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Mesenchymal stem cells provide paracrine neuroprotective resources that delay degeneration of co-cultured organotypic neuroretinal cultures.

Through the paracrine effects of stem cells, including the secretion of neurotrophic, immunomodulatory, and anti-apoptotic factors, cell-based therapies offer a new all-encompassing approach to treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we used physically separated co-cultures of porcine neuroretina (NR) and human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to evaluate the MSC paracrine neuroprotective effects on NR degeneration. NR explants were obtained from porcine eyes and cultured alone or co-cultured with commercially available MSCs from Valladolid (MSCV; Citospin S.L.; Valladolid, Spain), currently used for several approved treatments. Cultures were maintained for 72 h. MSC surface markers were evaluated before and after co-culture with NRs. Culture supernatants were collected and the concentration of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), and glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. NR sections were stained by haematoxylin/eosin or immunostained for terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL), glial fibrillary acidic protein, β-tubulin III, and neuronal nuclei marker. NR morphology, morphometry, nuclei count, apoptosis rate, retinal ganglion cells, and glial cell activation were evaluated. Treatment effects were statistically analysed by parametric or non-parametric tests. The MSCs retained stem cell surface markers after co-culture with NR. BDNF and CNTF concentrations in NR-MSCV co-cultures were higher than other experimental conditions at 72 h (p < 0.05), but no GDNF was detected. NR general morphology, total thickness, and cell counts were broadly preserved in co-cultures, and the apoptosis rate determined by TUNEL assay was lower than for NR monocultures (all p < 0.05). Co-cultures with MSCV also protected retinal ganglion cells from degenerative changes and reduced reactive gliosis (both p < 0.05). In this in vitro model of spontaneous NR degeneration, the presence of co-cultured MSCs retarded neuroglial degeneration. This effect was associated with elevated concentrations of the neurotrophic factors BDNF and CNTF. Our data suggest that the paracrine secretion of these, and possibly other molecules, are a potential resource for the treatment of several neuroretinal diseases.

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An increase in plasma brain derived neurotrophic factor levels is related to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid efficacy in first episode schizophrenia: secondary outcome analysis of the OFFER randomized clinical trial.

N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) influence multiple biochemical mechanisms postulated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia that may influence BDNF synthesis.

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Co-Transplantation of Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Human Neural Stem Cells Improves the Outcome in Rats with Spinal Cord Injury.

Neural stem cells (NSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising graft materials for cell therapies in spinal cord injury (SCI) models. Previous studies have demonstrated that MSCs can regulate the microenvironment of NSCs and promote their survival rate. Furthermore, several studies indicate that MSCs can reduce stem cell transplantation-linked tumor formation. To our knowledge, no previous studies have determined whether co-transplantation of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) and human neural stem cells (hNSCs) could improve the outcome in rats with SCI. Therefore, we investigated whether the transplantation of hUC-MSCs combined with hNSCs through an intramedullary injection can improve the outcome of rats with SCI, and explored the underlying mechanisms. In this study, a moderate spinal cord contusion model was established in adult female Wistar rats using an NYU impactor. In total, 108 spinal cord-injured rats were randomly selected and divided into the following five groups: 1) hUC-MSCs group, 2) hNSCs group, 3) hUC-MSCs+hNSCs group, 4) PBS (control) group, and 5) a Sham group. Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan (BBB) behavioral test scores were used to evaluate the motor function of all animals before and after the SCI weekly through the 8th week. Two weeks after transplantation, some rats were sacrificed, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry were performed to evaluate the survival and differentiation of the transplanted stem cells, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was detected by ELISA in the injured spinal cords. At the end of the experiment, we evaluated the remaining myelin sheath and anterior horn neurons in the injured spinal cords using Luxol Fast Blue (LFB) staining. Our results demonstrated that the surviving stem cells in the hUC-MSCs+hNSCs group were significantly increased compared with those in the hUC-MSCs alone and the hNSCs alone groups 2 weeks post-transplantation. Furthermore, the results of the BBB scores and the remaining myelin sheath evaluated via LFB staining in the injured spinal cords demonstrated that the most significantly improved outcome occurred in the hUC-MSCs+hNSCs group. The hUC-MSCs alone and the hNSCs alone groups also had a better outcome compared with that of the PBS-treated group. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that local intramedullary subacute transplantation of hUC-MSCs, hNSCs, or hUC-MSCs+hNSCs significantly improves the outcome in an in vivo moderate contusion SCI model, and that co-transplantation of hUC-MSCs and hNSCs displayed the best outcome in our experiment.

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BDNF Val66Met genetic variation and its plasma level in patients with morbid obesity: A case-control study.

Obesity is a major public health concern worldwide. Genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors contribute to the multifactorial etiology of obesity. Evidence suggests an association between human Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Val66Met single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and obesity. Reduced plasma BDNF levels have also been reported in patients with eating disorders and obesity. We aimed to evaluate the BDNF Val66Met (rs6265) SNP and also plasma BDNF levels in morbidly obese patients compared with healthy normal controls in southern Iran. One hundred morbidly obese patients and one hundred eight healthy normal controls were enrolled. Blood-derived DNA samples were genotyped using the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method and confirmed by DNA sequencing. Plasma BDNF levels were evaluated using a commercially available sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit for human BDNF. Data analysis was performed by SPSS software, version 18.0. Genotype distribution was not significantly different between obese patients and controls. However, plasma BDNF levels were significantly lower in obese patients compared with controls. Interestingly, a significant association was found between BDNF Val66Met SNP and plasma BDNF levels. No relationship was observed between BDNF Val66Met SNP and all assessed demographic and clinical characteristics of obese patients. It seems that plasma BDNF levels were associated with both obesity and BDNF Val66Met SNP. However, this association was not found between BDNF Val66Met SNP and obesity. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed for more detailed assessment of this genetic variation as a potential biomarker for obesity.

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Oxidative Stress-Tolerant Stem Cells from Human Exfoliated Deciduous Teeth Decrease Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Damage in Organotypic Brain Slice Cultures from Adult Mice.

Oxidative stress causes severe tissue injury of the central nervous system in ischemic brain damage (IBD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, we used hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂) to induce oxidative stress in organotypic brain slice cultures (OBSCs), and investigated the protective effects of oxidative stress-tolerant (OST) stem cells harvested from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED) which were co-cultivated with OBSCs. Using presto blue assay and immunostaining, we demonstrated that both normal SHED and OST-SHED could prevent H₂O₂-induced cell death, and increase the numbers of mature neuron and neuronal progenitors in the hippocampus of OBSCs. During co-cultivation, OST-SHED, but not normal SHED, exhibited neuronal cell morphology and expressed neuronal markers. Results from ELISA showed that both normal SHED and OST-SHED significantly decreased oxidative DNA damage in H₂O₂-treated OBSCs. SHED could also produce neurotrophic factor BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) and promoted the production of IL-6 in OBSCs. Although OST-SHED had lower cell viability, the neuronal protection of OST-SHED was significantly superior to that of normal SHED. Our findings suggest that SHED, especially OST-SHED, could prevent oxidative stress induced brain damage. OST-SHED can be explored as a new therapeutic tool for IBD, TBI and neurodegenerative disorders.

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Cerebrospinal fluid BDNF pro-peptide levels in major depressive disorder and schizophrenia.

The role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its related molecules has been extensively studied in the context of psychiatric disorders. In the present study, we focused on the newly identified BDNF pro-peptide, which is generated together with mature BDNF by proteolytic processing of their precursor, proBDNF. Here, we report, for the first time, that BDNF pro-peptide is present in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and quantifiable by western blotting. We measured CSF BDNF pro-peptide levels in 27 patients with schizophrenia, 18 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), and 27 healthy controls matched for age, sex, and ethnicity (Japanese). The ratio of the BDNF pro-peptide level to the total protein level in MDD patients was significantly lower than that in controls (Kruskal-Wallis with Dunn's multiple comparisons test; p = 0.046). When men and women were examined separately, males with MDD had a significantly lower BDNF pro-peptide/protein ratio than male controls (p = 0.047); this difference was not found in female subjects. The ratio tended to be lower in male schizophrenia patients (p = 0.10). Although we tried to measure the levels of mature BDNF in CSF, they were below the limit of detection of the ELISA and multiple analyte profiling technology. Taken together, the results suggest that reduced CSF BDNF pro-peptide levels are associated with MDD, particularly in males. Further studies involving a larger sample size are warranted.

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Metabolomics and proteomics profiles of some medicinal plants and correlation with BDNF activity.

Identification of the low abundance of phytochemicals in plant extracts is very difficult. Pharmacological activity observed in such plants is not due to a single compound. In most cases, plant extracts show activity based on synergistic or antagonistic effects. Therefore, the idea of a holistic approach is more rational.

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Activation of PPARA-mediated autophagy reduces Alzheimer disease-like pathology and cognitive decline in a murine model.

Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease. An imbalance between the production and clearance of Aβ (amyloid beta) is considered to be actively involved in AD pathogenesis. Macroautophagy/autophagy is a major cellular pathway leading to the removal of aggregated proteins, and upregulation of autophagy represents a plausible therapeutic strategy to combat overproduction of neurotoxic Aβ. PPARA/PPARα (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha) is a transcription factor that regulates genes involved in fatty acid metabolism and activates hepatic autophagy. We hypothesized that PPARA regulates autophagy in the nervous system and PPARA-mediated autophagy affects AD. We found that pharmacological activation of PPARA by the PPARA agonists gemfibrozil and Wy14643 induces autophagy in human microglia (HM) cells and U251 human glioma cells stably expressing the human APP (amyloid beta precursor protein) mutant (APP-p.M671L) and this effect is PPARA-dependent. Administration of PPARA agonists decreases amyloid pathology and reverses memory deficits and anxiety symptoms in APP-PSEN1ΔE9 mice. There is a reduced level of soluble Aβ and insoluble Aβ in hippocampus and cortex tissues from APP-PSEN1ΔE9 mice after treatment with either gemfibrozil or Wy14643, which promoted the recruitment of microglia and astrocytes to the vicinity of Aβ plaques and enhanced autophagosome biogenesis. These results indicated that PPARA is an important factor regulating autophagy in the clearance of Aβ and suggested gemfibrozil be assessed as a possible treatment for AD. Abbreviation: Aβ: amyloid beta; ACTB: actin beta; ADAM10: ADAM metallopeptidase domain 10; AD: Alzheimer disease; AIF1/IBA1: allograft inflammatory factor 1; ANOVA: analysis of variance; APOE: apolipoprotein E; APP: amyloid beta precursor protein; APP-PSEN1ΔE9: APPswe/PSEN1dE9; BAFA1: bafilomycin A; BDNF: brain derived neurotrophic factor; BECN1: beclin 1; CD68: CD68 molecule; CREB1: cAMP responsive element binding protein 1; DAPI: 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; DLG4/PSD-95: discs large MAGUK scaffold protein 4; DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide; ELISA: enzyme linked immunosorbent assay; FDA: U.S. Food and Drug Administration; FKBP5: FK506 binding protein 5; GAPDH: glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; gemfibrozil: 5-(2,5-dimethylphenoxy)-2,2-dimethylpentanoic acid; GFAP: glial fibrillary acidic protein; GLI2/THP1: GLI family zinc finger 2; HM: human microglia; IL6: interleukin 6; LAMP1: lysosomal associated membrane protein 1; MAP1LC3B/LC3B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NC: negative control; OQ: opposite quadrant; PPARA/PPARα, peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha; PSEN1/PS1: presenilin 1; SEM: standard error of the mean; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; SYP: synaptophysin; TFEB: transcription factor EB; TNF/TNF-α: tumor necrosis factor; TQ: target quadrant; WT: wild type; Wy14643: 2-[4-chloro-6-(2,3-dimethylanilino)pyrimidin-2-yl]sulfanylacetic acid.

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Human Muscle Progenitor Cells Overexpressing Neurotrophic Factors Improve Neuronal Regeneration in a Sciatic Nerve Injury Mouse Model.

The peripheral nervous system has an intrinsic ability to regenerate after injury. However, this process is slow, incomplete, and often accompanied by disturbing motor and sensory consequences. Sciatic nerve injury (SNI), which is the most common model for studying peripheral nerve injury, is characterized by damage to both motor and sensory fibers. The main goal of this study is to examine the feasibility of administration of human muscle progenitor cells (hMPCs) overexpressing neurotrophic factor (NTF) genes, known to protect peripheral neurons and enhance axon regeneration and functional recovery, to ameliorate motoric and sensory deficits in SNI mouse model. To this end, hMPCs were isolated from a human muscle biopsy, and manipulated to ectopically express brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). These hMPC-NTF were transplanted into the gastrocnemius muscle of mice after SNI, and motor and sensory functions of the mice were assessed using the CatWalk XT system and the hot plate test. ELISA analysis showed that genetically manipulated hMPC-NTF express significant amounts of BDNF, GDNF, VEGF, or IGF-1. Transplantation of 3 × 10 hMPC-NTF was shown to improve motor function and gait pattern in mice following SNI surgery, as indicated by the CatWalk XT system 7 days post-surgery. Moreover, using the hot-plate test, performed 6 days after surgery, the treated mice showed less sensory deficits, indicating a palliative effect of the treatment. ELISA analysis following transplantation demonstrated increased NTF expression levels in the gastrocnemius muscle of the treated mice, reinforcing the hypothesis that the observed positive effect was due to the transplantation of the genetically manipulated hMPC-NTF. These results show that genetically modified hMPC can alleviate both motoric and sensory deficits of SNI. The use of hMPC-NTF demonstrates the feasibility of a treatment paradigm, which may lead to rapid, high-quality healing of damaged peripheral nerves due to administration of hMPC. Our approach suggests a possible clinical application for the treatment of peripheral nerve injury.

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An investigation into the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness, cognition and BDNF in young healthy males.

Recent investigations demonstrate that cardiorespiratory fitness may benefit brain health and plasticity with concurrent enhancements in cognitive performance; possibly via a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-regulated mechanism. While a number of studies have demonstrated an increase in BDNF concentration post exercise the relationship between BDNF, cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive function requires further investigation.

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