Santa Lucia di Serino, Italy
Santa Lucia di Serino, Italy

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PubMed | Helmholtz Center Munich, Karolinska Institutet, Institutes of Developmental Genetics and, CNR Institute of Genetics and Biophysics Adriano Buzzati Traverso and 4 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Wingless-related MMTV integration site 1 (WNT1)/-catenin signaling plays a crucial role in the generation of mesodiencephalic dopaminergic (mdDA) neurons, including the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) subpopulation that preferentially degenerates in Parkinsons disease (PD). However, the precise functions of WNT1/-catenin signaling in this context remain unknown. Stem cell-based regenerative (transplantation) therapies for PD have not been implemented widely in the clinical context, among other reasons because of the heterogeneity and incomplete differentiation of the transplanted cells. This might result in tumor formation and poor integration of the transplanted cells into the dopaminergic circuitry of the brain. Dickkopf 3 (DKK3) is a secreted glycoprotein implicated in the modulation of WNT/-catenin signaling. Using mutant mice, primary ventral midbrain cells, and pluripotent stem cells, we show that DKK3 is necessary and sufficient for the correct differentiation of a rostrolateral mdDA neuron subset. Dkk3 transcription in the murine ventral midbrain coincides with the onset of mdDA neurogenesis and is required for the activation and/or maintenance of LMX1A (LIM homeobox transcription factor 1) and PITX3 (paired-like homeodomain transcription factor 3) expression in the corresponding mdDA precursor subset, without affecting the proliferation or specification of their progenitors. Notably, the treatment of differentiating pluripotent stem cells with recombinant DKK3 and WNT1 proteins also increases the proportion of mdDA neurons with molecular SNc DA cell characteristics in these cultures. The specific effects of DKK3 on the differentiation of rostrolateral mdDA neurons in the murine ventral midbrain, together with its known prosurvival and anti-tumorigenic properties, make it a good candidate for the improvement of regenerative and neuroprotective strategies in the treatment of PD. Significance statement: We show here that Dickkopf 3 (DKK3), a secreted modulator of WNT (Wingless-related MMTV integration site)/-catenin signaling, is both necessary and sufficient for the proper differentiation and survival of a rostrolateral (parabrachial pigmented nucleus and dorsomedial substantia nigra pars compacta) mesodiencephalic dopaminergic neuron subset, using Dkk3 mutant mice and murine primary ventral midbrain and pluripotent stem cells. The progressive loss of these dopamine-producing mesodiencephalic neurons is a hallmark of human Parkinsons disease, which can up to now not be halted by clinical treatments of this disease. Thus, the soluble DKK3 protein might be a promising new agent for the improvement of current protocols for the directed differentiation of pluripotent and multipotent stem cells into mesodiencephalic dopaminergic neurons and for the promotion of their survival in situ.


Armogida M.,Cervello | Spalloni A.,Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology | Amantea D.,University of Calabria | Nutini M.,Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology | And 7 more authors.
International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology | Year: 2011

The present study aims to assess the protective role of the antioxidant enzyme catalase (CAT) with relation to hydrogen peroxide (H 2O 2) degradation in oxygen plus water on electrophysiological and fluorescence changes induced by in vitro ischemia and on brain damage produced by transient in vivo ischemia. Neuroprotective effects of CAT were determined by means of electrophysiological recordings and confocal fluorescence microscopy in the hippocampal slice preparation. Ischemia was simulated in vitro by oxygen/glucose deprivation (OGD). In vivo ischemia was produced by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). A protection of the rat CA1 field excitatory postsynaptic potential (fEPSP) loss caused by a prolonged OGD (40 min) was observed after exogenous CAT (500 U/mL) bath-applied before a combined exposure to OGD and H 2O 2 (3 mM). Of note, neither H 2O 2 nor exogenous CAT alone had a protective action when OGD lasted for 40 min. The CAT-induced neuroprotection was confirmed in a transgenic mouse model over-expressing human CAT [Tg(CAT)]. In the presence of H 2O 2, the hippocampus of Tg(CAT) showed an increased resistance against OGD compared to that of wild-type (WT) animals. Moreover, CAT treatment reduced for about 50 min fEPSP depression evoked by repeated applications of H 2O 2 in normoxia. A lower sensitivity to H 2O 2-induced depression of fEPSPs was also indicated by the rightward shift of concentration-response curve in Tg(CAT) compared to WT mice. Noteworthy, Tg(CAT) mice had a reduced infarct size after MCAo. Our data suggest new strategies to reduce neuronal damage produced by transient brain ischemia through the manipulation of CAT enzyme. Copyright © by BIOLIFE, s.a.s.


Arenas E.,Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2010

Current therapeutic approaches for Parkinson's disease (PD) provide symptomatic relief but none of them change the course of disease. There is therefore a clear need for regenerative and cell replacement therapies (CRT). However, CRT faces several important challenges. First, the main symptoms of PD result from the loss of midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons, but other cell types are also affected. Second, transplantation of human ventral midbrain tissue from aborted fetuses has lead to proof of principle that CRT may work, however, it has also pointed out to important patient-, surgery- and cell preparation-related variables, which need to be improved. Third, while some patients have developed dyskinesias and, with time, Lewy bodies in the grafted cells, other patients have experienced remarkable improvement and have been able to stop their medication. Is there a case for PD CRT today? What is the possible contribution of stem cells to CRT? In this review, I will discuss what we learned from clinical trials using fetal tissue grafts, recent progress in the development of human stem cell-derived-DA neurons for CRT, and some of the issues that need to be solved in order to develop stem cells as tools for PD CRT. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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