACAP27 reduced dopaminergic neuronal loss and motor deficits induced by PGJ2, without preventing microglia activation. The latter could be problematic in that persistent microglia activation can exert long-term deleterious effects on neurons and behavior. In conclusion, this PGJ2-induced mouse model that mimics in part chronic inflammation, exhibits slow-onset PD-like pathology and is optimal for testing diagnostic tools such as PET, as well as therapies designed to target the integrated signaling across neurons and microglia, to fully benefit patients with PD. PMID:24970746

  5. Motor neuron apoptosis and neuromuscular junction perturbation are prominent features in a Drosophila model of Fus-mediated ALS

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Backgound Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor function. Several ALS genes have been identified as their mutations can lead to familial ALS, including the recently reported RNA-binding protein fused in sarcoma (Fus). However, it is not clear how mutations of Fus lead to motor neuron degeneration in ALS. In this study, we present a Drosophila model to examine the toxicity of Fus, its Drosophila orthologue Cabeza (Caz), and the ALS-related Fus mutants. Results Our results show that the expression of wild-type Fus/Caz or FusR521G induced progressive toxicity in multiple tissues of the transgenic flies in a dose- and age-dependent manner. The expression of Fus, Caz, or FusR521G in motor neurons significantly impaired the locomotive ability of fly larvae and adults. The presynaptic structures in neuromuscular junctions were disrupted and motor neurons in the ventral nerve cord (VNC) were disorganized and underwent apoptosis. Surprisingly, the interruption of Fus nuclear localization by either deleting its nuclear localization sequence (NLS) or adding a nuclear export signal (NES) blocked Fus toxicity. Moreover, we discovered that the loss of caz in Drosophila led to severe growth defects in the eyes and VNCs, caused locomotive disability and NMJ disruption, but did not induce apoptotic cell death. Conclusions These data demonstrate that the overexpression of Fus/Caz causes in vivo toxicity by disrupting neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) and inducing apoptosis in motor neurons. In addition, the nuclear localization of Fus is essential for Fus to induce toxicity. Our findings also suggest that Fus overexpression and gene deletion can cause similar degenerative phenotypes but the underlying mechanisms are likely different. PMID:22443542

  6. Degeneration of Phrenic Motor Neurons Induces Long-Term Diaphragm Deficits following Mid-Cervical Spinal Contusion in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Nicaise, Charles; Putatunda, Rajarshi; Hala, Tamara J.; Regan, Kathleen A.; Frank, David M.; Brion, Jean-Pierre; Leroy, Karelle; Pochet, Roland; Wright, Megan C.

    2012-01-01

    Abstract A primary cause of morbidity and mortality following cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) is respiratory compromise, regardless of the level of trauma. In particular, SCI at mid-cervical regions targets degeneration of both descending bulbospinal respiratory axons and cell bodies of phrenic motor neurons, resulting in deficits in the function of the diaphragm, the primary muscle of inspiration. Contusion-type trauma to the cervical spinal cord is one of the most common forms of human SCI; however, few studies have evaluated mid-cervical contusion in animal models or characterized consequent histopathological and functional effects of degeneration of phrenic motor neuron–diaphragm circuitry. We have generated a mouse model of cervical contusion SCI that unilaterally targets both C4 and C5 levels, the location of the phrenic motor neuron pool, and have examined histological and functional outcomes for up to 6 weeks post-injury. We report that phrenic motor neuron loss in cervical spinal cord, phrenic nerve axonal degeneration, and denervation at diaphragm neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) resulted in compromised ipsilateral diaphragm function, as demonstrated by persistent reduction in diaphragm compound muscle action potential amplitudes following phrenic nerve stimulation and abnormalities in spontaneous diaphragm electromyography (EMG) recordings. This injury paradigm is reproducible, does not require ventilatory assistance, and provides proof-of-principle that generation of unilateral cervical contusion is a feasible strategy for modeling diaphragmatic/respiratory deficits in mice. This study and its accompanying analyses pave the way for using transgenic mouse technology to explore the function of specific genes in the pathophysiology of phrenic motor neuron degeneration and respiratory dysfunction following cervical SCI. PMID:23176637

  7. Globular Glial Mixed Four Repeat Tau and TDP-43 Proteinopathy with Motor Neuron Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia.

    PubMed

    Takeuchi, Ryoko; Toyoshima, Yasuko; Tada, Mari; Tanaka, Hidetomo; Shimizu, Hiroshi; Shiga, Atsushi; Miura, Takeshi; Aoki, Kenju; Aikawa, Akane; Ishizawa, Shin; Ikeuchi, Takeshi; Nishizawa, Masatoyo; Kakita, Akiyoshi; Takahashi, Hitoshi

    2016-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be accompanied by frontotemporal dementia (FTD). We report a case of glial mixed tau and TDP-43 proteinopathies in a Japanese patient diagnosed clinically as having ALS-D. Autopsy revealed loss of lower motor neurons and degeneration of the pyramidal tracts in the spinal cord and brain stem. The brain showed frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), the most severe neuronal loss and gliosis being evident in the precentral gyrus. Although less severe, such changes were also observed in other brain regions, including the basal ganglia and substantia nigra. AT8 immunostaining revealed that predominant occurrence of astrocytic tau lesions termed globular astrocytic inclusions (GAIs) was a feature of the affected regions. These GAIs were Gallyas-Braak negative. Neuronal and oligodendrocytic tau lesions were comparatively scarce. pS409/410 immunostaining also revealed similar neuronal and glial TDP-43 lesions. Interestingly, occasional co-localization of tau and TDP-43 was evident in the GAIs. Immunoblot analyses revealed band patterns characteristic of a 4-repeat (4R) tauopathy, corticobasal degeneration and a TDP-43 proteinopathy, ALS/FTLD-TDP Type B. No mutations were found in the MAPT or TDP-43 genes. We consider that this patient harbored a distinct, sporadic globular glial mixed 4R tau and TDP-43 proteinopathy associated with motor neuron disease and FTD.

  8. Immunoglobulin Fc gamma receptor promotes immunoglobulin uptake, immunoglobulin-mediated calcium increase, and neurotransmitter release in motor neurons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mohamed, Habib A.; Mosier, Dennis R.; Zou, Ling L.; Siklos, Laszlo; Alexianu, Maria E.; Engelhardt, Jozsef I.; Beers, David R.; Le, Wei-dong; Appel, Stanley H.

    2002-01-01

    Receptors for the Fc portion of immunoglobulin G (IgG; FcgammaRs) facilitate IgG uptake by effector cells as well as cellular responses initiated by IgG binding. In earlier studies, we demonstrated that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patient IgG can be taken up by motor neuron terminals and transported retrogradely to the cell body and can alter the function of neuromuscular synapses, such as increasing intracellular calcium and spontaneous transmitter release from motor axon terminals after passive transfer. In the present study, we examined whether FcgammaR-mediated processes can contribute to these effects of ALS patient immunoglobulins. F(ab')(2) fragments (which lack the Fc portion) of ALS patient IgG were not taken up by motor axon terminals and were not retrogradely transported. Furthermore, in a genetically modified mouse lacking the gamma subunit of the FcR, the uptake of whole ALS IgG and its ability to enhance intracellular calcium and acetylcholine release were markedly attenuated. These data suggest that FcgammaRs appear to participate in IgG uptake into motor neurons as well as IgG-mediated increases in intracellular calcium and acetylcholine release from motor axon terminals. Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  9. A Novel Purification Method for CNS Projection Neurons Leads to the Identification of Brain Vascular Cells As a Source of Trophic Support for Corticospinal Motor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Dugas, Jason C.; Mandemakers, Wim; Rogers, Madolyn; Ibrahim, Adil; Daneman, Richard; Barres, Ben A.

    2008-01-01

    One of the difficulties in studying cellular interactions in the CNS is the lack of effective methods to purify specific neuronal populations of interest. We report the development of a novel purification scheme, CTB immunopanning, in which a particular CNS neuron population is selectively labeled via retrograde axonal transport of the cell-surface epitope cholera toxin beta (CTB), and then purified via immobilization with anti-CTB antibody. We have demonstrated the usefulness and versatility of this method by purifying both retinal ganglion cells and corticospinal motor neurons (CSMNs). Genomic expression analyses of purified CSMNs revealed that they express significant levels of many receptors for growth factors produced by brain endothelial cells; three of these factors, CXCL12, pleiotrophin, and IGF2 significantly enhanced purified CSMN survival, similar to previously characterized CSMN trophic factors BDNF and IGF1. In addition, endothelial cell conditioned medium significantly promoted CSMN neurite outgrowth. These findings demonstrate a useful method for the purification of several different types of CNS projection neurons, which in principle should work in many mammalian species, and provide evidence that endothelial-derived factors may represent an overlooked source of trophic support for neurons in the brain. PMID:18701692

  10. EEG correlation and impulse activity of neuronal populations of individual structures of the cat brain during elaboration and reproduction of motor and alimentary reactions in instrumental conditioned reflexes.

    PubMed

    Vasilevskiĭ, N N; Katinas, V Ia; Popova, L A; Ur'iash, V V

    1976-01-01

    Stable changes in EEG and spike activity of neuronal populations in different brain formations were studied on models of instrumental conditioned reflexes: motor and motor alimentary. A depencence has been established of the EEG amplitude-frequency parameters in the motor and striate cortical zones and the hippocampus on definite changes of unit spike activity in these areas. Simultaneous recording of the EEG and the spike activity of neuronal populations helps to elucidate the neurophysiological nature of individual rhythms of bio-electrical activity. Learned animals exhibit a stable reproduction of the spatial-temporal EEG patterns and motor alimentary reactions when automatic presentation of reinforcement is changed over to an arbitrary one.

  11. Fragmentation of the Golgi apparatus of motor neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Clinical studies in ALS of Guam and experimental studies in deafferented neurons and in beta,beta'-iminodipropionitrile axonopathy.

    PubMed Central

    Mourelatos, Z.; Hirano, A.; Rosenquist, A. C.; Gonatas, N. K.

    1994-01-01

    Previous morphological immunoenzymatic studies with organelle-specific antibodies have disclosed an apparent fragmentation of the Golgi apparatus in large numbers of motor neurons in 12 cases of sporadic, non-Guamanian amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in three cases of other types of motor neuron disease and in one case of a mitochondrial myopathy with cytochrome c oxidase deficiency. Motor neurons with fragmented Golgi apparatus were moderately atrophic; in these cells, discrete immunostained elements of the organelle were twice as many as in normal neurons, and the size of each Golgi element and the percentage of the cytoplasmic area occupied by the Golgi apparatus were reduced (Am J Pathol 1992, 140: 731-737). In this report we have confirmed the fragmentation of the organelle of motor neurons in the spinal cord in six sporadic cases of Guamanian ALS. In four of the six cases the clinical course was 1 to 2 years. The percentages of motor neurons with fragmented Golgi apparatus varied from 38 to 92. Motor neurons from three additional cases of Guamanian ALS of clinical duration from 5 to 7 years did not show fragmentation of the Golgi apparatus. In two cases of Guamanian ALS and in one non-Guamanian ALS, all neurons with ubiquitin-positive skein-like or granular inclusions believed to be pathognomonic for ALS had fragmented Golgi apparatus. To examine whether the fragmentation of the Golgi apparatus results from reactions to either neuronal deafferentation or to lesions of proximal axons, we conducted two experimental studies. In the first study, we examined in cats the Golgi apparatus of deafferented neurons of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. In the second study, we examined the Golgi apparatus of motor neurons in the spinal cord of rats with proximal axonopathy induced by beta,beta'-iminodipropionitrile. In these two experiments, the neuronal Golgi apparatus studied by immunoenzymatic techniques and morphometry, was not fragmented. Taken together, the

  12. Identification of gangliosides recognized by IgG anti-GalNAc-GD1a antibodies in bovine spinal motor neurons and motor nerves.

    PubMed

    Yoshino, Hiide; Ariga, Toshio; Suzuki, Akemi; Yu, Robert K; Miyatake, Tadashi

    2008-08-28

    The presence of immunoglobulin G (IgG)-type antibodies to the ganglioside, N-acetylgalactosaminyl GD1a (GalNAc-GD1a), is closely associated with the pure motor type of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). In the present study, we isolated disialogangliosides from the motor neurons and motor nerves of bovine spinal cords by DEAE-Sephadex column chromatography. The disialoganglioside fraction contained GD1a, GD2, GD1b, and three gangliosides, designated X1, X2 and X3. Serum from a patient with axonal GBS with IgG anti-GalNAc-GD1a antibody yielded positive immunostaining with X1, X2, and X3. When isolated by preparative thin-layer chromatography (TLC), X1 migrated at the same position as GalNAc-GD1a from Tay-Sachs brain, suggesting that X1 is GalNAc-GD1a containing N-acetylneuraminic acid (NeuAc). TLC of isolated X2 revealed that it migrated between GD1a and GD2. On the other hand, X3 had a migratory rate on TLC between and GD1b and GT1b. Since both X2 and X3 were recognized by IgG anti-GalNAc-GD1a antibody, the results suggest that X2 is a GalNAc-GD1a species containing a mixture containing a NeuAc-and an N-glycolylneuraminic acid (NeuGc) species, and X3 is a GalNAc-GD1a species with two NeuGc. This evidence indicating the specific localization of GalNAc-GD1a and its isomers in spinal motor neurons should be useful in elucidating the pathogenic role of IgG anti-GalNAc-GD1a antibody in pure motor-type GBS.

  13. Transduction of motor neurons and muscle fibers by intramuscular injection of HIV-1-based vectors pseudotyped with select rabies virus glycoproteins.

    PubMed

    Mentis, George Z; Gravell, Maneth; Hamilton, Rebecca; Shneider, Neil A; O'Donovan, Michael J; Schubert, Manfred

    2006-10-30

    For studies of motor neuron function or for therapeutic purposes, novel pseudotype HIV-1-based vectors were developed that are capable of expressing transgenes in motor neurons following injection into mouse hind limb muscles. To specifically target motor neurons, glycoproteins from two rabies virus (RV) isolates, the mouse-brain adapted challenge virus 24 (CVS-24) variants, CVS-N2c and CVS-B2c were evaluated for pseudotype formation with an HIV-1-based vector. Both RV glycoproteins incorporated into vector envelopes, and both pseudotypes yielded high titers with Hek293T and cortical plate neuron cultures. Increased neuronotropism by the CVS-N2c pseudotype was not observed, suggesting that vector tropism is not solely determined by the fusogenic viral glycoprotein. Vector injection into hind limb muscles resulted in EYFP reporter gene expression in the injected muscle fibers and in spinal cord motor neurons innervating the same muscle, indicating retrograde vector transport. Intramuscular vector injections into the soleus and tibialis anterior muscles transduced 26% and 16% of all motor neurons in each motor nucleus, respectively. These transduction efficiencies may allow novel approaches to functional studies of the motor system and the treatment of neuromuscular disease.

  14. High precision position control of voice coil motor based on single neuron PID

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Liyi; Chen, Qiming; Tan, Guangjun; Zhu, He

    2013-01-01

    Voice coil motor(VCM) is widely used in high-speed and high-precision positioning control system in recent years. However, there are system uncertainty, nonlinear, modeling error, and external disturbances in the high-precision positioning control system, traditional PID control method is difficult to achieve precise positioning control. In this paper, a new position control strategy with a single neuron controller which has the capability of self-studying and self-adapting composed with PID controller is put forward, and the feedforward compensator is added to improve the dynamic response of the system in the position loop. Moreover, the disturbance observer is designed to suppress model parameter uncertainty and external disturbance signal in the current loop. In addition, the problem of high precision position control of VCM under the influence of significant disturbances is addressed, which including the gas-lubricated damping, the spring, the back EMF and ripple forces, on the basis, the mathematical model of VCM is established accurately. The simulation results show that this kind of controller can improve the dynamic characteristic and strengthen the robustness of the system, and the current loop with disturbance observer can also restrain disturbance and high frequency.

  15. Unstable terminality: negotiating the meaning of chronicity and terminality in motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Lerum, Sverre Vigeland; Solbraekke, Kari Nyheim; Holmøy, Trygve; Frich, Jan C

    2015-01-01

    This paper explores the meaning of chronicity and terminality in motor neurone disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). There is no known cause or cure for MND, and expected survival is 2-5 years, but several interventions may improve or prolong life. This study draws on qualitative interview data with health professionals in hospitals and primary care, and family carers, in Norway. The actors emphasised chronic and terminal aspects in subtly different ways along the entire illness trajectory, also when recounting the trajectory in retrospect. As a consequence of improved health services and medical technology the distinction between chronicity and terminality has become more vague and sometimes ambiguous. We suggest the concept unstable terminality to describe this ambiguity. While MND is a fatal diagnosis; it may be contested, as contingencies and interventions create an indefinite time scope. The instability creates challenges for primary care which is dependent on prognostic information to organise their effort; hospitals tackle the instability by pre-scheduled consultations allowing for avoidance of an explicit prognosis. Some carers experienced what we understand as a disruption within the disruption, living with chronic and terminal illness simultaneously, which made the limbo phase more challenging to overcome. PMID:25601066

  16. Structure and organization of the human survival motor neurone (SMN) gene

    SciTech Connect

    Buerglen, L.; Lefebvre, S.; Clermont, O.

    1996-03-05

    Spinal muscular atrophies (SMA) are characterized by degeneration of the anterior horn cells of the spinal cord and represent the second most common fatal autosomal-recessive disorder after cystic fibrosis. We have previously identified the survival motor neurone gene (SMN), a SMA-determining gene in the 5q13 region encoding a hitherto unknown protein. In this report, we describe the organization and structure of SMN. The gene is {congruent}20 kb in length and consists of nine exons. Sequence data of the 5{prime} end of the gene show that the dinucleotide repeat C272 is close to several putative binding sites for transcription factors, which will help to characterize the regulation of the SMN and {sup C}BCD541 gene expression. The availability of the human SMN and its highly homologous counterpart ({sup C}BCD541) gene structures and exon-intron boundaries will hopefully speed up the characterization of SMN gene mutations in SMA. 10 refs., 3 figs.

  17. Calcium dysregulation links ALS defective proteins and motor neuron selective vulnerability

    PubMed Central

    Leal, Sónia S.; Gomes, Cláudio M.

    2015-01-01

    More than 20 distinct gene loci have so far been implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive neurodegeneration of motor neurons (MN) and death. Most of this distinct set of ALS-related proteins undergoes toxic deposition specifically in MN for reasons which remain unclear. Here we overview a recent body of evidence indicative that mutations in ALS-related proteins can disrupt fundamental Ca2+ signalling pathways in MN, and that Ca2+ itself impacts both directly or indirectly in many ALS critical proteins and cellular processes that result in MN neurodegeneration. We argue that the inherent vulnerability of MN to dysregulation of intracellular Ca2+ is deeply associated with discriminating pathogenicity and aberrant crosstalk of most of the critical proteins involved in ALS. Overall, Ca2+ deregulation in MN is at the cornerstone of different ALS processes and is likely one of the factors contributing to the selective susceptibility of these cells to this particular neurodegenerative disease. PMID:26136661

  18. 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

  19. Activity-dependent competition regulates motor neuron axon pathfinding via PlexinA3

    PubMed Central

    Plazas, Paola V.; Nicol, Xavier; Spitzer, Nicholas C.

    2013-01-01

    The role of electrical activity in axon guidance has been extensively studied in vitro. To better understand its role in the intact nervous system, we imaged intracellular Ca2+ in zebrafish primary motor neurons (PMN) during axon pathfinding in vivo. We found that PMN generate specific patterns of Ca2+ spikes at different developmental stages. Spikes arose in the distal axon of PMN and were propagated to the cell body. Suppression of Ca2+ spiking activity in single PMN led to stereotyped errors, but silencing all electrical activity had no effect on axon guidance, indicating that an activity-based competition rule regulates this process. This competition was not mediated by synaptic transmission. Combination of PlexinA3 knockdown with suppression of Ca2+ activity in single PMN produced a synergistic increase in the incidence of pathfinding errors. However, expression of PlexinA3 transcripts was not regulated by activity. Our results provide an in vivo demonstration of the intersection of spontaneous electrical activity with the PlexinA3 guidance molecule receptor in regulation of axon pathfinding. PMID:23302694

  20. Monomelic amyotrophy (hirayama disease) with upper motor neuron signs: a case report.

    PubMed

    Yoo, Seung Don; Kim, Hee-Sang; Yun, Dong Hwan; Kim, Dong Hwan; Chon, Jinmann; Lee, Seung Ah; Lee, Sung Yong; Han, Yoo Jin

    2015-02-01

    Monomelic amyotrophy (MMA), also known as Hirayama disease, is a sporadic juvenile muscular atrophy in the distal upper extremities. This disorder rarely involves proximal upper extremities and presents minimal sensory symptoms with no upper motor neuron (UMN) signs. It is caused by anterior displacement of the posterior dural sac and compression of the cervical cord during neck flexion. An 18-year-old boy visited our clinic with a 5-year history of left upper extremity pain and slowly progressive weakness affecting the left shoulder. Atrophy was present in the left supraspinatus and infraspinatus. On neurological examination, positive UMN signs were evident in both upper and lower extremities. Electrodiagnostic study showed root lesion involving the fifth to seventh cervical segment of the cord with chronic and ongoing denervation in the fifth and sixth cervical segment innervated muscles. Cervical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed asymmetric cord atrophy apparent in the left side and intramedullary high signal intensity along the fourth to sixth cervical vertebral levels. With neck flexion, cervical MRI revealed anterior displacement of posterior dural sac, which results in the cord compression of those segments. The mechanisms of myelopathy in our patient seem to be same as that of MMA. We report a MMA patient involving proximal limb with UMN signs in biomechanical concerns and discuss clinical importance of cervical MRI with neck flexion. The case highlights that clinical variation might cause misdiagnosis. PMID:25750881

  1. An unusual form of motor neuron disease following a cat bite.

    PubMed

    Hudson, A J; Vinters, H V; Povey, R C; Hatch, L A; Percy, D H; Noseworthy, J H; Kaufmann, J C

    1986-05-01

    A case of motor neuron disease with clinical and pathological resemblance to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in a woman who was severely bitten on the ankle by a cat is described. Weakness first appeared at the ankles and relentlessly advanced proximally, terminating in death from pulmonary failure in a year. A number of unusual features that are uncharacteristic of ALS were found that included a markedly elevated antinuclear antibody titre in the serum and the presence of prominent oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid. The spinal cord showed loss of anterior horn cells and pyramidal degeneration that are characteristic of ALS, but an extraordinary finding was the presence of transmural granulomatous inflammation of numerous small and medium sized vessels, especially veins, in the subarachnoid space around the cord. There were also inflammatory changes in the brainstem and spinal cord consisting of microglial and astrocytic nodules and perivenous cuffing by mononuclear cells. Ill-defined hyaline eosinophilic cytoplasmic inclusions were seen in some remaining anterior horn cells. No viral particles were found by electron microscopy despite an extensive search. Virological studies were inconclusive but there is reason to believe that this patient's illness was caused by an as yet unidentified virus.

  2. Hippo/YAP-mediated rigidity-dependent motor neuron differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells.

    PubMed

    Sun, Yubing; Yong, Koh Meng Aw; Villa-Diaz, Luis G; Zhang, Xiaoli; Chen, Weiqiang; Philson, Renee; Weng, Shinuo; Xu, Haoxing; Krebsbach, Paul H; Fu, Jianping

    2014-06-01

    Our understanding of the intrinsic mechanosensitive properties of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), in particular the effects that the physical microenvironment has on their differentiation, remains elusive. Here, we show that neural induction and caudalization of hPSCs can be accelerated by using a synthetic microengineered substrate system consisting of poly(dimethylsiloxane) micropost arrays (PMAs) with tunable mechanical rigidities. The purity and yield of functional motor neurons derived from hPSCs within 23 days of culture using soft PMAs were improved more than fourfold and tenfold, respectively, compared with coverslips or rigid PMAs. Mechanistic studies revealed a multi-targeted mechanotransductive process involving Smad phosphorylation and nucleocytoplasmic shuttling, regulated by rigidity-dependent Hippo/YAP activities and actomyosin cytoskeleton integrity and contractility. Our findings suggest that substrate rigidity is an important biophysical cue influencing neural induction and subtype specification, and that microengineered substrates can thus serve as a promising platform for large-scale culture of hPSCs. PMID:24728461

  3. 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

  4. Glutamate Transporters and the Excitotoxic Path to Motor Neuron Degeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Foran, Emily

    2009-01-01

    Abstract Responsible for the majority of excitatory activity in the central nervous system (CNS), glutamate interacts with a range of specific receptor and transporter systems to establish a functional synapse. Excessive stimulation of glutamate receptors causes excitotoxicity, a phenomenon implicated in both acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases [e.g., ischemia, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)]. In physiology, excitotoxicity is prevented by rapid binding and clearance of synaptic released glutamate by high-affinity, Na+-dependent glutamate transporters and amplified by defects to the glutamate transporter and receptor systems. ALS pathogenetic mechanisms are not completely understood and characterized, but excitotoxicity has been regarded as one firm mechanism implicated in the disease because of data obtained from ALS patients and animal and cellular models as well as inferred by the documented efficacy of riluzole, a generic antiglutamatergic drug, has in patients. In this article, we critically review the several lines of evidence supporting a role for glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity in the death of motor neurons occurring in ALS, putting a particular emphasis on the impairment of the glutamate-transport system. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 11, 1587–1602. PMID:19413484

  5. Hippo/YAP-mediated rigidity-dependent motor neuron differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Yubing; Yong, Koh Meng Aw; Villa-Diaz, Luis G.; Zhang, Xiaoli; Chen, Weiqiang; Philson, Renee; Weng, Shinuo; Xu, Haoxing; Krebsbach, Paul H.; Fu, Jianping

    2014-06-01

    Our understanding of the intrinsic mechanosensitive properties of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), in particular the effects that the physical microenvironment has on their differentiation, remains elusive. Here, we show that neural induction and caudalization of hPSCs can be accelerated by using a synthetic microengineered substrate system consisting of poly(dimethylsiloxane) micropost arrays (PMAs) with tunable mechanical rigidities. The purity and yield of functional motor neurons derived from hPSCs within 23 days of culture using soft PMAs were improved more than fourfold and tenfold, respectively, compared with coverslips or rigid PMAs. Mechanistic studies revealed a multi-targeted mechanotransductive process involving Smad phosphorylation and nucleocytoplasmic shuttling, regulated by rigidity-dependent Hippo/YAP activities and actomyosin cytoskeleton integrity and contractility. Our findings suggest that substrate rigidity is an important biophysical cue influencing neural induction and subtype specification, and that microengineered substrates can thus serve as a promising platform for large-scale culture of hPSCs.

  6. Behavioral Symptoms in Motor Neuron Disease and Their Negative Impact on Caregiver Burden

    PubMed Central

    Cui, Bo; Cui, Li-Ying; Liu, Ming-Sheng; Li, Xiao-Guang; Ma, Jun-Fang; Fang, Jia; Ding, Qing-Yun

    2015-01-01

    Background: The spectrum of abnormal behaviors in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease (ALS/MND) has been described, but its practical meaning, namely its impact on caregiver burden, has not been clearly documented in Chinese population. This study aimed to assess the distribution of abnormal behaviors in Chinese population, and to analyze the relationship between behavior changes and caregiver burden. Methods: Sixty-five patients with ALS/MND have been consecutively enrolled into registry platform of Peking Union Medical College Hospital. An investigation was performed to these patients and their caregivers using the revised ALS function rating scale, Frontal Behavioral Inventory-ALS version, the Frontal Assessment Battery, and the Caregiver Burden Inventory. Results: Twenty-eight (43.1%) patients displayed abnormal behaviors of varying degrees, with one fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of frontotemporal lobe degeneration. Irritability, logopenia, and inflexibility ranked top 3 of abnormal behavior list. Correlation analysis revealed that the degree of behavioral change and frontal cognitive status were significantly associated with caregiver burden, with more extensive impact from disinhibitive behaviors. Analysis of covariance analysis showed that after associated factors were corrected, caregivers of patients with moderate to severe behavior change reported significantly heavier developmental burden, physical burden, and total burden than those with no behavioral change. Conclusions: Neurobehavioral symptoms could present in around 40% of Chinese patients with ALS/MND, and the distribution of these behaviors was also unique. Besides, abnormal behaviors were highly related to caregivers’ burden. PMID:26315075

  7. Induction of cysteine-rich motor neuron 1 mRNA expression in vascular endothelial cells.

    PubMed

    Nakashima, Yukiko; Takahashi, Satoru

    2014-08-22

    Cysteine-rich motor neuron 1 (CRIM1) is expressed in vascular endothelial cells and plays a crucial role in angiogenesis. In this study, we investigated the expression of CRIM1 mRNA in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). CRIM1 mRNA levels were not altered in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-stimulated monolayer HUVECs or in cells in collagen gels without VEGF. In contrast, the expression of CRIM1 mRNA was elevated in VEGF-stimulated cells in collagen gels. The increase in CRIM1 mRNA expression was observed even at 2h when HUVECs did not form tubular structures in collagen gels. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) 1/2, Akt and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) were activated by VEGF in HUVECs. The VEGF-induced expression of CRIM1 mRNA was significantly abrogated by PD98059 or PF562271, but was not affected by LY294002. These results demonstrate that CRIM1 is an early response gene in the presence of both angiogenic stimulation (VEGF) and environmental (extracellular matrix) factors, and Erk and FAK might be involved in the upregulation of CRIM1 mRNA expression in vascular endothelial cells.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

    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 spinal tissues 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-15

    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 an impaired autophagy-lysosomal system contribute to mitochondrial pathology? We reveal MN-targeted progressive lysosomal deficits accompanied by impaired autophagic degradation beginning at asymptomatic stages in fALS-linked hSOD1(G93A) 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 hSOD1(G93A) for binding dynein, thus rescuing autophagy-lysosomal deficits, enhancing mitochondrial turnover, improving MN survival, and ameliorating the disease phenotype in hSOD1(G93A) mice. Our study provides a new mechanistic link for hSOD1(G93A)-mediated impairment of LE transport to autophagy-lysosomal deficits and mitochondrial pathology. Understanding these early pathological events benefits development of new therapeutic interventions for fALS-linked MN degeneration.

  10. Transdural motor cortex stimulation reverses neuropathic pain in rats: a profile of neuronal activation.

    PubMed

    Pagano, Rosana L; Assis, Danielle V; Clara, Joseph A; Alves, Adilson S; Dale, Camila S; Teixeira, Manoel J; Fonoff, Erich T; Britto, Luiz R

    2011-03-01

    Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) has been used to treat patients with neuropathic pain resistant to other therapeutic approaches; however, the mechanisms of pain control by MCS are still not clearly understood. We have demonstrated that MCS increases the nociceptive threshold of naive conscious rats, with opioid participation. In the present study, the effect of transdural MCS on neuropathic pain in rats subjected to chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve was investigated. In addition, the pattern of neuronal activation, evaluated by Fos and Zif268 immunolabel, was performed in the spinal cord and brain sites associated with the modulation of persistent pain. MCS reversed the mechanical hyperalgesia and allodynia induced by peripheral neuropathy. After stimulation, Fos immunoreactivity (Fos-IR) decreased in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and in the ventral posterior lateral and medial nuclei of the thalamus, when compared to animals with neuropathic pain. Furthermore, the MCS increased the Fos-IR in the periaqueductal gray, the anterior cingulate cortex and the central and basolateral amygdaloid nuclei. Zif268 results were similar to those obtained for Fos, although no changes were observed for Zif268 in the anterior cingulate cortex and the central amygdaloid nucleus after MCS. The present findings suggest that MCS reverts neuropathic pain phenomena in rats, mimicking the effect observed in humans, through activation of the limbic and descending pain inhibitory systems. Further investigation of the mechanisms involved in this effect may contribute to the improvement of the clinical treatment of persistent pain.

  11. Motor neurone disease: disability profile and service needs in an Australian cohort.

    PubMed

    Ng, Louisa; Talman, Paul; Khan, Fary

    2011-06-01

    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 prospective cross-sectional community survey of pwMND (n=44) and their caregivers (n=37) was conducted, to determine symptoms and problems affecting daily living. Standardized assessments were carried out to determine the disease severity for stratification purposes, service needs and gaps. The mean age was 61 years with more men affected than women (3 : 2). The severity of disease was high (n=18; 41%) based on the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale. Despite the high level of disability, 11 (25%) solely relied on their families for all assistance. Caregivers were mostly partners (mean age: 57 years). PwMND reported more pain, emotional disturbance and spasticity/cramps/spasms. Caregivers focused more on psychosocial issues. Nineteen (43%) pwMND reported gaps in the service in rehabilitation therapy and respite. Significantly proportionally, more caregivers (n=19; 51%) reported gaps particularly in the area of psychosocial support. The gaps identified in the MND care should be prioritized for future service development using the 'neuropalliative rehabilitation' model of care. For improved consensus of care and communication among treating clinicians, the framework of International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health should be explored in this population.

  12. A Temporal Association between Accumulated Petrol (Gasoline) Lead Emissions and Motor Neuron Disease in Australia

    PubMed Central

    Laidlaw, Mark A. S.; Rowe, Dominic B.; Ball, Andrew S.; Mielke, Howard W.

    2015-01-01

    Background: The age standardised death rate from motor neuron disease (MND) has increased from 1.29 to 2.74 per 100,000, an increase of 112.4% between 1959 and 2013. It is clear that genetics could not have played a causal role in the increased rate of MND deaths over such a short time span. We postulate that environmental factors are responsible for this rate increase. We focus on lead additives in Australian petrol as a possible contributing environmental factor. Methods: The associations between historical petrol lead emissions and MND death trends in Australia between 1962 and 2013 were examined using linear regressions. Results: Regression results indicate best fit correlations between a 20 year lag of petrol lead emissions and age-standardised female death rate (R2 = 0.86, p = 4.88 × 10−23), male age standardised death rate (R2 = 0.86, p = 9.4 × 10−23) and percent all cause death attributed to MND (R2 = 0.98, p = 2.6 × 10−44). Conclusion: Legacy petrol lead emissions are associated with increased MND death trends in Australia. Further examination of the 20 year lag between exposure to petrol lead and the onset of MND is warranted. PMID:26703636

  13. Unstable terminality: negotiating the meaning of chronicity and terminality in motor neurone disease.

    PubMed

    Lerum, Sverre Vigeland; Solbraekke, Kari Nyheim; Holmøy, Trygve; Frich, Jan C

    2015-01-01

    This paper explores the meaning of chronicity and terminality in motor neurone disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). There is no known cause or cure for MND, and expected survival is 2-5 years, but several interventions may improve or prolong life. This study draws on qualitative interview data with health professionals in hospitals and primary care, and family carers, in Norway. The actors emphasised chronic and terminal aspects in subtly different ways along the entire illness trajectory, also when recounting the trajectory in retrospect. As a consequence of improved health services and medical technology the distinction between chronicity and terminality has become more vague and sometimes ambiguous. We suggest the concept unstable terminality to describe this ambiguity. While MND is a fatal diagnosis; it may be contested, as contingencies and interventions create an indefinite time scope. The instability creates challenges for primary care which is dependent on prognostic information to organise their effort; hospitals tackle the instability by pre-scheduled consultations allowing for avoidance of an explicit prognosis. Some carers experienced what we understand as a disruption within the disruption, living with chronic and terminal illness simultaneously, which made the limbo phase more challenging to overcome.

  14. 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

  15. Improved survival with an ambulatory model of non-invasive ventilation implementation in motor neuron disease.

    PubMed

    Sheers, Nicole; Berlowitz, David J; Rautela, Linda; Batchelder, Ian; Hopkinson, Kim; Howard, Mark E

    2014-06-01

    Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) increases survival and quality of life in motor neuron disease (MND). NIV implementation historically occurred during a multi-day inpatient admission at this institution; however, increased demand led to prolonged waiting times. The aim of this study was to evaluate the introduction of an ambulatory model of NIV implementation. A prospective cohort study was performed. Inclusion criteria were referral for NIV implementation six months pre- or post-commencement of the Day Admission model. This model involved a 4-h stay to commence ventilation with follow-up in-laboratory polysomnography titration and outpatient attendance. Outcome measures included waiting time, hospital length of stay, adverse events and polysomnography data. Results indicated that after changing to the Day Admission model the median waiting time fell from 30 to 13.5 days (p < 0.04) and adverse events declined (4/17 pre- (three deaths, one acute admission) vs. 0/12 post-). Survival was also prolonged (median (IQR) 278 (51-512) days pre- vs 580 (306-1355) days post-introduction of the Day Admission model; hazard ratio 0.41, p = 0.04). Daytime PaCO2 was no different. In conclusion, reduced waiting time to commence ventilation and improved survival were observed following introduction of an ambulatory model of NIV implementation in people with MND, with no change in the effectiveness of ventilation.

  16. A role for Fas II in the stabilization of motor neuron branches during pruning in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Hebbar, Sarita; Fernandes, Joyce J

    2005-09-01

    During insect metamorphosis, the nervous system is extensively remodeled resulting in the development of new circuits that will execute adult-specific behaviors. The peripheral remodeling seen during development of innervation to the Dorsal Longitudinal (flight) Muscle (DLM) in Drosophila involves an initial retraction of larval neuromuscular junctions followed by adult-specific branch outgrowth. Subsequently, a phase of pruning occurs during which motor neuron branches are pruned back to reveal the stereotypic pattern of multiple contact points (or arbors) along the length of each DLM fiber. In this study, we show that the cell adhesion molecule, Fasciclin II (Fas II), is important for generating the stereotypic pattern. In Fas II hypomorphs, the number of contact points is increased, and the phenotype is rescued by targeted expression of Fas II in either synaptic partner. Arbor development has three distinct phases: outgrowth and elaboration, pruning and stabilization, and expansion of stabilized arbors. Fas II is expressed during the first two phases. A subset of branches is labeled during the elaboration phase, which is likely to initiate a stabilization pathway allowing branches to survive the pruning phase. However, since not all Fas II positive branches are retained, we propose that it primes branches for stabilization. Our data suggest that Fas II functions to restrict branch length and arbor expanse.

  17. Retinoids and motor neuron disease: Potential role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Riancho, Javier; Berciano, Maria T; Ruiz-Soto, Maria; Berciano, Jose; Landreth, Gary; Lafarga, Miguel

    2016-01-15

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common neurodegenerative disease affecting motor neurons (MN). This fatal disease is characterized by progressive muscular atrophy and unfortunately it does not have an effective treatment. Although a small proportion of ALS cases have a familiar origin, the vast majority of them are thought to have a sporadic origin. Although the pathogenesis of ALS has not been fully elucidated, various disorders in different cellular functions such as gene expression, protein metabolism, axonal transport and glial cell disorders have been linked to MN degeneration. Among them, proteostasis is one of the best studied. Retinoids are vitamin A-derived substances that play a crucial role in embryogenesis, development, programmed cell death and other cellular functions. Retinoid agonists behave as transcription factors throughout the activation of the nuclear retinoid receptors. Several reports in the literature suggest that retinoids are involved in proteostasis regulation, by modulating its two major pathways, the ubiquitin-proteasome system and the autophagy-lysosome response. Additionally, there are some evidences for a role of retinoids themselves, in ALS pathogenesis. In this review, we discuss the importance of proteostasis disruption as a trigger for MN degeneration and the capability of retinoids to modulate it, as well as the potential therapeutic role of retinoids as a new therapy in ALS.

  18. A novel nuclear structure containing the survival of motor neurons protein.

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Q; Dreyfuss, G

    1996-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common, often fatal, autosomal recessive disease leading to progressive muscle wasting and paralysis as a result of degeneration of anterior horn cells of the spinal cord. A gene termed survival of motor neurons (SMN), at 5q13, has been identified as the determining gene of SMA (Lefebvre et al., 1995). The SMN gene is deleted in > 98% of SMA patients, but the function of the SMN protein is unknown. In searching for hnRNP-interacting proteins we found that SMN interacts with the RGG box region of hnRNP U, with itself, with fibrillarin and with several novel proteins. We have produced monoclonal antibodies to the SMN protein, and we report here on its striking cellular localization pattern. Immunolocalization studies using SMN monoclonal antibodies show several intense dots in HeLa cell nuclei. These structures are similar in number (2-6) and size (0.1-1.0 micron) to coiled bodies, and frequently are found near or associated with coiled bodies. We term these prominent nuclear structures gems, for Gemini of coiled bodies. Images PMID:8670859

  19. A microfluidic device to study neuronal and motor responses to acute chemical stimuli in zebrafish

    PubMed Central

    Candelier, Raphaël; Sriti Murmu, Meena; Alejo Romano, Sebastián; Jouary, Adrien; Debrégeas, Georges; Sumbre, Germán

    2015-01-01

    Zebrafish larva is a unique model for whole-brain functional imaging and to study sensory-motor integration in the vertebrate brain. To take full advantage of this system, one needs to design sensory environments that can mimic the complex spatiotemporal stimulus patterns experienced by the animal in natural conditions. We report on a novel open-ended microfluidic device that delivers pulses of chemical stimuli to agarose-restrained larvae with near-millisecond switching rate and unprecedented spatial and concentration accuracy and reproducibility. In combination with two-photon calcium imaging and recordings of tail movements, we found that stimuli of opposite hedonic values induced different circuit activity patterns. Moreover, by precisely controlling the duration of the stimulus (50–500 ms), we found that the probability of generating a gustatory-induced behavior is encoded by the number of neurons activated. This device may open new ways to dissect the neural-circuit principles underlying chemosensory perception. PMID:26194888

  20. Oligodendrocytes contribute to motor neuron death in ALS via SOD1-dependent mechanism

    PubMed Central

    Ferraiuolo, Laura; Meyer, Kathrin; Sherwood, Thomas W.; Vick, Jonathan; Likhite, Shibi; Frakes, Ashley; Miranda, Carlos J.; Braun, Lyndsey; Heath, Paul R.; Pineda, Ricardo; Beattie, Christine E.; Shaw, Pamela J.; Askwith, Candice C.; McTigue, Dana; Kaspar, Brian K.

    2016-01-01

    Oligodendrocytes have recently been implicated in the pathophysiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here we show that, in vitro, mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mouse oligodendrocytes induce WT motor neuron (MN) hyperexcitability and death. Moreover, we efficiently derived human oligodendrocytes from a large number of controls and patients with sporadic and familial ALS, using two different reprogramming methods. All ALS oligodendrocyte lines induced MN death through conditioned medium (CM) and in coculture. CM-mediated MN death was associated with decreased lactate production and release, whereas toxicity in coculture was lactate-independent, demonstrating that MN survival is mediated not only by soluble factors. Remarkably, human SOD1 shRNA treatment resulted in MN rescue in both mouse and human cultures when knockdown was achieved in progenitor cells, whereas it was ineffective in differentiated oligodendrocytes. In fact, early SOD1 knockdown rescued lactate impairment and cell toxicity in all lines tested, with the exclusion of samples carrying chromosome 9 ORF 72 (C9orf72) repeat expansions. These did not respond to SOD1 knockdown nor did they show lactate release impairment. Our data indicate that SOD1 is directly or indirectly involved in ALS oligodendrocyte pathology and suggest that in this cell type, some damage might be irreversible. In addition, we demonstrate that patients with C9ORF72 represent an independent patient group that might not respond to the same treatment. PMID:27688759

  1. Flail arm syndrome with cytoplasmic vacuoles in remaining anterior horn motor neurons: A peculiar variant of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Hino, Shuji; Sasaki, Shoichi

    2015-12-01

    Flail arm (FA) syndrome, a minor subtype of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is characterized by progressive weakness and upper girdle wasting, but the associated pathological changes remain unclear. A 59-year-old man was admitted to our hospital with a 3-year history of upper girdle weakness. Bulbar symptom and gait disturbance gradually developed, and he was clinically diagnosed with FA syndrome. After a 10-year disease course, he died of pulmonary adenocarcinoma. Neuropathological examination revealed severe motor neuronal loss in the brain stem and anterior horn of the cervical spinal cord with bilateral pyramidal tract degeneration. The histological findings were consistent with typical ALS, including Bunina bodies and Lewy body-like and skein-like inclusions. Cytoplasmic vacuoles were found in the remaining anterior horn motor neurons of the lumbar spinal cord. This is a unique autopsy case with a long-standing clinical course that suggests that FA syndrome is an atypical form of ALS.

  2. A TRPV Channel in Drosophila Motor Neurons Regulates Presynaptic Resting Ca2+ Levels, Synapse Growth, and Synaptic Transmission

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Ching-On; Chen, Kuchuan; Lin, Yong Qi; Chao, Yufang; Duraine, Lita; Lu, Zhongmin; Yoon, Wan Hee; Sullivan, Jeremy M.; Broadhead, Geoffrey T.; Sumner, Charlotte J.; Lloyd, Thomas E.; Macleod, Gregory T.; Bellen, Hugo J.; Venkatachalam, Kartik

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Presynaptic resting Ca2+ influences synaptic vesicle (SV) release probability. Here, we report that a TRPV channel, Inactive (Iav), maintains presynaptic resting [Ca2+] by promoting Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum in Drosophila motor neurons, and is required for both synapse development and neurotransmission. We find that Iav activates the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase, calcineurin, which is essential for presynaptic microtubule stabilization at the neuromuscular junction. Thus, loss of Iav induces destabilization of presynaptic microtubules resulting in diminished synaptic growth. Interestingly, expression of human TRPV1 in Iav-deficient motor neurons rescues these defects. We also show that the absence of Iav causes lower SV release probability and diminished synaptic transmission, whereas Iav overexpression elevates these synaptic parameters. Together, our findings indicate that Iav acts as a key regulator of synaptic development and function by influencing presynaptic resting [Ca2+]. PMID:25451193

  3. Reconfiguration of multiple motor networks by short- and long-term actions of an identified modulatory neuron.

    PubMed

    Faumont, Serge; Combes, Denis; Meyrand, Pierre; Simmers, John

    2005-11-01

    The pyloric and gastric motor pattern-generating networks in the stomatogastric ganglion of the lobster Homarus gammarus are reconfigured into a new functional circuit by burst discharge in an identified pair of modulatory projection interneurons, originally named the pyloric suppressor (PS) neurons because of their inhibitory effects on pyloric network activity. Here we elucidate the actions of the PS neurons on individual members of the neighbouring gastric circuit, as well as describing their ability to alter synaptic coupling between the two networks. PS neuron firing has two distinct effects on gastric network activity: an initial short-lasting action mediated by transient inhibition of most gastric motoneurons, followed by a long-lasting circuit activation associated with a prolonged PS-evoked depolarization of the medial gastric (MG) motoneuron and the single network interneuron, Int1. These long-lasting effects are voltage-dependent, and experiments with hyperpolarizing current injection and photoablation suggest that excitation of both the MG neuron and Int1 is critical for PS-elicited gastric network rhythmicity. In parallel, PS neuron discharge persistently (lasting several minutes) enhances the strength of an inhibitory synaptic influence of the MG neuron on the pyloric dilator (PD)-anterior burster (AB) pacemaker neurons, thereby facilitating operational fusion of the two networks. Therefore, a single modulatory neuron may influence disparate populations of neurons via a range of very different and highly target-specific mechanisms: conventional transient synaptic drive and up- or down-modulation of membrane properties and synaptic efficacy. Moreover, distinctly different time courses of these actions allow different circuit configurations to be specified sequentially by a given modulatory input. PMID:16307592

  4. Calpastatin inhibits motor neuron death and increases survival of hSOD1(G93A) mice.

    PubMed

    Rao, Mala V; Campbell, Jabbar; Palaniappan, Arti; Kumar, Asok; Nixon, Ralph A

    2016-04-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron disease with a poorly understood cause and no effective treatment. Given that calpains mediate neurodegeneration in other pathological states and are abnormally activated in ALS, we investigated the possible ameliorative effects of inhibiting calpain over-activation in hSOD1(G93A) transgenic (Tg) mice in vivo by neuron-specific over-expression of calpastatin (CAST), the highly selective endogenous inhibitor of calpains. Our data indicate that over-expression of CAST in hSOD1(G93A) mice, which lowered calpain activation to levels comparable to wild-type mice, inhibited the abnormal breakdown of cytoskeletal proteins (spectrin, MAP2 and neurofilaments), and ameliorated motor axon loss. Disease onset in hSOD1(G93A) /CAST mice compared to littermate hSOD1(G93A) mice is delayed, which accounts for their longer time of survival. We also find that neuronal over-expression of CAST in hSOD1(G93A) transgenic mice inhibited production of putative neurotoxic caspase-cleaved tau and activation of Cdk5, which have been implicated in neurodegeneration in ALS models, and also reduced the formation of SOD1 oligomers. Our data indicate that inhibition of calpain with CAST is neuroprotective in an ALS mouse model. CAST (encoding calpastatin) inhibits hyperactivated calpain to prevent motor neuron disease operating through a cascade of events as indicated in the schematic, with relevance to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We propose that over-expression of CAST in motor neurons of hSOD1(G93A) mice inhibits activation of CDK5, breakdown of cytoskeletal proteins (NFs, MAP2 and Tau) and regulatory molecules (Cam Kinase IV, Calcineurin A), and disease-causing proteins (TDP-43, α-Synuclein and Huntingtin) to prevent neuronal loss and delay neurological deficits. In our experiments, CAST could also inhibit cleavage of Bid, Bax, AIF to prevent mitochondrial, ER and lysosome-mediated cell death mechanisms. Similarly, CAST

  5. Inhibitory motor innervation of the gall bladder musculature by intrinsic neurones containing nitric oxide in the Australian Brush-tailed possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

    PubMed Central

    Meedeniya, A; Al-Jiffry, B; Konomi, H; Schloithe, A; Toouli, J; Saccone, G

    2001-01-01

    BACKGROUND—Gall bladder functions are modulated by neurones intrinsic to the organ. Data are available on the neurochemical composition of intrinsic and extrinsic nerves innervating the gall bladder but are lacking on specific functional classes of gall bladder neurones.
AIMS—To characterise the intrinsic motor neurones of the gall bladder and identify their roles using pharmacological techniques.
METHODS—Retrograde tracing from the possum gall bladder muscle in vitro allowed identification of intrinsic motor neurones. Subsequently, their content of choline acetyltransferase and nitric oxide synthase, markers of acetylcholine and nitric oxide containing neurones, was established using immunohistochemical techniques. Organ bath pharmacology was used to evaluate neurotransmission by acetylcholine and nitric oxide in gall bladder muscle strips.
RESULTS—Innervation of the gall bladder musculature by neurones of both the muscular and serosal plexuses was demonstrated. A large proportion (62%) of these motor neurones were immunoreactive for nitric oxide synthase. All gall bladder neurones showed immunoreactivity for choline acetyltransferase. Organ bath pharmacology confirmed the neuroanatomical data, showing acetylcholine and nitric oxide mediating neurotransmission to the gall bladder musculature.
CONCLUSIONS—Neurones containing acetylcholine and nitric oxide, located within the muscular and serosal plexuses, provide excitatory and inhibitory motor innervation of the gall bladder, respectively. The large inhibitory innervation suggests active relaxation of the gall bladder during filling, mediated by intrinsic nerves.


Keywords: excitatory/inhibitory neurotransmission; gall bladder; motility; nitric oxide; acetylcholine; possum PMID:11600474

  6. Exploiting the gain-modulation mechanism in parieto-motor neurons: application to visuomotor transformations and embodied simulation.

    PubMed

    Mahé, Sylvain; Braud, Raphaël; Gaussier, Philippe; Quoy, Mathias; Pitti, Alexandre

    2015-02-01

    The so-called self-other correspondence problem in imitation demands to find the transformation that maps the motor dynamics of one partner to our own. This requires a general purpose sensorimotor mechanism that transforms an external fixation-point (partner's shoulder) reference frame to one's own body-centered reference frame. We propose that the mechanism of gain-modulation observed in parietal neurons may generally serve these types of transformations by binding the sensory signals across the modalities with radial basis functions (tensor products) on the one hand and by permitting the learning of contextual reference frames on the other hand. In a shoulder-elbow robotic experiment, gain-field neurons (GF) intertwine the visuo-motor variables so that their amplitude depends on them all. In situations of modification of the body-centered reference frame, the error detected in the visuo-motor mapping can serve then to learn the transformation between the robot's current sensorimotor space and the new one. These situations occur for instance when we turn the head on its axis (visual transformation), when we use a tool (body modification), or when we interact with a partner (embodied simulation). Our results defend the idea that the biologically-inspired mechanism of gain modulation found in parietal neurons can serve as a basic structure for achieving nonlinear mapping in spatial tasks as well as in cooperative and social functions.

  7. Spinal muscular atrophy phenotype is ameliorated in human motor neurons by SMN increase via different novel RNA therapeutic approaches.

    PubMed

    Nizzardo, Monica; Simone, Chiara; Dametti, Sara; Salani, Sabrina; Ulzi, Gianna; Pagliarani, Serena; Rizzo, Federica; Frattini, Emanuele; Pagani, Franco; Bresolin, Nereo; Comi, Giacomo; Corti, Stefania

    2015-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a primary genetic cause of infant mortality due to mutations in the Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) 1 gene. No cure is available. Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) aimed at increasing SMN levels from the paralogous SMN2 gene represent a possible therapeutic strategy. Here, we tested in SMA human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and iPSC-differentiated motor neurons, three different RNA approaches based on morpholino antisense targeting of the ISSN-1, exon-specific U1 small nuclear RNA (ExSpeU1), and Transcription Activator-Like Effector-Transcription Factor (TALE-TF). All strategies act modulating SMN2 RNA: ASO affects exon 7 splicing, TALE-TF increase SMN2 RNA acting on the promoter, while ExSpeU1 improves pre-mRNA processing. These approaches induced up-regulation of full-length SMN mRNA and differentially affected the Delta-7 isoform: ASO reduced this isoform, while ExSpeU1 and TALE-TF increased it. All approaches upregulate the SMN protein and significantly improve the in vitro SMA motor neurons survival. Thus, these findings demonstrate that therapeutic tools that act on SMN2 RNA are able to rescue the SMA disease phenotype. Our data confirm the feasibility of SMA iPSCs as in vitro disease models and we propose novel RNA approaches as potential therapeutic strategies for treating SMA and other genetic neurological disorders. PMID:26123042

  8. Exploiting the gain-modulation mechanism in parieto-motor neurons: application to visuomotor transformations and embodied simulation.

    PubMed

    Mahé, Sylvain; Braud, Raphaël; Gaussier, Philippe; Quoy, Mathias; Pitti, Alexandre

    2015-02-01

    The so-called self-other correspondence problem in imitation demands to find the transformation that maps the motor dynamics of one partner to our own. This requires a general purpose sensorimotor mechanism that transforms an external fixation-point (partner's shoulder) reference frame to one's own body-centered reference frame. We propose that the mechanism of gain-modulation observed in parietal neurons may generally serve these types of transformations by binding the sensory signals across the modalities with radial basis functions (tensor products) on the one hand and by permitting the learning of contextual reference frames on the other hand. In a shoulder-elbow robotic experiment, gain-field neurons (GF) intertwine the visuo-motor variables so that their amplitude depends on them all. In situations of modification of the body-centered reference frame, the error detected in the visuo-motor mapping can serve then to learn the transformation between the robot's current sensorimotor space and the new one. These situations occur for instance when we turn the head on its axis (visual transformation), when we use a tool (body modification), or when we interact with a partner (embodied simulation). Our results defend the idea that the biologically-inspired mechanism of gain modulation found in parietal neurons can serve as a basic structure for achieving nonlinear mapping in spatial tasks as well as in cooperative and social functions. PMID:25240580

  9. Cell freezing protocol suitable for ATAC-Seq on motor neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Milani, Pamela; Escalante-Chong, Renan; Shelley, Brandon C.; Patel-Murray, Natasha L.; Xin, Xiaofeng; Adam, Miriam; Mandefro, Berhan; Sareen, Dhruv; Svendsen, Clive N.; Fraenkel, Ernest

    2016-01-01

    In recent years, the assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-Seq) has become a fundamental tool of epigenomic research. However, it is difficult to perform this technique on frozen samples because freezing cells before extracting nuclei can impair nuclear integrity and alter chromatin structure, especially in fragile cells such as neurons. Our aim was to develop a protocol for freezing neuronal cells that is compatible with ATAC-Seq; we focused on a disease-relevant cell type, namely motor neurons differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iMNs) from a patient affected by spinal muscular atrophy. We found that while flash-frozen iMNs are not suitable for ATAC-Seq, the assay is successful with slow-cooled cryopreserved cells. Using this method, we were able to isolate high quality, intact nuclei, and we verified that epigenetic results from fresh and cryopreserved iMNs quantitatively agree. PMID:27146274

  10. Eight pairs of descending visual neurons in the dragonfly give wing motor centers accurate population vector of prey direction

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez-Bellido, Paloma T.; Peng, Hanchuan; Yang, Jinzhu; Georgopoulos, Apostolos P.; Olberg, Robert M.

    2013-01-01

    Intercepting a moving object requires prediction of its future location. This complex task has been solved by dragonflies, who intercept their prey in midair with a 95% success rate. In this study, we show that a group of 16 neurons, called target-selective descending neurons (TSDNs), code a population vector that reflects the direction of the target with high accuracy and reliability across 360°. The TSDN spatial (receptive field) and temporal (latency) properties matched the area of the retina where the prey is focused and the reaction time, respectively, during predatory flights. The directional tuning curves and morphological traits (3D tracings) for each TSDN type were consistent among animals, but spike rates were not. Our results emphasize that a successful neural circuit for target tracking and interception can be achieved with few neurons and that in dragonflies this information is relayed from the brain to the wing motor centers in population vector form. PMID:23213224

  11. Muscle expression of mutant androgen receptor protein accounts for systemic and motor neuron disease phenotypes in Spinal & Bulbar Muscular Atrophy

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2014-01-01

    X-linked spinal & 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. PMID:24742458

  12. Transmission of the respiratory rhythm to trigeminal and hypoglossal motor neurons in the American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana).

    PubMed

    Kottick, Andrew; Baghdadwala, Mufaddal I; Ferguson, Erin V; Wilson, Richard J A

    2013-08-15

    Spatially distinct, interacting oscillators in the bullfrog medulla generate and coordinated buccal and lung ventilatory rhythms, but how these rhythms are transmitted onto trigeminal and hypoglossal motor neurons is unknown. Using a vertically-mounted isolated brainstem preparation, the Sheep Dip, we identified the regions of the brainstem containing motor nuclei using a solution capable of blocking synaptic release and, following washout, locally exposed these regions to 5 μM NBQX and/or 50 μM AP5. Local application of NBQX significantly reduced the amplitude of buccal and lung bursts on the trigeminal nerve, and lung bursts on the hypoglossal nerve. Local AP5 caused a significant reduction in lung burst amplitude on both nerves, but for buccal bursts, hypoglossal amplitude increased and trigeminal amplitude was unchanged. Local co-application of NBQX and AP5 eliminated fictive respiratory motor output completely in both nerves. These results are consistent with mammalian data, suggesting a critical role for glutamate in transmission of respiratory activity from oscillators to motor neurons. PMID:23791823

  13. Transmission of the respiratory rhythm to trigeminal and hypoglossal motor neurons in the American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana).

    PubMed

    Kottick, Andrew; Baghdadwala, Mufaddal I; Ferguson, Erin V; Wilson, Richard J A

    2013-08-15

    Spatially distinct, interacting oscillators in the bullfrog medulla generate and coordinated buccal and lung ventilatory rhythms, but how these rhythms are transmitted onto trigeminal and hypoglossal motor neurons is unknown. Using a vertically-mounted isolated brainstem preparation, the Sheep Dip, we identified the regions of the brainstem containing motor nuclei using a solution capable of blocking synaptic release and, following washout, locally exposed these regions to 5 μM NBQX and/or 50 μM AP5. Local application of NBQX significantly reduced the amplitude of buccal and lung bursts on the trigeminal nerve, and lung bursts on the hypoglossal nerve. Local AP5 caused a significant reduction in lung burst amplitude on both nerves, but for buccal bursts, hypoglossal amplitude increased and trigeminal amplitude was unchanged. Local co-application of NBQX and AP5 eliminated fictive respiratory motor output completely in both nerves. These results are consistent with mammalian data, suggesting a critical role for glutamate in transmission of respiratory activity from oscillators to motor neurons.

  14. 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.

  15. Properties of the pyramidal tract neuron system within the precentral wrist and hand area of primate motor cortex.

    PubMed

    Humphrey, D R; Corrie, W S; Rietz, R

    1978-01-01

    1. To obtain basic anatomical data that will be useful in interpreting the results of studies of primate pyramidal tract neurons (PTNs), extracellular, single-unit recording techniques were used to determine a number of the properties of the PTN population within the electrically defined, precentral wrist zone of the monkey's motor cortex. 2. Recordings were obtained from a total of 1,375 antidromically identified PT and corticospinal tract (CST) cells. A mathematical model was then used to correct the statistics of the sample for variations in the probability of unit detection, which arise from variations in neuronal size and extracellular field dimensions. 3. Both the experimentally observed and theoretically corrected results suggest that the PT projection from this cortical zone is derived principally from slowly conducting, and presumably small to medium-sized cells (an estimated 85% of the resident PTN population). 4. Both the fast and slow cell subpopulations were found to be concentrated within cortical layer V, where they tend to congregate in small, mixed clusters of 2 to 5 neurons. Estimates of the total packing density of PTNs within layer V of this cortical zone suggest that they account for only 10-20% of the neurons within this major efferent layer. 5. 70% of the slow and 82% of the fast PT neurons within this cortical area were found to send their axons into the contralateral, lateral corticospinal tract. Thus, in futur functional studies of PTNs in this cortical area, it can be assumed that three of every four neurons will in fact influence segmental cells of one category or another directly. 6. Extensive data are also presented on the incidence of axon collateral branching from PT and CST cells to the red nucleus, the medial medullary reticular formation and the cuneate nucleus. 7. Some general implications of these findings for the design of future functional studies of anatomically identified motor cortex cell systems are then discussed.

  16. Neuroserpin, a brain-associated inhibitor of tissue plasminogen activator is localized primarily in neurons. Implications for the regulation of motor learning and neuronal survival.

    PubMed

    Hastings, G A; Coleman, T A; Haudenschild, C C; Stefansson, S; Smith, E P; Barthlow, R; Cherry, S; Sandkvist, M; Lawrence, D A

    1997-12-26

    A cDNA clone for the serine proteinase inhibitor (serpin), neuroserpin, was isolated from a human whole brain cDNA library, and recombinant protein was expressed in insect cells. The purified protein is an efficient inhibitor of tissue type plasminogen activator (tPA), having an apparent second-order rate constant of 6. 2 x 10(5) M-1 s-1 for the two-chain form. However, unlike other known plasminogen activator inhibitors, neuroserpin is a more effective inactivator of tPA than of urokinase-type plasminogen activator. Neuroserpin also effectively inhibited trypsin and nerve growth factor-gamma but reacted only slowly with plasmin and thrombin. Northern blot analysis showed a 1.8 kilobase messenger RNA expressed predominantly in adult human brain and spinal cord, and immunohistochemical studies of normal mouse tissue detected strong staining primarily in neuronal cells with occasionally positive microglial cells. Staining was most prominent in the ependymal cells of the choroid plexus, Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, select neurons of the hypothalamus and hippocampus, and in the myelinated axons of the commissura. Expression of tPA within these regions is reported to be high and has previously been correlated with both motor learning and neuronal survival. Taken together, these data suggest that neuroserpin is likely to be a critical regulator of tPA activity in the central nervous system, and as such may play an important role in neuronal plasticity and/or maintenance.

  17. Abbreviated exposure to hypoxia is sufficient to induce CNS dysmyelination, modulate spinal motor neuron composition, and impair motor development in neonatal mice.

    PubMed

    Watzlawik, Jens O; Kahoud, Robert J; O'Toole, Ryan J; White, Katherine A M; Ogden, Alyssa R; Painter, Meghan M; Wootla, Bharath; Papke, Louisa M; Denic, Aleksandar; Weimer, Jill M; Carey, William A; Rodriguez, Moses

    2015-01-01

    Neonatal white matter injury (nWMI) is an increasingly common cause of cerebral palsy that results predominantly from hypoxic injury to progenitor cells including those of the oligodendrocyte lineage. Existing mouse models of nWMI utilize prolonged periods of hypoxia during the neonatal period, require complex cross-fostering and exhibit poor growth and high mortality rates. Abnormal CNS myelin composition serves as the major explanation for persistent neuro-motor deficits. Here we developed a simplified model of nWMI with low mortality rates and improved growth without cross-fostering. Neonatal mice are exposed to low oxygen from postnatal day (P) 3 to P7, which roughly corresponds to the period of human brain development between gestational weeks 32 and 36. CNS hypomyelination is detectable for 2-3 weeks post injury and strongly correlates with levels of body and brain weight loss. Immediately following hypoxia treatment, cell death was evident in multiple brain regions, most notably in superficial and deep cortical layers as well as the subventricular zone progenitor compartment. PDGFαR, Nkx2.2, and Olig2 positive oligodendrocyte progenitor cell were significantly reduced until postnatal day 27. In addition to CNS dysmyelination we identified a novel pathological marker for adult hypoxic animals that strongly correlates with life-long neuro-motor deficits. Mice reared under hypoxia reveal an abnormal spinal neuron composition with increased small and medium diameter axons and decreased large diameter axons in thoracic lateral and anterior funiculi. Differences were particularly pronounced in white matter motor tracts left and right of the anterior median fissure. Our findings suggest that 4 days of exposure to hypoxia are sufficient to induce experimental nWMI in CD1 mice, thus providing a model to test new therapeutics. Pathological hallmarks of this model include early cell death, decreased OPCs and hypomyelination in early postnatal life, followed by

  18. Abbreviated Exposure to Hypoxia Is Sufficient to Induce CNS Dysmyelination, Modulate Spinal Motor Neuron Composition, and Impair Motor Development in Neonatal Mice

    PubMed Central

    Watzlawik, Jens O.; Kahoud, Robert J.; O’Toole, Ryan J.; White, Katherine A. M.; Ogden, Alyssa R.; Painter, Meghan M.; Wootla, Bharath; Papke, Louisa M.; Denic, Aleksandar; Weimer, Jill M.; Carey, William A.; Rodriguez, Moses

    2015-01-01

    Neonatal white matter injury (nWMI) is an increasingly common cause of cerebral palsy that results predominantly from hypoxic injury to progenitor cells including those of the oligodendrocyte lineage. Existing mouse models of nWMI utilize prolonged periods of hypoxia during the neonatal period, require complex cross-fostering and exhibit poor growth and high mortality rates. Abnormal CNS myelin composition serves as the major explanation for persistent neuro-motor deficits. Here we developed a simplified model of nWMI with low mortality rates and improved growth without cross-fostering. Neonatal mice are exposed to low oxygen from postnatal day (P) 3 to P7, which roughly corresponds to the period of human brain development between gestational weeks 32 and 36. CNS hypomyelination is detectable for 2–3 weeks post injury and strongly correlates with levels of body and brain weight loss. Immediately following hypoxia treatment, cell death was evident in multiple brain regions, most notably in superficial and deep cortical layers as well as the subventricular zone progenitor compartment. PDGFαR, Nkx2.2, and Olig2 positive oligodendrocyte progenitor cell were significantly reduced until postnatal day 27. In addition to CNS dysmyelination we identified a novel pathological marker for adult hypoxic animals that strongly correlates with life-long neuro-motor deficits. Mice reared under hypoxia reveal an abnormal spinal neuron composition with increased small and medium diameter axons and decreased large diameter axons in thoracic lateral and anterior funiculi. Differences were particularly pronounced in white matter motor tracts left and right of the anterior median fissure. Our findings suggest that 4 days of exposure to hypoxia are sufficient to induce experimental nWMI in CD1 mice, thus providing a model to test new therapeutics. Pathological hallmarks of this model include early cell death, decreased OPCs and hypomyelination in early postnatal life, followed by

  19. Phosphorylation of Dpsyl2 (CRMP2) and Dpsyl3 (CRMP4) is required for positioning of caudal primary motor neurons in the zebrafish spinal cord.

    PubMed

    Morimura, Rii; Nozawa, Keisuke; Tanaka, Hideomi; Ohshima, Toshio

    2013-12-01

    Dpysls (CRMPs) that were initially identified as mediator proteins of Semaphorin3a (Sema3a) signaling are involved in neuronal polarity and axon elongation in cultured neurons. Previous studies have shown that knockdown of neuropilin1a, one of the sema3a receptors, exhibited ectopic primary motor neurons (PMNs) outside of the spinal cord in zebrafish. However, downstream molecules of sema3a signaling involved in the positioning of motor neurons are largely unknown. Here, we addressed the role of Dpysl2 (CRMP2) and Dpysl3 (CRMP4) in the positioning of PMNs in the zebrafish spinal cord. We found that the knockdown of dpysls by antisense morpholino oligonucleotides (AMO) causes abnormal positioning of caudal primary (CaP) motor neurons outside the spinal cord. The knockdown of cdk5 and dyrk2 by AMO also caused similar phenotype in the positioning of CaP motor neurons, and this phenotype was rescued by co-injection of phosphorylation-mimic type dpysl2 mRNA. These results suggest that the phosphorylation of Dpysl2 and Dpysl3 by Cdk5 and Dyrk2 is required for correct positioning of CaP motor neurons in the zebrafish spinal cord.

  20. Predominance of Movement Speed Over Direction in Neuronal Population Signals of Motor Cortex: Intracranial EEG Data and A Simple Explanatory Model

    PubMed Central

    Hammer, Jiří; Pistohl, Tobias; Fischer, Jörg; Kršek, Pavel; Tomášek, Martin; Marusič, Petr; Schulze-Bonhage, Andreas; Aertsen, Ad; Ball, Tonio

    2016-01-01

    How neuronal activity of motor cortex is related to movement is a central topic in motor neuroscience. Motor-cortical single neurons are more closely related to hand movement velocity than speed, that is, the magnitude of the (directional) velocity vector. Recently, there is also increasing interest in the representation of movement parameters in neuronal population activity, such as reflected in the intracranial EEG (iEEG). We show that in iEEG, contrasting to what has been previously found on the single neuron level, speed predominates over velocity. The predominant speed representation was present in nearly all iEEG signal features, up to the 600–1000 Hz range. Using a model of motor-cortical signals arising from neuronal populations with realistic single neuron tuning properties, we show how this reversal can be understood as a consequence of increasing population size. Our findings demonstrate that the information profile in large population signals may systematically differ from the single neuron level, a principle that may be helpful in the interpretation of neuronal population signals in general, including, for example, EEG and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Taking advantage of the robust speed population signal may help in developing brain–machine interfaces exploiting population signals. PMID:26984895

  1. Research on Motor Neuron Diseases Konzo and Neurolathyrism: Trends from 1990 to 2010

    PubMed Central

    Ngudi, Delphin Diasolua; Kuo, Yu-Haey; Van Montagu, Marc; Lambein, Fernand

    2012-01-01

    Konzo (caused by consumption of improperly processed cassava, Manihot esculenta) and neurolathyrism (caused by prolonged overconsumption of grass pea, Lathyrus sativus) are two distinct non-infectious upper motor neurone diseases with identical clinical symptoms of spastic paraparesis of the legs. They affect many thousands of people among the poor in the remote rural areas in the central and southern parts of Africa afflicting them with konzo in Ethiopia and in the Indian sub-continent with neurolathyrism. Both diseases are toxico-nutritional problems due to monotonous consumption of starchy cassava roots or protein-rich grass pea seeds as a staple, especially during drought and famine periods. Both foods contain toxic metabolites (cyanogenic glycosides in cassava and the neuro-excitatory amino acid β-ODAP in grass pea) that are blamed for theses diseases. The etiology is also linked to the deficiency in the essential sulfur amino acids that protect against oxidative stress. The two diseases are not considered reportable by the World Health Organization (WHO) and only estimated numbers can be found. This paper analyzes research performance and determines scientific interest in konzo and neurolathyrism. A literature search of over 21 years (from 1990 to 2010) shows that in terms of scientific publications there is little interest in these neglected motorneurone diseases konzo and neurolathyrism that paralyze the legs. Comparison is made with HTLV-1/TSP, an infectious disease occurring mainly in Latin America of which the clinical manifestation is similar to konzo and neurolathyrism and requires a differential diagnosis. Our findings emphasize the multidisciplinary nature of studies on these neglected diseases, which however have not really captured the attention of decision makers and project planners, especially when compared with the infectious HTLV-1/TSP. Konzo and neurolathyrism can be prevented by a balanced diet. PMID:22860149

  2. Antiglycolipid antibodies, immunoglobulins and paraproteins in motor neuron disease: a population based case-control study.

    PubMed

    Willison, H J; Chancellor, A M; Paterson, G; Veitch, J; Singh, S; Whitelaw, J; Kennedy, P G; Warlow, C P

    1993-02-01

    The role of humoral autoimmune factors in the pathogenesis of motor neuron disease (MND) is currently under considerable scrutiny. In particular, there have been many reports of abnormal serum immunoglobulin patterns and elevated titres of anti-ganglioside antibodies in patients with MND. However, many of these studies may be biased by the selection criteria for patients and controls. In order to carefully address this issue we obtained 82 blood samples from consecutive MND patients identified through a national MND register in combination with 82 community controls matched for age, sex and geographical area. We used these samples to determine the frequency of monoclonal immunoglobulins (mIgs) and measure the levels of serum immunoglobulins and anti-GM1 ganglioside antibodies in sporadic cases of MND in comparison with normal controls. Serum mIgs detected using high resolution and immunofixation agarose electrophoresis were present in 1.2% of MND patients and 2.4% of controls. Using a highly sensitive isoelectric focusing and immunoblotting method, monoclonal or oligoclonal immunoglobulins were found in 28% of MND patients and 27% of controls. Anti-GM1 antibodies were present in 26% of MND patients and 18% of controls (odds ratio = 1.5, 95%, CI 0.7-3.6) with no significant differences in titres between the 2 groups. Mean immunoglobulin G, A and M levels were equal in 2 groups. Thus, although alterations in these parameters were identified, we were unable to demonstrate any significant difference between MND patients and controls. We conclude that the majority of sporadic cases of MND are unlikely to have an autoimmune basis as judged by the lack of abnormalities in these parameters.

  3. Development of patient decision support tools for motor neuron disease using stakeholder consultation: a study protocol

    PubMed Central

    Hogden, Anne; Greenfield, David; Caga, Jashelle; Cai, Xiongcai

    2016-01-01

    Introduction Motor neuron disease (MND) is a terminal, progressive, multisystem disorder. Well-timed decisions are key to effective symptom management. To date, there are few published decision support tools, also known as decision aids, to guide patients in making ongoing choices for symptom management and quality of life. This protocol is to develop and validate decision support tools for patients and families to use in conjunction with health professionals in MND multidisciplinary care. The tools will inform patients and families of the benefits and risks of each option, as well as the consequences of accepting or declining treatment. Methods and analysis The study is being conducted from June 2015 to May 2016, using a modified Delphi process. A 2-stage, 7-step process will be used to develop the tools, based on existing literature and stakeholder feedback. The first stage will be to develop the decision support tools, while the second stage will be to validate both the tools and the process used to develop them. Participants will form expert panels, to provide feedback on which the development and validation of the tools will be based. Participants will be drawn from patients with MND, family carers and health professionals, support association workers, peak body representatives, and MND and patient decision-making researchers. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval for the study has been granted by Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), approval number 5201500658. Knowledge translation will be conducted via publications, seminar and conference presentations to patients and families, health professionals and researchers. PMID:27053272

  4. Dignity Therapy for People with Motor Neuron Disease and Their Family Caregivers: A Feasibility Study

    PubMed Central

    Chochinov, Harvey M.; Kristjanson, Linda J.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Background: There are calls to explore psychological interventions to reduce distress in patients with motor neuron disease (MND) and their family caregivers. Dignity therapy is a short-term psychotherapy intervention shown to alleviate distress for people with life-limiting illnesses. Objectives: To assess the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of dignity therapy to reduce distress in people with MND and their family caregivers. Methods: The study used a repeated-measures design pre- and post-intervention. Acceptability and feasibility were assessed using participants' ratings of the helpfulness of the intervention across several domains and time and resources required. Effectiveness measures for patients included: dignity-related distress, hopefulness, and spiritual well-being; and those for family caregivers included burden, hopefulness, anxiety, and depression. Results: Twenty-seven patients and 18 family caregivers completed the intervention. Dignity therapy was well accepted, including those patients who required assisted communication devices. The feasibility may be limited in small or not well-resourced services. There were no significant differences in all outcome measures for both groups. However, the high satisfaction and endorsement of dignity therapy by patients suggests it has influenced various important aspects of end-of-life experience. Family caregivers overwhelmingly agreed that the dignity therapy document is and will continue to be a source of comfort to them and they would recommend dignity therapy to others in the same situation. Conclusions: This is the first dignity therapy study to focus on MND and on home-based caregiving. Results established the importance of narrative and generativity for patients with MND and may open the door for other neurodegenerative conditions. PMID:25314244

  5. Intranasal insulin protects against substantia nigra dopaminergic neuronal loss and alleviates motor deficits induced by 6-OHDA in rats.

    PubMed

    Pang, Y; Lin, S; Wright, C; Shen, J; Carter, K; Bhatt, A; Fan, L-W

    2016-03-24

    Protection of substantia nigra (SN) dopaminergic (DA) neurons by neurotrophic factors (NTFs) is one of the promising strategies in Parkinson's disease (PD) therapy. A major clinical challenge for NTF-based therapy is that NTFs need to be delivered into the brain via invasive means, which often shows limited delivery efficiency. The nose to brain pathway is a non-invasive brain drug delivery approach developed in recent years. Of particular interest is the finding that intranasal insulin improves cognitive functions in Alzheimer's patients. In vitro, insulin has been shown to protect neurons against various insults. Therefore, the current study was designed to test whether intranasal insulin could afford neuroprotection in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-based rat PD model. 6-OHDA was injected into the right side of striatum to induce a progressive DA neuronal lesion in the ipsilateral SN pars compact (SNc). Recombinant human insulin was applied intranasally to rats starting from 24h post lesion, once per day, for 2 weeks. A battery of motor behavioral tests was conducted on day 8 and 15. The number of DA neurons in the SNc was estimated by stereological counting. Our results showed that 6-OHDA injection led to significant motor deficits and 53% of DA neuron loss in the ipsilateral side of injection. Treatment with insulin significantly ameliorated 6-OHDA-induced motor impairments, as shown by improved locomotor activity, tapered/ledged beam-walking performance, vibrissa-elicited forelimb-placing, initial steps, as well as methamphetamine-induced rotational behavior. Consistent with behavioral improvements, insulin treatment provided a potent protection of DA neurons in the SNc against 6-OHDA neurotoxicity, as shown by a 74.8% increase in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons compared to the vehicle group. Intranasal insulin treatment did not affect body weight and blood glucose levels. In conclusion, our study showed that intranasal insulin provided strong

  6. Intranasal insulin protects against substantia nigra dopaminergic neuronal loss and alleviates motor deficits induced by 6-OHDA in rats.

    PubMed

    Pang, Y; Lin, S; Wright, C; Shen, J; Carter, K; Bhatt, A; Fan, L-W

    2016-03-24

    Protection of substantia nigra (SN) dopaminergic (DA) neurons by neurotrophic factors (NTFs) is one of the promising strategies in Parkinson's disease (PD) therapy. A major clinical challenge for NTF-based therapy is that NTFs need to be delivered into the brain via invasive means, which often shows limited delivery efficiency. The nose to brain pathway is a non-invasive brain drug delivery approach developed in recent years. Of particular interest is the finding that intranasal insulin improves cognitive functions in Alzheimer's patients. In vitro, insulin has been shown to protect neurons against various insults. Therefore, the current study was designed to test whether intranasal insulin could afford neuroprotection in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-based rat PD model. 6-OHDA was injected into the right side of striatum to induce a progressive DA neuronal lesion in the ipsilateral SN pars compact (SNc). Recombinant human insulin was applied intranasally to rats starting from 24h post lesion, once per day, for 2 weeks. A battery of motor behavioral tests was conducted on day 8 and 15. The number of DA neurons in the SNc was estimated by stereological counting. Our results showed that 6-OHDA injection led to significant motor deficits and 53% of DA neuron loss in the ipsilateral side of injection. Treatment with insulin significantly ameliorated 6-OHDA-induced motor impairments, as shown by improved locomotor activity, tapered/ledged beam-walking performance, vibrissa-elicited forelimb-placing, initial steps, as well as methamphetamine-induced rotational behavior. Consistent with behavioral improvements, insulin treatment provided a potent protection of DA neurons in the SNc against 6-OHDA neurotoxicity, as shown by a 74.8% increase in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons compared to the vehicle group. Intranasal insulin treatment did not affect body weight and blood glucose levels. In conclusion, our study showed that intranasal insulin provided strong

  7. Transient mitochondrial permeability transition mediates excitotoxicity in glutamate-sensitive NSC34D motor neuron-like cells

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Xiaoyun; Xu, Shangcheng; Wang, Pei; Wang, Wang

    2015-01-01

    Excitotoxicity plays a critical role in neurodegenerative disease. Cytosolic calcium overload and mitochondrial dysfunction are among the major mediators of high level glutamate-induced neuron death. Here, we show that the transient opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (tMPT) bridges cytosolic calcium signaling and mitochondrial dysfunction and mediates glutamate-induced neuron death. Incubation of the differentiated motor neuron-like NSC34D cells with glutamate (1 mM) acutely induces cytosolic calcium transient (30% increase). Glutamate also stimulates tMPT opening, as reflected by a 2-fold increase in the frequency of superoxide flash, a bursting superoxide production event in individual mitochondria coupled to tMPT opening. The glutamate-induced tMPT opening is attenuated by suppressing cytosolic calcium influx and abolished by inhibiting mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) with Ru360 (100 µM) or MCU shRNA. Further, increased cytosolic calcium is sufficient to induce tMPT in a mitochondrial calcium dependent manner. Finally, chronic glutamate incubation (24 hr) persistently elevates the probability of tMPT opening, promotes oxidative stress and induces neuron death. Attenuating tMPT activity or inhibiting MCU protects NSC34D cells from glutamate-induced cell death. These results indicate that high level glutamate-induced neuron toxicity is mediated by tMPT, which connects increased cytosolic calcium signal to mitochondrial dysfunction. PMID:26024861

  8. Role of energy metabolic deficits and oxidative stress in excitotoxic spinal motor neuron degeneration in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Santa-Cruz, Luz Diana; Tapia, Ricardo

    2014-01-01

    MN (motor neuron) death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may be mediated by glutamatergic excitotoxicity. Previously, our group showed that the microdialysis perfusion of AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate) in the rat lumbar spinal cord induced MN death and permanent paralysis within 12 h after the experiment. Here, we studied the involvement of energy metabolic deficiencies and of oxidative stress in this MN degeneration, by testing the neuroprotective effect of various energy metabolic substrates and antioxidants. Pyruvate, lactate, β-hydroxybutyrate, α-ketobutyrate and creatine reduced MN loss by 50–65%, preserved motor function and completely prevented the paralysis. Ascorbate, glutathione and glutathione ethyl ester weakly protected against motor deficits and reduced MN death by only 30–40%. Reactive oxygen species formation and 3-nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity were studied 1.5–2 h after AMPA perfusion, during the initial MN degenerating process, and no changes were observed. We conclude that mitochondrial energy deficiency plays a crucial role in this excitotoxic spinal MN degeneration, whereas oxidative stress seems a less relevant mechanism. Interestingly, we observed a clear correlation between the alterations of motor function and the number of damaged MNs, suggesting that there is a threshold of about 50% in the number of healthy MNs necessary to preserve motor function. PMID:24524836

  9. 5-HT1A receptor-responsive pedunculopontine tegmental neurons suppress REM sleep and respiratory motor activity.

    PubMed

    Grace, Kevin P; Liu, Hattie; Horner, Richard L

    2012-02-01

    Serotonin type 1A (5-HT(1A)) receptor-responsive neurons in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTn) become maximally active immediately before and during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. A prevailing model of REM sleep generation indicates that activation of such neurons contributes significantly to the generation of REM sleep, and if correct then inactivation of such neurons ought to suppress REM sleep. We test this hypothesis using bilateral microperfusion of the 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT, 10 μm) into the PPTn; this tool has been shown to selectively silence REM sleep-active PPTn neurons while the activity of wake/REM sleep-active PPTn neurons is unaffected. Contrary to the prevailing model, bilateral microperfusion of 8-OH-DPAT into the PPTn (n = 23 rats) significantly increased REM sleep both as a percentage of the total recording time and sleep time, compared with both within-animal vehicle controls and between-animal time-controls. This increased REM sleep resulted from an increased frequency of REM sleep bouts but not their duration, indicating an effect on mechanisms of REM sleep initiation but not maintenance. Furthermore, an increased proportion of the REM sleep bouts stemmed from periods of low REM sleep drive quantified electrographically. Targeted suppression of 5-HT(1A) receptor-responsive PPTn neurons also increased respiratory rate and respiratory-related genioglossus activity, and increased the frequency and amplitude of the sporadic genioglossus activations occurring during REM sleep. These data indicate that 5-HT(1A) receptor-responsive PPTn neurons normally function to restrain REM sleep by elevating the drive threshold for REM sleep induction, and restrain the expression of respiratory rate and motor activities.

  10. Dyrk1A is dynamically expressed on subsets of motor neurons and in the neuromuscular junction: possible role in Down syndrome.

    PubMed

    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

  11. Differential responses of Aplysia siphon motor neurons and interneurons to tail and mantle stimuli: implications for behavioral response specificity.

    PubMed

    Fang, X; Clark, G A

    1996-12-01

    1. Tail shock and mantle shock elicit different forms of siphon responses in Aplysia (flaring and backward bending vs. constriction and forward bending, respectively). Moreover, training with these two unconditioned stimuli (USs) in US-alone or classical conditioning paradigms differentially modifies the direction of the response to a siphon tap subsequently presented. As a first step toward addressing neural mechanisms underlying this response specificity, we systematically mapped the central siphon withdrawal circuit to determine which motor neurons and interneurons are differentially engaged by, and potentially modified by, tail and mantle USs. We utilized semi-intact preparations consisting of the intact mantle organs (including the gill and siphon), the tail, and the abdominal and circumesophageal ganglia. USs were delivered either cutaneously through silver wires implanted in the tail and mantle or via suction electrodes to the tail and branchial nerves. 2. We found that one class of central siphon motor neurons, the LFSB cells, was preferentially activated by tail USs, whereas other siphon motor neurons, the LBs cells and RDs cells, were preferentially activated by mantle USs. These motor neurons thus appear to be the final common path for the differential siphon movements to these USs. In addition, because activation of these cells can elicit neuromuscular facilitation and thereby enhance siphon movements, this differential activation may contribute to behavioral response specificity by imposing a specific response bias. 3. L29 interneurons, which both mediate and modulate the siphon withdrawal response, responded preferentially and exhibited synaptic facilitation selectively in response to tail shock USs. In contrast, L34 and the interneuron II network did not show differential activation. Facilitation at L29-LFSB connections following training with tail shock may contribute to tail-directed siphon responses to siphon tap and may thus be an additional

  12. Total number and size distribution of motor neurons in the spinal cord of normal and EMC-virus infected mice — a stereological study

    PubMed Central

    WEBER, UNO J.; BOCK, TROELS; BUSCHARD, KARSTEN; PAKKENBERG, BENTE

    1997-01-01

    The encephalomyocarditis virus of the diabetogenic M-strain (EMC-M) is known to cause diabetes in mice. The EMC-M virus has also been shown to cause paresis in some of the infected animals. The clinical features include an acute ascending predominantly motor paralysis, developing within days. This resembles acute idiopathic polyneuritis. The alpha motor neurons would be a possible target for the virus, so two parameters, the total number and the size distribution of motor neurons, were therefore selected for further investigation in 6 mice with neurological involvement and compared with 6 control mice. The optical fractionator method was applied for estimating the total number of motor neurons and the 3D size distribution was estimated using the rotator method in a vertical design. No difference was found in the total number of motor neurons and the size distributions were similar in the 2 groups. This design can be used as a model for the estimation of the total number of motor neurons and their size distribution in other experimental animal models. PMID:9418991

  13. Resveratrol Ameliorates Motor Neuron Degeneration and Improves Survival in SOD1G93A Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Song, Lin; Zhang, Xiaojie; Li, Jia; Le, Weidong

    2014-01-01

    Resveratrol has recently been used as a supplemental treatment for several neurological and nonneurological diseases. It is not known whether resveratrol has neuroprotective effect on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To assess the effect of resveratrol on the disease, we tested this agent on an ALS model of SOD1G93A transgenic mouse. Rotarod measurement was performed to measure the motor function of the ALS mice. Nissl staining and SMI-32 immunofluorescent staining were used to determine motor neurons survival in the spinal cord of the ALS mice. Hematoxylin-eosin (H&E), succinic dehydrogenase (SDH), and cytochrome oxidase (COX) staining were applied to pathologically analyze the skeletal muscles of the ALS mice. We found that resveratrol treatment significantly delayed the disease onset and prolonged the lifespan of the ALS mice. Furthermore, resveratrol treatment attenuated motor neuron loss, relieved muscle atrophy, and improved mitochondrial function of muscle fibers in the ALS mice. In addition, we demonstrated that resveratrol exerted these neuroprotective effects mainly through increasing the expression of Sirt1, consequently suppressing oxidative stress and downregulating p53 and its related apoptotic pathway. Collectively, our findings suggest that resveratrol might provide a promising therapeutic intervention for ALS. PMID:25057490

  14. Using a model to assess the role of the spatiotemporal pattern of inhibitory input and intrasegmental electrical coupling in the intersegmental and side-to-side coordination of motor neurons by the leech heartbeat central pattern generator.

    PubMed

    García, Paul S; Wright, Terrence M; Cunningham, Ian R; Calabrese, Ronald L

    2008-09-01

    Previously we presented a quantitative description of the spatiotemporal pattern of inhibitory synaptic input from the heartbeat central pattern generator (CPG) to segmental motor neurons that drive heartbeat in the medicinal leech and the resultant coordination of CPG interneurons and motor neurons. To begin elucidating the mechanisms of coordination, we explore intersegmental and side-to-side coordination in an ensemble model of all heart motor neurons and their known synaptic inputs and electrical coupling. Model motor neuron intrinsic properties were kept simple, enabling us to determine the extent to which input and electrical coupling acting together can account for observed coordination in the living system in the absence of a substantive contribution from the motor neurons themselves. The living system produces an asymmetric motor pattern: motor neurons on one side fire nearly in synchrony (synchronous), whereas on the other they fire in a rear-to-front progression (peristaltic). The model reproduces the general trends of intersegmental and side-to-side phase relations among motor neurons, but the match with the living system is not quantitatively accurate. Thus realistic (experimentally determined) inputs do not produce similarly realistic output in our model, suggesting that motor neuron intrinsic properties may contribute to their coordination. By varying parameters that determine electrical coupling, conduction delays, intraburst synaptic plasticity, and motor neuron excitability, we show that the most important determinant of intersegmental and side-to-side phase relations in the model was the spatiotemporal pattern of synaptic inputs, although phasing was influenced significantly by electrical coupling. PMID:18579654

  15. The organization of spinal motor neurons in a monotreme is consistent with a six-region schema of the mammalian spinal cord.

    PubMed

    Mitchelle, Amer; Watson, Charles

    2016-09-01

    The motor neurons in the spinal cord of an echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) have been mapped in Nissl-stained sections from spinal cord segments defined by spinal nerve anatomy. A medial motor column of motor neurons is found at all spinal cord levels, and a hypaxial column is found at most levels. The organization of the motor neuron clusters in the lateral motor column of the brachial (C5 to T3) and crural (L2 to S3) limb enlargements is very similar to the pattern previously revealed by retrograde tracing in placental mammals, and the motor neuron clusters have been tentatively identified according to the muscle groups they are likely to supply. The region separating the two limb enlargements (T4 to L1) contains preganglionic motor neurons that appear to represent the spinal sympathetic outflow. Immediately caudal to the crural limb enlargement is a short column of preganglionic motor neurons (S3 to S4), which it is believed represents the pelvic parasympathetic outflow. The rostral and caudal ends of the spinal cord contain neither a lateral motor column nor a preganglionic column. Branchial motor neurons (which are believed to supply the sternomastoid and trapezius muscles) are present at the lateral margin of the ventral horn in rostral cervical segments (C2-C4). These same segments contain the phrenic nucleus, which belongs to the hypaxial column. The presence or absence of the main spinal motor neuron columns in the different regions echidna spinal cord (and also in that of other amniote vertebrates) provides a basis for dividing the spinal cord into six main regions - prebrachial, brachial, postbrachial, crural, postcrural and caudal. The considerable biological and functional significance of this subdivision pattern is supported by recent studies on spinal cord hox gene expression in chicks and mice. On the other hand, the familiar 'segments' of the spinal cord are defined only by the anatomy of adjacent vertebrae, and are not demarcated by intrinsic gene

  16. The organization of spinal motor neurons in a monotreme is consistent with a six-region schema of the mammalian spinal cord.

    PubMed

    Mitchelle, Amer; Watson, Charles

    2016-09-01

    The motor neurons in the spinal cord of an echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) have been mapped in Nissl-stained sections from spinal cord segments defined by spinal nerve anatomy. A medial motor column of motor neurons is found at all spinal cord levels, and a hypaxial column is found at most levels. The organization of the motor neuron clusters in the lateral motor column of the brachial (C5 to T3) and crural (L2 to S3) limb enlargements is very similar to the pattern previously revealed by retrograde tracing in placental mammals, and the motor neuron clusters have been tentatively identified according to the muscle groups they are likely to supply. The region separating the two limb enlargements (T4 to L1) contains preganglionic motor neurons that appear to represent the spinal sympathetic outflow. Immediately caudal to the crural limb enlargement is a short column of preganglionic motor neurons (S3 to S4), which it is believed represents the pelvic parasympathetic outflow. The rostral and caudal ends of the spinal cord contain neither a lateral motor column nor a preganglionic column. Branchial motor neurons (which are believed to supply the sternomastoid and trapezius muscles) are present at the lateral margin of the ventral horn in rostral cervical segments (C2-C4). These same segments contain the phrenic nucleus, which belongs to the hypaxial column. The presence or absence of the main spinal motor neuron columns in the different regions echidna spinal cord (and also in that of other amniote vertebrates) provides a basis for dividing the spinal cord into six main regions - prebrachial, brachial, postbrachial, crural, postcrural and caudal. The considerable biological and functional significance of this subdivision pattern is supported by recent studies on spinal cord hox gene expression in chicks and mice. On the other hand, the familiar 'segments' of the spinal cord are defined only by the anatomy of adjacent vertebrae, and are not demarcated by intrinsic gene

  17. Functional properties of monkey motor cortex neurones receiving afferent input from the hand and fingers

    PubMed Central

    Lemon, R. N.

    1981-01-01

    1. Records have been made from area 4 of the cerebral cortex in five conscious monkeys. The properties of 216 neurones responsive to natural stimulation of the hand and fingers have been investigated. 2. 46% of these neurones responded only to cutaneous stimulation (especially light brushing across the glabrous skin) and a further 38% responded only to movement of the digits. 4% responded to brief prods of the hand. 12% of the sample responded to more than one stimulus modality. 3. Many hand-input neurones, including pyramidal tract neurones, responded at short-latency (8-15 msec) to light mechanical stimulation of the hand and to weak electrical stimulation of the median nerve. 4. Responsive neurones were found at all depths of the cortical grey matter. Responses of shortest latency were encountered in neurones probably located in layers IV and V. 5. The behaviour of eighty hand-input neurones was analysed during a simple, stereotyped task which involved pulling a lever and collecting a food reward from a small well. For comparison, the activity of 117 neurones with inputs from the wrist, elbow or shoulder was also analysed. 6. Nearly all hand-input neurones modulated their activity either before (48/80) or during (29/80) the retrieval of the reward which required precision grip between index finger and thumb. Many were silent during proximal arm movements and some displayed activity patterns independent of these movements. 7. By contrast, the activity of many neurones with proximal arm (elbow, shoulder) inputs was unrelated to food retrieval and manipulation, but well related to arm movements. 8. Forty-three of the eighty neurones had cutaneous input from the hand. Twenty-seven were active before hand contact. Thirty-five modulated their discharge when contact was made (twenty-one excitation, fourteen inhibition). 9. Most hand-input neurones were more active during fractionated movements of the hand or fingers than during power or ball grips requiring

  18. Incidence of and risk factors for Motor Neurone Disease in UK women: a prospective study

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Motor neuron disease (MND) is a severe neurodegenerative disease with largely unknown etiology. Most epidemiological studies are hampered by small sample sizes and/or the retrospective collection of information on behavioural and lifestyle factors. Methods 1.3 million women from the UK Million Women Study, aged 56 years on average at recruitment, were followed up for incident and/or fatal MND using NHS hospital admission and mortality data. Adjusted relative risks were calculated using Cox regression models. Findings During follow-up for an average of 9·2 years, 752 women had a new diagnosis of MND. Age-specific rates increased with age, from 1·9 (95% CI 1·3 – 2·7) to 12·5 (95% CI 10·2 – 15·3) per 100,000 women aged 50–54 to 70–74, respectively, giving a cumulative risk of diagnosis with the disease of 1·74 per 1000 women between the ages of 50 and 75 years. There was no significant variation in risk of MND with region of residence, socio-economic status, education, height, alcohol use, parity, use of oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy. Ever-smokers had about a 20% greater risk than never smokers (RR 1·19 95% CI 1·02 to 1·38, p = 0·03). There was a statistically significant reduction in risk of MND with increasing body mass index (pfor trend = 0·009): obese women (body mass index, 30 kg/m2 or more) had a 20% lower risk than women of normal body mass index (20 to <25 Kg/m2)(RR 0·78 95% CI 0·65-0·94; p = 0·03). This effect persisted after exclusion of the first three years of follow-up. Interpretation MND incidence in UK women rises rapidly with age, and an estimated 1 in 575 women are likely to be affected between the ages of 50 and 75 years. Smoking slightly increases the risk of MND, and adiposity in middle age is associated with a lower risk of the disease. PMID:22559076

  19. Copy Number Variations in the Survival Motor Neuron Genes: Implications for Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

    PubMed Central

    Butchbach, Matthew E. R.

    2016-01-01

    Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a leading genetic cause of infant death worldwide, is an early-onset, autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of spinal α-motor neurons. This loss of α-motor neurons is associated with muscle weakness and atrophy. SMA can be classified into five clinical grades based on age of onset and severity of the disease. Regardless of clinical grade, proximal SMA results from the loss or mutation of SMN1 (survival motor neuron 1) on chromosome 5q13. In humans a large tandem chromosomal duplication has lead to a second copy of the SMN gene locus known as SMN2. SMN2 is distinguishable from SMN1 by a single nucleotide difference that disrupts an exonic splice enhancer in exon 7. As a result, most of SMN2 mRNAs lack exon 7 (SMNΔ7) and produce a protein that is both unstable and less than fully functional. Although only 10–20% of the SMN2 gene product is fully functional, increased genomic copies of SMN2 inversely correlates with disease severity among individuals with SMA. Because SMN2 copy number influences disease severity in SMA, there is prognostic value in accurate measurement of SMN2 copy number from patients being evaluated for SMA. This prognostic value is especially important given that SMN2 copy number is now being used as an inclusion criterion for SMA clinical trials. In addition to SMA, copy number variations (CNVs) in the SMN genes can affect the clinical severity of other neurological disorders including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and progressive muscular atrophy (PMA). This review will discuss how SMN1 and SMN2 CNVs are detected and why accurate measurement of SMN1 and SMN2 copy numbers is relevant for SMA and other neurodegenerative diseases. PMID:27014701

  20. Ventral premotor-motor cortex interactions in the macaque monkey during grasp: response of single neurons to intracortical microstimulation.

    PubMed

    Kraskov, Alexander; Prabhu, Gita; Quallo, Marsha M; Lemon, Roger N; Brochier, Thomas

    2011-06-15

    Recent stimulation studies in monkeys and humans have shown strong interactions between ventral premotor cortex (area F5) and the hand area of primary motor cortex (M1). These short-latency interactions usually involve facilitation from F5 of M1 outputs to hand muscles, although suppression has also been reported. This study, performed in three awake macaque monkeys, sought evidence that these interactions could be mediated by short-latency excitatory and inhibitory responses of single M1 neurons active during grasping tasks. We recorded responses of these M1 neurons to single low-threshold (≤40 μA) intracortical microstimuli delivered to F5 sites at which grasp-related neurons were recorded. In 29 sessions, we tested 232 M1 neurons with stimuli delivered to between one and four sites in F5. Of the 415 responses recorded, 142 (34%) showed significant effects. The most common type of response was pure excitation (53% of responses), with short latency (1.8-3.0 ms) and brief duration (∼1 ms); purely inhibitory responses had slightly longer latencies (2-5 ms) and were of small amplitude and longer duration (5-7 ms). They accounted for 13% of responses, whereas mixed excitation then inhibition was seen in 34%. Remarkably, a rather similar set of findings applied to 280 responses of 138 F5 neurons to M1 stimulation; 109 (34%) responses showed significant effects. Thus, with low-intensity stimuli, the dominant interaction between these two cortical areas is one of short-latency, brief excitation, most likely mediated by reciprocal F5-M1 connections. Some neurons were tested with stimuli at both 20 and 40 μA; inhibition tended to dominate at the higher intensity. PMID:21677165

  1. DOP-2 D2-Like Receptor Regulates UNC-7 Innexins to Attenuate Recurrent Sensory Motor Neurons during C. elegans Copulation

    PubMed Central

    Correa, Paola A.; Gruninger, Todd

    2015-01-01

    Neuromodulation of self-amplifying circuits directs context-dependent behavioral executions. Although recurrent networks are found throughout the Caenorhabditis elegans connectome, few reports describe the mechanisms that regulate reciprocal neural activity during complex behavior. We used C. elegans male copulation to dissect how a goal-oriented motor behavior is regulated by recurrently wired sensory-motor neurons. As the male tail presses against the hermaphrodite's vulva, cholinergic and glutamatergic reciprocal innervations of post cloaca sensilla (PCS) neurons (PCA, PCB, and PCC), hook neurons (HOA, HOB), and their postsynaptic sex muscles execute rhythmic copulatory spicule thrusts. These repetitive spicule movements continue until the male shifts off the vulva or genital penetration is accomplished. However, the signaling mechanism that temporally and spatially restricts repetitive intromission attempts to vulva cues was unclear. Here, we report that confinement of spicule insertion attempts to the vulva is facilitated by D2-like receptor modulation of gap-junctions between PCB and the hook sensillum. We isolated a missense mutation in the UNC-7(L) gap-junction isoform, which perturbs DOP-2 signaling in the PCB neuron and its electrical partner, HOA. The glutamate-gated chloride channel AVR-14 is expressed in HOA. Our analysis of the unc-7 mutant allele indicates that when DOP-2 promotes UNC-7 electrical communication, AVR-14-mediated inhibitory signals pass from HOA to PCB. As a consequence, PCB is less receptive to be stimulated by its recurrent synaptic partner, PCA. Behavioral observations suggest that dopamine neuromodulation of UNC-7 ensures attenuation of recursive intromission attempts when the male disengages or is dislodged from the hermaphrodite genitalia. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Using C. elegans male copulation as a model, we found that the neurotransmitter dopamine stimulates D2-like receptors in two sensory circuits to terminate futile

  2. Polymerase chain reaction and Southern blot-based analysis of the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat in different motor neuron diseases.

    PubMed

    Hübers, Annemarie; Marroquin, Nicolai; Schmoll, Birgit; Vielhaber, Stefan; Just, Marlies; Mayer, Benjamin; Högel, Josef; Dorst, Johannes; Mertens, Thomas; Just, Walter; Aulitzky, Anna; Wais, Verena; Ludolph, Albert C; Kubisch, Christian; Weishaupt, Jochen H; Volk, Alexander E

    2014-05-01

    The GGGGCC-hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9orf72 is the most common genetic cause of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. This study determined the frequency of C9orf72 repeat expansions in different motor neuron diseases (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), motor neuron diseases affecting primarily the first or the second motor neuron and hereditary spastic paraplegia). Whereas most studies on C9orf72 repeat expansions published so far rely on a polymerase chain reaction-based screening, we applied both polymerase chain reaction-based techniques and Southern blotting. Furthermore, we determined the sensitivity and specificity of Southern blotting of the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat in DNA derived from lymphoblastoid cell lines. C9orf72 repeat expansions were found in 27.1% out of 166 familial ALS patients, only once in 68 sporadic ALS patients, and not in 61 hereditary spastic paraplegia patients or 52 patients with motor neuron diseases affecting clinically primarily either the first or the second motor neuron. We found hints for a correlation between C9orf72 repeat length and the age of onset. Somatic instability of the C9orf72 repeat was observed in lymphoblastoid cell lines compared with DNA derived from whole blood from the same patient and therefore caution is warranted for repeat length determination in immortalized cell lines.

  3. Transgenic GDNF Positively Influences Proliferation, Differentiation, Maturation and Survival of Motor Neurons Produced from Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells

    PubMed Central

    Cortés, Daniel; Robledo-Arratia, Yolanda; Hernández-Martínez, Ricardo; Escobedo-Ávila, Itzel; Bargas, José; Velasco, Iván

    2016-01-01

    Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are pluripotent and thus can differentiate into every cell type present in the body. Directed differentiation into motor neurons (MNs) has been described for pluripotent cells. Although neurotrophic factors promote neuronal survival, their role in neuronal commitment is elusive. Here, we developed double-transgenic lines of mouse ESC (mESC) that constitutively produce glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and also contain a GFP reporter, driven by HB9, which is expressed only by postmitotic MNs. After lentiviral transduction, ESC lines integrated and expressed the human GDNF (hGDNF) gene without altering pluripotency markers before differentiation. Further, GDNF-ESC showed significantly higher spontaneous release of this neurotrophin to the medium, when compared to controls. To study MN induction, control and GDNF cell lines were grown as embryoid bodies and stimulated with retinoic acid and Sonic Hedgehog. In GDNF-overexpressing cells, a significant increase of proliferative Olig2+ precursors, which are specified as spinal MNs, was found. Accordingly, GDNF increases the yield of cells with the pan motor neuronal markers HB9, monitored by GFP expression, and Isl1. At terminal differentiation, almost all differentiated neurons express phenotypic markers of MNs in GDNF cultures, with lower proportions in control cells. To test if the effects of GDNF were present at early differentiation stages, exogenous recombinant hGDNF was added to control ESC, also resulting in enhanced MN differentiation. This effect was abolished by the co-addition of neutralizing anti-GDNF antibodies, strongly suggesting that differentiating ESC are responsive to GDNF. Using the HB9::GFP reporter, MNs were selected for electrophysiological recordings. MNs differentiated from GDNF-ESC, compared to control MNs, showed greater electrophysiological maturation, characterized by increased numbers of evoked action potentials (APs), as well as by the appearance

  4. Transgenic GDNF Positively Influences Proliferation, Differentiation, Maturation and Survival of Motor Neurons Produced from Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells

    PubMed Central

    Cortés, Daniel; Robledo-Arratia, Yolanda; Hernández-Martínez, Ricardo; Escobedo-Ávila, Itzel; Bargas, José; Velasco, Iván

    2016-01-01

    Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are pluripotent and thus can differentiate into every cell type present in the body. Directed differentiation into motor neurons (MNs) has been described for pluripotent cells. Although neurotrophic factors promote neuronal survival, their role in neuronal commitment is elusive. Here, we developed double-transgenic lines of mouse ESC (mESC) that constitutively produce glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and also contain a GFP reporter, driven by HB9, which is expressed only by postmitotic MNs. After lentiviral transduction, ESC lines integrated and expressed the human GDNF (hGDNF) gene without altering pluripotency markers before differentiation. Further, GDNF-ESC showed significantly higher spontaneous release of this neurotrophin to the medium, when compared to controls. To study MN induction, control and GDNF cell lines were grown as embryoid bodies and stimulated with retinoic acid and Sonic Hedgehog. In GDNF-overexpressing cells, a significant increase of proliferative Olig2+ precursors, which are specified as spinal MNs, was found. Accordingly, GDNF increases the yield of cells with the pan motor neuronal markers HB9, monitored by GFP expression, and Isl1. At terminal differentiation, almost all differentiated neurons express phenotypic markers of MNs in GDNF cultures, with lower proportions in control cells. To test if the effects of GDNF were present at early differentiation stages, exogenous recombinant hGDNF was added to control ESC, also resulting in enhanced MN differentiation. This effect was abolished by the co-addition of neutralizing anti-GDNF antibodies, strongly suggesting that differentiating ESC are responsive to GDNF. Using the HB9::GFP reporter, MNs were selected for electrophysiological recordings. MNs differentiated from GDNF-ESC, compared to control MNs, showed greater electrophysiological maturation, characterized by increased numbers of evoked action potentials (APs), as well as by the appearance

  5. Transgenic GDNF Positively Influences Proliferation, Differentiation, Maturation and Survival of Motor Neurons Produced from Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells.

    PubMed

    Cortés, Daniel; Robledo-Arratia, Yolanda; Hernández-Martínez, Ricardo; Escobedo-Ávila, Itzel; Bargas, José; Velasco, Iván

    2016-01-01

    Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are pluripotent and thus can differentiate into every cell type present in the body. Directed differentiation into motor neurons (MNs) has been described for pluripotent cells. Although neurotrophic factors promote neuronal survival, their role in neuronal commitment is elusive. Here, we developed double-transgenic lines of mouse ESC (mESC) that constitutively produce glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and also contain a GFP reporter, driven by HB9, which is expressed only by postmitotic MNs. After lentiviral transduction, ESC lines integrated and expressed the human GDNF (hGDNF) gene without altering pluripotency markers before differentiation. Further, GDNF-ESC showed significantly higher spontaneous release of this neurotrophin to the medium, when compared to controls. To study MN induction, control and GDNF cell lines were grown as embryoid bodies and stimulated with retinoic acid and Sonic Hedgehog. In GDNF-overexpressing cells, a significant increase of proliferative Olig2+ precursors, which are specified as spinal MNs, was found. Accordingly, GDNF increases the yield of cells with the pan motor neuronal markers HB9, monitored by GFP expression, and Isl1. At terminal differentiation, almost all differentiated neurons express phenotypic markers of MNs in GDNF cultures, with lower proportions in control cells. To test if the effects of GDNF were present at early differentiation stages, exogenous recombinant hGDNF was added to control ESC, also resulting in enhanced MN differentiation. This effect was abolished by the co-addition of neutralizing anti-GDNF antibodies, strongly suggesting that differentiating ESC are responsive to GDNF. Using the HB9::GFP reporter, MNs were selected for electrophysiological recordings. MNs differentiated from GDNF-ESC, compared to control MNs, showed greater electrophysiological maturation, characterized by increased numbers of evoked action potentials (APs), as well as by the appearance

  6. Synaptic connections between the hindwing stretch receptor and flight motor neurones in the locust revealed by double cobalt labelling for electron microscopy

    SciTech Connect

    Peters, B.H.; Altman, J.S.; Tyrer, N.M.

    1985-03-08

    Synaptic interactions between sensory and motor neurones in the locust flight system have been investigated by using intracellular labelling with cobalt and nickel for electron microscopy. Simultaneous axonal filling of two neurones with different concentrations of metal ions produces differential labelling, so that contacts between them in the central nervous system can be recognized. We have investigated the connectivity of the hindwing stretch receptor neurone (SR) with a direct hindwing depressor motor neurone (MN 127) known from physiological experiments to receive monosynaptic input from the SR, and an indirect hindwing depressor motor neurone (MN 112/1), for which no monosynaptic connection with the SR has been reported. We have found no direct synapses between the SR and MN 112/1, although some of their branches lie close together in the neuropile. We have, however, found some evidence for polysynaptic connections between them. There are many synapses of conventional dyadic morphology from both the lateral and mediolateral branches of the SR to MN 127; the medial branch was not examined. Those from the lateral branch contact the motor neurone on branches close to the neuropilar segment, while those from the mediolateral branch contact long, thin distal twigs. We estimate that there are about 600 anatomical synapses between these two neurones. Our results suggest that a large number of widely distributed anatomical synapses constitute the physiological synaptic connection between the SR and MN 127. The dyadic arrangement of these synapses provides an anatomical correlate for the physiologically established divergence of SR outputs onto interneurones and motor neurones.

  7. An ~140-kb deletion associated with feline spinal muscular atrophy implies an essential LIX1 function for motor neuron survival

    PubMed Central

    Fyfe, John C.; Menotti-Raymond, Marilyn; David, Victor A.; Brichta, Lars; Schäffer, Alejandro A.; Agarwala, Richa; Murphy, William J.; Wedemeyer, William J.; Gregory, Brittany L.; Buzzell, Bethany G.; Drummond, Meghan C.; Wirth, Brunhilde; O'Brien, Stephen J.

    2006-01-01

    The leading genetic cause of infant mortality is spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of disorders. Previously we described a domestic cat model of autosomal recessive, juvenile-onset SMA similar to human SMA type III. Here we report results of a whole-genome scan for linkage in the feline SMA pedigree using recently developed species-specific and comparative mapping resources. We identified a novel SMA gene candidate, LIX1, in an ~140-kb deletion on feline chromosome A1q in a region of conserved synteny to human chromosome 5q15. Though LIX1 function is unknown, the predicted secondary structure is compatible with a role in RNA metabolism. LIX1 expression is largely restricted to the central nervous system, primarily in spinal motor neurons, thus offering explanation of the tissue restriction of pathology in feline SMA. An exon sequence screen of 25 human SMA cases, not otherwise explicable by mutations at the SMN1 locus, failed to identify comparable LIX1 mutations. Nonetheless, a LIX1-associated etiology in feline SMA implicates a previously undetected mechanism of motor neuron maintenance and mandates consideration of LIX1 as a candidate gene in human SMA when SMN1 mutations are not found. PMID:16899656

  8. Model Systems of Motor Neuron Diseases As a Platform for Studying Pathogenic Mechanisms and Searching for Therapeutic Agents

    PubMed Central

    Valetdinova, K. R.; Medvedev, S. P.; Zakian, S. M.

    2015-01-01

    Over the past 30 years, many molecular genetic mechanisms underlying motor neuron diseases (MNDs) have been discovered and studied. Among these diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which causes the progressive degeneration and death of central and peripheral motor neurons, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which is one of the inherited diseases that prevail among hereditary diseases in the pattern of child mortality, hold a special place. These diseases, like most nerve, neurodegenerative, and psychiatric diseases, cannot be treated appropriately at present. Artificial model systems, especially those that are based on the use of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), are of paramount importance in searching for adequate therapeutic agents, as well as for a deep understanding of the MND pathogenesis. This review is mainly focused on the recent advance in the development of and research into cell and animal models of ALS and SMA. The main issues concerning the use of cellular technologies in biomedical applications are also described. PMID:25926999

  9. Neuropathological characterization of spinal motor neuron degeneration processes induced by acute and chronic excitotoxic stimulus in vivo.

    PubMed

    Ramírez-Jarquín, Uri Nimrod; Tapia, Ricardo

    2016-09-01

    Motor neuron (MN) diseases are characterized by progressive cell degeneration, and excitotoxicity has been postulated as a causal factor. Using two experimental procedures for inducing excitotoxic spinal MN degeneration in vivo, by acute and chronic overactivation of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazoleacetic acid (AMPA) receptors, we characterized the time course of the neuropathological changes. Electron transmission microscopy showed that acute AMPA perfusion by microdialysis caused MN swelling 1.5h after surgery and lysis with membrane rupture as early as 3h; no cleaved caspase 3 was detected by immunochemistry. Chronic AMPA infusion by osmotic minipumps induced a slow degeneration process along 5days, characterized by progressive changes: endoplasmic reticulum swelling, vacuolization of cytoplasm, vacuole fusion and cell membrane rupture. Quantification of these ultrastructural alterations showed that the increase of vacuolated area was at the expense of the nuclear area. Caspase 3 cleavage was observed since the first day of AMPA infusion. We conclude that acute AMPA-induced excitotoxicity induces MN loss by necrosis, while the progress of degeneration induced by chronic infusion is slow, starting with an early apoptotic process followed by necrosis. In both the acute and chronic procedures a correlation could be established between the loss of MN by necrosis, but not by caspase 3-linked apoptosis, and severe motor deficits and hindlimb paralysis. Our findings are relevant for understanding the mechanisms of neuron death in degenerative diseases and thus for the design of pharmacological therapeutic strategies. PMID:27320208

  10. Downregulation of VAPB expression in motor neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells of ALS8 patients

    PubMed Central

    Mitne-Neto, Miguel; Machado-Costa, Marcela; Marchetto, Maria C.N.; Bengtson, Mario H.; Joazeiro, Claudio A.; Tsuda, Hiroshi; Bellen, Hugo J.; Silva, Helga C.A.; Oliveira, Acary S.B.; Lazar, Monize; Muotri, Alysson R.; Zatz, Mayana

    2011-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable neuromuscular disease that leads to a profound loss of life quality and premature death. Around 10% of the cases are inherited and ALS8 is an autosomal dominant form of familial ALS caused by mutations in the vamp-associated protein B/C (VAPB) gene. The VAPB protein is involved in many cellular processes and it likely contributes to the pathogenesis of other forms of ALS besides ALS8. A number of successful drug tests in ALS animal models could not be translated to humans underscoring the need for novel approaches. The induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) technology brings new hope, since it can be used to model and investigate diseases in vitro. Here we present an additional tool to study ALS based on ALS8-iPSC. Fibroblasts from ALS8 patients and their non-carrier siblings were successfully reprogrammed to a pluripotent state and differentiated into motor neurons. We show for the first time that VAPB protein levels are reduced in ALS8-derived motor neurons but, in contrast to over-expression systems, cytoplasmic aggregates could not be identified. Our results suggest that optimal levels of VAPB may play a central role in the pathogenesis of ALS8, in agreement with the observed reduction of VAPB in sporadic ALS. PMID:21685205

  11. Androgens affect muscle, motor neuron, and survival in a mouse model of SOD1-related amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Aggarwal, Tanya; Polanco, Maria J; Scaramuzzino, Chiara; Rocchi, Anna; Milioto, Carmelo; Emionite, Laura; Ognio, Emanuela; Sambataro, Fabio; Galbiati, Mariarita; Poletti, Angelo; Pennuto, Maria

    2014-08-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective loss of upper and lower motor neurons and skeletal muscle atrophy. Epidemiologic and experimental evidence suggest the involvement of androgens in ALS pathogenesis, but the mechanism through which androgens modify the ALS phenotype is unknown. Here, we show that androgen ablation by surgical castration extends survival and disease duration of a transgenic mouse model of ALS expressing mutant human SOD1 (hSOD1-G93A). Furthermore, long-term treatment of orchiectomized hSOD1-G93A mice with nandrolone decanoate (ND), an anabolic androgenic steroid, worsened disease manifestations. ND treatment induced muscle fiber hypertrophy but caused motor neuron death. ND negatively affected survival, thereby dissociating skeletal muscle pathology from life span in this ALS mouse model. Interestingly, orchiectomy decreased androgen receptor levels in the spinal cord and muscle, whereas ND treatment had the opposite effect. Notably, stimulation with ND promoted the recruitment of endogenous androgen receptor into biochemical complexes that were insoluble in sodium dodecyl sulfate, a finding consistent with protein aggregation. Overall, our results shed light on the role of androgens as modifiers of ALS pathogenesis via dysregulation of androgen receptor homeostasis.

  12. Association of copy numbers of survival motor neuron gene 2 and neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein gene with the natural history in a Chinese spinal muscular atrophy cohort.

    PubMed

    Qu, Yu-jin; Ge, Xiu-shan; Bai, Jin-li; Wang, Li-wen; Cao, Yan-yan; Lu, Yan-yu; Jin, Yu-wei; Wang, Hong; Song, Fang

    2015-03-01

    We evaluated survival motor neuron 2 (SMN2) and neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein (NAIP) gene copy distribution and the association of copy number with survival in 232 Chinese spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) patients. The SMN2 and NAIP copy numbers correlated positively with the median onset age (r = 0.72 and 0.377). The risk of death for patients with fewer copies of SMN2 or NAIP was much higher than for those with more copies (P < .01). The survival probabilities at 5 years were 5.1%, 90.7%, and 100% for 2, 3, and 4 SMN2 copies and 27.9%, 66.7%, and 87.2% for 0, 1, and 2 NAIP copies, respectively. Our results indicated that combined SMN1-SMN2-NAIP genotypes with fewer copies were associated with earlier onset age and poorer survival probability. Better survival status for Chinese type I SMA might due to a higher proportion of 3 SMN2 and a lower rate of zero NAIP. PMID:25330799

  13. Association of copy numbers of survival motor neuron gene 2 and neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein gene with the natural history in a Chinese spinal muscular atrophy cohort.

    PubMed

    Qu, Yu-jin; Ge, Xiu-shan; Bai, Jin-li; Wang, Li-wen; Cao, Yan-yan; Lu, Yan-yu; Jin, Yu-wei; Wang, Hong; Song, Fang

    2015-03-01

    We evaluated survival motor neuron 2 (SMN2) and neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein (NAIP) gene copy distribution and the association of copy number with survival in 232 Chinese spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) patients. The SMN2 and NAIP copy numbers correlated positively with the median onset age (r = 0.72 and 0.377). The risk of death for patients with fewer copies of SMN2 or NAIP was much higher than for those with more copies (P < .01). The survival probabilities at 5 years were 5.1%, 90.7%, and 100% for 2, 3, and 4 SMN2 copies and 27.9%, 66.7%, and 87.2% for 0, 1, and 2 NAIP copies, respectively. Our results indicated that combined SMN1-SMN2-NAIP genotypes with fewer copies were associated with earlier onset age and poorer survival probability. Better survival status for Chinese type I SMA might due to a higher proportion of 3 SMN2 and a lower rate of zero NAIP.

  14. A Large-Scale Behavioral Screen to Identify Neurons Controlling Motor Programs in the Drosophila Brain

    PubMed Central

    Flood, Thomas F.; Gorczyca, Michael; White, Benjamin H.; Ito, Kei; Yoshihara, Motojiro

    2013-01-01

    Drosophila is increasingly used for understanding the neural basis of behavior through genetically targeted manipulation of specific neurons. The primary approach in this regard has relied on the suppression of neuronal activity. Here, we report the results of a novel approach to find and characterize neural circuits by expressing neuronal activators to stimulate subsets of neurons to induce behavior. Classical electrophysiological studies demonstrated that stimulation of command neurons could activate neural circuits to trigger fixed action patterns. Our method was designed to find such command neurons for diverse behaviors by screening flies in which random subsets of brain cells were activated. We took advantage of the large collection of Gal4 lines from the NP project and crossed 835 Gal4 strains with relatively limited Gal4 expression in the brain to flies carrying a UAS transgene encoding TRPM8, a cold-sensitive ion channel. Low temperatures opened the TRPM8 channel in Gal4-expressing cells, leading to their excitation, and in many cases induced overt behavioral changes in adult flies. Paralysis was reproducibly observed in the progeny of crosses with 84 lines, whereas more specific behaviors were induced with 24 other lines. Stimulation performed using the heat-activated channel, TrpA1, resulted in clearer and more robust behaviors, including flight, feeding, and egg-laying. Through follow-up studies starting from this screen, we expect to find key components of the neural circuits underlying specific behaviors, thus providing a new avenue for their functional analysis. PMID:23934998

  15. Responses of single corticospinal neurons to intracortical stimulation of primary motor and premotor cortex in the anesthetized macaque monkey.

    PubMed

    Maier, Marc A; Kirkwood, Peter A; Brochier, Thomas; Lemon, Roger N

    2013-06-01

    The responses of individual primate corticospinal neurons to localized electrical stimulation of primary motor (M1) and of ventral premotor cortex (area F5) are poorly documented. To rectify this and to study interactions between responses from these areas, we recorded corticospinal axons, identified by pyramidal tract stimulation, in the cervical spinal cord of three chloralose-anesthetized macaque monkeys. Single stimuli (≤400 μA) were delivered to the hand area of M1 or F5 through intracortical microwire arrays. Only 14/112 (13%) axons showed responses to M1 stimuli that indicated direct intracortical activation of corticospinal neurons (D-responses); no D-responses were seen from F5. In contrast, 62 axons (55%) exhibited consistent later responses to M1 stimulation, corresponding to indirect activation (I-responses), showing that single-pulse intracortical stimulation of motor areas can result in trans-synaptic activation of a high proportion of the corticospinal output. A combined latency histogram of all axon responses was nonperiodic, clearly different from the periodic surface-recorded corticospinal volleys. This was readily explained by correcting for conduction velocities of individual axons. D-responding axons, taken as originating in neurons close to the M1 stimulating electrodes, showed more I-responses from M1 than those without a D-response, and 8/10 of these axons also responded to F5 stimulation. Altogether, 33% of tested axons responded to F5 stimulation, most of which also showed I-responses from M1. These excitatory effects are in keeping with facilitation of hand muscles evoked from F5 being relayed via M1. This was further demonstrated by facilitation of test responses from M1 by conditioning F5 stimuli. PMID:23536718

  16. Methyl Vitamin B12 but not methylfolate rescues a motor neuron-like cell line from homocysteine-mediated cell death

    SciTech Connect

    Hemendinger, Richelle A. Armstrong, Edward J.; Brooks, Benjamin Rix

    2011-03-15

    Homocysteine is an excitatory amino acid implicated in multiple diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Information on the toxicity of homocysteine in motor neurons is limited and few studies have examined how this toxicity can be modulated. In NSC-34D cells (a hybrid cell line derived from motor neuron-neuroblastoma), homocysteine induces apoptotic cell death in the millimolar range with a TC{sub 50} (toxic concentration at which 50% of maximal cell death is achieved) of 2.2 mM, confirmed by activation of caspase 3/7. Induction of apoptosis was independent of short-term reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Methyl Vitamin B12 (MeCbl) and methyl tetrahydrofolate (MTHF), used clinically to treat elevated homocysteine levels, were tested for their ability to reverse homocysteine-mediated motor neuron cell death. MeCbl in the micromolar range was able to provide neuroprotection (2 h pretreatment prior to homocysteine) and neurorescue (simultaneous exposure with homocysteine) against millimolar homocysteine with an IC{sub 50} (concentration at which 50% of maximal cell death is inhibited) of 0.6 {mu}M and 0.4 {mu}M, respectively. In contrast, MTHF (up to 10 {mu}M) had no effect on homocysteine-mediated cell death. MeCbl inhibited caspase 3/7 activation by homocysteine in a time- and dose-dependent manner, whereas MTHF had no effect. We conclude that MeCbl is effective against homocysteine-induced cell death in motor neurons in a ROS-independent manner, via a reduction in caspase activation and apoptosis. MeCbl decreases Hcy induced motor neuron death in vitro in a hybrid cell line derived from motor neuron-neuroblastoma and may play a role in the treatment of late stage ALS where HCy levels are increased in animal models of ALS.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24572783

  18. Intermediate filament protein accumulation in motor neurons derived from giant axonal neuropathy iPSCs rescued by restoration of gigaxonin.

    PubMed

    Johnson-Kerner, Bethany L; Ahmad, Faizzan S; Diaz, Alejandro Garcia; Greene, John Palmer; Gray, Steven J; Samulski, Richard Jude; Chung, Wendy K; Van Coster, Rudy; Maertens, Paul; Noggle, Scott A; Henderson, Christopher E; Wichterle, Hynek

    2015-03-01

    Giant axonal neuropathy (GAN) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by autosomal recessive mutations in the GAN gene resulting in a loss of a ubiquitously expressed protein, gigaxonin. Gene replacement therapy is a promising strategy for treatment of the disease; however, the effectiveness and safety of gigaxonin reintroduction have not been tested in human GAN nerve cells. Here we report the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from three GAN patients with different GAN mutations. Motor neurons differentiated from GAN iPSCs exhibit accumulation of neurofilament (NF-L) and peripherin (PRPH) protein and formation of PRPH aggregates, the key pathological phenotypes observed in patients. Introduction of gigaxonin either using a lentiviral vector or as a stable transgene resulted in normalization of NEFL and PRPH levels in GAN neurons and disappearance of PRPH aggregates. Importantly, overexpression of gigaxonin had no adverse effect on survival of GAN neurons, supporting the feasibility of gene replacement therapy. Our findings demonstrate that GAN iPSCs provide a novel model for studying human GAN neuropathologies and for the development and testing of new therapies in relevant cell types.

  19. Gene expression profiling for human iPS-derived motor neurons from sporadic ALS patients reveals a strong association between mitochondrial functions and neurodegeneration

    PubMed Central

    Alves, Chrystian J.; Dariolli, Rafael; Jorge, Frederico M.; Monteiro, Matheus R.; Maximino, Jessica R.; Martins, Roberto S.; Strauss, Bryan E.; Krieger, José E.; Callegaro, Dagoberto; Chadi, Gerson

    2015-01-01

    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that leads to widespread motor neuron death, general palsy and respiratory failure. The most prevalent sporadic ALS form is not genetically inherited. Attempts to translate therapeutic strategies have failed because the described mechanisms of disease are based on animal models carrying specific gene mutations and thus do not address sporadic ALS. In order to achieve a better approach to study the human disease, human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-differentiated motor neurons were obtained from motor nerve fibroblasts of sporadic ALS and non-ALS subjects using the STEMCCA Cre-Excisable Constitutive Polycistronic Lentivirus system and submitted to microarray analyses using a whole human genome platform. DAVID analyses of differentially expressed genes identified molecular function and biological process-related genes through Gene Ontology. REVIGO highlighted the related functions mRNA and DNA binding, GTP binding, transcription (co)-repressor activity, lipoprotein receptor binding, synapse organization, intracellular transport, mitotic cell cycle and cell death. KEGG showed pathways associated with Parkinson's disease and oxidative phosphorylation, highlighting iron homeostasis, neurotrophic functions, endosomal trafficking and ERK signaling. The analysis of most dysregulated genes and those representative of the majority of categorized genes indicates a strong association between mitochondrial function and cellular processes possibly related to motor neuron degeneration. In conclusion, iPSC-derived motor neurons from motor nerve fibroblasts of sporadic ALS patients may recapitulate key mechanisms of neurodegeneration and may offer an opportunity for translational investigation of sporadic ALS. Large gene profiling of differentiated motor neurons from sporadic ALS patients highlights mitochondrial participation in the establishment of autonomous mechanisms associated with sporadic ALS

  20. Melatonin ineffective in neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis patients with fragmented or normal motor activity rhythms recorded by wrist actigraphy.

    PubMed

    Hätönen, T; Kirveskari, E; Heiskala, H; Sainio, K; Laakso, M L; S