bims-medebr Biomed News
on Metabolism of the developing brain
Issue of 2022‒01‒09
twenty-nine papers selected by
Regina F. Fernández
Johns Hopkins University

  1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jan 11. pii: e2112040119. [Epub ahead of print]119(2):
      Fate and behavior of neural progenitor cells are tightly regulated during mammalian brain development. Metabolic pathways, such as glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, that are required for supplying energy and providing molecular building blocks to generate cells govern progenitor function. However, the role of de novo lipogenesis, which is the conversion of glucose into fatty acids through the multienzyme protein fatty acid synthase (FASN), for brain development remains unknown. Using Emx1Cre-mediated, tissue-specific deletion of Fasn in the mouse embryonic telencephalon, we show that loss of FASN causes severe microcephaly, largely due to altered polarity of apical, radial glia progenitors and reduced progenitor proliferation. Furthermore, genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition of FASN in human embryonic stem cell-derived forebrain organoids identifies a conserved role of FASN-dependent lipogenesis for radial glia cell polarity in human brain organoids. Thus, our data establish a role of de novo lipogenesis for mouse and human brain development and identify a link between progenitor-cell polarity and lipid metabolism.
    Keywords:  lipogenesis; neural stem cell; neurogenesis; polarity
  2. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2022 Jan 07. 271678X211064399
      Over the last two decades, it has been established that glucose metabolic fluxes in neurons and astrocytes are proportional to the rates of the glutamate/GABA-glutamine neurotransmitter cycles in close to 1:1 stoichiometries across a wide range of functional energy demands. However, there is presently no mechanistic explanation for these relationships. We present here a theoretical meta-analysis that tests whether the brain's unique compartmentation of glycogen metabolism in the astrocyte and the requirement for neuronal glucose homeostasis lead to the observed stoichiometries. We found that blood-brain barrier glucose transport can be limiting during activation and that the energy demand could only be met if glycogenolysis supports neuronal glucose metabolism by replacing the glucose consumed by astrocytes, a mechanism we call Glucose Sparing by Glycogenolysis (GSG). The predictions of the GSG model are in excellent agreement with a wide range of experimental results from rats, mice, tree shrews, and humans, which were previously unexplained. Glycogenolysis and glucose sparing dictate the energy available to support neuronal activity, thus playing a fundamental role in brain function in health and disease.
    Keywords:  Astrocytes; energy metabolism; glucose; glycogen; lactate; neurochemistry
  3. iScience. 2021 Dec 17. 24(12): 103484
      Brain development is a highly orchestrated process requiring spatiotemporally regulated mitochondrial dynamics. Drp1, a key molecule in the mitochondrial fission machinery, undergoes various post-translational modifications including conjugation to the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO). However, the functional significance of SUMOylation/deSUMOylation on Drp1 remains controversial. SUMO-specific protease 5 (Senp5L) catalyzes the deSUMOylation of Drp1. We revealed that a splicing variant of Senp5L, Senp5S, which lacks peptidase activity, prevents deSUMOylation of Drp1 by competing against other Senps. The altered SUMOylation level of Drp1 induced by Senp5L/5S affects mitochondrial morphology probably through controlling Drp1 ubiquitination and tubulation of the endoplasmic reticulum. A dynamic SUMOylation/deSUMOylation balance controls neuronal polarization and migration during the development of the cerebral cortex. These findings suggest a novel role of post-translational modification, in which deSUMOylation enzyme isoforms competitively regulate mitochondrial dynamics via Drp1 SUMOylation levels, in a tightly controlled process of neuronal differentiation and corticogenesis.
    Keywords:  Cellular neuroscience; Molecular neuroscience; Molecular physiology
  4. FEBS J. 2022 Jan 07.
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an age-associated neurodegenerative disorder with multifactorial etiology, intersecting genetic and environmental risk factors, and a lack of disease-modifying therapeutics. While the abnormal accumulation of lipids was described in the very first report of AD neuropathology, it was not until recent decades that lipid dyshomeostasis became a focus of AD research. Clinically, lipidomic and metabolomic studies have consistently shown alterations in the levels of various lipid classes emerging in early stages of AD brains. Mechanistically, decades of discovery research have revealed multifaceted interactions between lipid metabolism and key AD pathogenic mechanisms including amyloidogenesis, bioenergetic deficit, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and myelin degeneration. In the present review, converging evidence defining lipid dyshomeostasis in AD is summarized, followed by discussions on mechanisms by which lipid metabolism contributes to pathogenesis and modifies disease risk. Furthermore, lipid-targeting therapeutic strategies, and the modification of their efficacy by disease stage, ApoE status, and metabolic and vascular profile, are reviewed.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s Disease; Fatty Acid; Lipid Metabolism; Therapeutics
  5. Exp Neurol. 2021 Dec 30. pii: S0014-4886(21)00374-5. [Epub ahead of print] 113966
      Astrocytic glycogen serves as an important glucose reserve, and its degradation provides extra support for neighboring neurons during energy deficiency. Salvianolic acid B (SAB) exerts a neuroprotective effect on reperfusion insult after cerebrovascular occlusion, but the effect of SAB on astrocytic glycogen and its relationship with neuroprotection are not completely understood. Here, we knocked down astrocyte-specific glycogen phosphorylase (GP, the rate-limiting enzyme in glycogenolysis) in vitro and in vivo and investigated the changes in key enzymes in glycogen metabolism by performing immunoblotting in vitro and immunofluorescence in vivo. Neurobehavioral and morphological assessments were conducted to uncover the outcomes during brain reperfusion. SAB accelerated astrocytic glycogenolysis by upregulating GP activity but not GP expression after reperfusion. Suppression of astrocytic glycogenolysis weakened SAB-mediated neuroprotection against the reperfusion insult. In addition, activation of glycogenolysis by SAB contributed to the survival of astrocytes and surrounding neurons by increasing antioxidant levels in astrocytes. Our data reveal that astrocytic GP represents an important metabolic target in SAB-induced protection against brain damage after cerebrovascular recanalization.
    Keywords:  Astrocyte; Glycogen mobilization; Ischemia/reperfusion injury; Neuroprotection; Salvianolic acid B
  6. Ann Neurol. 2022 Jan 03.
      OBJECTIVE: Cardiac arrest (CA) is a major health burden with brain damage being a significant contributor to mortality. We found lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), including a species containing docosahexaenoic acid (LPC-DHA), was significantly decreased in plasma post-CA, supplementation of which significantly improved neurological outcomes. The aim of this study is to understand the protective role of LPC-DHA supplementation on the brain post-CA.METHODS: We first evaluated associations between the plasma level of LPC-DHA and neurological injury and outcomes of human CA patients. We then utilized a rat CA model and cell cultures to investigate therapeutic and mechanistic aspects of plasma LPC-DHA supplementation.
    RESULTS: We found that decreased plasma LPC-DHA was strongly associated with neurological outcomes and disappearance of difference between gray and white matter in the brain after CA in human patients. In rats, the decreased plasma LPC-DHA was associated with decreased levels of brain LPC-DHA after CA, and supplementing plasma LPC-DHA normalized brain levels of LPC-DHA and alleviated neuronal cell death, activation of astrocytes, and expression of various inflammatory and mitochondrial dynamics genes. We also observed deceased severity of metabolic alterations with LPC-DHA supplementation using untargeted metabolomics analysis. Furthermore, LPC treatment showed a similar protective effect for neurons and astrocytes in mixed primary brain cell cultures.
    INTERPRETATION: The observed neuroprotection accompanied with normalized brain LPC-DHA level by plasma supplementation implicate the importance of preventing the decrease of brain LPC-DHA post-CA for attenuating brain injury. Furthermore, the data supports the causative role of decreased plasma LPC-DHA for brain damage after CA. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  7. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Jan 04. pii: S1043-2760(21)00284-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Microglia, the resident macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS), play important functions in the healthy and diseased brain. In the emerging field of immunometabolism, progress has been made in understanding how cellular metabolism can orchestrate the key responses of tissue macrophages, such as phagocytosis and inflammation. However, very little is known about the metabolic control of microglia. Lactate, now recognized as a crucial metabolite and a central substrate in metabolic flexibility, is emerging not only as a novel bioenergetic fuel for microglial metabolism but also as a potential modulator of cellular function. Parallels with macrophages will help in understanding how microglial lactate metabolism is implicated in brain physiology and pathology, and how it could be targeted for therapeutic purposes.
    Keywords:  CNS disease; lactate; metabolism; microglia; synaptic function
  8. Front Mol Neurosci. 2021 ;14 793004
      The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) plays important roles in the regulation of food intake and energy metabolism. Peripheral or central GLP-1 suppresses food intake and reduces body weight. The electrophysiological properties of neurons in the mammalian central nervous system reflect the neuronal excitability and the functional organization of the brain. Recent studies focus on elucidating GLP-1-induced suppression of feeding behaviors and modulation of neuronal electrophysiological properties in several brain regions. Here, we summarize that activation of GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) suppresses food intake and induces postsynaptic depolarization of membrane potential and/or presynaptic modulation of glutamatergic or GABAergic neurotransmission in brain nuclei located within the medulla oblongata, pons, mesencephalon, diencephalon, and telencephalon. This review may provide a background to guide future research about the cellular mechanisms of GLP-1-induced feeding inhibition.
    Keywords:  GLP-1; electrophysiological property; feeding behavior; spontaneous firing activity; synaptic transmission
  9. BMC Biol. 2022 Jan 07. 20(1): 12
      BACKGROUND: The establishment and maintenance of functional neural connections relies on appropriate distribution and localization of mitochondria in neurites, as these organelles provide essential energy and metabolites. In particular, mitochondria are transported to axons and support local energy production to maintain energy-demanding neuronal processes including axon branching, growth, and regeneration. Additionally, local protein synthesis is required for structural and functional changes in axons, with nuclear-encoded mitochondrial mRNAs having been found localized in axons. However, it remains unclear whether these mRNAs are locally translated and whether the potential translated mitochondrial proteins are involved in the regulation of mitochondrial functions in axons. Here, we aim to further understand the purpose of such compartmentalization by focusing on the role of mitochondrial initiation factor 3 (mtIF3), whose nuclear-encoded transcripts have been shown to be present in axonal growth cones.RESULTS: We demonstrate that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) induces local translation of mtIF3 mRNA in axonal growth cones. Subsequently, mtIF3 protein is translocated into axonal mitochondria and promotes mitochondrial translation as assessed by our newly developed bimolecular fluorescence complementation sensor for the assembly of mitochondrial ribosomes. We further show that BDNF-induced axonal growth requires mtIF3-dependent mitochondrial translation in distal axons.
    CONCLUSION: We describe a previously unknown function of mitochondrial initiation factor 3 (mtIF3) in axonal protein synthesis and development. These findings provide insight into the way neurons adaptively control mitochondrial physiology and axonal development via local mtIF3 translation.
    Keywords:  Axon development; Bimolecular fluorescence complementation; Local translation; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial translation
  10. Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 ;8 751639
      Both hypoxia and inhibition of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (OGDHC) are known to change cellular amino acid pools, but the quantitative comparison of the metabolic and physiological outcomes has not been done. We hypothesize that OGDHC inhibition models metabolic changes caused by hypoxia, as both perturb the respiratory chain function, limiting either the NADH (OGDHC inhibition) or oxygen (hypoxia) supply. In the current study, we quantify the changes in the amino acid metabolism after OGDHC inhibition in the highly sensitive to hypoxia cerebellum and compare them to the earlier characterized changes after acute hypobaric hypoxia. In addition, the associated physiological effects are characterized and compared. A specific OGDHC inhibitor succinyl phosphonate (SP) is shown to act similar to hypoxia, increasing levels of many amino acids in the cerebellum of non-pregnant rats, without affecting those in the pregnant rats. Compared with hypoxia, stronger effects of SP in non-pregnant rats are observed on the levels of cerebellar amino acids, electrocardiography (ECG), and freezing time. In pregnant rats, hypoxia affects ECG and behavior more than SP, although none of the stressors significantly change the levels of cerebellar amino acids. The biochemical differences underlying the different physiological actions of SP and hypoxia are revealed by correlation analysis of the studied parameters. The negative correlations of cerebellar amino acids with OGDHC and/or tryptophan, shown to arise after the action of SP and hypoxia, discriminate the overall metabolic action of the stressors. More negative correlations are induced in the non-pregnant rats by hypoxia, and in the pregnant rats by SP. Thus, our findings indicate that the OGDHC inhibition mimics the action of acute hypobaric hypoxia on the cerebellar amino acid levels, but a better prediction of the physiological outcomes requires assessment of integral network changes, such as increases in the negative correlations among the amino acids, OGDHC, and/or tryptophan.
    Keywords:  2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase; brain metabolism of amino acids; hypoxia; pregnancy; succinyl phosphonate
  11. JACS Au. 2021 Dec 27. 1(12): 2261-2270
      The lipidome is currently understudied but fundamental to life. Within the brain, little is known about cell-type lipid heterogeneity, and even less is known about cell-to-cell lipid diversity because it is difficult to study the lipids within individual cells. Here, we used single-cell mass spectrometry-based protocols to profile the lipidomes of 154 910 single cells across ten individuals consisting of five developmental ages and five brain regions, resulting in a unique lipid atlas available via a web browser of the developing human brain. From these data, we identify differentially expressed lipids across brain structures, cortical areas, and developmental ages. We inferred lipid profiles of several major cell types from this data set and additionally detected putative cell-type specific lipids. This data set will enable further interrogation of the developing human brain lipidome.
  12. Redox Biol. 2021 Dec 30. pii: S2213-2317(21)00388-8. [Epub ahead of print]49 102228
      High altitude cerebral edema does not fall in routine definition of hypoxia and requires alternative therapeutic strategies. 12/15-Lipoxygenase (12/15 LOX), a key proinflammatory lipid peroxidative enzyme which site specifically inserts into cellular and subcellular membranes and plays an instrumental role in hypobaric hypoxia induced neuropathogenesis. Mitochondria, the master regulator organelles for oxygen consumption and ATP generation are sensitive to intracellular oxygen perturbations and are associated with activation of apoptosis based cell death cascades that seal the fate of the cell. The mechanistic involvement of 12/15 LOX in mitochondria mediated cell death in brain microenvironment during hypobaric hypoxia conditions can be an interesting preposition. In the present study, we have investigated underlying involvement of 12/15 LOX in hypobaric hypoxia (HH) induced disturbance in mitochondrial integrity and its relation with neuronal apoptosis. Male Balb/c mice subjected to simulated HH condition for three consecutive days showed robust increase in intra-hippocampal 12(S)HETE (12/15 LOX metabolite), which was significantly reduced following baicalein (12/15 LOX Inhibitor) treatment. The elevated level of 12(S)HETE following hypobaric hypoxia condition correlated with simultaneous increase in expression of 12/15 LOX in neurons and microglia lining the hippocampal CA3 region. Further, 12/15 LOX gets embedded onto the periphery of mitochondria following HH and a strong correlation has been observed with loss of mitochondrial integrity as evident from increased cytochrome-c in the cytosolic compartment and a subsequent upregulated activity of Caspase-3 and Caspase-9 as well as Bax/Bcl-2 expression ratio. The observed effects seen under HH were reversed upon treatment with baicalein suggesting a critical role of 12/15 LOX in HH induced mitochondrial damage Further, the hypobaric hypoxia-mediated increase in hippocampal pAKT and pmTOR protein expression were significantly ameliorated following 12/15 LOX inhibition, suggesting a mitochondrial involvement. We hereby demonstrate the contribution of 12/15 LOX in disorienting mitochondrial integrity with subsequent release of cytochrome-c in cytosol which drives the neuronal cells to intrinsic mode of cell death during hypobaric hypoxia. The protective role of baicalein by inhibition of 12/15 LOX dependent neuronal cell death and preservation of mitochondrial integrity suggests it to be a plausible therapeutic target in CNS related disorders.
    Keywords:  12/15-Lipoxygenase; Hippocampus; Hypobaric hypoxia; Mitochondrial integrity; Neuroprotection
  13. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 9800794
      Iron metabolism disturbances play an important role in early brain injury (EBI) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and hepcidin largely influences iron metabolism. Importantly, iron metabolism may be associated with ferroptosis, recently a nonapoptotic iron-dependent form of cell death that may have a great impact on brain injury after SAH. We investigated hepcidin on iron metabolism and ferroptosis involving divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1), and ferroportin-1 (FPN1) in a rat model of SAH. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to the endovascular perforation to induce SAH, and treated with heparin (inhibitor of hepcidin), or oncostatin M (OSM, inducer of hepcidin), or ebselen (inhibitor of DMT1) by intracerebroventricular injections. Hepcidin, DMT1, FPN1 and glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4), were detected by western blot and immunofluorescence. Iron metabolism was detected through Perl's iron staining and iron content assay. Ferroptosis, the ROS production, lipid peroxidation (LPO) was evaluated by monitoring methane dicarboxylic aldehyde (MDA), glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) activity, and transmission electron microscopy. Neurological deficit scores, Evans blue staining and brain water content were also determined to detect EBI 72 h after SAH. Our results showed that inhibition of DMT1 by ebselen could suppress iron accumulation and lipid peroxidation, and thereby alleviate ferroptosis and EBI in SAH rats. Heparin downregulated the expression of hepcidin and DMT1, increased FPN1, and exerted protective effects that were equivalent to those of ebselen on ferroptosis and EBI. In addition, OSM increased the expression of hepcidin and DMT1, decreased FPN1, and aggravated ferroptosis and EBI, while the effect on ferroptosis was reversed by ebselen. Therefore, the study revealed that hepcidin could regulate iron metabolism and contribute to ferroptosis via DMT1 signaling activation in rats with EBI after SAH.
  14. Cell Metab. 2022 Jan 04. pii: S1550-4131(21)00625-2. [Epub ahead of print]34(1): 9-10
      How body metabolism impacts sensory processing in the brain remains unresolved. In a recent study in Neuron, Padamsey et al. (2021) revealed that when the body is food restricted for several weeks, neurons in the visual cortex reduce their energy consumption at the cost of response selectivity and visual performance.
  15. Neurotox Res. 2022 Jan 06.
      Rotenone (RO)-induced neurotoxicity exhibits pathophysiological features similar to those reported in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), such as nitrosative and oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neural cytoarchitecture alterations in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc)/striatum (ST), which has been used for decades as an animal model of PD in humans. L-Theanine (LT), a major amino acid component of green tea, exhibits potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and protects against various neural injuries. We investigated the potential therapeutic effects of LT on RO-induced behavioral and neurochemical dysfunction in rats and the neuroprotective mechanisms underlying these effects. Unilateral stereotaxic intranigral infusion of RO into the SNpc to induce PD-like manifestations induced significant behavioral impairment as evaluated using an open field test, rotarod test, grip strength measurement, and beam-crossing task in rats. LT treatment (300 mg/kg i.p., 21 days) ameliorated most RO-induced behavioral impairments. In addition, LT treatment reduced nitric oxide level and lipid peroxidation production, increased mitochondrial function and integrity, as well as the activities of mitochondrial complexes I, II, IV, and V, and reduced the levels of neuroinflammatory and apoptotic markers in the SNpc and ameliorated the levels of catecholamines, GABA and glutamate in the ST induced by RO. These results demonstrate the possible therapeutic effects of LT against RO-induced behavioral impairments, including antioxidative effects, prevention of mitochondrial dysfunction, prevention of neurochemical deficiency, anti-neuroinflammatory effects, and anti-apoptotic effects. This is the first report on the neuroprotective effect of LT against RO-induced behavioral impairments, and the above evidence provides a potential clinically relevant role for LT in the management of human PD.
    Keywords:  L-Theanine; Motor impairment; Parkinson’s disease; Rotenone; Substantia nigra pars compacta
  16. Front Pharmacol. 2021 ;12 788312
      Centella asiatica is an herb used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for its beneficial effects on brain health and cognition. Our group has previously shown that a water extract of Centella asiatica (CAW) elicits cognitive-enhancing effects in animal models of aging and Alzheimer's disease, including a dose-related effect of CAW on memory in the 5xFAD mouse model of ß-amyloid accumulation. Here, we endeavor to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the effects of CAW in the brain by conducting a metabolomic analysis of cortical tissue from 5xFAD mice treated with increasing concentrations of CAW. Tissue was collected from 8-month-old male and female 5xFAD mice and their wild-type littermates treated with CAW (0, 200, 500, or 1,000 mg/kg/d) dissolved in their drinking water for 5 weeks. High-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry analysis was performed and relative levels of 120 annotated metabolites were assessed in the treatment groups. Metabolomic analysis revealed sex differences in the effect of the 5xFAD genotype on metabolite levels compared to wild-type mice, and variations in the metabolomic response to CAW depending on sex, genotype, and CAW dose. In at least three of the four treated groups (5xFAD or wild-type, male or female), CAW (500 mg/kg/d) significantly altered metabolic pathways related to purine metabolism, nicotinate and nicotinamide metabolism, and glycerophospholipid metabolism. The results are in line with some of our previous findings regarding specific mechanisms of action of CAW (e.g., improving mitochondrial function, reducing oxidative stress, and increasing synaptic density). Furthermore, these findings provide new information about additional, potential mechanisms for the cognitive-enhancing effect of CAW, including upregulation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide in the brain and modulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. These metabolic pathways have been implicated in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease, highlighting the therapeutic potential of CAW in this neurodegenerative disease.
    Keywords:  5xFAD; Alzheimer’s disease; Centella asiatica; metabolic pathways; metabolomics
  17. Metabolomics. 2022 Jan 06. 18(1): 8
      INTRODUCTION: A rapidly growing body of data documents associations between disease of the brain and small molecules generated by gut-microbiota (GMB). While such metabolites can affect brain function through a variety of mechanisms, the most direct action would be on the central nervous system (CNS) itself.OBJECTIVE: Identify indolic and phenolic GMB-dependent small molecules that reach bioactive concentrations in primate CNS.
    METHODS: We conducted a PubMed search for metabolomic studies of the primate CNS [brain tissue or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)] and then selected for phenolic or indolic metabolites that (i) had been quantified, (ii) were GMB-dependent. For each chemical we then conducted a search for studies of bioactivity conducted in vitro in human cells of any kind or in CNS cells from the mouse or rat.
    RESULTS: 36 metabolites of interests were identified in primate CNS through targeted metabolomics. Quantification was available for 31/36 and in vitro bioactivity for 23/36. The reported CNS range for 8 metabolites 2-(3-hydroxyphenyl)acetic acid, 2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)acetic acid, 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)propanoic acid, (E)-3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)prop-2-enoic acid [caffeic acid], 3-hydroxybenzoic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, 2-acetamido-3-(1H-indol-3-yl)propanoic acid [N-acetyltryptophan], 1H-indol-3-yl hydrogen sulfate [indoxyl-3-sulfate] overlapped with a bioactive concentration. However, the number and quality of relevant studies of CNS neurochemistry as well as of bioactivity were highly limited. Structural isomers, multiple metabolites and potential confounders were inadequately considered.
    CONCLUSION: The potential direct bioactivity of GMB-derived indolic and phenolic molecules on primate CNS remains largely unknown. The field requires additional strategies to identify and prioritize screening of the most promising small molecules that enter the CNS.
    Keywords:  Bioactivity; Brain; Cerebrospinal fluid; Gut microbiota; Indolic; Neuroactivity; Phenolic
  18. Mol Neurobiol. 2022 Jan 03.
      Methamphetamine (METH) use disorder (MUD) is characterized by compulsive and repeated drug taking despite negative life consequences. Large intake of METH in humans and animals is accompanied by dysfunctions in learning and memory processes. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is known to modulate synaptic plasticity and cognitive functions. In addition, the ECS has been implicated in some of the manifestations of substance use disorders (SUDs). We therefore sought to identify potential changes in the expression of various enzymes and of the receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are members of that system. Herein, we used a model of METH self-administration (SA) that includes a punishment phase (footshocks) that helps to separate rats into a compulsive METH phenotype (compulsive) that continues to take METH and a non-compulsive METH (abstinent) group that suppressed or stopped taking METH. Animals were euthanized 2 h after the last METH SA session and their hippocampi were used to measure mRNA levels of cannabinoid receptors (CB/Cnr), as well as those of synthesizing (DAGL-A, DAGL-B, NAPEPLD) and metabolizing (MGLL, FAAH, PTGS2) enzymes of the endocannabinoid cascade. Non-compulsive rats exhibited significant increased hippocampal expression of CB1/Cnr1 and CB2/Cnr2 mRNAs. mRNA levels of the synthesizing enzyme, DAGL-A, and of the metabolic enzymes, MGLL and FAAH, were also increased. Non-compulsive rats also exhibited a significant decrease in hippocampal Ptgs2 mRNA levels. Taken together, these observations implicate the hippocampal endocannabinoid system in the suppression of METH intake in the presence of adverse consequences.
    Keywords:  Abstinence; Addiction; Cannabinoid receptors; Endocannabinoid; Footshocks; Hippocampus; Methamphetamine; Methamphetamine use disorder; Neuroprotection
  19. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Dec 30. pii: S0278-5846(21)00267-0. [Epub ahead of print]115 110508
      Gender is considered as a pivotal determinant of mental health. Indeed, several psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression are more common and persistent in women than in men. In the past two decades, impaired brain energy metabolism has been highlighted as a risk factor for the development of these psychiatric disorders. However, comprehensive behavioural and neurobiological studies in brain regions relevant to anxiety and depression symptomatology are scarce. In the present study, we summarize findings describing cannabidiol effects on anxiety and depression in maternally separated female mice as a well-established rodent model of early-life stress associated with many mental disorders. Our results indicate that cannabidiol could prevent anxiolytic- and depressive-related behaviour in early-life stressed female mice. Additionally, maternal separation with early weaning (MSEW) caused long-term changes in brain oxidative metabolism in both nucleus accumbens and amygdalar complex measured by cytochrome c oxidase quantitative histochemistry. However, cannabidiol treatment could not revert brain oxidative metabolism impairment. Moreover, we identified hyperphosphorylation of mTOR and ERK 1/2 proteins in the amygdala but not in the striatum, that could also reflect altered brain intracellular signalling related with to bioenergetic impairment. Altogether, our study supports the hypothesis that MSEW induces profound long-lasting molecular changes in mTOR signalling and brain energy metabolism related to depressive-like and anxiety-like behaviours in female mice, which were partially ameliorated by CBD administration.
    Keywords:  Cannabidiol; Cytochrome c oxidase; ERK 1/2; Early life stress; Maternal separation; mTOR
  20. Neurotox Res. 2022 Jan 08.
      Excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by NADPH oxidase (Nox) resulted in inflammation. The negative regulator of ROS (NRROS) dampens ROS generation during inflammatory responses. 15-Deoxy-∆12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2) exhibits neuroprotective effects on central nervous system (CNS). However, whether 15d-PGJ2-induced NRROS expression was unknown in rat brain astrocytes (RBA-1). NRROS expression was determined by Western blot, RT/real-time PCR, and promoter activity assays. The signaling components were investigated using pharmacological inhibitors or specific siRNAs. The interaction between transcription factors and the NRROS promoter was investigated by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Upregulation of NRROS on the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-mediated ROS generation and interleukin 6 (IL-6) secretion was measured. 15d-PGJ2-induced NRROS expression was mediated through PI3K/Akt-dependent activation of Sp1 and FoxO1 and established the essential promoter regions. We demonstrated that 15d-PGJ2 activated PI3K/Akt and following by cooperation between phosphorylated nuclear FoxO1 and Sp1 to initiate the NRROS transcription. In addition, Nrf2 played a key role in NRROS expression induced by 15d-PGJ2 which was mediated through its phosphorylation. Finally, the NRROS stable clones attenuated the H2O2-induced ROS generation and expression of IL-6 through suppressing the Nox-2 activity. These results suggested that 15d-PGJ2-induced NRROS expression is mediated through a PI3K/Akt-dependent FoxO1 and Sp1 phosphorylation, and Nrf2 cascade, which suppresses ROS generation through attenuating the p47phox phosphorylation and gp91phox formation and IL-6 expression in RBA-1 cells. These results confirmed the mechanisms underlying 15d-PGJ2-induced NRROS expression which might be a potential strategy for prevention and management of brain inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  15d-PGJ2; Hydrogen peroxide; IL-6; NADPH oxidase; NRROS; p47phox
  21. Brain Dev. 2021 Dec 30. pii: S0387-7604(21)00232-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      INTRODUCTION: Cerebral creatine deficiency syndromes (CCDS) are a group of potentially treatable neurometabolic disorders. The clinical, genetic profile and follow up outcome of Indian CCDS patients is presented.MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort of CCDS patients seen over six-years. Diagnosis was based either on low creatine peak on proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and/or genetic evaluation.
    RESULTS: Thirteen patients were eligible [8 creatine transporter deficiency (CTD), 4 guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT) deficiency and 1 could not be classified]. The mean (±SD) age at diagnosis was 7.2(±5.0) years. Clinical manifestations included intellectual disability (ID) with significant expressive speech delay in all. Most had significant behavior issues (8/13) and/or autism (8/13). All had history of convulsive seizures (11/13 had epilepsy; 2 patients only had febrile seizures) and 2/13 had movement disorder. Constipation was the commonest non-neurological manifestation (5/13 patients). Cranial MRI was normal in all CTD patients but showed globus pallidus hyperintensity in all four with GAMT deficiency. MRS performed in 11/13 patients, revealed abnormally low creatine peak. A causative genetic variant (novel mutation in nine) was identified in 12 patients. Three GAMT deficiency and one CTD patient reported neurodevelopmental improvement and good seizure control after creatine supplementation.
    CONCLUSION: Intellectual disability, disproportionate speech delay, autism, and epilepsy, were common in our CCDS patients. A normal structural neuroimaging with easily controlled febrile and/or afebrile seizures differentiated CTD from GAMT deficiency patients who had abnormal neuroimaging and often difficult to control epilepsy and movement disorder.
    Keywords:  Cerebral creatine deficiency disorders; Clinical profile; Follow-up; Genetics; Indian
  22. Br J Pharmacol. 2022 Jan 05.
      BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In rodents, morphine antinociception is influenced by sex. However, conflicting results have been reported regarding the interaction between sex and morphine antinociceptive tolerance. Morphine is metabolised in the liver and brain into morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G). Sex differences in morphine metabolism and differential metabolic adaptations during tolerance development might contribute to behavioural discrepancies. This article investigates the differences in peripheral and central morphine metabolism after acute and chronic morphine treatment in male and female mice.EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Sex differences in morphine antinociception and tolerance were assessed using the tail-immersion test. After acute and chronic morphine treatment, morphine and M3G metabolic kinetics in the blood were evaluated using LC-MS/MS. In addition, they were quantified in several central nervous system (CNS) regions. Finally, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability of M3G was assessed in male and female mice.
    KEY RESULTS: This study demonstrated that female mice showed weaker morphine antinociception and faster induction of tolerance than males. Additionally, female mice showed higher levels of M3G in the blood and several pain-related CNS regions than male mice, whereas lower levels of morphine were observed in these regions. M3G brain/blood ratios after injection of M3G indicated no sex differences in M3G BBB permeability, and these ratios were lower than those obtained after injection of morphine.
    CONCLUSION: These differences are attributable mainly to morphine central metabolism, which differed between males and females in pain-related CNS regions, consistent with weaker morphine antinociceptive effects in females. However, the role of morphine metabolism in antinociceptive tolerance seemed limited.
    Keywords:  M3G; Morphine; UDP-glucuronosyltransferase; antinociception; antinociceptive tolerance; metabolism; sex differences
  23. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Dec 29. pii: S0969-9961(21)00354-5. [Epub ahead of print]163 105605
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by impaired mitochondrial function and decreased ATP levels. Aerobic glycolysis and lactate production have been shown to be upregulated in dopaminergic neurons to sustain ATP levels, but the effect of upregulated glycolysis on dopaminergic neurons remains unknown. Since lactate promotes apoptosis and α-synuclein accumulation in neurons, we hypothesized that the lactate produced upon upregulated glycolysis is involved in the apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons in PD. In this study, we examined the expression of hexokinase 2 (HK2) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), the key enzymes in glycolysis, and lactate levels in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) of a MPTP-induced mouse model of PD and in MPP+-treated SH-SY5Y cells. We found that the expression of HK2 and LDHA and the lactate levels were markedly increased in the SNpc of MPTP-treated mice and in MPP+-treated SH-SY5Y cells. Exogenous lactate treatment led to the apoptosis of SH-SY5Y cells. Intriguingly, lactate production and the apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons were suppressed by the application of 3-bromopyruvic acid (3-Brpa), a HK2 inhibitor, or siRNA both in vivo and in vitro. 3-Brpa treatment markedly improved the motor behaviour of MPTP-treated mice in pole test and rotarod test. Mechanistically, lactate increases the activity of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and suppresses the phosphorylation of serine/threonine kinase 1 (Akt) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Together, our data suggest that upregulated HK2 and LDHA and increased lactate levels prompt the apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons in PD. Inhibition of HK2 expression attenuated the apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons by downregulating lactate production and AMPK/Akt/mTOR pathway in PD.
    Keywords:  Aerobic glycolysis; Hexokinase 2; Lactate; Parkinson's disease
  24. Neuroscience. 2021 Dec 31. pii: S0306-4522(21)00664-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Perioperative neurocognitive disorder (PND) is a serious nervous system complication characterized by progressive cognitive impairment, especially in geriatric population. However, the neuropathogenesis of PND is complex, and there are no approved disease-modifying therapeutic options. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been demonstrated to contribute to the occurrence and development of PND. Transcranial near-infrared (tNIR) light treatment helps to improve mitochondrial dysfunction and enhance cognition, but its effect on PND remains unclear. Here, we evaluated the effect of tNIR light treatment on PND caused by anesthesia and surgery in aged mice. We built the PND models with 18-month C57BL/6 male mice by exploratory laparotomy under isoflurane inhalation anesthesia, and treated by tNIR light with wavelength 810 nm for 2 weeks. The short-term and long-term changes in cognitive function were analyzed by behavioral tests. We further explored the effects of tNIR light on mitochondria, synapses, neurons, and signaling pathways through different experimental methods. The results demonstrated that the cognitive impairment and mitochondrial dysfunction in PND mice were ameliorated after tNIR light treatment. Further experiments demonstrated that photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) increased synapse-related protein expression, neuronal survival, and protected synapse from depletion. Moreover, downregulated sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) were increased after tNIR light treatment. Our results suggested that tNIR light was an effective treatment of PND through PBMT effect, accompanied by synaptic and neuronal improvement. The improvement of mitochondrial dysfunction mediated by SIRT1/PGC-1α signaling pathway might participate in this process. Those findings might provide a novel and noninvasive therapeutic target for PND.
    Keywords:  SIRT1/PGC-1α pathway; mitochondrial dysfunction; perioperative neurocognitive disorder; photobiomodulation therapy; synapse; transcranial near-infrared light
  25. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2022 Jan 04. pii: S1388-1981(21)00235-3. [Epub ahead of print] 159107
      Phosphoinositides are a family of signaling lipids that play a profound role in regulating protein function at the membrane-cytosol interface of all cellular membranes. Underscoring their importance, mutations or alterations in phosphoinositide metabolizing enzymes lead to host of developmental, neurodegenerative, or and metabolic disorders that are devastating for human health. In addition to lipid enzymes, phosphoinositide metabolism is regulated and controlled at membrane contact sites (MCS). Regions of close opposition typically between the ER and other cellular membranes, MCS are non-vesicular lipid transport portals that engage in extensive communication to influence organelle homeostasis. This review focuses on lipid transport, specifically phosphoinositide lipid transport and metabolism at MCS.
    Keywords:  Cholesterol; Extended-synaptotagmins; K(V)2; Lipid transfer; Membrane contact sites; OSBP; PI; PI(4)P; PI(4,5)P(2); Phosphoinositides; TMEM24
  26. Front Aging Neurosci. 2021 ;13 745046
      Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, currently affects 40-50 million people worldwide. Despite the extensive research into amyloid β (Aβ) deposition and tau protein hyperphosphorylation (p-tau), an effective treatment to stop or slow down the progression of neurodegeneration is missing. Emerging evidence suggests that ferroptosis, an iron-dependent and lipid peroxidation-driven type of programmed cell death, contributes to neurodegeneration in AD. Therefore, how to intervene against ferroptosis in the context of AD has become one of the questions addressed by studies aiming to develop novel therapeutic strategies. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of ferroptosis in AD, when ferroptosis occurs in the disease course, and which ferroptosis-related genes are differentially expressed in AD remains to be established. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on cell mechanisms involved in ferroptosis, we discuss how these processes relate to AD, and we analyze which ferroptosis-related genes are differentially expressed in AD brain dependant on cell type, disease progression and gender. In addition, we point out the existing targets for therapeutic options to prevent ferroptosis in AD. Future studies should focus on developing new tools able to demonstrate where and when cells undergo ferroptosis in AD brain and build more translatable AD models for identifying anti-ferroptotic agents able to slow down neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  amyloid β; glutathione; iron dysregulation; lipid peroxidation; neurodegeneration
  27. Front Cell Neurosci. 2021 ;15 733004
      NMDA receptors (NMDARs) populate the complex between inner hair cell (IHC) and spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) in the developing and mature cochlea. However, in the mature cochlea, activation of NMDARs is thought to mainly occur under pathological conditions such as excitotoxicity. Ototoxic drugs such as aspirin enable cochlear arachidonic-acid-sensitive NMDAR responses, and induced chronic tinnitus was blocked by local application of NMDAR antagonists into the cochlear fluids. We largely ignore if other modulators are also engaged. In the brain, D-serine is the primary physiological co-agonist of synaptic NMDARs. Whether D-serine plays a role in the cochlea had remained unexplored. We now reveal the presence of D-serine and its metabolic enzymes prior to, and at hearing onset, in the sensory and non-neuronal cells of the cochlea of several vertebrate species. In vivo intracochlear perfusion of D-serine in guinea pigs reduces sound-evoked activity of auditory nerve fibers without affecting the receptor potentials, suggesting that D-serine acts specifically on the postsynaptic auditory neurons without altering the functional state of IHC or of the stria vascularis. Indeed, we demonstrate in vitro that agonist-induced activation of NMDARs produces robust calcium responses in rat SGN somata only in the presence of D-serine, but not of glycine. Surprisingly, genetic deletion in mice of serine racemase (SR), the enzyme that catalyzes D-serine, does not affect hearing function, but offers protection against noise-induced permanent hearing loss as measured 3 months after exposure. However, the mechanisms of activation of NMDA receptors in newborn rats may be different from those in adult guinea pigs. Taken together, these results demonstrate for the first time that the neuro-messenger D-serine has a pivotal role in the cochlea by promoting the activation of silent cochlear NMDAR in pathological situations. Thus, D-serine and its signaling pathway may represent a new druggable target for treating sensorineural hearing disorders (i.e., hearing loss, tinnitus).
    Keywords:  NMDA receptors; acoustic trauma; cochlea; d-serine; neuroprotection
  28. Front Aging Neurosci. 2021 ;13 763947
      Background: Recently, many studies have shown that low vitamin D (VD) levels may be related to an increased risk of Parkinson's disease (PD), but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Objective: To explore the relationship between PD and VD levels, as well as to analyze the effects of VD on spontaneous brain activity and explore the possible mechanism of its involvement in PD risk. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we quantified the difference in VD levels between 330 PD patients and 209 healthy controls (HC) to explore the correlation between VD and PD risk. We also acquired resting-state Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rs-fMRI) data from 46 PD patients and 21 HC. The PD patients were divided into three groups according to 25(OH)D levels: PD patients with VD deficiency (PD + VDD), PD patients with VD insufficiency (PD + VDI), and PD patients with normal VD (PD + NVD). The effect of VD status on spontaneous neuronal activity in the whole brain was analyzed by measuring the fraction amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (fALFF). Results: Compared with HC, the PD patients had lower serum 25(OH)D levels (23.60 ± 7.27 vs. 25.60 ± 5.78, P < 0.001). The 25(OH)D level may have a potential dose-dependent effect on the risk of PD (P trend = 0.007). A high risk of PD was associated with VD deficiency [25(OH)D < 20 ng/mL, OR = 2.319], and the lowest quartile of 25(OH)D concentration was associated with a high risk of PD (OR = 1.941). In the rs-fMRI study, PD + VDD patients had wider brain regions with altered fALFF than other PD groups when compared with the corresponding HC groups. Both PD + VDD and PD + VDI showed higher fALFF in the cuneus, left precuneus, calcarine cortex and right lingual, as well as lower fALFF in the left middle temporal gyrus. PD + VDD patients also showed higher fALFF in the left superior, middle and inferior frontal gyri, as well as the left precentral gyrus than HC. Among PD patients, there was only a statistically significant difference in fALFF between the PD + VDD and PD + NVD groups. Compared with the PD + NVD group, PD + VDD patients exhibited higher fALFF in the left precentral and left postcentral gyrus, as well as the left inferior parietal lobule. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that PD patients had lower serum VD levels than HC, and VD may have a potential dose-dependent effect on PD risk. Lower serum VD levels can affect the spontaneous neuronal activity of default-mode network (DMN) and visual pathway neurons in PD patients, providing a possible mechanism for its effect on PD risk.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; fraction amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation; resting-state functional MRI; risk; vitamin D
  29. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2021 Dec 31. pii: S0147-6513(21)01239-2. [Epub ahead of print]230 113127
      Cadmium (Cd) has well-known central nervous system toxicity, and mitochondria are direct targets of Cd-induced neuronal toxicity. However, how Cd induces mitochondrial mass decrease in terms of its neurotoxic effects remains unknown. Puerarin, an isoflavone extracted from kudzu root, can cross the blood-brain barrier and exert protective effects in nervous system disease. The purpose of the study was to determine the mechanism of Cd-induced mitochondrial mass decrease and the protective role of puerarin in rat cortical neurons. The results indicated that Cd induced mitochondrial mass decrease by activating mitophagy mediated by the PTEN-induced putative kinase protein 1 (PINK1)-E3 ubiquitin ligase (Parkin) and Nip3-like protein X (Nix) pathways in rat cortical neurons. Puerarin improved the Cd-induced decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) in vitro, and blocked PINK1-Parkin and Nix-mediated mitophagy, inhibiting Cd-induced mitochondrial mass decrease in rat cortical neurons in vitro and in vivo. In summary, our data clearly indicated that puerarin protects rat cortical neurons against Cd-induced neurotoxicity by ameliorating mitochondrial damage, inhibiting mitophagy-mediated mitochondrial mass decrease. Puerarin appears to have great potential as a neuroprotective agent.
    Keywords:  Cadmium; Mitochondrial mass; Mitophagy; Neuron; Puerarin