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Concept: Minocycline


Phase 3 trials supporting dextromethorphan/quinidine (DM/Q) use as a treatment for pseudobulbar affect (PBA) were conducted in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or multiple sclerosis (MS). The PRISM II study provides additional DM/Q experience with PBA secondary to dementia, stroke, or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Concepts: Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, Multiple sclerosis, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Excitotoxicity, Jean-Martin Charcot, Minocycline, Dysarthria


Activated microglia and infiltrating lymphocytes are neuropathological hallmarks of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal motoneuron disease. Although both cell types play pivotal roles in the ALS pathogenic process, the interactions between microglia and lymphocytes, specifically regulatory CD4+CD25High T lymphocytes (Tregs) and cytotoxic CD4+CD25- T lymphocytes (Teffs), have not been addressed. When co-cultured with mSOD1 adult microglia, mSOD1 Tregs suppressed the cytotoxic microglial factors NOX2 and iNOS through an IL-4-mediated mechanism, whereas Teffs were only minimally effective; IL-4 inhibitory antibodies blocked the suppressive function of mSOD1 Tregs, and conditioned media from mSOD1 Tregs or the addition of IL-4 reduced microglial NOX2 expression. During the stable disease phase, the total number of Tregs, specifically the numbers of CD4+CD25HighIL-4+, CD4+CD25HighIL-10+ and CD4+CD25HighTGF-β+ Tregs, were increased in ALS mice compared with WT mice; Tregs isolated during this phase reduced Teff proliferation. In contrast, during the rapidly progressing phase, the number of mSOD1 Tregs decreased while the proliferation of mSOD1 Teffs increased. The combination of IL-4, IL-10, and TGF-β was required to inhibit the proliferation of mSOD1 Teffs by mSOD1 Tregs that were isolated during the slow phase, while inhibition of mSOD1 Teffs by mSOD1 Tregs during the rapid phase, as well as WT Teffs, was not dependent on these factors. Thus, mSOD1 Tregs at the slow phase suppressed microglial toxicity and SOD1 Teff proliferation through different mechanisms; microglial activation was suppressed through IL-4 whereas mSOD1 Teffs were suppressed by IL-4, IL-10 and TGF-β. These data suggest that mSOD1 Tregs contribute to the slowly progressing phase in ALS mice and may offer a novel therapeutic option for ALS patients.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Superoxide dismutase, Natural killer cell, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Microglia, SOD1, Minocycline


Abstract Background The oral tetracyclines, especially minocycline hydrochloride, are often used as an effective treatment for perioral dermatitis, however they are sometimes difficult to use because of the side effects, especially in children. Objective The effectiveness of β-lactam antibiotics was evaluated in three cases of perioral dermatitis. Methods Three Japanese patients with perioral dermatitis were treated with cefcapene pivoxil hydrochloride hydrate per os 100 to 300 mg per day. They were one girl (age 10) and two adult women (age 32, 37). One of the adult patients had a past history of Meniere’s disease and the other had had a side effect, vertigo, from minocycline hydrochloride treatment. The presence of fusobacteria before and after the treatment was examined using the tape-stripping toluidine blue method. Results These patients showed the improvement in 1 to 2 weeks and were much improved or cured after 2 to 5 weeks. No side effects were found during the treatment. Fusobacteria were positive before treatment but became negative after the treatment in all of them. Conclusion β-lactam antibiotics might be a useful treatment for perioral dermatitis, especially in cases who cannot take tetracyclines.

Concepts: Effect, Effectiveness, Ménière's disease, Adverse effect, Acne vulgaris, Rosacea, Tetracycline antibiotics, Minocycline


Activated microglia cells have been implicated in the neurodegenerative process of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis; however, the precise roles of microglia in disease progression are unclear. Despite these diseases having been described for more than a century, current FDA approved therapeutics are symptomatic in nature with little evidence to supporting a neuroprotective effect. Furthermore, identifying novel therapeutics remains challenging due to undetermined etiology, a variable disease course, and the paucity of validated targets. Here, we describe the use of a novel ex vivo spinal cord culture system that offers the ability to screen potential neuroprotective agents, while maintaining the complexity of the in vivo environment. To this end, we treated spinal cord slice cultures with lipopolysaccharide and quantified neuron viability in culture using measurements of axon length and FluoroJadeC intensity. To simulate a microglia-mediated response to cellular debris, antigens, or implanted materials/devices, we supplemented the culture media with increasing densities of microspheres, facilitating microglia-mediated phagocytosis of the particles, which demonstrated a direct correlation between the phagocytic activities of microglia and neuronal health. To validate our model’s capacity to accurately depict neuroprotection, cultures were treated with resveratrol, which demonstrated enhanced neuronal health. Our results successfully demonstrate the use of this model to reproducibly quantify the extent of neurodegeneration through the measurement of axon length and FluoroJadeC intensity, and we suggest this model will allow for accurate, high-throughput screening, which could result in expedited success in translational efficacy of therapeutic agents to clinical trials.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Medicine, Neuron, Action potential, Neurology, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Minocycline


Identifying large expansions of short tandem repeats (STRs) such as those that cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and fragile X syndrome is challenging for short-read whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data. A solution to this problem is an important step towards integrating WGS into precision medicine. We have developed a software tool called ExpansionHunter that, using PCR-free WGS short-read data, can genotype repeats at the locus of interest, even if the expanded repeat is larger than the read length. We applied our algorithm to WGS data from 3,001 ALS patients who have been tested for the presence of the C9orf72 repeat expansion with repeat-primed PCR (RP-PCR). Compared against this truth data, ExpansionHunter correctly classified all (212/212, 95% CI [0.98, 1.00]) of the expanded samples as either expansions (208) or potential expansions (4). Additionally, 99.9% (2,786/2,789, 95% CI [0.997, 1.00]) of the wild type samples were correctly classified as wild type by this method with the remaining three samples identified as possible expansions. We further applied our algorithm to a set of 152 samples where every sample had one of eight different pathogenic repeat expansions including those associated with fragile X syndrome, Friedreich’s ataxia and Huntington’s disease and correctly flagged all but one of the known repeat expansions. Thus, ExpansionHunter can be used to accurately detect known pathogenic repeat expansions and provides researchers with a tool that can be used to identify new pathogenic repeat expansions. The software is licensed under GPL v3.0 and the source code is freely available on GitHub.

Concepts: Allele, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Computer program, Genetic disorders, Source code, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Trinucleotide repeat disorder, Minocycline


Inflammation is a common neuropathological feature in several neurological disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have studied the contribution of CSF1R signalling to inflammation in ALS, as a pathway previously reported to control the expansion and activation of microglial cells. We found that microglial cell proliferation in the spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice correlates with the expression of CSF1R and its ligand CSF1. Administration of GW2580, a selective CSF1R inhibitor, reduced microglial cell proliferation in SOD1(G93A) mice, indicating the importance of CSF1-CSF1R signalling in microgliosis in ALS. Moreover, GW2580 treatment slowed disease progression, attenuated motoneuron cell death and extended survival of SOD1(G93A) mice. Electrophysiological assessment revealed that GW2580 treatment protected skeletal muscle from denervation prior to its effects on microglial cells. We found that macrophages invaded the peripheral nerve of ALS mice before CSF1R-induced microgliosis occurred. Interestingly, treatment with GW2580 attenuated the influx of macrophages into the nerve, which was partly caused by the monocytopenia induced by CSF1R inhibition. Overall, our findings provide evidence that CSF1R signalling regulates inflammation in the central and peripheral nervous system in ALS, supporting therapeutic targeting of CSF1R in this disease.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Action potential, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Acetylcholine, Spinal nerve, Peripheral nervous system, Minocycline


Maternal immune activation can increase the vulnerability of the offspring to develop neuroimmune and behavioral abnormalities in response to stress in puberty. In offspring of immune-challenged mothers, stress-induced inflammatory processes precede the adult onset of multiple behavioral dysfunctions. Here, we explored whether an early anti-inflammatory intervention during peripubertal stress exposure might prevent the subsequent emergence of adult behavioral pathology. We used an environmental two-hit model in mice, in which prenatal maternal administration of the viral mimetic poly(I:C) served as the first hit, and exposure to sub-chronic unpredictable stress during peripubertal maturation as the second hit. Using this model, we examined the effectiveness of the tetracycline antibiotic minocycline (MINO) given during stress exposure to block stress-induced inflammatory responses and to prevent subsequent behavioral abnormalities. We found that combined exposure to prenatal immune activation and peripubertal stress caused significant deficits in prepulse inhibition and increased sensitivity to the psychotomimetic drugs amphetamine and dizocilpine in adulthood. MINO treatment during stress exposure prevented the emergence of these behavioral dysfunctions. In addition, the pharmacological intervention blocked hippocampal and prefrontal microglia activation and interleukin-1β expression in offspring exposed to prenatal infection and peripubertal stress. Together, these findings demonstrate that presymptomatic MINO treatment can prevent the subsequent emergence of multiple behavioral abnormalities relevant to human neuropsychiatric disorders with onset in early adulthood, including schizophrenia. Our epidemiologically informed two-hit model may thus encourage attempts to explore the use of anti-inflammatory agents in the early course of brain disorders that are characterized by signs of central nervous system inflammation during development.

Concepts: Inflammation, Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Neurology, Anti-inflammatory, Adult, Minocycline


There is growing evidence that microglia are key players in the pathological process of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It is suggested that microglia have a dual role in motoneurone degeneration through the release of both neuroprotective and neurotoxic factors.

Concepts: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Excitotoxicity, Lou Gehrig, Minocycline


Objective biomarkers for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis would facilitate the discovery of new treatments. The common neurotrophin receptor p75 is up regulated and the extracellular domain cleaved from injured neurons and peripheral glia in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We have tested the hypothesis that urinary levels of extracellular neurotrophin receptor p75 serve as a biomarker for both human motor amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and the SOD1(G93A) mouse model of the disease. The extracellular domain of neurotrophin receptor p75 was identified in the urine of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients by an immuno-precipitation/western blot procedure and confirmed by mass spectrometry. An ELISA was established to measure urinary extracellular neurotrophin receptor p75. The mean value for urinary extracellular neurotrophin receptor p75 from 28 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients measured by ELISA was 7.9±0.5 ng/mg creatinine and this was significantly higher (p<0.001) than 12 controls (2.6±0.2 ng/mg creatinine) and 19 patients with other neurological disease (Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis; 4.1±0.2 ng/mg creatinine). Pilot data of disease progression rates in 14 MND patients indicates that p75NTR(ECD) levels were significantly higher (p = 0.0041) in 7 rapidly progressing patients as compared to 7 with slowly progressing disease. Extracellular neurotrophin receptor p75 was also readily detected in SOD1(G93A) mice by immuno-precipitation/western blot before the onset of clinical symptoms. These findings indicate a significant relation between urinary extracellular neurotrophin receptor p75 levels and disease progression and suggests that it may be a useful marker of disease activity and progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Concepts: Neuron, Symptom, Neurology, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Arithmetic mean, Jean-Martin Charcot, Minocycline


Neuroinflammation appears to be a key modulator of disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and thereby a promising therapeutic target. The CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T-cells (Tregs) infiltrating into the central nervous system suppress neuroinflammation and promote the activation of neuroprotective microglia in mouse models of ALS. To our knowledge, the therapeutic association of host Treg expansion with ALS progression has not been studied in vivo.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, T cells, Lou Gehrig, Minocycline