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eLife ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 10 ◽  
Julia Kuhn ◽  
Ilia D Vainchtein ◽  
Joao M Braz ◽  
Katherine Hamel ◽  
Mollie Bernstein ◽  

Peripheral nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain is a chronic and debilitating condition characterized by mechanical hypersensitivity. We previously identified microglial activation via release of colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) from injured sensory neurons as a mechanism contributing to nerve injury-induced pain. Here we show that intrathecal administration of CSF1, even in the absence of injury, is sufficient to induce pain behavior, but only in male mice. Transcriptional profiling and morphologic analyses after intrathecal CSF1 showed robust immune activation in male but not female microglia. CSF1 also induced marked expansion of lymphocytes within the spinal cord meninges, with preferential expansion of regulatory T-cells (Tregs) in female mice. Consistent with the hypothesis that Tregs actively suppress microglial activation in females, Treg deficient (Foxp3DTR) female mice showed increased CSF1-induced microglial activation and pain hypersensitivity equivalent to males. We conclude that sexual dimorphism in the contribution of microglia to pain results from Treg-mediated suppression of microglial activation and pain hypersensitivity in female mice.

2021 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
Christina Hoyer-Kimura ◽  
John P. Konhilas ◽  
Heidi M. Mansour ◽  
Robin Polt ◽  
Kristian P. Doyle ◽  

Abstract Background Decreased cerebral blood flow and systemic inflammation during heart failure (HF) increase the risk for vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) and Alzheimer disease-related dementias (ADRD). We previously demonstrated that PNA5, a novel glycosylated angiotensin 1–7 (Ang-(1–7)) Mas receptor (MasR) agonist peptide, is an effective therapy to rescue cognitive impairment in our preclinical model of VCID. Neurofilament light (NfL) protein concentration is correlated with cognitive impairment and elevated in neurodegenerative diseases, hypoxic brain injury, and cardiac disease. The goal of the present study was to determine (1) if treatment with Ang-(1–7)/MasR agonists can rescue cognitive impairment and decrease VCID-induced increases in NfL levels as compared to HF-saline treated mice and, (2) if NfL levels correlate with measures of cognitive function and brain cytokines in our VCID model. Methods VCID was induced in C57BL/6 male mice via myocardial infarction (MI). At 5 weeks post-MI, mice were treated with daily subcutaneous injections for 24 days, 5 weeks after MI, with PNA5 or angiotensin 1–7 (500 microg/kg/day or 50 microg/kg/day) or saline (n = 15/group). Following the 24-day treatment protocol, cognitive function was assessed using the Novel Object Recognition (NOR) test. Cardiac function was measured by echocardiography and plasma concentrations of NfL were quantified using a Quanterix Simoa assay. Brain and circulating cytokine levels were determined with a MILLIPLEX MAP Mouse High Sensitivity Multiplex Immunoassay. Treatment groups were compared via ANOVA, significance was set at p < 0.05. Results Treatment with Ang-(1–7)/MasR agonists reversed VCID-induced cognitive impairment and significantly decreased NfL levels in our mouse model of VCID as compared to HF-saline treated mice. Further, NfL levels were significantly negatively correlated with cognitive scores and the concentrations of multiple pleiotropic cytokines in the brain. Conclusions These data show that treatment with Ang-(1–7)/MasR agonists rescues cognitive impairment and decreases plasma NfL relative to HF-saline-treated animals in our VCID mouse model. Further, levels of NfL are significantly negatively correlated with cognitive function and with several brain cytokine concentrations. Based on these preclinical findings, we propose that circulating NfL might be a candidate for a prognostic biomarker for VCID and may also serve as a pharmacodynamic/response biomarker for therapeutic target engagement.

2021 ◽  
Yu Sun ◽  
Ryan Tisdale ◽  
Sunmee Park ◽  
Jasmine Heu ◽  
Shun-Chieh Ma ◽  

Narcolepsy Type 1 (NT1), a sleep disorder with similar prevalence in both sexes, is thought to be due to loss of the hypocretin/orexin (Hcrt) neurons. Several transgenic strains have been created to model this disorder and are increasingly being used for preclinical drug development and basic science studies, yet most studies have solely used male mice. We compared the development of narcoleptic symptomatology in male vs. female orexin-tTA; TetO-DTA mice, a model in which Hcrt neuron degeneration can be initiated by removal of doxycycline (DOX) from the diet. EEG, EMG, body temperature, gross motor activity and video recordings were conducted for 24-h at baseline and 1, 2, 4 and 6 weeks after DOX removal. Female DTA mice exhibited cataplexy, the pathognomonic symptom of NT1, by Week 1 in the DOX(-) condition but cataplexy was not consistently present in males until Week 2. By Week 2, both sexes showed an impaired ability to sustain long wake bouts during the active period, the murine equivalent of excessive daytime sleepiness in NT1. Body temperature appeared to be regulated at lower levels in both sexes as the Hcrt neurons degenerated. During degeneration, both sexes also exhibited the Delta State, characterized by sudden cessation of activity, high delta activity in the EEG, maintenance of muscle tone and posture, and the absence of phasic EMG activity. Since the phenotypes of the two sexes were indistinguishable by Week 6, we conclude that both sexes can be safely combined in future studies to reduce cost and animal use.

Nutrients ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (10) ◽  
pp. 3599
Pavel Solopov ◽  
Ruben Manuel Luciano Colunga Biancatelli ◽  
Christiana Dimitropoulou ◽  
John D. Catravas

We previously reported that female mice exhibit protection against chemically induced pulmonary fibrosis and suggested a potential role of estrogen. Phytoestrogens act, at least in part, via stimulation of estrogen receptors; furthermore, compared to residents of Western countries, residents of East Asian countries consume higher amounts of phytoestrogens and exhibit lower rates of pulmonary fibrosis. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that dietary phytoestrogens ameliorate the severity of experimentally induced pulmonary fibrosis. Male mice placed on either regular soybean diet or phytoestrogen-free diet were instilled with 0.1 N HCl to provoke pulmonary fibrosis. Thirty days later, lung mechanics were measured as indices of lung function and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue were analyzed for biomarkers of fibrosis. Mice on phytoestrogen-free diet demonstrated increased mortality and stronger signs of chronic lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis, as reflected in the expression of collagen, extracellular matrix deposition, histology, and lung mechanics, compared to mice on regular diet. We conclude that dietary phytoestrogens play an important role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis and suggest that phytoestrogens (e.g., genistein) may be useful as part of a therapeutic regimen against hydrochloric acid-induced lung fibrosis and chronic lung dysfunction.

Hailong Tu ◽  
Aizhen Zhang ◽  
Xiaolong Fu ◽  
Shiqi Xu ◽  
Xiaohui Bai ◽  

The small muscle protein, x-linked (SMPX) encodes a small protein containing 88 amino acids. Malfunction of this protein can cause a sex-linked non-syndromic hearing loss, named X-linked deafness 4 (DFNX4). Herein, we reported a point mutation and a frameshift mutation in two Chinese families who developed gradual hearing loss with age. To explore the impaired sites in the hearing system and the mechanism of DFNX4, we established and validated an Smpx null mouse model using CRISPR-Cas9. By analyzing auditory brainstem response (ABR), male Smpx null mice showed a progressive hearing loss starting from high frequency at the 3rd month. Hearing loss in female mice was milder and occurred later compared to male mice, which was very similar to human beings. Through morphological analyses of mice cochleas, we found the hair cell bundles progressively degenerated from the shortest row. Cellular edema occurred at the end phase of stereocilia degeneration, followed by cell death. By transfecting exogenous fluorescent Smpx into living hair cells, Smpx was observed to be expressed in stereocilia. Through noise exposure, it was shown that Smpx might participate in maintaining hair cell bundles. This Smpx knock-out mouse might be used as a suitable model to explore the pathology of DFNX4.

Lucie Aumailley ◽  
Sylvie Bourassa ◽  
Clarisse Gotti ◽  
Arnaud Droit ◽  
Michel Lebel

2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (1) ◽  
Patricia S. Pirbhoy ◽  
Carrie R. Jonak ◽  
Rashid Syed ◽  
Donovan A. Argueta ◽  
Pedro A. Perez ◽  

Abstract Background Individuals with Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit an array of symptoms, including sociability deficits, increased anxiety, hyperactivity, and sensory hyperexcitability. It is unclear how endocannabinoid (eCB) modulation can be targeted to alleviate neurophysiological abnormalities in FXS as behavioral research reveals benefits to inhibiting cannabinoid (CB) receptor activation and increasing endocannabinoid ligand levels. Here, we hypothesize that enhancement of 2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycerol (2-AG) in Fragile X mental retardation 1 gene knock-out (Fmr1 KO) mice may reduce cortical hyperexcitability and behavioral abnormalities observed in FXS. Methods To test whether an increase in 2-AG levels normalized cortical responses in a mouse model of FXS, animals were subjected to electroencephalography (EEG) recording and behavioral assessment following treatment with JZL-184, an irreversible inhibitor of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). Assessment of 2-AG was performed using lipidomic analysis in conjunction with various doses and time points post-administration of JZL-184. Baseline electrocortical activity and evoked responses to sound stimuli were measured using a 30-channel multielectrode array (MEA) in adult male mice before, 4 h, and 1 day post-intraperitoneal injection of JZL-184 or vehicle. Behavior assessment was done using the open field and elevated plus maze 4 h post-treatment. Results Lipidomic analysis showed that 8 mg/kg JZL-184 significantly increased the levels of 2-AG in the auditory cortex of both Fmr1 KO and WT mice 4 h post-treatment compared to vehicle controls. EEG recordings revealed a reduction in the abnormally enhanced baseline gamma-band power in Fmr1 KO mice and significantly improved evoked synchronization to auditory stimuli in the gamma-band range post-JZL-184 treatment. JZL-184 treatment also ameliorated anxiety-like and hyperactivity phenotypes in Fmr1 KO mice. Conclusions Overall, these results indicate that increasing 2-AG levels may serve as a potential therapeutic approach to normalize cortical responses and improve behavioral outcomes in FXS and possibly other ASDs.

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Rim Hassouna ◽  
Gimena Fernandez ◽  
Nicolas Lebrun ◽  
Oriane Fiquet ◽  
Ferdinand Roelfsema ◽  

Using preproghrelin-deficient mice (Ghrl-/-), we previously observed that preproghrelin modulates pulsatile growth hormone (GH) secretion in post-pubertal male mice. However, the role of ghrelin and its derived peptides in the regulation of growth parameters or feeding in females is unknown. We measured pulsatile GH secretion, growth, metabolic parameters and feeding behavior in adult Ghrl-/- and Ghrl+/+ male and female mice. We also assessed GH release from pituitary explants and hypothalamic growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) expression and immunoreactivity. Body weight and body fat mass, linear growth, spontaneous food intake and food intake following a 48-h fast, GH pituitary contents and GH release from pituitary explants ex vivo, fasting glucose and glucose tolerance were not different among adult Ghrl-/- and Ghrl+/+ male or female mice. In vivo, pulsatile GH secretion was decreased, while approximate entropy, that quantified orderliness of secretion, was increased in adult Ghrl-/- females only, defining more irregular GH pattern. The number of neurons immunoreactive for GHRH visualized in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus was increased in adult Ghrl-/- females, as compared to Ghrl+/+ females, whereas the expression of GHRH was not different amongst groups. Thus, these results point to sex-specific effects of preproghrelin gene deletion on pulsatile GH secretion, but not feeding, growth or metabolic parameters, in adult mice.

2021 ◽  
Vol 22 (20) ◽  
pp. 10977
Laszlo Kovacs ◽  
Thiago Bruder-Nascimento ◽  
Lindsey Greene ◽  
Simone Kennard ◽  
Eric J. Belin de Chantemèle

People living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLWH) have increased risk for atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease (CVD), the main cause of death in this population. Notwithstanding, the mechanisms of HIV-associated vascular pathogenesis are not fully elucidated. Therefore, we sought to determine whether HIV-regulatory protein Tat mediates HIV-induced endothelial dysfunction via NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1)-dependent mechanisms. Body weight, fat mass, leptin levels, expression of reactive oxygen species (ROS)-producing enzymes and vascular function were assessed in C57BL/6 male mice treated with Tat for 3 days and 4 weeks. Aortic rings and human endothelial cells were also treated with Tat for 2–24 h in ex vivo and in vitro settings. Chronic (4 weeks) but not acute (3 days and 2–24 h) treatment with Tat decreased body weight, fat mass, and leptin levels and increased the expression of Nox1 and its coactivator NADPH oxidase Activator 1 (NoxA1). This was associated with impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. Importantly, specific inhibition of Nox1 with GKT771 and chronic leptin infusion restored endothelial function in Tat-treated mice. These data rule out direct effects of HIV-Tat on endothelial function and imply the contribution of reductions in adipose mass and leptin production which likely explain upregulated expression of Nox1 and NoxA1. The Nox1 and leptin system may provide potential targets to improve vascular function in HIV infection-associated CVD.

2021 ◽  
Vol 22 (20) ◽  
pp. 11010
Daniel J. Torres ◽  
Matthew W. Pitts ◽  
Lucia A. Seale ◽  
Ann C. Hashimoto ◽  
Katlyn J. An ◽  

The role of the essential trace element selenium in hypothalamic physiology has begun to come to light over recent years. Selenium is used to synthesize a family of proteins participating in redox reactions called selenoproteins, which contain a selenocysteine residue in place of a cysteine. Past studies have shown that disrupted selenoprotein expression in the hypothalamus can adversely impact energy homeostasis. There is also evidence that selenium supports leptin signaling in the hypothalamus by maintaining proper redox balance. In this study, we generated mice with conditional knockout of the selenocysteine tRNA[Ser]Sec gene (Trsp) in an orexigenic cell population called agouti-related peptide (Agrp)-positive neurons. We found that female TrspAgrpKO mice gain less weight while on a high-fat diet, which occurs due to changes in adipose tissue activity. Female TrspAgrpKO mice also retained hypothalamic sensitivity to leptin administration. Male mice were unaffected, however, highlighting the sexually dimorphic influence of selenium on neurobiology and energy homeostasis. These findings provide novel insight into the role of selenoproteins within a small yet heavily influential population of hypothalamic neurons.

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