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The development of neurotherapeutics for many neurodegenerative diseases has largely been hindered by limited pharmacologic penetration across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Previous attempts to target and clear amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques, a key mediator of neurodegenerative changes in Alzheimer's disease (AD), have had limited clinical success due to low bioavailability in the brain because of the BBB. Here we test the effects of inducing an inflammatory response to disrupt the BBB in the 5XFAD transgenic mouse model of AD. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a bacterial endotoxin recognized by the innate immune system, was injected at varying doses. 24 hours later, mice were injected with either thioflavin S, a fluorescent Aβ-binding small molecule or 30 nm superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles, both of which are unable to penetrate the BBB under normal physiologic conditions. Our results showed that when pretreated with 3.0 mg/kg LPS, thioflavin S can be found in the brain bound to Aβ plaques in aged 5XFAD transgenic mice. Following the same LPS pretreatment, SPIO nanoparticles could also be found in the brain. However, when done on wild type or young 5XFAD mice, limited SPIO was detected. Our results suggest that the BBB in aged 5XFAD mouse model is susceptible to increased permeability mediated by LPS, allowing for improved delivery of the small molecule thioflavin S to target Aβ plaques and SPIO nanoparticles, which are significantly larger than antibodies used in clinical trials for immunotherapy of AD. Although this approach demonstrated efficacy for improved delivery to the brain, LPS treatment resulted in significant weight loss even at low doses, resulting from the induced inflammatory response. These findings suggest inducing inflammation can improve delivery of small and large materials to the brain for improved therapeutic or diagnostic efficacy. However, this approach must be balanced with the risks of systemic inflammation.
BACKGROUND - There are conflicting data on the effects of antipsychotic medications on delirium in patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).
METHODS - In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we assigned patients with acute respiratory failure or shock and hypoactive or hyperactive delirium to receive intravenous boluses of haloperidol (maximum dose, 20 mg daily), ziprasidone (maximum dose, 40 mg daily), or placebo. The volume and dose of a trial drug or placebo was halved or doubled at 12-hour intervals on the basis of the presence or absence of delirium, as detected with the use of the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU, and of side effects of the intervention. The primary end point was the number of days alive without delirium or coma during the 14-day intervention period. Secondary end points included 30-day and 90-day survival, time to freedom from mechanical ventilation, and time to ICU and hospital discharge. Safety end points included extrapyramidal symptoms and excessive sedation.
RESULTS - Written informed consent was obtained from 1183 patients or their authorized representatives. Delirium developed in 566 patients (48%), of whom 89% had hypoactive delirium and 11% had hyperactive delirium. Of the 566 patients, 184 were randomly assigned to receive placebo, 192 to receive haloperidol, and 190 to receive ziprasidone. The median duration of exposure to a trial drug or placebo was 4 days (interquartile range, 3 to 7). The median number of days alive without delirium or coma was 8.5 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.6 to 9.9) in the placebo group, 7.9 (95% CI, 4.4 to 9.6) in the haloperidol group, and 8.7 (95% CI, 5.9 to 10.0) in the ziprasidone group (P=0.26 for overall effect across trial groups). The use of haloperidol or ziprasidone, as compared with placebo, had no significant effect on the primary end point (odds ratios, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.64 to 1.21] and 1.04 [95% CI, 0.73 to 1.48], respectively). There were no significant between-group differences with respect to the secondary end points or the frequency of extrapyramidal symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS - The use of haloperidol or ziprasidone, as compared with placebo, in patients with acute respiratory failure or shock and hypoactive or hyperactive delirium in the ICU did not significantly alter the duration of delirium. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center; MIND-USA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01211522 .).
Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene mutations induce neural tissue hemangioblastomas, as well as highly vascularized clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCCs). Pathological vessel remodeling arises from misregulation of HIFs and VEGF, among other genes. Variation in disease penetrance has long been recognized in relation to genotype. We show Vhl mutations also disrupt Notch signaling, causing mutation-specific vascular abnormalities, e.g., type 1 (null) vs. type 2B (murine G518A representing human R167Q). In conditional mutation retina vasculature, Vhl-null mutation (i.e., UBCCreER/+Vhlfl/fl) had little effect on initial vessel branching, but it severely reduced arterial and venous branching at later stages. Interestingly, this mutation accelerated arterial maturation, as observed in retina vessel morphology and aberrant α-smooth muscle actin localization, particularly in vascular pericytes. RNA sequencing analysis identified gene expression changes within several key pathways, including Notch and smooth muscle cell contractility. Notch inhibition failed to reverse later-stage branching defects but rescued the accelerated arterialization. Retinal vessels harboring the type 2B Vhl mutation (i.e., UBCCreER/+Vhlfl/2B) displayed stage-specific changes in vessel branching and an advanced progression toward an arterial phenotype. Disrupting Notch signaling in type 2B mutants increased both artery and vein branching and restored arterial maturation toward nonmutant levels. By revealing differential effects of the null and type 2B Vhl mutations on vessel branching and maturation, these data may provide insight into the variability of VHL-associated vascular changes - particularly the heterogeneity and aggressiveness in ccRCC vessel growth - and also suggest Notch pathway targets for treating VHL syndrome.
BACKGROUND - Development of treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is hampered by a lack of mechanistic understanding about this prevalent neuropsychiatric condition. Although circuit changes such as elevated frontostriatal activity are linked to OCD, the underlying molecular signaling that drives OCD-related behaviors remains largely unknown. Here, we examine the significance of type 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR5s) for behavioral and circuit abnormalities relevant to OCD.
METHODS - Sapap3 knockout (KO) mice treated acutely with an mGluR5 antagonist were evaluated for OCD-relevant phenotypes of self-grooming, anxiety-like behaviors, and increased striatal activity. The role of mGluR5 in the striatal circuit abnormalities of Sapap3 KO mice was further explored using two-photon calcium imaging to monitor striatal output from the direct and indirect pathways. A contribution of constitutive signaling to increased striatal mGluR5 activity in Sapap3 KO mice was investigated using pharmacologic and biochemical approaches. Finally, sufficiency of mGluR5 to drive OCD-like behavior in wild-type mice was tested by potentiating mGluR5 with a positive allosteric modulator.
RESULTS - Excessive mGluR5 signaling underlies OCD-like behaviors and striatal circuit abnormalities in Sapap3 KO mice. Accordingly, enhancing mGluR5 activity acutely recapitulates these behavioral phenotypes in wild-type mice. In Sapap3 KO mice, elevated mGluR5 signaling is associated with constitutively active receptors and increased and imbalanced striatal output that is acutely corrected by antagonizing striatal mGluR5.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings demonstrate a causal role for increased mGluR5 signaling in driving striatal output abnormalities and behaviors with relevance to OCD and show the tractability of acute mGluR5 inhibition to remedy circuit and behavioral abnormalities.
Copyright © 2016 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PURPOSE - Alpelisib, a selective oral inhibitor of the class I PI3K catalytic subunit p110α, has shown synergistic antitumor activity with endocrine therapy against ER/PIK3CA-mutated breast cancer cells. This phase Ib study evaluated alpelisib plus letrozole's safety, tolerability, and preliminary activity in patients with metastatic ER breast cancer refractory to endocrine therapy.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN - Twenty-six patients received letrozole and alpelisib daily. Outcomes were assessed by standard solid-tumor phase I methods. Tumor blocks were collected for DNA extraction and next-generation sequencing.
RESULTS - Alpelisib's maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) in combination with letrozole was 300 mg/d. Common drug-related adverse events included hyperglycemia, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, and rash with dose-limiting toxicity occurring at 350 mg/d of alpelisib. The clinical benefit rate (lack of progression ≥6 months) was 35% (44% in patients with PIK3CA-mutated and 20% in PIK3CA wild-type tumors; 95% CI, 17%-56%), including five objective responses. Of eight patients remaining on treatment ≥12 months, six had tumors with a PIK3CA mutation. Among evaluable tumors, those with FGFR1/2 amplification and KRAS and TP53 mutations did not derive clinical benefit. Overexpression of FGFR1 in ER/PIK3CA mutant breast cancer cells attenuated the response to alpelisib in vitro CONCLUSIONS: The combination of letrozole and alpelisib was safe, with reversible toxicities. Clinical activity was observed independently of PIK3CA mutation status, although clinical benefit was seen in a higher proportion of patients with PIK3CA-mutated tumors. Phase II and III trials of alpelisib and endocrine therapy in patients with ER breast cancer are ongoing. Clin Cancer Res; 23(1); 26-34. ©2016 AACR.
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.
While the specific trigger of Parkinson Disease (PD) in most patients is unknown, considerable evidence suggests that the neuroinflammatory response makes an essential contribution to the neurodegenerative process. Drugs targeting metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlu receptors), 7 Transmembrane (7TM) spanning/G protein coupled receptors that bind glutamate, are emerging as therapeutic targets for PD and may have anti-inflammatory properties. ADX88178 is novel potent, selective, and brain-penetrant positive allosteric modulator of the mGlu4 which is under evaluation for treatment of PD and other neurological disorders. We used microglia cultured from mouse brain to determine if ADX88178 had direct effects on the inflammatory responses of these cells. We studied both microglia from wild type and Grm4 knock out mice. We found that activation of mGlu4 with ADX88178 attenuated LPS-induced inflammation in primary microglia, leading to a decrease in the expression of TNFα, MHCII, and iNOS, markers of pro-inflammatory responses. These effects were absent in microglia from mice lacking mGlu4. These results demonstrate a cell-autonomous anti-inflammatory effect of ADX88178 mediated mGlu4 activation on microglia, and suggest that this drug or similar activators or potentiators of mGlu4 may have disease-modifying as well as symptomatic effects in PD and other brain disorders with an inflammatory component.
Cocaine abuse remains a public health concern for which pharmacotherapies are largely ineffective. Comorbidities between cocaine abuse, depression, and anxiety support the development of novel treatments targeting multiple symptom clusters. Selective negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) targeting the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) subtype are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of multiple neuropsychiatric disorders and have shown promise in preclinical models of substance abuse. However, complete blockade or inverse agonist activity by some full mGlu5 NAM chemotypes demonstrated adverse effects, including psychosis in humans and psychotomimetic-like effects in animals, suggesting a narrow therapeutic window. Development of partial mGlu5 NAMs, characterized by their submaximal but saturable levels of blockade, may represent a novel approach to broaden the therapeutic window. To understand potential therapeutic vs adverse effects in preclinical behavioral assays, we examined the partial mGlu5 NAMs, M-5MPEP and Br-5MPEPy, in comparison with the full mGlu5 NAM MTEP across models of addiction and psychotomimetic-like activity. M-5MPEP, Br-5MPEPy, and MTEP dose-dependently decreased cocaine self-administration and attenuated the discriminative stimulus effects of cocaine. M-5MPEP and Br-5MPEPy also demonstrated antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like activity. Dose-dependent effects of partial and full mGlu5 NAMs in these assays corresponded with increasing in vivo mGlu5 occupancy, demonstrating an orderly occupancy-to-efficacy relationship. PCP-induced hyperlocomotion was potentiated by MTEP, but not by M-5MPEP and Br-5MPEPy. Further, MTEP, but not M-5MPEP, potentiated the discriminative-stimulus effects of PCP. The present data suggest that partial mGlu5 NAM activity is sufficient to produce therapeutic effects similar to full mGlu5 NAMs, but with a broader therapeutic index.
UNLABELLED - Quantification of β-amyloid (Aβ) in vivo is often accomplished using the distribution volume ratio (DVR), based on a simplified reference tissue model. We investigated the local relationships between DVR and cerebral blood flow (CBF), as well as relative CBF (R1), in nondemented older adults.
METHODS - Fifty-five nondemented participants (mean age, 78.5 y) in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging underwent (15)O-H2O PET CBF and dynamic (11)C-PiB PET. (15)O-H2O PET images were normalized and smoothed using SPM. A simplified reference tissue model with linear regression and spatial constraints was used to generate parametric DVR images. The DVR images were regressed on CBF images on a voxel-by-voxel basis using robust biologic parametric mapping, adjusting for age and sex (false discovery rate, P = 0.05; spatial extent, 50 voxels). DVR images were also regressed on R1 images, a measure of the transport rate constant from vascular space to tissue. All analyses were performed on the entire sample, and on high and low tertiles of mean cortical DVR.
RESULTS - Voxel-based analyses showed that increased DVR is associated with increased CBF in the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital cortices. However, this association appears to spare regions that typically show early Aβ deposition. A more robust relationship between DVR and CBF was observed in the lower tertile of DVR, that is, negligible cortical Aβ load, compared with the upper tertile of cortical DVR and Aβ load. The spatial distributions of the DVR-CBF and DVR-R1 correlations showed similar patterns. No reliable negative voxelwise relationships between DVR and CBF or R1 were observed.
CONCLUSION - Robust associations between DVR and CBF at negligible Aβ levels, together with similar spatial distributions of DVR-CBF and DVR-R1 correlations, suggest that regional distribution of DVR reflects blood flow and tracer influx rather than pattern of Aβ deposition in those with minimal Aβ load. DVR-CBF associations in individuals with a higher DVR are more likely to reflect true associations between patterns of Aβ deposition and CBF or neural activity. These findings have important implications for analysis and interpretation of voxelwise correlations with external variables in individuals with varying amounts of Aβ load.
© 2015 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Amyloid-beta (Aβ) imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) holds promise for detecting the presence of Aβ plaques in the cortical gray matter. Many image analyses focus on regional average measurements of tracer activity distribution; however, considerable additional information is available in the images. Metrics that describe the statistical properties of images, such as the two-point correlation function (S2), have found wide applications in astronomy and materials science. S2 provides a detailed characterization of spatial patterns in images typically referred to as clustering or flocculence. The objective of this study was to translate the two-point correlation method into Aβ-PET of the human brain using 11C-Pittsburgh compound B (11C-PiB) to characterize longitudinal changes in the tracer distribution that may reflect changes in Aβ plaque accumulation.
METHODS - We modified the conventional S2 metric, which is primarily used for binary images and formulated a weighted two-point correlation function (wS2) to describe nonbinary, real-valued PET images with a single statistical function. Using serial 11C-PiB scans, we calculated wS2 functions from two-dimensional PET images of different cortical regions as well as three-dimensional data from the whole brain. The area under the wS2 functions was calculated and compared with the mean/median of the standardized uptake value ratio (SUVR). For three-dimensional data, we compared the area under the wS2 curves with the subjects' cerebrospinal fluid measures.
RESULTS - Overall, the longitudinal changes in wS2 correlated with the increase in mean SUVR but showed lower variance. The whole brain results showed a higher inverse correlation between the cerebrospinal Aβ and wS2 than between the cerebrospinal Aβ and SUVR mean/median. We did not observe any confounding of wS2 by region size or injected dose.
CONCLUSION - The wS2 detects subtle changes and provides additional information about the binding characteristics of radiotracers and Aβ accumulation that are difficult to verify with mean SUVR alone.
Glucocorticoids signal through the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and are administered clinically for a variety of situations, including inflammatory disorders, specific cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, and organ/tissue transplantation. However, glucocorticoid therapy is also associated with additional complications, including steroid-induced diabetes. We hypothesized that modification of the steroid backbone is one strategy to enhance the therapeutic potential of GR activation. Toward this goal, two commercially unavailable, thiobenzothiazole-containing derivatives of hydrocortisone (termed MS4 and MS6) were examined using 832/13 rat insulinoma cells as well as rodent and human islets. We found that MS4 had transrepression properties but lacked transactivation ability, whereas MS6 retained both transactivation and transrepression activities. In addition, MS4 and MS6 both displayed anti-inflammatory activity. Furthermore, MS4 displayed reduced impact on islet β-cell function in both rodent and human islets. Similar to dexamethasone, MS6 promoted adipocyte development in vitro, whereas MS4 did not. Moreover, neither MS4 nor MS6 activated the Pck1 (Pepck) gene in primary rat hepatocytes. We conclude that modification of the functional groups attached to the D-ring of the hydrocortisone steroid molecule produces compounds with altered structure-function GR agonist activity with decreased impact on insulin secretion and reduced adipogenic potential but with preservation of anti-inflammatory activity.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.