bims-metalz Biomed News
on Metabolic causes of Alzheimer’s disease
Issue of 2024‒02‒11
three papers selected by
Mikaila Chetty, Goa University

  1. Neurotox Res. 2024 Feb 06. 42(1): 11
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world, the first being Alzheimer's disease. Patients with PD have a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra of the basal ganglia, which controls voluntary movements, causing a motor impairment as a result of dopaminergic signaling impairment. Studies have shown that mutations in several genes, such as SNCA, PARK2, PINK1, DJ-1, ATP13A2, and LRRK2, and the exposure to neurotoxic agents can potentially increase the chances of PD development. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) plays an important role in studying the risk factors, such as genetic factors, aging, exposure to chemicals, disease progression, and drug treatments for PD. C. elegans has a conserved neurotransmission system during evolution; it produces dopamine, through the eight dopaminergic neurons; it can be used to study the effect of neurotoxins and also has strains that express human α-synuclein. Furthermore, the human PD-related genes, LRK-1, PINK-1, PDR-1, DJR-1.1, and CATP-6, are present and functional in this model. Therefore, this review focuses on highlighting and discussing the use of C. elegans an in vivo model in PD-related studies. Here, we identified that nematodes exposed to the neurotoxins, such as 6-OHDA, MPTP, paraquat, and rotenone, had a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons, dopamine deficits, and decreased survival rate. Several studies have reported that expression of human LRRK2 (G2019S) caused neurodegeneration and pink-1, pdr-1, and djr-1.1 deletion caused several effects PD-related in C. elegans, including mitochondrial dysfunctions. Of note, the deletion of catp-6 in nematodes caused behavioral dysfunction, mitochondrial damage, and reduced survival. In addition, nematodes expressing α-synuclein had neurodegeneration and dopamine-dependent deficits. Therefore, C. elegans can be considered an accurate animal model of PD that can be used to elucidate to assess the underlying mechanisms implicated in PD to find novel therapeutic targets.
    Keywords:  Caenorhabditis elegans; Neurotoxins; PD-related genes; Parkinson’s disease
  2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2024 Feb 13. 121(7): e2302660121
      The pharynx of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a neuromuscular organ that exhibits typical pumping motions, which result in the intake of food particles from the environment. In-depth inspection reveals slightly different dynamics at the various pharyngeal areas, rather than synchronous pumping motions of the whole organ, which are important for its effective functioning. While the different pumping dynamics are well characterized, the underlying mechanisms that generate them are not known. In this study, the C. elegans pharynx was modeled in a bottom-up fashion, including all of the underlying biological processes that lead to, and including, its end function, food intake. The mathematical modeling of all processes allowed performing comprehensive, quantitative analyses of the system as a whole. Our analyses provided detailed explanations for the various pumping dynamics generated at the different pharyngeal areas; a fine-resolution description of muscle dynamics, both between and within different pharyngeal areas; a quantitative assessment of the values of many parameters of the system that are unavailable in the literature; and support for a functional role of the marginal cells, which are currently assumed to mainly have a structural role in the pharynx. In addition, our model predicted that in tiny organisms such as C. elegans, the generation of long-lasting action potentials must involve ions other than calcium. Our study exemplifies the power of mathematical models, which allow a more accurate, higher-resolution inspection of the studied system, and an easier and faster execution of in silico experiments than feasible in the lab.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; mathematical model; muscle dynamics; pharynx; pumping
  3. Sci Rep. 2024 02 07. 14(1): 3158
      Magnolol is a naturally occurring polyphenolic compound in many edible plants, which has various biological effects including anti-aging and alleviating neurodegenerative diseases. However, the underlying mechanism on longevity is uncertain. In this study, we investigated the effect of magnolol on the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans and explored the mechanism. The results showed that magnolol treatment significantly extended the  lifespan of nematode and alleviated senescence-related decline in the nematode model. Meanwhile, magnolol enhanced stress resistance to heat shock, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), mercuric potassium chloride (MeHgCl) and paraquat (PQ) in nematode. In addition, magnolol reduced reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, and increased superoxide dismutase and catalase (CAT) activities in nematodes. Magnolol also up-regulated gene expression of sod-3, hsp16.2, ctl-3, daf-16, skn-1, hsf-1, sir2.1, etc., down-regulated gene expression of daf-2, and promoted intranuclear translocation of daf-16 in nematodes. The lifespan-extending effect of magnolol were reversed in insulin/IGF signaling (IIS) pathway-related mutant lines, including daf-2, age-1, daf-16, skn-1, hsf-1 and sir-2.1, suggesting that IIS signaling is involved in the modulation of longevity by magnolol. Furthermore, magnolol improved the age-related neurodegeneration in PD and AD C. elegans models. These results indicate that magnolol may enhance lifespan and health span through IIS and sir-2.1 pathways. Thus, the current findings implicate magnolol as a potential candidate to ameliorate the symptoms of aging.