bims-curels Biomed News
on Leigh syndrome
Issue of 2023‒02‒12
three papers selected by
Cure Mito Foundation

  1. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 1068498
      Neuroinflammation is one of the main mechanisms leading to neuronal death and dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. The role of microglia as primary mediators of inflammation is unclear in Leigh syndrome (LS) patients. This study aims to elucidate the role of microglia in LS progression by a detailed multipronged analysis of LS neuropathology, mouse and human induced pluripotent stem cells models of Leigh syndrome. We described brain pathology in three cases of Leigh syndrome and performed immunohistochemical staining of autopsy brain of LS patients. We used mouse model of LS (Ndufs4-/-) to study the effect of microglial partial ablation using pharmacologic approach. Genetically modified human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) derived neurons and brain organoid with Ndufs4 mutation were used to investigate the neuroinflammation in LS. We reported a novel observation of marked increased in Iba1+ cells with features of activated microglia, in various parts of brain in postmortem neuropathological examinations of three Leigh syndrome patients. Using an Ndufs4-/- mouse model for Leigh syndrome, we showed that partial ablation of microglia by Pexidartinib initiated at the symptom onset improved neurological function and significantly extended lifespan. Ndufs4 mutant LS brain organoid had elevated NLRP3 and IL6 pro-inflammatory pathways. Ndufs4-mutant LS iPSC neurons were more susceptible to glutamate excitotoxicity, which was further potentiated by IL-6. Our findings of LS human brain pathology, Ndufs4-deficient mouse and iPSC models of LS suggest a critical role of activated microglia in the progression of LS encephalopathy. This study suggests a potential clinical application of microglial ablation and immunosuppression during the active phase of Leigh syndrome.
    Keywords:  Leigh syndrome; Ndufs4; Pexidartinib; brain organoid; microglia; neuroinflammation
  2. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2023 Feb 04.
      Most rare diseases are caused by single-gene mutations, and as such, lend themselves to a host of new gene-targeted therapies and technologies including antisense oligonucleotides, phosphomorpholinos, small interfering RNAs, and a variety of gene delivery and gene editing systems. Early successes are encouraging, however, given the substantial number of distinct rare diseases, the ability to scale these successes will be unsustainable without new development efficiencies. Herein, we discuss the need for genomic newborn screening to match pace with the growing development of targeted therapeutics and ability to rapidly develop individualized therapies for rare variants. We offer approaches to move beyond conventional "one disease at a time" preclinical and clinical drug development and discuss planned regulatory innovations that are necessary to speed therapy delivery to individuals in need. These proposals leverage the shared properties of platform classes of therapeutics and innovative trial designs including master and platform protocols to better serve patients and accelerate drug development. Ultimately, there are risks to these novel approaches; however, we believe that close partnership and transparency between health authorities, patients, researchers, and drug developers present the path forward to overcome these challenges and deliver on the promise of gene-targeted therapies for rare diseases.
  3. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jan 19. pii: 1969. [Epub ahead of print]24(3):
      Mitochondrial diseases (MDs) are inherited genetic conditions characterized by pathogenic mutations in nuclear DNA (nDNA) or mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Current therapies are still far from being fully effective and from covering the broad spectrum of mutations in mtDNA. For example, unlike heteroplasmic conditions, MDs caused by homoplasmic mtDNA mutations do not yet benefit from advances in molecular approaches. An attractive method of providing dysfunctional cells and/or tissues with healthy mitochondria is mitochondrial transplantation. In this review, we discuss what is known about intercellular transfer of mitochondria and the methods used to transfer mitochondria both in vitro and in vivo, and we provide an outlook on future therapeutic applications. Overall, the transfer of healthy mitochondria containing wild-type mtDNA copies could induce a heteroplasmic shift even when homoplasmic mtDNA variants are present, with the aim of attenuating or preventing the progression of pathological clinical phenotypes. In summary, mitochondrial transplantation is a challenging but potentially ground-breaking option for the treatment of various mitochondrial pathologies, although several questions remain to be addressed before its application in mitochondrial medicine.
    Keywords:  mitochondria; mitochondrial diseases; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial medicine; mitochondrial transplantation