• Fingolimod Modulates Dendritic Architecture in a BDNF-Dependent Manner.

      Patnaik, Abhisarika; Spiombi, Eleonora; Frasca, Angelisa; Landsberger, Nicoletta; Zagrebelsky, Marta; Korte, Martin (MDPI, 2020-04-27)
      The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays crucial roles in both the developing and mature brain. Moreover, alterations in BDNF levels are correlated with the cognitive impairment observed in several neurological diseases. Among the different therapeutic strategies developed to improve endogenous BDNF levels is the administration of the BDNF-inducing drug Fingolimod, an agonist of the sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor. Fingolimod treatment was shown to rescue diverse symptoms associated with several neurological conditions (i.e., Alzheimer disease, Rett syndrome). However, the cellular mechanisms through which Fingolimod mediates its BDNF-dependent therapeutic effects remain unclear. We show that Fingolimod regulates the dendritic architecture, dendritic spine density and morphology of healthy mature primary hippocampal neurons. Moreover, the application of Fingolimod upregulates the expression of activity-related proteins c-Fos and pERK1/2 in these cells. Importantly, we show that BDNF release is required for these actions of Fingolimod. As alterations in neuronal structure underlie cognitive impairment, we tested whether Fingolimod application might prevent the abnormalities in neuronal structure typical of two neurodevelopmental disorders, namely Rett syndrome and Cdk5 deficiency disorder. We found a significant rescue in the neurite architecture of developing cortical neurons from Mecp2 and Cdkl5 mutant mice. Our study provides insights into understanding the BDNF-dependent therapeutic actions of Fingolimod.
    • Signaling via the p75 neurotrophin receptor facilitates amyloid-β-induced dendritic spine pathology.

      Patnaik, Abhisarika; Zagrebelsky, Marta; Korte, Martin; Holz, Andreas; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (NPG, 2020-08-07)
      Synapse and dendritic spine loss induced by amyloid-β oligomers is one of the main hallmarks of the early phases of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is directly correlated with the cognitive decline typical of this pathology. The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) binds amyloid-β oligomers in the nM range. While it was shown that µM concentrations of amyloid-β mediate cell death, the role and intracellular signaling of p75NTR for dendritic spine pathology induced by sublethal concentrations of amyloid-β has not been analyzed. We describe here p75NTR as a crucial binding partner in mediating effects of soluble amyloid-β oligomers on dendritic spine density and structure in non-apoptotic hippocampal neurons. Removing or over-expressing p75NTR in neurons rescues or exacerbates the typical loss of dendritic spines and their structural alterations observed upon treatment with nM concentrations of amyloid-β oligomers. Moreover, we show that binding of amyloid-β oligomers to p75NTR activates the RhoA/ROCK signaling cascade resulting in the fast stabilization of the actin spinoskeleton. Our results describe a role for p75NTR and downstream signaling events triggered by binding of amyloid-β oligomers and causing dendritic spine pathology. These observations further our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying one of the main early neuropathological hallmarks of AD.