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- Improved mitochondrial function in brain aging and Alzheimer disease – the new mechanism of action of the old metabolic enhancer piracetam (2010)
- Piracetam, the prototype of the so-called nootropic drugs’ is used since many years in different countries to treat cognitive impairment in aging and dementia. Findings that piracetam enhances fluidity of brain mitochondrial membranes led to the hypothesis that piracetam might improve mitochondrial function, e.g., might enhance ATP synthesis. This assumption has recently been supported by a number of observations showing enhanced mitochondrial membrane potential, enhanced ATP production, and reduced sensitivity for apoptosis in a variety of cell and animal models for aging and Alzheimer disease. As a specific consequence, substantial evidence for elevated neuronal plasticity as a specific effect of piracetam has emerged. Taken together, this new findings can explain many of the therapeutic effects of piracetam on cognition in aging and dementia as well as different situations of brain dysfunctions. Keywords: mitochondrial dysfunction, alzheimer’s disease, aging, oxidative stress, piracetam
- Reduced TRPC channel expression in psoriatic keratinocytes is associated with impaired differentiation and enhanced proliferation (2011)
- Psoriasis is a characteristic inflammatory and scaly skin condition with typical histopathological features including increased proliferation and hampered differentiation of keratinocytes. The activation of innate and adaptive inflammatory cellular immune responses is considered to be the main trigger factor of the epidermal changes in psoriatic skin. However, the molecular players that are involved in enhanced proliferation and impaired differentiation of psoriatic keratinocytes are only partly understood. One important factor that regulates differentiation on the cellular level is Ca2+. In normal epidermis, a Ca2+ gradient exists that is disturbed in psoriatic plaques, favoring impaired keratinocyte proliferation. Several TRPC channels such as TRPC1, TRPC4, or TRPC6 are key proteins in the regulation of high [Ca2+]ex induced differentiation. Here, we investigated if TRPC channel function is impaired in psoriasis using calcium imaging, RT-PCR, western blot analysis and immunohistochemical staining of skin biopsies. We demonstrated substantial defects in Ca2+ influx in psoriatic keratinocytes in response to high extracellular Ca2+ levels, associated with a downregulation of all TRPC channels investigated, including TRPC6 channels. As TRPC6 channel activation can partially overcome this Ca2+ entry defect, specific TRPC channel activators may be potential new drug candidates for the topical treatment of psoriasis.
- Lavender Oil-Potent Anxiolytic Properties via Modulating Voltage Dependent Calcium Channels (2013)
- Recent clinical data support the clinical use of oral lavender oil in patients suffering from subsyndromal anxiety. We identified the molecular mechanism of action that will alter the perception of lavender oil as a nonspecific ingredient of aromatherapy to a potent anxiolytic inhibiting voltage dependent calcium channels (VOCCs) as highly selective drug target. In contrast to previous publications where exorbitant high concentrations were used, the effects of lavender oil in behavioral, biochemical, and electrophysiological experiments were investigated in physiological concentrations in the nanomolar range, which correlate to a single dosage of 80 mg/d in humans that was used in clinical trials. We show for the first time that lavender oil bears some similarities with the established anxiolytic pregabalin. Lavender oil inhibits VOCCs in synaptosomes, primary hippocampal neurons and stably overexpressing cell lines in the same range such as pregabalin. Interestingly, Silexan does not primarily bind to P/Q type calcium channels such as pregabalin and does not interact with the binding site of pregabalin, the α2δ subunit of VOCCs. Lavender oil reduces non-selectively the calcium influx through several different types of VOCCs such as the N-type, P/Q-type and T-type VOCCs. In the hippocampus, one brain region important for anxiety disorders, we show that inhibition by lavender oil is mainly mediated via N-type and P/Q-type VOCCs. Taken together, we provide a pharmacological and molecular rationale for the clinical use of the oral application of lavender oil in patients suffering from anxiety.
- Parkinson phenotype in aged PINK1-deficient mice is accompanied by progressive mitochondrial dysfunction in absence of neurodegeneration (2009)
- Background Parkinson's disease (PD) is an adult-onset movement disorder of largely unknown etiology. We have previously shown that loss-of-function mutations of the mitochondrial protein kinase PINK1 (PTEN induced putative kinase 1) cause the recessive PARK6 variant of PD. Methodology/Principal Findings Now we generated a PINK1 deficient mouse and observed several novel phenotypes: A progressive reduction of weight and of locomotor activity selectively for spontaneous movements occurred at old age. As in PD, abnormal dopamine levels in the aged nigrostriatal projection accompanied the reduced movements. Possibly in line with the PARK6 syndrome but in contrast to sporadic PD, a reduced lifespan, dysfunction of brainstem and sympathetic nerves, visible aggregates of alpha-synuclein within Lewy bodies or nigrostriatal neurodegeneration were not present in aged PINK1-deficient mice. However, we demonstrate PINK1 mutant mice to exhibit a progressive reduction in mitochondrial preprotein import correlating with defects of core mitochondrial functions like ATP-generation and respiration. In contrast to the strong effect of PINK1 on mitochondrial dynamics in Drosophila melanogaster and in spite of reduced expression of fission factor Mtp18, we show reduced fission and increased aggregation of mitochondria only under stress in PINK1-deficient mouse neurons. Conclusion Thus, aging Pink1 -/- mice show increasing mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in impaired neural activity similar to PD, in absence of overt neuronal death.
- The amyloid precursor protein potentiates CHOP induction and cell death in response to ER Ca2+ depletion (2007)
- Poster presentation: Here we investigated the role of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in regulation of Ca2+ store depletion-induced neural cell death. Ca2+ store depletion from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) was induced by the SERCA (Sarco/Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium ATPase) inhibitor thapsigargin which led to a rapid induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and a delayed activation of executioner caspases in the cultures. Overexpression of APP potently enhanced cytosolic Ca2+ levels and cell death after ER Ca2+ store depletion in comparison to vector-transfected controls. GeneChipR and RT-PCR analysis revealed that the expression of classical UPR chaperone genes was not altered by overexpression of APP.Interestingly, the induction of the ER stress-responsive pro-apoptotic transcription factor CHOP was significantly upregulated in APP-overexpressing cells in comparison to vectortransfected controls. Chelation of intracellular Ca2+ with BAPTA-AM revealed that enhanced CHOP expression after store depletion occured in a Ca2+-dependent manner in APPoverexpressing cells. Prevention of CHOP induction by BAPTA-AM and by RNA interference was also able to abrogate the potentiating effect of APP on thapsigargin-induced apoptosis. Application of the store-operated channel (SOC)-inhibitors SK F96365 and 2-APB downmodulated APP-triggered potentiation of cytosolic Ca2+ levels and apoptosis after treatment with thapsigargin. Our data demonstrate that APP-mediated regulation of ER Ca2+ homeostasis significantly modulates Ca2+ store depletion-induced cell death in a SOC- and CHOP-dependent manner, but independent of the UPR.
- Age-related impairment of human T lymphocytes' activation: specific differences between CD4+ and CD8+ subsets (2002)
- The relevance of physiological immune aging is of great interest with respect to determining disorders with pathologic immune function in aging individuals. In recent years, the relevance of changes in peripheral lymphocytes in age-associated neurologic diseases has become more evident. Due to the lack of immunological studies, covering more than one event after mitogenic activation, we envisaged a new concept in the present study, aiming to investigate several events, starting from T cell receptor (TCR) ligation up to T cell proliferation. In addition, we addressed the question whether changes are present in the subsets (CD4, CD8) with aging. Phosphorylation of tyrosine residues declines with increasing age in CD4+ cells. Fewer levels of CD69 positive cells after 4 h mitogenic activation, altered expression of cytokines (IL2, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha; 22 h) and lower proliferation (72 h) were determined in aging. Moreover, it could be shown that CD8+ lymphocytes react more effectively to mitogenic stimulation with reference to CD69 expression and proliferation in both age groups (<35 and >60 years old). These data indicate that T cell activation, mediated by TCR engagement, is significantly impaired in aging and both subsets are affected. However, bypassing the TCR does not fully restore T cell function, indicating that there are more mechanisms involved than impaired signal transduction through TCR only. The results will be discussed in relation to their relevance in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.
- Age-related changes of apoptotic cell death in human lymphocytes (2000)
- Apoptosis seems to be involved in immunosenescence associated with aging. Moreover, in lymphocytes (PBL) of patients with Alzheimer's disease, an increased susceptibility to the apoptotic pathway has been described possibly due to impaired protection of oxidative stress. Accordingly, it seemed to be of particular interest to investigate the contribution of normal aging to the susceptibility from human lymphocytes to programmed cell death. We could show that PBL from elderly individuals (>60 years) accumulate apoptosing cells to a significant higher extent in spontaneous and activation-induced cell death compared to younger controls (<35 years). Treatment with the oxidative stressor 2-deoxy-D-ribose or with agonistic-CD95-antibody pronounced this effect even more implicating a higher sensitivity to reactive oxygen species and a higher functional CD95 expression, respectively. In addition, expression of the activation markers HLA-DR and CD95 was significantly increased in CD3+-cells of aged subjects, while expression of CD25 did not seem to be affected by age. Expression of Bcl-2 was increased in aging and correlated with the number of apoptotic cells.
- Age-related increase of oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in mice prevention by Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb761) (2001)
- Enhanced apoptosis and elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a major role in aging. In addition, several neurodegenerative diseases are associated with increased oxidative stress and apoptosis in neuronal tissue. Antioxidative treatment has neuro-protective effects. The aim of the present study was to evaluate changes of susceptibility to apoptotic cell death by oxidative stress in aging and its inhibition by the antioxidant Ginkgo biloba extract EGb761. We investigated basal and ROS-induced levels of apoptotic lymphocytes derived from the spleen in young (3 months) and old (24 months) mice. ROS were induced by 2-deoxy-D-ribose (dRib) that depletes the intracellular pool of reduced glutathione. Lymphocytes from aged mice accumulate apoptotic cells to a significantly higher extent under basal conditions compared to cells from young mice. Treatment with dRib enhanced this difference, implicating a higher sensitivity to ROS in aging. Apoptosis can be reduced in vitro by treatment with EGb761. In addition, mice were treated daily with 100mg/kg EGb761 per os over a period of two weeks. ROS-induced apoptosis was significantly reduced in the EGb761 group. Interestingly, this effect seemed to be more pronounced in old mice.
- Reduced antioxidant enzyme activity in brains of mice transgenic for human presenilin-1 with single or multiple mutations (2000)
- Alzheimer's disease-related mutations in the presenilin-1 gene (PS1) are leading to an elevated production of neurotoxic beta-amyloid 1-42 and may additionally enhance oxidative stress. Here, we provide in vivo evidence indicating that brains of transgenic mice expressing different human Alzheimer-linked PS1 mutations exhibit a reduced activity of two antioxidant enzymes. For this purpose, mice transgenic for human PS1 and for single and multiple PS1 mutations were generated. Mice with multiple PS1 mutations showed a significantly decreased activity of the antioxidant enzymes Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase and glutathione reductase already at an age of 3-4 months. As expected, this effect was less pronounced for the mice with a single PS1 mutation. By contrast, animals bearing normal human PS1 showed significantly elevated enzyme activities relative to non-transgenic littermate controls.
- Alzheimer's disease-like alterations in peripheral cells from presenilin-1 transgenic mice (2001)
- Many cases of early-onset inherited Alzheimer's disease (AD) are caused by mutations in the presenilin-1 (PS1) gene. Expression of PS1 mutations in cell culture systems and in primary neurons from transgenic mice increases their vulnerability to cell death. Interestingly, enhanced vulnerability to cell death has also been demonstrated for peripheral lymphocytes from AD patients. We now report that lymphocytes from PS1 mutant transgenic mice show a similar hypersensitivity to cell death as do peripheral cells from AD patients and several cell culture systems expressing PS1 mutations. The cell death-enhancing action of mutant PS1 was associated with increased production of reactive oxygen species and altered calcium regulation, but not with changes of mitochondrial cytochrome c. Our study further emphasizes the pathogenic role of mutant PS1 and may provide the fundamental basis for new efforts to close the gap between studies using neuronal cell lines transfected with mutant PS1, neurons from transgenic animals, and peripheral cells from AD patients. Copyright 2001 Academic Press.