Highlights
  • Review Article | October 31, 2019

    Synucleinopathies are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the progressive accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) in neurons and glia and include Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). In this review, we consolidate our key findings and recent studies concerning the role of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), a pattern recognition innate immune receptor, in the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies. First, we address the pathological interaction of α-syn with microglial TLR2 and its neurotoxic inflammatory effects. Then, we show that neuronal TLR2 activation not only induces abnormal α-syn accumulation by impairing autophagy, but also modulates α-syn transmission. Finally, we demonstrate that administration of a TLR2 functional inhibitor improves the neuropathology and behavioral deficits of a synucleinopathy mouse model. Altogether, we present TLR2 modulation as a promising immunotherapy for synucleinopathies.

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    Synucleinopathies are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the progressive accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) in neurons and glia and include Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). In this review, we consolidate our key findings and recent studies concerning the role of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), a pattern recognition innate immune receptor, in the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies. First, we address the pathological interaction of α-syn with microglial TLR2 and its neurotoxic inflammatory effects. Then, we show that neuronal TLR2 activation not only induces abnormal α-syn accumulation by impairing autophagy, but also modulates α-syn transmission. Finally, we demonstrate that administration of a TLR2 functional inhibitor improves the neuropathology and behavioral deficits of a synucleinopathy mouse model. Altogether, we present TLR2 modulation as a promising immunotherapy for synucleinopathies.
    Somin Kwon, Michiyo Iba, Eliezer Masliah and Changyoun Kim
  • Review Article | October 31, 2019

    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the aging population after Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Defects in the lysosomal systems and mitochondria have been suspected to cause the pathogenesis of PD. Nevertheless, the pathogenesis of PD remains obscure. Abnormal cholesterol metabolism is linked to numerous disorders, including atherosclerosis. The brain contains the highest level of cholesterol in the body and abnormal cholesterol metabolism links also many neurodegenerative disorders such as AD, PD, Huntington’s disease (HD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The blood brain barrier effectively prevents uptake of lipoprotein-bound cholesterol from blood circulation. Accordingly, cholesterol level in the brain is independent from that in peripheral tissues. Because cholesterol metabolism in both peripheral tissue and the brain are quite different, cholesterol metabolism associated with neurodegeneration should be examined separately from that in peripheral tissues. Here, we review and compare cholesterol metabolism in the brain and peripheral tissues. Furthermore, the relationship between alterations in cholesterol metabolism and PD pathogenesis is reviewed.

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    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the aging population after Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Defects in the lysosomal systems and mitochondria have been suspected to cause the pathogenesis of PD. Nevertheless, the pathogenesis of PD remains obscure. Abnormal cholesterol metabolism is linked to numerous disorders, including atherosclerosis. The brain contains the highest level of cholesterol in the body and abnormal cholesterol metabolism links also many neurodegenerative disorders such as AD, PD, Huntington’s disease (HD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The blood brain barrier effectively prevents uptake of lipoprotein-bound cholesterol from blood circulation. Accordingly, cholesterol level in the brain is independent from that in peripheral tissues. Because cholesterol metabolism in both peripheral tissue and the brain are quite different, cholesterol metabolism associated with neurodegeneration should be examined separately from that in peripheral tissues. Here, we review and compare cholesterol metabolism in the brain and peripheral tissues. Furthermore, the relationship between alterations in cholesterol metabolism and PD pathogenesis is reviewed.
    Uram Jin, Soo Jin Park and Sang Myun Park
  • Original Article | October 31, 2019

    The thalamus is a brain structure known to modulate sensory information before relaying to the cortex. The unique ability of a thalamocortical (TC) neuron to switch between the high frequency burst firing and single spike tonic firing has been implicated to have a key role in sensory modulation including pain. Of the two firing modes, burst firing, especially maintaining certain burst firing properties, was suggested to be critical in controlling nociceptive behaviors. Therefore, understanding the factors that influence burst firing properties would offer important insight into understanding sensory modulation. Using computational modeling, we investigated how the balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs into a TC neuron influence TC bursting properties. We found that intensity of inhibitory inputs and the timing of excitatory input delivery control the dynamics of bursting properties. Then, to reflect a more realistic model, excitatory inputs delivered at different dendritic locations—proximal, intermediate, or distal—of a TC neuron were also investigated. Interestingly, excitatory input delivered into a distal dendrite, despite the furthest distance, had the strongest influence in shaping burst firing properties, suggesting that not all inputs equally contribute to modulating TC bursting properties. Overall, the results provide computational insights in understanding the detailed mechanism of the factors influencing temporal pattern of thalamic bursts.

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    The thalamus is a brain structure known to modulate sensory information before relaying to the cortex. The unique ability of a thalamocortical (TC) neuron to switch between the high frequency burst firing and single spike tonic firing has been implicated to have a key role in sensory modulation including pain. Of the two firing modes, burst firing, especially maintaining certain burst firing properties, was suggested to be critical in controlling nociceptive behaviors. Therefore, understanding the factors that influence burst firing properties would offer important insight into understanding sensory modulation. Using computational modeling, we investigated how the balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs into a TC neuron influence TC bursting properties. We found that intensity of inhibitory inputs and the timing of excitatory input delivery control the dynamics of bursting properties. Then, to reflect a more realistic model, excitatory inputs delivered at different dendritic locations—proximal, intermediate, or distal—of a TC neuron were also investigated. Interestingly, excitatory input delivered into a distal dendrite, despite the furthest distance, had the strongest influence in shaping burst firing properties, suggesting that not all inputs equally contribute to modulating TC bursting properties. Overall, the results provide computational insights in understanding the detailed mechanism of the factors influencing temporal pattern of thalamic bursts.
    Sanggeon Park, Jeong-Woo Sohn, Jeiwon Cho and Yeowool Huh
  • Original Article | October 31, 2019

    Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein coupled receptor 5 (LGR5) has been reported to play critical roles in the proliferation of various cancer cells. However, the roles of LGR5 in brain tumors and the specific intracellular signaling proteins directly associated with it remain unknown. Expression of LGR5 was first measured in normal brain tissue, meningioma, and pituitary adenoma of humans. To identify the downstream signaling pathways of LGR5, siRNA-mediated knockdown of LGR5 was performed in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells followed by proteomics analysis with 2-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE). In addition, the expression of LGR5-associated proteins was evaluated in LGR5-inhibited neuroblastoma cells and in human normal brain, meningioma, and pituitary adenoma tissue. Proteomics analysis showed 12 protein spots were significantly different in expression level (more than two-fold change) and subsequently identified by peptide mass fingerprinting. A protein association network was constructed from the 12 identified proteins altered by LGR5 knockdown. Direct and indirect interactions were identified among the 12 proteins. HSP 90-beta was one of the proteins whose expression was altered by LGR5 knockdown. Likewise, we observed decreased expression of proteins in the hnRNP subfamily following LGR5 knockdown. In addition, we have for the first time identified significantly higher hnRNP family expression in meningioma and pituitary adenoma compared to normal brain tissue. Taken together, LGR5 and its downstream signaling play critical roles in neuroblastoma and brain tumors such as meningioma and pituitary adenoma.

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    Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein coupled receptor 5 (LGR5) has been reported to play critical roles in the proliferation of various cancer cells. However, the roles of LGR5 in brain tumors and the specific intracellular signaling proteins directly associated with it remain unknown. Expression of LGR5 was first measured in normal brain tissue, meningioma, and pituitary adenoma of humans. To identify the downstream signaling pathways of LGR5, siRNA-mediated knockdown of LGR5 was performed in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells followed by proteomics analysis with 2-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE). In addition, the expression of LGR5-associated proteins was evaluated in LGR5-inhibited neuroblastoma cells and in human normal brain, meningioma, and pituitary adenoma tissue. Proteomics analysis showed 12 protein spots were significantly different in expression level (more than two-fold change) and subsequently identified by peptide mass fingerprinting. A protein association network was constructed from the 12 identified proteins altered by LGR5 knockdown. Direct and indirect interactions were identified among the 12 proteins. HSP 90-beta was one of the proteins whose expression was altered by LGR5 knockdown. Likewise, we observed decreased expression of proteins in the hnRNP subfamily following LGR5 knockdown. In addition, we have for the first time identified significantly higher hnRNP family expression in meningioma and pituitary adenoma compared to normal brain tissue. Taken together, LGR5 and its downstream signaling play critical roles in neuroblastoma and brain tumors such as meningioma and pituitary adenoma.
    Mina Hwang, Myung-Hoon Han, Hyun-Hee Park et al.
Vol.28 No.5 | October 31, 2019
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2017 Impact Factor 3.810. 2018 Impact Factor 2.360 en Experimental Neurobiology in SCIe As of August 2017 Covered from 2015

Highly Cited Papers

  • Review Article | July 1, 2015

    The term 'inflammation' was first introduced by Celsus almost 2000 years ago. Biological and medical researchers have shown increasing interest in inflammation over the past few decades, in part due to the emerging burden of chronic and degenerative diseases resulting from the increased longevity that has arisen thanks to modern medicine. Inflammation is believed to play critical roles in the pathogenesis of degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Accordingly, researchers have sought to combat such diseases by controlling inflammatory responses. In this review, we describe the endogenous inflammatory stimulators and signaling pathways in the brain. In particular, our group has focused on the JAK-STAT pathway, identifying anti-inflammatory targets and testing the effects of various anti-inflammatory drugs. This work has shown that the JAK-STAT pathway and its downstream are negatively regulated by phosphatases (SHP2 and MKP-1), inhibitory proteins (SOCS1 and SOCS3) and a nuclear receptor (LXR). These negative regulators are controlled at various levels (e.g. transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational). Future study of these proteins could facilitate the manipulation of the inflammatory response, which plays ubiquitous, diverse and ambivalent roles under physiological and pathological conditions.

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    The term 'inflammation' was first introduced by Celsus almost 2000 years ago. Biological and medical researchers have shown increasing interest in inflammation over the past few decades, in part due to the emerging burden of chronic and degenerative diseases resulting from the increased longevity that has arisen thanks to modern medicine. Inflammation is believed to play critical roles in the pathogenesis of degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Accordingly, researchers have sought to combat such diseases by controlling inflammatory responses. In this review, we describe the endogenous inflammatory stimulators and signaling pathways in the brain. In particular, our group has focused on the JAK-STAT pathway, identifying anti-inflammatory targets and testing the effects of various anti-inflammatory drugs. This work has shown that the JAK-STAT pathway and its downstream are negatively regulated by phosphatases (SHP2 and MKP-1), inhibitory proteins (SOCS1 and SOCS3) and a nuclear receptor (LXR). These negative regulators are controlled at various levels (e.g. transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational). Future study of these proteins could facilitate the manipulation of the inflammatory response, which plays ubiquitous, diverse and ambivalent roles under physiological and pathological conditions.
    Joo Hong Woo, Jee Hoon Lee, Hyunmi Kim et al.
  • Original Article | August 31, 2018

    α2-Adrenoceptor agonists attenuate hypersensitivity under neuropathic conditions. However, the mechanisms underlying this attenuation remain largely unknown. In the present study, we explored the potential roles of purinergic receptor 7 (P2X7R)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling in the anti-nociceptive effect of dexmedetomidine in a rat model of neuropathic pain induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. An animal model of CCI was adopted to mimic the clinical neuropathic pain state. Behavioral hypersensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli was determined by von Frey filament and Hargreaves' tests, and the spinal P2X7R expression level and ERK phosphorylation were analyzed using western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. In parallel with the development of mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia, a significant increase in P2X7R expression was noted in the ipsilateral spinal cord on day 7 after CCI. Intrathecal administration of dexmedetomidine (2.5 µg) for 3 days not only attenuated neuropathic pain but also inhibited the CCI-induced P2X7R upregulation and ERK phosphorylation. Intrathecal dexmedetomidine administration did not produce obvious effects on locomotor function. The present study demonstrated that dexmedetomidine attenuates the neuropathic pain induced by CCI of the sciatic nerve in rats by inhibiting spinal P2X7R expression and ERK phosphorylation, indicating the potential therapeutic implications of dexmedetomidine administration for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

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    α2-Adrenoceptor agonists attenuate hypersensitivity under neuropathic conditions. However, the mechanisms underlying this attenuation remain largely unknown. In the present study, we explored the potential roles of purinergic receptor 7 (P2X7R)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling in the anti-nociceptive effect of dexmedetomidine in a rat model of neuropathic pain induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. An animal model of CCI was adopted to mimic the clinical neuropathic pain state. Behavioral hypersensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli was determined by von Frey filament and Hargreaves' tests, and the spinal P2X7R expression level and ERK phosphorylation were analyzed using western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. In parallel with the development of mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia, a significant increase in P2X7R expression was noted in the ipsilateral spinal cord on day 7 after CCI. Intrathecal administration of dexmedetomidine (2.5 µg) for 3 days not only attenuated neuropathic pain but also inhibited the CCI-induced P2X7R upregulation and ERK phosphorylation. Intrathecal dexmedetomidine administration did not produce obvious effects on locomotor function. The present study demonstrated that dexmedetomidine attenuates the neuropathic pain induced by CCI of the sciatic nerve in rats by inhibiting spinal P2X7R expression and ERK phosphorylation, indicating the potential therapeutic implications of dexmedetomidine administration for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
    Jia-Piao Lin, Chao-Qin Chen, Ling-Er Huang et al.
  • Review Article | December 31, 2018

    A Brain-Machine interface (BMI) allows for direct communication between the brain and machines. Neural probes for recording neural signals are among the essential components of a BMI system. In this report, we review research regarding implantable neural probes and their applications to BMIs. We first discuss conventional neural probes such as the tetrode, Utah array, Michigan probe, and electroencephalography (ECoG), following which we cover advancements in next-generation neural probes. These next-generation probes are associated with improvements in electrical properties, mechanical durability, biocompatibility, and offer a high degree of freedom in practical settings. Specifically, we focus on three key topics: (1) novel implantable neural probes that decrease the level of invasiveness without sacrificing performance, (2) multi-modal neural probes that measure both electrical and optical signals, (3) and neural probes developed using advanced materials. Because safety and precision are critical for practical applications of BMI systems, future studies should aim to enhance these properties when developing next-generation neural probes.

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    A Brain-Machine interface (BMI) allows for direct communication between the brain and machines. Neural probes for recording neural signals are among the essential components of a BMI system. In this report, we review research regarding implantable neural probes and their applications to BMIs. We first discuss conventional neural probes such as the tetrode, Utah array, Michigan probe, and electroencephalography (ECoG), following which we cover advancements in next-generation neural probes. These next-generation probes are associated with improvements in electrical properties, mechanical durability, biocompatibility, and offer a high degree of freedom in practical settings. Specifically, we focus on three key topics: (1) novel implantable neural probes that decrease the level of invasiveness without sacrificing performance, (2) multi-modal neural probes that measure both electrical and optical signals, (3) and neural probes developed using advanced materials. Because safety and precision are critical for practical applications of BMI systems, future studies should aim to enhance these properties when developing next-generation neural probes.
    Jong-ryul Choi, Seong-Min Kim, Rae-Hyung Ryu et al.

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Volume 28, Number 5, October 2019

Review Articles

547 Targeting Microglial and Neuronal Toll-like Receptor 2 in Synucleinopathies

Somin Kwon, Michiyo Iba, Eliezer Masliah and Changyoun Kim

Innate immune receptor Toll-like receptor 2 has been implicated in synucleinopathies such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Our recent work demonstrates the pathogenic interaction between α-syn and TLR2 on microglia and neurons to modulate neuroinflammation, α-synuclein deposition, and neurodegeneration. Modulation of TLR2 thus holds significant promise as a novel immunotherapeutic strategy against synucleinopathies.

554 Cholesterol Metabolism in the Brain and Its Association with Parkinson’s Disease

Uram Jin, Soo Jin Park and Sang Myun Park

The brain contains the highest level of cholesterol in the body and abnormal cholesterol metabolism links also many neurodegenerative disorders. Because cholesterol metabolism in both peripheral tissue and the brain are quite different, cholesterol metabolism associated with neurodegeneration should be examined separately from that in peripheral tissues. Here, we review cholesterol metabolism in the brain and peripheral tissues and summarize the relationship between alterations in cholesterol metabolism and PD pathogenesis is reviewed.

Original Articles

568 A Computational Modeling Reveals that Strength of Inhibitory Input, E/I Balance, and Distance of Excitatory Input Modulate Thalamocortical Bursting Properties

Sanggeon Park, Jeong-Woo Sohn, Jeiwon Cho and Yeowool Huh

Conditions affecting bursting properties were analyzed with computational modeling, since maintaining specific thalamic bursting properties is suggested to be critical for gating sensory information. Characteristics of inhibitory input, the balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs, and excitatory inputs delivered at different dendritic locations affected thalamic bursting properties, which determines modulation power.

578 Modulation of Dopaminergic Neuronal Excitability by Zinc through the Regulation of Calcium-related Channels

Jihyun Noh and Jun-mo Chung

Zinc-induced augmentation of firing activity was mediated through the inhibition of small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels with contributions from voltage-gated L-type calcium channels (VGCCs) and ryanodine receptors, as well as by the activation of VGCCs via melastatin-like transient receptor potential channels.

593 3-Carene, a Phytoncide from Pine Tree has a Sleep-enhancing Effect by Targeting the GABAA-benzodiazepine Receptors

Junsung Woo, Hyejin Yang, Minseok Yoon, Changdev G. Gadhe, Ae Nim Pae, Suengmok Cho and C. Justin Lee

3-carene, a phytoncide and a bicyclic monoterpene of the pine tree oils, shows sleep-enhancing effects by acting as a positive modulator for GABAA-BZD receptor.

602 Combination of In Vivo [123I]FP-CIT SPECT and Microdialysis Reveals an Antipsychotic Drug Haloperidol-induced Synaptic Dopamine Availability in the Rat Midbrain and Striatum

So Hyeon Park, Yoo Sung Song, Byung Seok Moon, Byung Chul Lee, Hyun Soo Park and Sang Eun Kim

This study demonstrates that [123I]FP-CIT SPECT may be a useful preclinical technique for detecting increases in synaptic DA availability induced by haloperidol treatment in both the midbrain and the striatum, with results comparable to those obtained by in vivo microdialysis.

612 Transduced Tat-aldose Reductase Protects Hippocampal Neuronal Cells against Oxidative Stress-induced Damage

Su Bin Cho, Won Sik Eum, Min Jea Shin, Hyun Jung Kwon, Jung Hwan Park, Yeon Joo Choi, Jinseu Park, Kyu Hyung Han, Ju Hyeon Kang, Duk-Soo Kim, Sung-Woo Cho, Dae Won Kim and Soo Young Choi

Although aldose reductase (AR) have been considered as therapeutic agents for ischemia, the limitation is to deliver of this protein into target cells. Thus, protein transduction domain fused cell permeable Tat-AR fusion protein may overcome this challenge and help to realize the potential of AR for application as a therapeutic protein. In this study, we found that Tat-AR protein transduced into hippocampal CA1 region, passing through the BBB, and markedly inhibited hippocampal neuronal cell death induced by ischemic injury. Therefore, we suggest that Tat-AR protein could be used as potential therapeutic agent for ischemic injury.

628 LGR5 and Downstream Intracellular Signaling Proteins Play Critical Roles in the Cell Proliferation of Neuroblastoma, Meningioma and Pituitary Adenoma

Mina Hwang, Myung-Hoon Han, Hyun-Hee Park, Hojin Choi, Kyu-Yong Lee, Young Joo Lee, Jae Min Kim, Jin Hwan Cheong, Je Il Ryu, Kyueng-Whan Min, Young-Ha Oh, Yong Ko and Seong-Ho Koh

Our results may suggest a possible connection between LGR5 and its downstream signaling and neuroblastoma and brain tumors such as meningioma and pituitary adenoma. We hypothesized that activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by LGR5 activation may activate the hnRNP family and this process may result in hyperactivation of alternative pre-mRNA processing in human meningioma and pituitary adenoma.