bims-midneu Biomed News
on Mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegeneration
Issue of 2021‒04‒04
38 papers selected by
Radha Desai
Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.

  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 24. pii: 3342. [Epub ahead of print]22(7):
      Adult neurogenesis is a highly regulated process during which new neurons are generated from neural stem cells in two discrete regions of the adult brain: the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle and the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus in the hippocampus. Defects of adult hippocampal neurogenesis have been linked to cognitive decline and dysfunction during natural aging and in neurodegenerative diseases, as well as psychological stress-induced mood disorders. Understanding the mechanisms and pathways that regulate adult neurogenesis is crucial to improving preventative measures and therapies for these conditions. Accumulating evidence shows that mitochondria directly regulate various steps and phases of adult neurogenesis. This review summarizes recent findings on how mitochondrial metabolism, dynamics, and reactive oxygen species control several aspects of adult neural stem cell function and their differentiation to newborn neurons. It also discusses the importance of autophagy for adult neurogenesis, and how mitochondrial and autophagic dysfunction may contribute to cognitive defects and stress-induced mood disorders by compromising adult neurogenesis. Finally, I suggest possible ways to target mitochondrial function as a strategy for stem cell-based interventions and treatments for cognitive and mood disorders.
    Keywords:  adult neurogenesis; autophagy/mitophagy; cognitive dysfunction; hippocampus; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial metabolism; mood disorders; neurodegeneration; psychological stress; reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  2. G3 (Bethesda). 2021 Mar 30. pii: jkab095. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial dynamics plays an important role in mitochondrial quality control and the adaptation of metabolic activity in response to environmental changes. The disruption of mitochondrial dynamics has detrimental consequences for mitochondrial and cellular homeostasis and leads to the activation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt), a quality control mechanism that adjusts cellular metabolism and restores homeostasis. To identify genes involved in the induction of UPRmt in response to a block in mitochondrial fusion, we performed a genome-wide RNAi screen in Caenorhabditis elegans mutants lacking the gene fzo-1, which encodes the ortholog of mammalian Mitofusin, and identified 299 suppressors and 86 enhancers. Approximately 90% of these 385 genes are conserved in humans, and one third of the conserved genes have been implicated in human disease. Furthermore, many have roles in developmental processes, which suggests that mitochondrial function and the response to stress are defined during development and maintained throughout life. Our dataset primarily contains mitochondrial enhancers and non-mitochondrial suppressors of UPRmt, indicating that the maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis has evolved as a critical cellular function, which, when disrupted, can be compensated for by many different cellular processes. Analysis of the subsets 'non-mitochondrial enhancers' and 'mitochondrial suppressors' suggests that organellar contact sites, especially between the ER and mitochondria, are of importance for mitochondrial homeostasis. In addition, we identified several genes involved in IP3 signaling that modulate UPRmt in fzo-1 mutants and found a potential link between pre-mRNA splicing and UPRmt activation.
    Keywords:  IP3 signaling; Mitoguardin; fzo-1; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial unfolded protein response
  3. Cells. 2021 Mar 03. pii: 537. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      Mitochondria serve as a hub for a multitude of vital cellular processes. To ensure an efficient deployment of mitochondrial tasks, organelle homeostasis needs to be preserved. Mitochondrial quality control (MQC) mechanisms (i.e., mitochondrial dynamics, biogenesis, proteostasis, and autophagy) are in place to safeguard organelle integrity and functionality. Defective MQC has been reported in several conditions characterized by chronic low-grade inflammation. In this context, the displacement of mitochondrial components, including mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), into the extracellular compartment is a possible factor eliciting an innate immune response. The presence of bacterial-like CpG islands in mtDNA makes this molecule recognized as a damaged-associated molecular pattern by the innate immune system. Following cell death-triggering stressors, mtDNA can be released from the cell and ignite inflammation via several pathways. Crosstalk between autophagy and apoptosis has emerged as a pivotal factor for the regulation of mtDNA release, cell's fate, and inflammation. The repression of mtDNA-mediated interferon production, a powerful driver of immunological cell death, is also regulated by autophagy-apoptosis crosstalk. Interferon production during mtDNA-mediated inflammation may be exploited for the elimination of dying cells and their conversion into elements driving anti-tumor immunity.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs); immunogenic cell death; innate immunity; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial quality control (MQC); mitophagy; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  4. Cells. 2021 Mar 16. pii: 657. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      The maintenance of cellular homeostasis involves the participation of multiple organelles. These organelles are associated in space and time, and either cooperate or antagonize each other with regards to cell function. Crosstalk between organelles has become a significant topic in research over recent decades. We believe that signal transduction between organelles, especially the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria, is a factor that can influence the cell fate. As the cellular center for protein folding and modification, the endoplasmic reticulum can influence a range of physiological processes by regulating the quantity and quality of proteins. Mitochondria, as the cellular "energy factory," are also involved in cell death processes. Some researchers regard the ER as the sensor of cellular stress and the mitochondria as an important actuator of the stress response. The scientific community now believe that bidirectional communication between the ER and the mitochondria can influence cell death. Recent studies revealed that the death signals can shuttle between the two organelles. Mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs) play a vital role in the complex crosstalk between the ER and mitochondria. MAMs are known to play an important role in lipid synthesis, the regulation of Ca2+ homeostasis, the coordination of ER-mitochondrial function, and the transduction of death signals between the ER and the mitochondria. Clarifying the structure and function of MAMs will provide new concepts for studying the pathological mechanisms associated with neurodegenerative diseases, aging, and cancers. Here, we review the recent studies of the structure and function of MAMs and its roles involved in cell death, especially in apoptosis.
    Keywords:  Ca2+; MAMs; apoptosis; endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria
  5. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 Mar 29.
      Mitochondria are organelles central to myriad cellular processes. To maintain mitochondrial health, various processes co-operate at both the molecular and organelle level. At the molecular level, mitochondria can sense imbalances in their homeostasis and adapt to these by signaling to the nucleus. This mito-nuclear communication leads to the expression of nuclear stress response genes. Upon external stimuli, mitochondria can also alter their morphology accordingly, by inducing fission or fusion. In an extreme situation, mitochondria are degraded by mitophagy. Adequate function and regulation of these mitochondrial quality control pathways are crucial for cellular homeostasis. As we discuss, alterations in these processes have been linked to several pathologies including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
    Keywords:  ISR; Mitochondrial diseases; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitochondrial fission; Mitochondrial fusion; Mitophagy; PINK1; Parkin; UPRmt
  6. J Neurosci. 2021 Mar 29. pii: JN-RM-1852-20. [Epub ahead of print]
      Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is the most common complication of prediabetes and diabetes. PN causes severe morbidity for type 2 diabetes (T2D) and prediabetes patients, including limb pain followed by numbness resulting from peripheral nerve damage. PN in T2D and prediabetes is associated with dyslipidemia and elevated circulating lipids; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying PN development in prediabetes and T2D are unknown. Peripheral nerve sensory neurons rely on axonal mitochondria to provide energy for nerve impulse conduction under homeostatic conditions. Models of dyslipidemia in vitro demonstrate mitochondrial dysfunction in sensory neurons exposed to elevated levels of exogenous fatty acids. Herein, we evaluated the effect of dyslipidemia on mitochondrial function and dynamics in sensory axons of the saphenous nerve of a male high-fat diet (HFD)-fed murine model of prediabetes to identify mitochondrial alterations that correlate with PN pathogenesis in vivo We found that the HFD decreased mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) in axonal mitochondria and reduced the ability of sensory neurons to conduct at physiological frequencies. Unlike mitochondria in control axons, which dissipated their MMP in response to increased impulse frequency (from 1 to 50 Hz), HFD mitochondria dissipated less MMP in response to axonal energy demand, suggesting a lack of reserve capacity. The HFD also decreased sensory axonal Ca2+ levels and increased mitochondrial lengthening and expression of PGC1α, a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. Together, these results suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction underlies an imbalance of axonal energy and Ca2+ levels and impairs impulse conduction within the saphenous nerve in prediabetic PN.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:Diabetes and prediabetes are leading causes of peripheral neuropathy (PN) worldwide. PN has no cure, but development in diabetes and prediabetes is associated with dyslipidemia, including elevated levels of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids impair mitochondrial dynamics and function in cultured neurons, indicating a role for mitochondrial dysfunction in PN progression; however, the effect of elevated circulating fatty acids on the peripheral nervous system in vivo is unknown. In this study, Sajic et al. identify early pathogenic events in sensory nerve axons of mice with high-fat diet-induced PN, including alterations in mitochondrial function, axonal conduction, and intra-axonal calcium, that provide important insight into potential PN mechanisms associated with prediabetes and dyslipidemia in vivo.
  7. Cells. 2021 Mar 04. pii: 546. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal loss. Unfortunately, despite decades of studies being performed on these histological alterations, there is no effective treatment or cure for AD. Identifying the molecular characteristics of the disease is imperative to understanding the pathogenesis of AD. Furthermore, uncovering the key causative alterations of AD can be valuable in developing models for AD treatment. Several alterations have been implicated in driving this disease, including blood-brain barrier dysfunction, hypoxia, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, glucose hypometabolism, and altered heme homeostasis. Although these alterations have all been associated with the progression of AD, the root cause of AD has not been identified. Intriguingly, recent studies have pinpointed dysfunctional heme metabolism as a culprit of the development of AD. Heme has been shown to be central in neuronal function, mitochondrial respiration, and oxidative stress. Therefore, dysregulation of heme homeostasis may play a pivotal role in the manifestation of AD and its various alterations. This review will discuss the most common neurological and molecular alterations associated with AD and point out the critical role heme plays in the development of this disease.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid beta; heme; mitochondria
  8. Neurotherapeutics. 2021 Apr 01.
      Pridopidine is a selective Sigma-1 receptor (S1R) agonist in clinical development for Huntington disease (HD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. S1R is a chaperone protein localized in mitochondria-associated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes, a signaling platform that regulates Ca2+ signaling, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial fission. Here, we investigate the protective effects of pridopidine on various mitochondrial functions in human and mouse HD models. Pridopidine effects on mitochondrial dynamics were assessed in primary neurons from YAC128 HD mice expressing the mutant human HTT gene. We observe that pridopidine prevents the disruption of mitochondria-ER contact sites and improves the co-localization of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) and its chaperone S1R with mitochondria in YAC128 neurons, leading to increased mitochondrial activity, elongation, and motility. Increased mitochondrial respiration is also observed in YAC128 neurons and in pridopidine-treated HD human neural stem cells (hNSCs). ROS levels were assessed after oxidative insult or S1R knockdown in pridopidine-treated YAC128 neurons, HD hNSCs, and human HD lymphoblasts. All HD models show increased ROS levels and deficient antioxidant response, which are efficiently rescued with pridopidine. Importantly, pridopidine treatment before H2O2-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and S1R presence are required for HD cytoprotection. YAC128 mice treated at early/pre-symptomatic age with pridopidine show significant improvement in motor coordination, indicating a delay in symptom onset. Additionally, in vivo pridopidine treatment reduces mitochondrial ROS levels by normalizing mitochondrial complex activity. In conclusion, S1R-mediated enhancement of mitochondrial function contributes to the neuroprotective effects of pridopidine, providing insight into its mechanism of action and therapeutic potential.
    Keywords:  Huntington disease; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Oxidative stress; Pridopidine; Sigma-1 receptor
  9. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 28. pii: 3487. [Epub ahead of print]22(7):
      Parkinson's disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders worldwide, characterized by a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons mainly localized in the substantia nigra pars compacta. In recent years, the detailed analyses of both genetic and idiopathic forms of the disease have led to a better understanding of the molecular and cellular pathways involved in PD, pointing to the centrality of mitochondrial dysfunctions in the pathogenic process. Failure of mitochondrial quality control is now considered a hallmark of the disease. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 (PGC-1) family acts as a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. Therefore, keeping PGC-1 level in a proper range is fundamental to guarantee functional neurons. Here we review the major findings that tightly bond PD and PGC-1s, raising important points that might lead to future investigations.
    Keywords:  PGC-1; Parkinson’s disease; coactivators; mitochondria; neurodegenerative disease
  10. Genes (Basel). 2021 Mar 29. pii: 505. [Epub ahead of print]12(4):
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and the widespread occurrence of proteinaceous inclusions known as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites. The etiology of PD is still far from clear, but aging has been considered as the highest risk factor influencing the clinical presentations and the progression of PD. Accumulating evidence suggests that aging and PD induce common changes in multiple cellular functions, including redox imbalance, mitochondria dysfunction, and impaired proteostasis. Age-dependent deteriorations in cellular dysfunction may predispose individuals to PD, and cellular damages caused by genetic and/or environmental risk factors of PD may be exaggerated by aging. Mutations in the LRRK2 gene cause late-onset, autosomal dominant PD and comprise the most common genetic causes of both familial and sporadic PD. LRRK2-linked PD patients show clinical and pathological features indistinguishable from idiopathic PD patients. Here, we review cellular dysfunctions shared by aging and PD-associated LRRK2 mutations and discuss how the interplay between the two might play a role in PD pathologies.
    Keywords:  LRRK2; Parkinson’s disease; ROS; aging; autophagy; lysosome; mitochondria
  11. Neurochem Int. 2021 Mar 27. pii: S0197-0186(21)00082-6. [Epub ahead of print] 105036
      Astrocytes, glial cells within the brain, work to protect neurons during high levels of activity by maintaining oxidative homeostasis via regulation of energy supply and antioxidant systems. In recent years, mitochondrial dysfunction has been highlighted as an underlying factor of pathology in many neurological disorders. In animal studies of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), the leading genetic cause of autism, higher levels of reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, and protein oxidation within the brain indicates that mitochondria function is also altered in FXS. Despite their integral contribution to redox homeostasis within the CNS, the role of astrocytes on the occurrence or progression of neurodevelopmental disorders in this way is rarely considered. This study specifically examines changes to astrocyte mitochondrial function and antioxidant expression that may occur in FXS. Using the Fmr1 knockout (KO) mouse model, mitochondrial respiration and reactive oxygen species (ROS) emission were analyzed in primary cortical astrocytes. While mitochondrial respiration was similar between genotypes, ROS emission was significantly elevated in Fmr1 KO astrocytes. Notably, NADPH-oxidase 2 expression in Fmr1 KO astrocytes was also enhanced but only changes in catalase antioxidant enzyme expression were noted. Characterization of astrocyte factors involved in redox imbalance is invaluable to uncovering potential sources of oxidative stress in neurodevelopmental disorders and more specifically, the intercellular mechanisms that contribute to dysfunction in FXS.
    Keywords:  Fragile X Syndrome; antioxidants; astrocyte; mitochondrial respiration; mouse model; oxidative stress; reactive species
  12. Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Apr 01.
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are known to be correlated in terms of their epidemiology, histopathology, and molecular and biochemical characteristics. The prevalence of T2D leading to AD is approximately 50-70%. Moreover, AD is often considered type III diabetes because of the common risk factors. Uncontrolled T2D may affect the brain, leading to memory and learning deficits in patients. In addition, metabolic disorders and impaired oxidative phosphorylation in AD and T2D patients suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in both diseases. The dysregulation of pathways involved in maintaining mitochondrial dynamics, biogenesis and mitophagy are responsible for exacerbating the impact of hyperglycemia on the brain and neurodegeneration under T2D conditions. The first section of this review describes the recent views on mitochondrial dysfunction that connect these two disease conditions, as the pathways are observed to overlap. The second section of the review highlights the importance of different mitochondrial miRNAs (mitomiRs) involved in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics and their association with the pathogenesis of T2D and AD. Therefore, targeting mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy pathways, along with the use of mitomiRs, could be a potent therapeutic strategy for T2D-related AD. The last section of the review highlights the known drugs targeting mitochondrial function for the treatment of both disease conditions.
    Keywords:  Dysfunction; Hyperglycemia; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitophagy; Neurodegeneration
  13. Redox Biol. 2021 Feb 14. pii: S2213-2317(21)00044-6. [Epub ahead of print]41 101896
      A plethora of studies indicate that iron metabolism is dysregulated in Parkinson's disease (PD). The literature reveals well-documented alterations consistent with established dogma, but also intriguing paradoxical observations requiring mechanistic dissection. An important fact is the iron loading in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), which are the cells primarily affected in PD. Assessment of these changes reveal increased expression of proteins critical for iron uptake, namely transferrin receptor 1 and the divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1), and decreased expression of the iron exporter, ferroportin-1 (FPN1). Consistent with this is the activation of iron regulator protein (IRP) RNA-binding activity, which is an important regulator of iron homeostasis, with its activation indicating cytosolic iron deficiency. In fact, IRPs bind to iron-responsive elements (IREs) in the 3ꞌ untranslated region (UTR) of certain mRNAs to stabilize their half-life, while binding to the 5ꞌ UTR prevents translation. Iron loading of dopaminergic neurons in PD may occur through these mechanisms, leading to increased neuronal iron and iron-mediated reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. The "gold standard" histological marker of PD, Lewy bodies, are mainly composed of α-synuclein, the expression of which is markedly increased in PD. Of note, an atypical IRE exists in the α-synuclein 5ꞌ UTR that may explain its up-regulation by increased iron. This dysregulation could be impacted by the unique autonomous pacemaking of dopaminergic neurons of the SNpc that engages L-type Ca+2 channels, which imparts a bioenergetic energy deficit and mitochondrial redox stress. This dysfunction could then drive alterations in iron trafficking that attempt to rescue energy deficits such as the increased iron uptake to provide iron for key electron transport proteins. Considering the increased iron-loading in PD brains, therapies utilizing limited iron chelation have shown success. Greater therapeutic advancements should be possible once the exact molecular pathways of iron processing are dissected.
    Keywords:  Iron; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson's disease
  14. Mitochondrion. 2021 Mar 25. pii: S1567-7249(21)00041-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Epileptogenesis is most commonly associated with neurodegeneration and a bioenergetic defect attributing to the fact that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a key precursor for neuronal death. Mitochondria are the essential organelle of neuronal cells necessary for certain neurophysiological processes like neuronal action potential activity and synaptic transmission. The mitochondrial dysfunction disrupts calcium homeostasis leading to inhibitory interneuron dysfunction and increasing the excitatory postsynaptic potential. In epilepsy, the prolonged repetitive neuronal activity increases the excessive demand for energy and acidosis in the brain further increasing the intracellular calcium causing neuronal death. Similarly, the mitochondrial damage also leads to the decline of energy by dysfunction of the electron transport chain and abnormal production of the ROS triggering the apoptotic neuronal death. Thus, the elevated level of cytosolic calcium causes the mitochondria DNA damage coinciding with mtROS and releasing the cytochrome c binding to Apaf protein further initiating the apoptosis resulting in epileptic encephalopathies. The various genetic and mRNA studies of epilepsy have explored the various pathogenic mutations of genes affecting the mitochondria functioning further initiating the neuronal excitotoxicity. Based on the results of previous studies, the recent therapeutic approaches are targeting basic mitochondrial processes, such as energy metabolism or free-radical generation, or specific interactions of disease-related proteins with mitochondria and hold great promise to attenuate epileptogenesis. Therefore, the current review emphasizes the emerging insights to uncover the relation between mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS generation contributing to mechanisms underlying epileptic seizures.
    Keywords:  Calcium homeostasis; Epilepsy; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Neurodegeneration; Oxidative stress
  15. Redox Biol. 2021 Mar 19. pii: S2213-2317(21)00095-1. [Epub ahead of print]41 101947
      Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Mitochondrial dysfunction is linked to oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in neurotoxicity during AD. Impaired mitochondrial metabolism has been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction in brain damage of AD. While the role of NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4), a major source of ROS, has been identified in brain damage, the mechanism by which NOX4 regulates ferroptosis of astrocytes in AD remains unclear. Here, we show that the protein levels of NOX4 were significantly elevated in impaired astrocytes of cerebral cortex from patients with AD and APP/PS1 double-transgenic mouse model of AD. The levels of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of oxidative stress-induced lipid peroxidation, were significantly also elevated in impaired astrocytes of patients with AD and mouse AD. We demonstrate that the over-expression of NOX4 significantly increases the impairment of mitochondrial metabolism by inhibition of mitochondrial respiration and ATP production via the reduction of five protein complexes in the mitochondrial ETC in human astrocytes. Moreover, the elevation of NOX4 induces oxidative stress by mitochondrial ROS (mtROS) production, mitochondrial fragmentation, and inhibition of cellular antioxidant process in human astrocytes. Furthermore, the elevation of NOX4 increased ferroptosis-dependent cytotoxicity by the activation of oxidative stress-induced lipid peroxidation in human astrocytes. These results suggest that NOX4 promotes ferroptosis of astrocytes by oxidative stress-induced lipid peroxidation via the impairment of mitochondrial metabolism in AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; Ferroptosis; Mitochondrial metabolism; NOX4; Oxidative stress
  16. Eur J Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 30. pii: S0014-2999(21)00226-0. [Epub ahead of print] 174073
      The aim of our work was to study effect of antidepressant imipramine on both thapsigargin- and tunicamycin-induced ER stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. ER stress in SH-SY5Y cells was induced by either tunicamycin or thapsigargin in the presence or absence of imipramine. Cell viability was tested by the MTT assay. Splicing of XBP1 mRNA was studied by RT-PCR. Finally, expression of Hrd1 and Hsp60 was determined by western blot analysis. Our findings provide evidence that at high concentrations imipramine potentiates ER stress-induced death of SH-SY5Y cells. The effect of imipramine on ER stress-induced death of SH-SY5Y cells was stronger in combination of imipramine with thapsigargin. In addition, we have found that treatment of SH-SY5Y cells with imipramine in combination of either thapsigargin or tunicamycin is associated with the alteration of ER stress-induced IRE1α-XBP1 signalling. Despite potentiation of ER stress-induced XBP1 splicing, imipramine suppresses both thapsigargin- and tunicamycin-induced expression of Hrd1. Finally, imipramine in combination with thapsigargin-but not tunicamycin-aggravates ER stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction without significant impact on intracellular mitochondrial content as indicated by the unaltered expression of Hsp60. Our results indicate the possibility that chronic treatment with imipramine might be associated with a higher risk of development and progression of neurodegenerative disorders, in particular those allied with ER stress and mitochondrial dysfunction like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
    Keywords:  cell death; endoplasmic reticulum; imipramine; mitochondria; neurodegenerative disorders; unfolded protein response
  17. Neurotoxicology. 2021 Mar 24. pii: S0161-813X(21)00032-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Parkinson's disease (PD), a common neurodegenerative motor disorder characterized by striatal dopaminergic neuronal loss and localized neuroinflammation in the midbrain region. Activation of microglia is associated with various inflammatory mediators and Kynurenine pathway (KP) being one of the major regulator of immune response, is involved in the neuroinflammatory and neurotoxic cascade in PD. In the current study, 1-Methyltryptophan (1-MT), an Indolamine-2,3-dioxygenase-1 (IDO-1) inhibitor was tested at different doses (2.5 mg/kg, 5 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg) for its effect on behavioral parameters, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, apoptosis, mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotransmitter levels, biochemical and behavioral alterations in unilateral 6-OHDA (3 µg/µL) murine model of PD. The results showed improved locomotion in open field test and motor coordination in rota-rod, reduced oxidative stress, neuroinflammatory markers (TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-6), mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal apoptosis (caspase-3). Also, restoration of neurotransmitter levels (dopamine and homovanillic acid) in the striatum and increased striatal BDNF levels were observed. Overall findings suggest that 1-MT could be a potential candidate for further studies to explore its possibility as an alternative in the pharmacotherapy of PD.
    Keywords:  1-methyl tryptophan; 6-hydroxy dopamine; Kynurenine pathway; Neuroprotection; Parkinson’s disease; indolamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO); neuroinflammation
  18. Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2021 Apr 01. 2021(4): pdb.prot106807
      Notable for producing ATP via oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondria also control calcium homeostasis, lipogenesis, the regulation of reactive oxygen species, and apoptosis. Even within relatively simple cells, mitochondria are heterogeneous with regard to their shape, abundance, movement, and subcellular locations. They exist as interconnected, tubular networks and as motile organelles that are transported along the cytoskeleton for distribution throughout cells. These spatial and morphological features reflect variability in the organelle's capacity to synthesize ATP and support cells. Changes to mitochondria are believed to support cell function and fate, and mitochondrial dysfunction underlies disease in the nervous system. Here we describe an in vivo time-lapse imaging approach to monitor and measure the movement and position of the mitochondria in cells of the developing brain in albino Xenopus laevis tadpoles. The unparalleled benefit of using Xenopus for these experiments is that measurements of mitochondrial morphology and distribution in cells can be measured in vivo, where the surrounding neural circuitry and other inputs that influence these critical organelles remain intact. This protocol draws together techniques to label brain cells and capture the morphology of the cells and their mitochondria with 3D time-lapse confocal microscopy. We describe open-source methods to reconstruct cells in order to quantify the features of their mitochondria.
  19. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Mar 29.
      Excessive mitophagy plays a role in neuronal death in spinal cord injury (SCI), its molecular regulation remains largely unknown. The present study aims to determine the role of NIX, a member of a unique subfamily of death-inducing mitochondrial proteins, in the regulation of mitophagy in SCI. Here we show that NIX is highly upregulated in SCI and hypoxia, and localized to mitochondria. The mitochondria-bound NIX interacts with autophagosome-localized LC3 (Microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3) to form a mitochondria-NIX-LC3-autophagosome complex, resulting in excessive mitophagy in SCI. Downregulation of NIX by RNA interference restores the function of mitochondria in spinal cord neurons under hypoxia. Importantly, inhibition of NIX improves recovery of locomotor function in rats after SCI. The present study demonstrates that NIX interacts with LC3 to activate excessive mitophagy in SCI. Inhibition of NIX is therefore likely a neuroprotective strategy.
    Keywords:  Hypoxia; LC3; Mitophagy; NIX; Spinal cord injury
  20. Mitochondrion. 2021 Mar 25. pii: S1567-7249(21)00040-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Calcium ions (Ca2+) act as secondary messengers in a plethora of cellular processes and play crucial role in organelle function and homeostasis. The average resting concentration of Ca2+ is nearly 100 nM and in certain cells it can reach up to 1 µM. The high range of Ca2+ concentration across the plasma membrane and intracellular Ca2+ stores demands a well-coordinated maintenance of free Ca2+ via influx, efflux, buffering and storage. Endoplasmic Reticulum and Mitochondria dependent on Ca2+ for their function and also serve as major intracellular Ca2+ stores. The ER-mitochondria interplay helps in orchestrating cellular calcium homeostasis to avoid any detrimental effect resulting from Ca2+ overload or depletion. Since it plays a central role in many biological processes it is an essential component of the virus-host interactions. The large gradient across membranes enables the viruses to easily modulate this buffered environment to meet their needs. Viruses exploit Ca2+ signaling to establish productive infection and evade the host immune defenses. In this review we will detail the interplay between the viruses and cellular & ER-mitochondrial calcium signaling and attempt to detail the significance of these events on viral life cycle and disease pathogenesis.
  21. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Apr 06. pii: e2020215118. [Epub ahead of print]118(14):
      Autophagy is a catabolic pathway that provides self-nourishment and maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Autophagy is a fundamental cell protection pathway through metabolic recycling of various intracellular cargos and supplying the breakdown products. Here, we report an autophagy function in governing cell protection during cellular response to energy crisis through cell metabolic rewiring. We observe a role of selective type of autophagy in direct activation of cyclic AMP protein kinase A (PKA) and rejuvenation of mitochondrial function. Mechanistically, autophagy selectively degrades the inhibitory subunit RI of PKA holoenzyme through A-kinase-anchoring protein (AKAP) 11. AKAP11 acts as an autophagy receptor that recruits RI to autophagosomes via LC3. Glucose starvation induces AKAP11-dependent degradation of RI, resulting in PKA activation that potentiates PKA-cAMP response element-binding signaling, mitochondria respiration, and ATP production in accordance with mitochondrial elongation. AKAP11 deficiency inhibits PKA activation and impairs cell survival upon glucose starvation. Our results thus expand the view of autophagy cytoprotection mechanism by demonstrating selective autophagy in RI degradation and PKA activation that fuels the mitochondrial metabolism and confers cell resistance to glucose deprivation implicated in tumor growth.
    Keywords:  AKAP11; PKA; autophagy; cell survival; mitochondrial metabolism
  22. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 30. 12(1): 1971
      Most cells constitutively secrete mitochondrial DNA and proteins in extracellular vesicles (EVs). While EVs are small vesicles that transfer material between cells, Mitochondria-Derived Vesicles (MDVs) carry material specifically between mitochondria and other organelles. Mitochondrial content can enhance inflammation under pro-inflammatory conditions, though its role in the absence of inflammation remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that cells actively prevent the packaging of pro-inflammatory, oxidized mitochondrial proteins that would act as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) into EVs. Importantly, we find that the distinction between material to be included into EVs and damaged mitochondrial content to be excluded is dependent on selective targeting to one of two distinct MDV pathways. We show that Optic Atrophy 1 (OPA1) and sorting nexin 9 (Snx9)-dependent MDVs are required to target mitochondrial proteins to EVs, while the Parkinson's disease-related protein Parkin blocks this process by directing damaged mitochondrial content to lysosomes. Our results provide insight into the interplay between mitochondrial quality control mechanisms and mitochondria-driven immune responses.
  23. Sci Rep. 2021 Apr 01. 11(1): 7320
      DJ-1/PARK7 mutations are linked with familial forms of early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD). We have studied the degradation of untagged DJ-1 wild type (WT) and missense mutants in mouse embryonic fibroblasts obtained from DJ-1-null mice, an approach closer to the situation in patients carrying homozygous mutations. The results showed that the mutants L10P, M26I, A107P, P158Δ, L166P, E163K, and L172Q are unstable proteins, while A39S, E64D, R98Q, A104T, D149A, A171S, K175E, and A179T are as stable as DJ-1 WT. Inhibition of proteasomal and autophagic-lysosomal pathways had little effect on their degradation. Immunofluorescence and biochemical fractionation studies indicated that M26I, A107P, P158Δ, L166P, E163K, and L172Q mutants associate with mitochondria. Silencing of mitochondrial matrix protease LonP1 produced a strong reduction of the degradation of the mitochondrial-associated DJ-1 mutants A107P, P158Δ, L166P, E163K, and L172Q but not of mutant L10P. These results demonstrated a mitochondrial pathway of degradation of those DJ-1 missense mutants implicated in PD pathogenesis.
  24. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 656201
      Human life expectancy continues to grow globally, and so does the prevalence of age-related chronic diseases, causing a huge medical and economic burden on society. Effective therapeutic options for these disorders are scarce, and even if available, are typically limited to a single comorbidity in a multifaceted dysfunction that inevitably affects all organ systems. Thus, novel therapies that target fundamental processes of aging itself are desperately needed. In this article, we summarize current strategies that successfully delay aging and related diseases by targeting mitochondria and protein homeostasis. In particular, we focus on autophagy, as a fundamental proteostatic process that is intimately linked to mitochondrial quality control. We present genetic and pharmacological interventions that effectively extend health- and life-span by acting on specific mitochondrial and pro-autophagic molecular targets. In the end, we delve into the crosstalk between autophagy and mitochondria, in what we refer to as the mitochondria-proteostasis axis, and explore the prospect of targeting this crosstalk to harness maximal therapeutic potential of anti-aging interventions.
    Keywords:  aging; anti-aging targets; autophagy; mitochondria; proteostasis
  25. Mol Cell. 2021 Mar 25. pii: S1097-2765(21)00169-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      The sequestration of damaged mitochondria within double-membrane structures termed autophagosomes is a key step of PINK1/Parkin mitophagy. The ATG4 family of proteases are thought to regulate autophagosome formation exclusively by processing the ubiquitin-like ATG8 family (LC3/GABARAPs). We discover that human ATG4s promote autophagosome formation independently of their protease activity and of ATG8 family processing. ATG4 proximity networks reveal a role for ATG4s and their proximity partners, including the immune-disease protein LRBA, in ATG9A vesicle trafficking to mitochondria. Artificial intelligence-directed 3D electron microscopy of phagophores shows that ATG4s promote phagophore-ER contacts during the lipid-transfer phase of autophagosome formation. We also show that ATG8 removal during autophagosome maturation does not depend on ATG4 activity. Instead, ATG4s can disassemble ATG8-protein conjugates, revealing a role for ATG4s as deubiquitinating-like enzymes. These findings establish non-canonical roles of the ATG4 family beyond the ATG8 lipidation axis and provide an AI-driven framework for rapid 3D electron microscopy.
    Keywords:  ATG4; ATG9a; FIB-SEM; LRBA; PINK1; Parkin; autophagosome; autophagy; mitochondria; mitophagy
  26. J Huntingtons Dis. 2021 Mar 23.
      Although Huntington's disease (HD) is classically considered from the perspective of the motor syndrome, the cognitive changes in HD are prominent and often an early manifestation of disease. As such, investigating the underlying pathophysiology of cognitive changes may give insight into important and early neurodegenerative events. In this review, we first discuss evidence from both HD patients and animal models that cognitive changes correlate with early pathological changes at the synapse, an observation that is similarly made in other neurodegenerative conditions that primarily affect cognition. We then describe how autophagy plays a critical role supporting synaptic maintenance in the healthy brain, and how autophagy dysfunction in HD may thereby lead to impaired synaptic maintenance and thus early manifestations of disease.
    Keywords:  Huntington’s disease; autophagy; cognition; synapse; synaptic dysfunction
  27. Cells. 2021 Mar 15. pii: 649. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      Advanced age is the greatest risk factor for aging-related brain disorders including Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the detailed mechanisms that mechanistically link aging and AD remain elusive. In recent years, a mitochondrial hypothesis of brain aging and AD has been accentuated. Mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) is a mitochondrial response to intramitochondrial and intracellular stresses. mPTP overactivation has been implicated in mitochondrial dysfunction in aging and AD brains. This review summarizes the up-to-date progress in the study of mPTP in aging and AD and attempts to establish a link between brain aging and AD from a perspective of mPTP-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; brain aging; mitochondrial permeability transition
  28. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 624919
      Neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases are a major public health problem worldwide, especially with the increase of life-expectancy observed during the last decades. For many of these diseases, we still lack a full understanding of their etiology and pathophysiology. Nonetheless their association with mitochondrial dysfunction highlights this organelle as an important player during CNS homeostasis and disease. Markers of Parkinson (PD) and Alzheimer (AD) diseases are able to induce innate immune pathways induced by alterations in mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis leading to neuroinflammation. Additionally, exacerbated type I IFN responses triggered by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), failures in mitophagy, ER-mitochondria communication and mtROS production promote neurodegeneration. On the other hand, regulation of mitochondrial dynamics is essential for CNS health maintenance and leading to the induction of IL-10 and reduction of TNF-α secretion, increased cell viability and diminished cell injury in addition to reduced oxidative stress. Thus, although previously solely seen as power suppliers to organelles and molecular processes, it is now well established that mitochondria have many other important roles, including during immune responses. Here, we discuss the importance of these mitochondrial dynamics during neuroinflammation, and how they correlate either with the amelioration or worsening of CNS disease.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer disease; Parkinson disease; mitochondria; multiple sclerosis; neurodegenerative diseases; neuroinflammation
  29. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Mar 20. pii: 487. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      Young age is often characterized by high consumption of processed foods and fruit juices rich in fructose, which, besides inducing a tendency to become overweight, can promote alterations in brain function. The aim of this study was therefore to (a) clarify brain effects resulting from fructose consumption in juvenile age, a critical phase for brain development, and (b) verify whether these alterations can be rescued after removing fructose from the diet. Young rats were fed a fructose-rich or control diet for 3 weeks. Fructose-fed rats were then fed a control diet for a further 3 weeks. We evaluated mitochondrial bioenergetics by high-resolution respirometry in the hippocampus, a brain area that is critically involved in learning and memory. Glucose transporter-5, fructose and uric acid levels, oxidative status, and inflammatory and synaptic markers were investigated by Western blotting and spectrophotometric or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. A short-term fructose-rich diet induced mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress, associated with an increased concentration of inflammatory markers and decreased Neurofilament-M and post-synaptic density protein 95. These alterations, except for increases in haptoglobin and nitrotyrosine, were recovered by returning to a control diet. Overall, our results point to the dangerous effects of excessive consumption of fructose in young age but also highlight the effect of partial recovery by switching back to a control diet.
    Keywords:  PSD-95; fructose diet; haptoglobin; hippocampus; inflammation; mitochondria; neurofilament-M; oxidative stress; young rat
  30. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 632843
      Alzheimer's disease (AD), one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, has no effective treatment. We studied the potential effects of tetramethylpyrazine (TMP), an alkaloid in the rhizome of Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort. used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (chuānxiong) to treat ischemic stroke, on AD progression in two AD mouse models. Eight-month-old 3xTg-AD mice received TMP treatment (10 mg/kg/d) for 1 month, and 4-month-old APP/PS1-AD mice received TMP treatment (10 mg/kg/d) for 2 months. Behavioral tests, including step-down passive avoidance (SDA), new object recognition (NOR), Morris water maze (MWM), and Contextual fear conditioning test showed that TMP significantly improved the learning and memory of the two AD-transgenic mice. In addition, TMP reduced beta-amyloid (Aß) levels and tau phosphorylation (p-tau). Venny map pointed out that 116 proteins were commonly changed in 3xTg mice vs. wild type (WT) mice and TMP-treated mice vs. -untreated mice. The same 130 proteins were commonly changed in APP/PS1 mice vs. WT mice and TMP-treated mice vs. -untreated mice. The functions of the common proteins modified by TMP in the two models were mainly involved in mitochondrial, synaptic, cytoskeleton, ATP binding, and GTP binding. Mitochondrial omics analysis revealed 21 and 20 differentially expressed mitochondrial proteins modified by TMP in 3xTg-AD mice and APP/PS1 mice, respectively. These differential proteins were located in the mitochondrial inner membrane, mitochondrial outer membrane, mitochondrial gap, and mitochondrial matrix, and the function of some proteins is closely related to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Western-blot analysis confirmed that TMP changed the expression of OXPHOS complex proteins (sdhb, ndufa10, uqcrfs1, cox5b, atp5a) in the hippocampus of the two AD mice. Taken together, we demonstrated that TMP treatment changed the hippocampal proteome, reduced AD pathology, and reduced cognitive impairment in the two AD models. The changes might be associated with modification of the mitochondrial protein profile by TMP. The results of the study suggest that TMP can improve the symptoms of AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; OxPhoS; mitochondria; proteomics; tetramethylpyrazine
  31. Biomed Res Int. 2021 ;2021 6616434
      Objective: In this study, we aimed to identify critical genes and pathways for multiple brain regions in Parkinson's disease (PD) by weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA).Methods: From the GEO database, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were separately identified between the substantia nigra, putamen, prefrontal cortex area, and cingulate gyrus of PD and normal samples with the screening criteria of p value < 0.05 and ∣log2fold change (FC) | >0.585. Then, a coexpression network was presented by the WGCNA package. Gene modules related to PD were constructed. Then, PD-related DEGs were used for construction of PPI networks. Hub genes were determined by the cytoHubba plug-in. Functional enrichment analysis was then performed.
    Results: DEGs were identified for the substantia nigra (17 upregulated and 52 downregulated genes), putamen (317 upregulated and 317 downregulated genes), prefrontal cortex area (39 upregulated and 72 downregulated genes), and cingulate gyrus (116 upregulated and 292 downregulated genes) of PD compared to normal samples. Gene modules were separately built for the four brain regions of PD. PPI networks revealed hub genes for the substantia nigra (SLC6A3, SLC18A2, and TH), putamen (BMP4 and SNAP25), prefrontal cortex area (SNAP25), and cingulate gyrus (CTGF, CDH1, and COL5A1) of PD. These DEGs in multiple brain regions were involved in distinct biological functions and pathways. GSEA showed that these DEGs were all significantly enriched in electron transport chain, proteasome degradation, and synaptic vesicle pathway.
    Conclusion: Our findings revealed critical genes and pathways for multiple brain regions in PD, which deepened the understanding of PD-related molecular mechanisms.
  32. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 17. pii: 3064. [Epub ahead of print]22(6):
      Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) are essential for cell growth, survival, synaptic plasticity, and maintenance of specific neuronal population in the central nervous system. Multiple studies have demonstrated that alterations in the levels and activities of NTFs are related to the pathology and symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Huntington's disease. Hence, the key molecule that can regulate the expression of NTFs is an important target for gene therapy coupling adeno-associated virus vector (AAV) gene. We have previously reported that the Ras homolog protein enriched in brain (Rheb)-mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) axis plays a vital role in preventing neuronal death in the brain of AD and PD patients. AAV transduction using a constitutively active form of Rheb exerts a neuroprotective effect through the upregulation of NTFs, thereby promoting the neurotrophic interaction between astrocytes and neurons in AD conditions. These findings suggest the role of Rheb as an important regulator of the regulatory system of NTFs to treat neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we present an overview of the role of Rheb in neurodegenerative diseases and summarize the therapeutic potential of AAV serotype 1 (AAV1)-Rheb(S16H) transduction in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, focusing on diseases, such as AD and PD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; Rheb(S16H); neurodegenerative disease; neurotrophic factor
  33. Biology (Basel). 2021 Mar 26. pii: 268. [Epub ahead of print]10(4):
      Mitochondria are dynamic organelles capable of fusing, dividing, and moving about the cell. These properties are especially important in neurons, which in addition to high energy demand, have unique morphological properties with long axons. Notably, mitochondrial dysfunction causes a variety of neurological disorders including peripheral neuropathy, which is linked to impaired mitochondrial dynamics. Nonetheless, exactly why peripheral neurons are especially sensitive to impaired mitochondrial dynamics remains somewhat enigmatic. Although the prevailing view is that longer peripheral nerves are more sensitive to the loss of mitochondrial motility, this explanation is insufficient. Here, we review pathogenic variants in proteins mediating mitochondrial fusion, fission and transport that cause peripheral neuropathy. In addition to highlighting other dynamic processes that are impacted in peripheral neuropathies, we focus on impaired mitochondrial quality control as a potential unifying theme for why mitochondrial dysfunction and impairments in mitochondrial dynamics in particular cause peripheral neuropathy.
    Keywords:  fission; fusion; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; neuropathy; quality control; transport
  34. Front Neurosci. 2021 ;15 587197
      Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most harmful forms of acute brain injury and predicted to be one of the three major neurological diseases that cause neurological disabilities by 2030. A series of secondary injury cascades often cause cognitive dysfunction of TBI patients leading to poor prognosis. However, there are still no effective intervention measures, which drive us to explore new therapeutic targets. In this process, the most part of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is ignored because its initial symptoms seemed not serious. Unfortunately, the ignored mTBI accounts for 80% of the total TBI, and a large part of the patients have long-term cognitive dysfunction. Iron deposition has been observed in mTBI patients and accompanies the whole pathological process. Iron accumulation may affect long-term cognitive dysfunction from three pathways: local injury, iron deposition induces tau phosphorylation, the formation of neurofibrillary tangles; neural cells death; and neural network damage, iron deposition leads to axonal injury by utilizing the iron sensibility of oligodendrocytes. Thus, iron overload and metabolism dysfunction was thought to play a pivotal role in mTBI pathophysiology. Cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons (CSF-cNs) located in the ependyma have bidirectional communication function between cerebral-spinal fluid and brain parenchyma, and may participate in the pathway of iron-induced cognitive dysfunction through projected nerve fibers and transmitted factor, such as 5-hydroxytryptamine, etc. The present review provides an overview of the metabolism and function of iron in mTBI, and to seek a potential new treatment target for mTBI with a novel perspective through combined iron and CSF-cNs.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cerebrospinal-fluid contacting neuron; cognitive dysfunction; iron metabolism; traumatic brain injury
  35. J Neurochem. 2021 Apr 02.
      Converging lines of evidence from several models, and post-mortem human brain tissue studies, support the involvement of the kynurenine pathway (KP) in Huntington's disease (HD) pathogenesis. Quantifying KP metabolites in HD biofluids is desirable, both to study pathobiology, and as a potential source of biomarkers to quantify pathway dysfunction and evaluate the biochemical impact of therapeutic interventions targeting its components. In a prospective single-site controlled cohort study with standardised collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), blood, phenotypic and imaging data, we used high-performance liquid-chromatography to measure the levels of KP metabolites - tryptophan, kynurenine, kynurenic acid, 3-hydroxykynurenine, anthranilic acid and quinolinic acid - in CSF and plasma of 80 participants (20 healthy controls, 20 premanifest HD, and 40 manifest HD). We investigated short-term stability, intergroup differences, associations with clinical and imaging measures, and derived sample-size calculation for future studies. Overall, KP metabolites in CSF and plasma were stable over 6 weeks, displayed no significant group differences and were not associated with clinical or imaging measures. We conclude that the studied metabolites are readily and reliably quantifiable in both biofluids in controls and HD gene expansion carriers. However, we found little evidence to support a substantial derangement of the KP in HD, at least to the extent that it is reflected by the levels of the metabolites in patient-derived biofluids.
    Keywords:  Biomarkers; Blood; Cerebrospinal Fluid; Cohort Studies; Huntington Disease; Kynurenine
  36. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 6688708
      As the most abundant marine carotenoid extracted from seaweeds, fucoxanthin (FUC) is considered to have excellent neuroprotective activity. However, the target of FUC for its neuroprotective properties remains largely unclear. Oxidative stress is one of the initiating factors causing neuronal cell loss and necrosis, and it is also an important inducement of Parkinson's disease (PD). In the present study, the neuroprotective effect of FUC was assessed using a 6-hydroxydopamine- (6-OHDA-) induced neurotoxicity model. FUC suppressed 6-OHDA-induced accumulation of intracellular ROS, the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential, and cell apoptosis through the Nrf2-ARE pathway. Keap1 as a repressor of Nrf2 can regulate the activity of Nrf2. Here, the biolayer interferometry (BLI) assay demonstrated that FUC specifically targeted Keap1 and inhibited the interaction between Keap1 and Nrf2. FUC bound to the hydrophobic region of Keap1 pocket and formed hydrogen bonding interactions with Arg415 and Tyr525. Besides, it also dose-dependently upregulated the expressions of antioxidant enzymes, such as nicotinamide heme oxygenase-1, glutamate-cysteine ligase modifier subunit, and glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic subunit, in 6-OHDA-induced PC12 cells. In 6-OHDA-exposed zebrafish, FUC pretreatment significantly increased the total swimming distance of zebrafish larvae and improved the granular region of the brain tissue damage. These results suggested that FUC could protect the neuronal cells against 6-OHDA-induced injury via targeting Keap1.
  37. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 24. pii: 3330. [Epub ahead of print]22(7):
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a debilitating neurological disorder, and currently, there is no cure for it. Several pathologic alterations have been described in the brain of AD patients, but the ultimate causative mechanisms of AD are still elusive. The classic hallmarks of AD, including amyloid plaques (Aβ) and tau tangles (tau), are the most studied features of AD. Unfortunately, all the efforts targeting these pathologies have failed to show the desired efficacy in AD patients so far. Neuroinflammation and impaired autophagy are two other main known pathologies in AD. It has been reported that these pathologies exist in AD brain long before the emergence of any clinical manifestation of AD. Microglia are the main inflammatory cells in the brain and are considered by many researchers as the next hope for finding a viable therapeutic target in AD. Interestingly, it appears that the autophagy and mitophagy are also changed in these cells in AD. Inside the cells, autophagy and inflammation interact in a bidirectional manner. In the current review, we briefly discussed an overview on autophagy and mitophagy in AD and then provided a comprehensive discussion on the role of these pathways in microglia and their involvement in AD pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s; autophagy; inflammation; microglia; mitochondria; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation
  38. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 628777
      Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) caused by a sudden impact to the head alter behavior and impair physical and cognitive function. Besides the severity, type and area of the brain affected, the outcome of TBI is also influenced by the patient's biological sex. Previous studies reporting mitochondrial dysfunction mainly focused on exponential reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, increased mitochondrial membrane potential, and altered mitochondrial dynamics as a key player in the outcome to brain injury. In this study, we evaluated the effect of a near-infrared (NIR) light exposure on gene expression in a Drosophila TBI model. NIR interacts with cytochrome c oxidase (COX) of the electron transport chain to reduce mitochondrial membrane potential hyperpolarization, attenuate ROS generation, and apoptosis. We subjected w 1118 male and female flies to TBI using a high-impact trauma (HIT) device and subsequently exposed the isolated fly brains to a COX-inhibitory wavelength of 750 nm for 2 hours (hr). Genome-wide 3'-mRNA-sequencing of fly brains revealed that injured w 1118 females exhibit greater changes in transcription compared to males at 1, 2, and 4 hours (hr) after TBI. Inhibiting COX by exposure to NIR downregulates gene expression in injured females but has minimal effect in injured males. Our results suggest that mitochondrial COX modulation with NIR alters gene expression in Drosophila following TBI and the response to injury and NIR exposure varies by biological sex.
    Keywords:  gene expression; mitochondria; near-infrared light; sex-differences; traumatic brain injury