Russell's vipers are snakes of major medical importance in Asia. Russell's viper (Daboia russelii) envenoming in Sri Lanka and South India leads to a unique, mild neuromuscular paralysis, not seen in other parts of the world where the snake is found. This study aimed to identify and pharmacologically characterise the major neurotoxic components of Sri Lankan Russell's viper venom. Venom was fractionated using size exclusion chromatography and reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC). In vitro neurotoxicities of the venoms, fractions and isolated toxins were measured using chick biventer and rat hemidiaphragm preparations. A phospholipase A2 (PLA2) toxin, U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a (13.6 kDa), which constitutes 19.2 % of the crude venom, was isolated and purified using HPLC. U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a produced concentration-dependent in vitro neurotoxicity abolishing indirect twitches in the chick biventer nerve-muscle preparation, with a t 90 of 55 ± 7 min only at 1 μM. The toxin did not abolish responses to acetylcholine and carbachol indicating pre-synaptic neurotoxicity. Venom, in the absence of U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a, did not induce in vitro neurotoxicity. Indian polyvalent antivenom, at the recommended concentration, only partially prevented the neurotoxic effects of U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a. Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry analysis confirmed that U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a was the basic S-type PLA2 toxin previously identified from this venom (NCBI-GI: 298351762; SwissProt: P86368). The present study demonstrates that neurotoxicity following Sri Lankan Russell's viper envenoming is primarily due to the pre-synaptic neurotoxin U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a. Mild neurotoxicity observed in severely envenomed Sri Lankan Russell's viper bites is most likely due to the low potency of U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a, despite its high relative abundance in the venom.
Glutamate excitotoxicity plays a major role in the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in glaucoma. The toxic effects of glutamate on RGCs are mediated by the overstimulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Accordingly, NMDA receptor antagonists have been suggested to inhibit excitotoxicity in RGCs and delay the progression and visual loss in glaucoma patients. The purpose of the present study was to examine the potential neuroprotective effect of Mg acetyltaurate (MgAT) on RGC death induced by NMDA. MgAT was proposed mainly due to the combination of magnesium (Mg) and taurine which may provide neuroprotection by dual mechanisms of action, i.e., inhibition of NMDA receptors and antioxidant effects. Rats were divided into 5 groups and were given intravitreal injections. Group 1 (PBS group) was injected with vehicle; group 2 (NMDA group) was injected with NMDA while groups 3 (pre-), 4 (co-), and 5 (post-) treatments were injected with MgAT, 24 h before, in combination or 24 h after NMDA injection respectively. NMDA and MgAT were injected in PBS at doses 160 and 320 nmol, respectively. Seven days after intravitreal injection, the histological changes in the retina were evaluated using hematoxylin & eosin (H&E) staining. Optic nerves were dissected and stained in Toluidine blue for grading on morphological neurodegenerative changes. The extent of apoptosis in retinal tissue was assessed by TUNEL assay and caspase-3 immunohistochemistry staining. The estimation of neurotrophic factor, oxidative stress, pro/anti-apoptotic factors and caspase-3 activity in retina was done using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. The retinal morphometry showed reduced thickness of ganglion cell layer (GCL) and reduction in the number of retinal cells in GCL in NMDA group compared to the MgAT-treated groups. TUNEL and caspase-3 staining showed increased number of apoptotic cells in inner retina. The results were further corroborated by the estimation of neurotrophic factor, oxidative stress, pro/anti-apoptotic factors, and caspase-3 activity in retina. In conclusion, current study revealed that intravitreal MgAT prevents retinal and optic nerve damage induced by NMDA. Overall, our data demonstrated that the pretreatment with MgAT was more effective than co- and posttreatment. This protective effect of MgAT against NMDA-induced retinal cell apoptosis could be attributed to the reduction of retinal oxidative stress and activation of BDNF-related neuroprotective mechanisms.
Conventional mammalian models of neurodegeneration are often limited by futile axonogenesis with minimal functional recuperation of severed neurons. The emergence of zebrafish, a non-mammalian model with excellent neuroregenerative properties, may address these limitations. This study aimed to establish an adult zebrafish-based, neurotoxin-induced Parkinson's disease (PD) model and subsequently validate the regenerative capability of dopaminergic neurons (DpN). The DpN of adult male zebrafish (Danio rerio) were lesioned by microinjecting 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) neurotoxin (6.25, 12.5, 18.75, 25, 37.5, 50 and 100 mg/kg) into the ventral diencephalon (Dn). This was facilitated by an optimised protocol that utilised 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl-indocarbocyanineperchlorate (DiI) dye to precisely identify the injection site. Immunostaining was utilised to identify the number of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive (TH-ir) DpN in brain regions of interest (i.e. olfactory bulb, telencephalon, preoptic area, posterior tuberculum and hypothalamus). Open tank video recordings were performed for locomotor studies. The Dn was accessed by setting the injection angle of the microinjection capillary to 60° and injection depth to 1200 μm (from the exposed brain surface). 6-OHDA (25 mg/kg) successfully ablated >85% of the Dn DpN (preoptic area, posterior tuberculum and hypothalamus) whilst maintaining a 100% survival. Locomotor analysis of 5-min recordings revealed that 6-OHDA-lesioned adult zebrafish were significantly (p
Neurogenesis is influenced by various external factors such as enriched environments. Some researchers had postulated that neurogenesis has contributed to the hippocampal learning and memory. This project was designed to observe the effect of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) in cognitive performance that influenced by the neurogenesis. Different doses of ∆9-THC were used for observing the neurogenesis mechanism occurs in the hippocampus of rats. The brains were stained with antibodies, namely BrdU, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), nestin, doublecortin (DCX) and class III β-tubulin (TuJ-1). The cognitive test was used novel-object discrimination test (NOD) while the proteins involved, DCX and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), were measured. Throughout this study, ∆9-THC enhanced the markers involved in all stages of neurogenesis mechanism. Simultaneously, the cognitive behaviour of rat also showed improvement in learning and memory functions observed in behavioural test and molecular perspective. Administration of ∆9-THC was observed to enhance the neurogenesis in the brain, especially in hippocampus thus improved the cognitive function of rats.
Tauopathy is a pathological hallmark of many neurodegenerative diseases. It is characterized by abnormal aggregates of pathological phosphotau and somatodendritic redistribution. One suggested strategy for treating tauopathy is to stimulate autophagy, hence, getting rid of these pathological protein aggregates. One key controller of autophagy is mTOR. Since stimulation of mTOR leads to inhibition of autophagy, inhibitors of mTOR will cause stimulation of autophagy process. In this report, tauopathy was induced in mice using annonacin. Blocking of mTOR was achieved through stereotaxic injection of siRNA against mTOR. The behavioral and immunohistochemical evaluation revealed the development of tauopathy model as proven by deterioration of behavioral performance in open field test and significant tau aggregates in annonacin-treated mice. Blocking of mTOR revealed significant clearance of tau aggregates in the injected side; however, tau expression was not affected by mTOR blockage.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. The etiology of PD remains an enigma with no available disease modifying treatment or cure. Pharmacological compensation is the only quality of life improving treatments available. Endogenous dopaminergic neuroregeneration has recently been considered a plausible therapeutic strategy for PD. However, researchers have to first decipher the complexity of adult endogenous neuroregeneration. This raises the need of animal models to understand the underlying molecular basis. Mammalian models with highly conserved genetic homology might aid researchers to identify specific molecular mechanisms. However, the scarcity of adult neuroregeneration potential in mammals obfuscates such investigations. Nowadays, non-mammalian models are gaining popularity due to their explicit ability to neuroregenerate naturally without the need of external enhancements, yet these non-mammals have a much diverse gene homology that critical molecular signals might not be conserved across species. The present review highlights the advantages and disadvantages of both mammalian and non-mammalian animal models that can be essentially used to study the potential of endogenous DpN regeneration against PD.
Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized by cardinal motor impairments, including akinesia and tremor, as well as by a host of non-motor symptoms, including both autonomic and cognitive dysfunction. PD is associated with a death of nigral dopaminergic neurons, as well as the pathological spread of Lewy bodies, consisting predominantly of the misfolded protein alpha-synuclein. To date, only symptomatic treatments, such as levodopa, are available, and trials aiming to cure the disease, or at least halt its progression, have not been successful. Wong et al. (2019) suggested that the lack of effective therapy against neurodegeneration in PD might be attributed to the fact that the molecular mechanisms standing behind the dopaminergic neuronal vulnerability are still a major scientific challenge. Understanding these molecular mechanisms is critical for developing effective therapy. Thirty-five years ago, Calne and William Langston (1983) raised the question of whether biological or environmental factors precipitate the development of PD. In spite of great advances in technology and medicine, this question still lacks a clear answer. Only 5-15% of PD cases are attributed to a genetic mutation, with the majority of cases classified as idiopathic, which could be linked to exposure to environmental contaminants. Rodent models play a crucial role in understanding the risk factors and pathogenesis of PD. Additionally, well-validated rodent models are critical for driving the preclinical development of clinically translatable treatment options. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms, similarities and differences, as well as advantages and limitations of different neurotoxin-induced rat models of PD. In the second part of this review, we will discuss the potential future of neurotoxin-induced models of PD. Finally, we will briefly demonstrate the crucial role of gene-environment interactions in PD and discuss fusion or dual PD models. We argue that these models have the potential to significantly further our understanding of PD.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disorder characterized by reactive gliosis, inflammation, and demyelination. Microglia plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of MS and has the dynamic plasticity to polarize between pro-inflammatory (M1) and anti-inflammatory (M2) phenotypes. Metformin, a glucose-lowering drug, attenuates inflammatory responses by activating adenosine monophosphate protein kinase (AMPK) which suppresses nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB). In this study, we indirectly investigated whether metformin therapy would regulate microglia activity in the cuprizone (CPZ)-induced demyelination mouse model of MS via measuring the markers associated with pro- and anti-inflammatory microglia. Evaluation of myelin by luxol fast blue staining revealed that metformin treatment (CPZ + Met) diminished demyelination, in comparison to CPZ mice. In addition, metformin therapy significantly alleviated reactive microgliosis and astrogliosis in the corpus callosum, as measured by Iba-1 and GFAP staining. Moreover, metformin treatment significantly downregulated the expression of pro-inflammatory associated genes (iNOS, H2-Aa, and TNF-α) in the corpus callosum, whereas expression of anti-inflammatory markers (Arg1, Mrc1, and IL10) was not promoted, compared to CPZ mice. Furthermore, protein levels of iNOS (pro-inflammatory marker) were significantly decreased in the metformin group, while those of Trem2 (anti-inflammatory marker) were increased. In addition, metformin significantly increased AMPK activation in CPZ mice. Finally, metformin administration significantly reduced the activation level of NF-κB in CPZ mice. In summary, our data revealed that metformin attenuated pro-inflammatory microglia markers through suppressing NF-κB activity. The positive effects of metformin on microglia and remyelination suggest that it could be used as a promising candidate to lessen the incidence of inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases such as MS.
In this work, we investigated the in vitro neurotoxicity of Calliophis intestinalis venom using chick biventer cervicis neuromuscular preparations and electrophysiological analysis of voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels expressed in HEK293 cells. We found that the indirect twitches of the neuromuscular preparations decreased over time when exposed to venom. However, the responses of these preparations to the agonists acetylcholine, carbachol, and potassium chloride were not changed after incubation with the venom. Our electrophysiological experiments show that C. intestinalis venom acts as a NaV channel antagonist-the first known from a vertebrate venom-by decreasing the peak current of NaV1.4 channels without changing the kinetics of activation or inactivation. Our proteomic results accord with earlier analyses and find that the venom contains three-finger toxins, cysteine-rich secretory proteins, kunitz peptides, phospholipase A2s, snake venom metalloproteases, and vespryns. Some of the three-finger toxins are similar to the δ-elapitoxins from the venom of the closely related Calliophis bivirgatus. However, δ-elapitoxins act as NaV channel agonists in C. bivirgatus whereas C. intestinalis venom contains NaV channel antagonists. The toxins and mechanisms responsible for the neuromuscular symptoms remain unclear as does the identity of the NaV channel antagonists. These aspects of this unusual venom require further study.
The pineal product melatonin has remarkable antioxidant properties. It scavenges hydroxyl, carbonate and various organic radicals, peroxynitrite and other reactive nitrogen species. Melatonyl radicals formed by scavenging combine with and, thereby, detoxify superoxide anions in processes terminating the radical reaction chains. Melatonin also enhances the antioxidant potential of the cell by stimulating the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase, and by augmenting glutathione levels. The decline in melatonin production in aged individuals has been suggested as one of the primary contributing factors for the development of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases, e.g., Alzheimer's disease. Melatonin has been shown to be effective in arresting neurodegenerative phenomena seen in experimental models of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism and ischemic stroke. Melatonin preserves mitochondrial homeostasis, reduces free radical generation, e.g., by enhancing mitochondrial glutathione levels, and safeguards proton potential and ATP synthesis by stimulating complex I and IV activities. Therapeutic trials with melatonin have been effective in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease but not of Parkinson's disease. Melatonin's efficacy in combating free radical damage in the brain suggests that it may be a valuable therapeutic agent in the treatment of cerebral edema after traumatic brain injury.