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Concept: Mice


BACKGROUND: Laminin-alpha2-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy (MDC1A) is a severe muscle-wasting disease for which no curative treatment is available. Antagonists of the angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT1), including the anti-hypertensive drug losartan, have been shown to block also the profibrotic action of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta and thereby ameliorate disease progression in mouse models of Marfan syndrome. Because fibrosis and failure of muscle regeneration are the main reasons for the severe disease course of MDC1A, we tested whether L-158809, an analog derivative of losartan, could ameliorate the dystrophy in dyW/dyW mice, the best-characterized model of MDC1A. METHODS: L-158809 was given in food to dyW/dyW mice at the age of 3 weeks, and the mice were analyzed at the age of 6 to 7 weeks. We examined the effect of L-158809 on muscle histology and on muscle regeneration after injury as well as the locomotor activity and muscle strength of the mice. RESULTS: We found that TGF-beta signaling in the muscles of the dyW/dyW mice was strongly increased, and that L-158809 treatment suppressed this signaling. Consequently, L-158809 reduced fibrosis and inflammation in skeletal muscle of dyW/dyW mice, and largely restored muscle regeneration after toxin-induced injury. Mice showed improvement in their locomotor activity and grip strength, and their body weight was significantly increased. CONCLUSION: These data provide evidence that AT1 antagonists ameliorate several hallmarks of MDC1A in dyW/dyW mice, the best-characterized mouse model for this disease. Because AT1 antagonists are well tolerated in humans and widely used in clinical practice, these results suggest that losartan may offer a potential future treatment of patients with MDC1A.

Concepts: Muscle, Muscular system, Angiotensin, Angiotensin II receptor antagonist, Mice, Muscle spindle, Angiotensin receptor, Angiotensin II receptor type 2


Despite advances to targeted leishmanicidal chemotherapy, defies around severe toxicity, recent emergence of resistant variants and absence of rational vaccine still persist. This necessitates search and/or progressive validation of accessible medicinal remedies including plant based. The study examined both in vivo and in vitro response of L. major infection to combined therapy of Ricinus communis and Azadirachta indica extracts in BALB/c mice as the mouse model. A comparative study design was applied.

Concepts: Immune system, Animal testing, In vivo, In vitro, Rat, Rodent, Mouse, Mice


Fragile-X syndrome (FXS) patients display intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder due to silencing of the X-linked, fragile-X mental retardation-1 (FMR1) gene. Dysregulation of cAMP metabolism is a consistent finding in patients and in the mouse and fly FXS models. We therefore explored if BPN14770, a prototypic phosphodiesterase-4D negative allosteric modulator (PDE4D-NAM) in early human clinical trials, might provide therapeutic benefit in the mouse FXS model. Daily treatment of adult male fmr1 C57Bl6 knock-out mice with BPN14770 for 14 days reduced hyperarousal, improved social interaction, and improved natural behaviors such as nesting and marble burying as well as dendritic spine morphology. There was no decrement in behavioral scores in control C57Bl6 treated with BPN14770. The behavioral benefit of BPN14770 persisted two weeks after washout of the drug. Thus, BPN14770 may be useful for the treatment of fragile-X syndrome and other disorders with decreased cAMP signaling.

Concepts: Gene, Autism, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, Behavior, Mouse, Mice, Fragile X syndrome


Increasing demand for clinical retinal degeneration therapies featuring human ESC/iPSC-derived retinal tissue and cells warrants proof-of-concept studies. Here, we established two mouse models of end-stage retinal degeneration with immunodeficiency, NOG-rd1-2J and NOG-rd10, and characterized disease progress and immunodeficient status. We also transplanted human ESC-derived retinal sheets into NOG-rd1-2J and confirmed their long-term survival and maturation of the structured graft photoreceptor layer, without rejection or tumorigenesis. We recorded light responses from the host ganglion cells using a multi-electrode array system; this result was consistent with whole-mount immunostaining suggestive of host-graft synapse formation at the responding sites. This study demonstrates an application of our mouse models and provides a proof of concept for the clinical use of human ESC-derived retinal sheets.

Concepts: Nervous system, Mice, Prototype, Proof of concept


It has been proposed that the hypothalamus helps to control ageing, but the mechanisms responsible remain unclear. Here we develop several mouse models in which hypothalamic stem/progenitor cells that co-express Sox2 and Bmi1 are ablated, as we observed that ageing in mice started with a substantial loss of these hypothalamic cells. Each mouse model consistently displayed acceleration of ageing-like physiological changes or a shortened lifespan. Conversely, ageing retardation and lifespan extension were achieved in mid-aged mice that were locally implanted with healthy hypothalamic stem/progenitor cells that had been genetically engineered to survive in the ageing-related hypothalamic inflammatory microenvironment. Mechanistically, hypothalamic stem/progenitor cells contributed greatly to exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) in the cerebrospinal fluid, and these exosomal miRNAs declined during ageing, whereas central treatment with healthy hypothalamic stem/progenitor cell-secreted exosomes led to the slowing of ageing. In conclusion, ageing speed is substantially controlled by hypothalamic stem cells, partially through the release of exosomal miRNAs.

Concepts: Central nervous system, DNA, Gene, Genetics, Brain, Mouse, Dopamine, Mice


A central question in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is whether the neuritic plaque is necessary and sufficient for the development of tau pathology. Hyperphosphorylation of tau is found within dystrophic neurites surrounding β-amyloid deposits in AD mouse models but the pathological conversion of tau is absent. Likewise, expression of a human tau repeat domain in mice is insufficient to drive the pathological conversion of tau. Here we developed an Aβ-amyloidosis mouse model that expresses the human tau repeat domain and show that in these mice, the neuritic plaque facilitates the pathological conversion of wild-type tau. We show that this tau fragment seeds the neuritic plaque-dependent pathological conversion of wild-type tau that spreads from the cortex and hippocampus to the brain stem. These results establish that in addition to the neuritic plaque, a second determinant is required to drive the conversion of wild-type tau.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Gene, Brain, Semantic memory, Mice, Necessary and sufficient condition, Tau protein


Cramer et al. (Reports, 23 March 2012, p. 1503; published online 9 February 2012) demonstrated in a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that treatment of APP/PS1ΔE9 mice with bexarotene decreased Aβ pathology and ameliorated memory deficits. We confirm the reversal of memory deficits in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice expressing human APOE3 or APOE4 to the levels of their nontransgenic controls and the significant decrease of interstitial fluid Aβ, but not the effects on amyloid deposition.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Memory, Apolipoprotein E, Aluminium, Beta amyloid, Mouse, Semantic memory, Mice


Cramer et al. (Reports, 23 March 2012, p. 1503; published online 9 February 2012) reported that bexarotene rapidly reduces β-amyloid (Aβ) levels and plaque burden in two mouse models of Aβ deposition in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We now report that, although bexarotene reduces soluble Aβ40 levels in one of the mouse models, the drug has no impact on plaque burden in three strains that exhibit Aβ amyloidosis.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Report, Aluminium, Mouse, Mice


Cramer et al. (Reports, 23 March 2012, p. 1503; published online 9 February 2012) demonstrates short-term bexarotene treatment clearing preexisting β-amyloid deposits from the brains of APP/PS1ΔE9 mice with low amyloid burden, providing a rationale for repurposing this anticancer agent as an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) therapeutic. Using a nearly identical treatment regimen, we were unable to detect any evidence of drug efficacy despite demonstration of target engagement.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Medicine, Cure, Aluminium, Beta amyloid, Mice


Microglia play key roles in brain development, homeostasis, and function, and it is widely assumed that the adult population is long lived and maintained by self-renewal. However, the precise temporal and spatial dynamics of the microglial population are unknown. We show in mice and humans that the turnover of microglia is remarkably fast, allowing the whole population to be renewed several times during a lifetime. The number of microglial cells remains steady from late postnatal stages until aging and is maintained by the spatial and temporal coupling of proliferation and apoptosis, as shown by pulse-chase studies, chronic in vivo imaging of microglia, and the use of mouse models of dysregulated apoptosis. Our results reveal that the microglial population is constantly and rapidly remodeled, expanding our understanding of its role in the maintenance of brain homeostasis.

Concepts: Nervous system, Developmental biology, Systems theory, Mouse, Mice, Microglia, Homeostasis, A Lifetime