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Mol Neurobiol. 2018 May;55(5):4207-4224. doi: 10.1007/s12035-017-0631-2. Epub 2017 Jun 13.

Downregulated Glia Interplay and Increased miRNA-155 as Promising Markers to Track ALS at an Early Stage.

Author information

1
Neuron Glia Biology in Health and Disease Group, Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Professor Gama Pinto, 1649-003, Lisbon, Portugal.
2
Department of Biochemistry and Human Biology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.
3
Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.
4
Instituto de Farmacologia e Neurociências, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal.
5
Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal.
6
Neuron Glia Biology in Health and Disease Group, Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Professor Gama Pinto, 1649-003, Lisbon, Portugal. dbrites@ff.ulisboa.pt.
7
Department of Biochemistry and Human Biology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. dbrites@ff.ulisboa.pt.

Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause. Absence of specific targets and biomarkers compromise the development of new therapeutic strategies and of innovative tools to stratify patients and assess their responses to treatment. Here, we investigate changes in neuroprotective-neuroinflammatory actions in the spinal cord of SOD1 G93A mice, at presymptomatic and symptomatic stages to identify stage-specific biomarkers and potential targets. Results showed that in the presymptomatic stage, there are alterations in both astrocytes and microglia, which comprise decreased expression of GFAP and S100B and upregulation of GLT-1, as well as reduced expression of CD11b, M2-phenotype markers, and a set of inflammatory mediators. Reduced levels of Connexin-43, Pannexin-1, CCL21, and CX3CL1 further indicate the existence of a compromised intercellular communication. In contrast, in the symptomatic stage, increased markers of inflammation became evident, such as NF-κB/Nlrp3-inflammasome, Iba1, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and M1-polarizion markers, together with a decreased expression of M2-phenotypic markers. We also observed upregulation of the CX3CL1-CX3CR1 axis, Connexin-43, Pannexin-1, and of microRNAs (miR)-124, miR-125b, miR-146a and miR-21. Reduced motor neuron number and presence of reactive astrocytes with decreased GFAP, GLT-1, and GLAST further characterized this inflammatory stage. Interestingly, upregulation of miR-155 and downregulation of MFG-E8 appear as consistent biomarkers of both presymptomatic and symptomatic stages. We hypothesize that downregulated cellular interplay at the early stages may represent neuroprotective mechanisms against inflammation, SOD1 aggregation, and ALS onset. The present study identified a set of inflamma-miRNAs, NLRP3-inflammasome, HMGB1, CX3CL1-CX3CR1, Connexin-43, and Pannexin-1 as emerging candidates and promising pharmacological targets that may represent potential neuroprotective strategies in ALS therapy.

KEYWORDS:

ALS biomarkers; Astrocytes and microglia function; Inflamma-miRNAs; Motor neuron-glia communication; Presymptomatic and symptomatic stages; Transgenic SOD1G93A mice

PMID:
28612258
DOI:
10.1007/s12035-017-0631-2

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