Scholarly Works - Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Differential regenerative ability of sensory and motor neurons.
    (Elsevier BV, 2017-06-23) Cheah, Menghon; Fawcett, James W; Haenzi, Barbara; Cheah, Menghon [0000-0003-1659-3771]; Fawcett, James [0000-0002-7990-4568]
    After injury, the adult mammalian central nervous system (CNS) lacks long-distance axon regeneration. This review discusses the similarities and differences of sensory and motor neurons, seeking to understand how to achieve functional sensory and motor regeneration. As these two types of neurons respond differently to axotomy, growth environment and treatment, the future challenge will be on how to achieve full recovery in a way that allows regeneration of both types of fibres simultaneously.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    The Genetic Basis of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia in Parkinson's Disease.
    (Frontiers Media SA, 2016) Collins, Lucy M; Williams-Gray, Caroline H; Williams-Gray, Caroline [0000-0002-2648-9743]
    Cognitive dysfunction is a common feature of Parkinson's disease (PD) with mild cognitive impairment affecting around a quarter of patients in the early stages of their disease, and approximately half developing dementia by 10 years from diagnosis. However, the pattern of cognitive impairments and their speed of evolution vary markedly between individuals. While some of this variability may relate to extrinsic factors and comorbidities, inherited genetic heterogeneity is also known to play an important role. A number of common genetic variants have been identified, which contribute to cognitive function in PD, including variants in catechol-O-methyltransferase, microtubule-associated protein tau, and apolipoprotein E. Furthermore, rarer mutations in glucocerebrosidase and α-synuclein and are strongly associated with dementia risk in PD. This review explores the functional impact of these variants on cognition in PD and discusses how such genotype-phenotype associations provide a window into the mechanistic basis of cognitive heterogeneity in this disorder. This has consequent implications for the development of much more targeted therapeutic strategies for cognitive symptoms in PD.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Intratumor heterogeneity and transcriptional profiling in glioblastoma: Translational opportunities
    (Future Medicine Ltd, 2015-08) Piccirillo, SGM; Spiteri, I
    The study of phenotypic and genetic intratumor heterogeneity in glioblastoma is attracting a lot of attention. Recent studies have demonstrated that transcriptional profiling analysis can help interpret the complexity of this disease. Previously proposed molecular classifiers have been recently challenged due to the unexpected degree of intratumor heterogeneity that has been described spatially and at single-cell level. Different computational methods have been employed to analyze this huge amount of data, but new experimental designs including multisampling from individual patients and single-cell experiments require new specific approaches. In light of these results, there is hope that integration of genetic, phenotypic and transcriptional data coupled with functional experiments might help define new therapeutic strategies and classify patients according to key pathways and molecular targets that can be further investigated to develop personalized and combinatorial treatment strategies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Retinal ganglion cell survival and axon regeneration in WldS transgenic rats after optic nerve crush and lens injury.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2012-06-06) Lorber, Barbara; Tassoni, Alessia; Bull, Natalie D; Moschos, Marilita M; Martin, Keith R; Martin, Keith [0000-0002-9347-3661]
    BACKGROUND: We have previously shown that the slow Wallerian degeneration mutation, whilst delaying axonal degeneration after optic nerve crush, does not protect retinal ganglion cell (RGC) bodies in adult rats. To test the effects of a combination approach protecting both axons and cell bodies we performed combined optic nerve crush and lens injury, which results in both enhanced RGC survival as well as axon regeneration past the lesion site in wildtype animals. RESULTS: As previously reported we found that the Wld(S) mutation does not protect RGC bodies after optic nerve crush alone. Surprisingly, we found that Wld(S) transgenic rats did not exhibit the enhanced RGC survival response after combined optic nerve crush and lens injury that was observed in wildtype rats. RGC axon regeneration past the optic nerve lesion site was, however, similar in Wld(S) and wildtypes. Furthermore, activation of retinal glia, previously shown to be associated with enhanced RGC survival and axon regeneration after optic nerve crush and lens injury, was unaffected in Wld(S) transgenic rats. CONCLUSIONS: RGC axon regeneration is similar between Wld(S) transgenic and wildtype rats, but Wld(S) transgenic rats do not exhibit enhanced RGC survival after combined optic nerve crush and lens injury suggesting that the neuroprotective effects of lens injury on RGC survival may be limited by the Wld(S) protein.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Chondroitin sulfates in the developing rat hindbrain confine commissural projections of vestibular nuclear neurons.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2012-02-03) Kwok, Jessica CF; Yuen, Ying-Lai; Lau, Wai-Kit; Zhang, Fu-Xing; Fawcett, James W; Chan, Ying-Shing; Shum, Daisy KY; Fawcett, James [0000-0002-7990-4568]
    BACKGROUND: Establishing correct neuronal circuitry is crucial to proper function of the vertebrate nervous system. The abundance of chondroitin sulfate (CS) proteoglycans in embryonic neural environments suggests that matrix proteoglycans regulate axonal projections when fiber tracts have not yet formed. Among the early-born neurons, the vestibular nucleus (VN) neurons initiate commissural projections soon after generation at E12.5 and reach the contralateral target by E15.5 in the rat hindbrain. We therefore exploited 24-hour cultures (1 day in vitro (DIV)) of the rat embryos and chondroitinase ABC treatment of the hindbrain matrix to reveal the role of CS moieties in axonal initiation and projection in the early hindbrain. RESULTS: DiI tracing from the VN at E12.5(+1 DIV) showed contralaterally projecting fibers assuming fascicles that hardly reached the midline in the controls. In the enzyme-treated embryos, the majority of fibers were unfasciculated as they crossed the midline at 90°. At E13.5(+1 DIV), the commissural projections formed fascicles and crossed the midline in the controls. Enzyme treatment apparently did not affect the pioneer axons that had advanced as thick fascicles normal to the midline and beyond, towards the contralateral VN. Later projections, however, traversed the enzyme-treated matrix as unfasciculated fibers, deviated from the normal course crossing the midline at various angles and extending beyond the contralateral VN. This suggests that CSs also limit the course of the later projections, which otherwise would be attracted to alternative targets. CONCLUSIONS: CS moieties in the early hindbrain therefore control the course and fasciculation of axonal projections and the timing of axonal arrival at the target.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A Wnt1 regulated Frizzled-1/β-Catenin signaling pathway as a candidate regulatory circuit controlling mesencephalic dopaminergic neuron-astrocyte crosstalk: Therapeutical relevance for neuron survival and neuroprotection.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2011-07-13) L'episcopo, Francesca; Serapide, Maria F; Tirolo, Cataldo; Testa, Nunzio; Caniglia, Salvatore; Morale, Maria C; Pluchino, Stefano; Marchetti, Bianca; Pluchino, Stefano [0000-0002-6267-9472]
    BACKGROUND: Dopamine-synthesizing (dopaminergic, DA) neurons in the ventral midbrain (VM) constitute a pivotal neuronal population controlling motor behaviors, cognitive and affective brain functions, which generation critically relies on the activation of Wingless-type MMTV integration site (Wnt)/β-catenin pathway in their progenitors. In Parkinson's disease, DA cell bodies within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) progressively degenerate, with causes and mechanisms poorly understood. Emerging evidence suggests that Wnt signaling via Frizzled (Fzd) receptors may play a role in different degenerative states, but little is known about Wnt signaling in the adult midbrain. Using in vitro and in vivo model systems of DA degeneration, along with functional studies in both intact and SN lesioned mice, we herein highlight an intrinsic Wnt1/Fzd-1/β-catenin tone critically contributing to the survival and protection of adult midbrain DA neurons. RESULTS: In vitro experiments identifie Fzd-1 receptor expression at a mRNA and protein levels in dopamine transporter (DAT) expressing neurons, and demonstrate the ability of exogenous Wnt1 to exert robust neuroprotective effects against Caspase-3 activation, the loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive (TH+) neurons and [3H] dopamine uptake induced by different DA-specific insults, including serum and growth factor deprivation, 6-hydroxydopamine and MPTP/MPP+. Co-culture of DA neurons with midbrain astrocytes phenocopies Wnt1 neuroprotective effects, whereas RNA interference-mediated knockdown of Wnt1 in midbrain astrocytes markedly reduces astrocyte-induced TH+ neuroprotection. Likewise, silencing β-catenin mRNA or knocking down Fzd-1 receptor expression in mesencephalic neurons counteract astrocyte-induced TH+ neuroprotection. In vivo experiments document Fzd-1 co-localization with TH+ neurons within the intact SNpc and blockade of Fzd/β-catenin signaling by unilateral infusion of a Fzd/β-catenin antagonist within the SN induces reactive astrocytosis and acutely inhibits TH+ neuron survival in ipsilateral SNpc, an effect efficiently prevented by pharmacological activation of β-catenin signaling within the SNpc. CONCLUSION: These results defining a novel Wnt1/Fzd-1/β-catenin astrocyte-DA autoprotective loop provide a new mechanistic inside into the regulation of pro-survival processes, with potentially relevant consequences for drug design or drug action in Parkinson's disease.
  • ItemOpen Access
    P53 autoantibodies in 1006 patients followed up for breast cancer.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2000) Metcalfe, S; Wheeler, TK; Picken, S; Negus, S; Jo Milner A
    Serial plasma samples from 1006 patients with breast cancer revealed: (i) no correlation of p53 autoantibody status with disease status at the time of sample collection, or with menopausal status at time of primary diagnosis of breast cancer; (ii) 155 out of 1006 (15%) of patients were positive for p53 autoantibodies, and these patients tended to have a persistent autoantibody status throughout follow up, irrespective of disease behaviour; and (iii) where a negative autoantibody status was found at primary diagnosis of breast cancer, this negative status persisted throughout follow up, irrespective of later disease behaviour. We conclude that screening for p53 autoantibody status is not informative on residual tumour activity nor on therapeutic responsiveness.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Bridging spinal cord injuries.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2008-10-15) Fawcett, James W; Fawcett, James [0000-0002-7990-4568]
    One strategy for spinal cord injury repair is to make cellular bridges that support axon regeneration. However, the bridging cells often fail to integrate with host tissue and may lead to increased pain sensitivity. Recent work has tested bridging with two forms of progenitor-derived astrocyte. One type integrates, suppresses scar formation and promotes axon regeneration, whereas another very similar type, reported in Journal of Biology, does not support regeneration and increases pain sensitivity.