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Title: The role of kynurenine metabolism in the development of the central nervous system
Author: Pisar, Mazura Md
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 7957
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2014
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Prenatal exposure to maternal infection has been thought as a major risk factor for neurodevelopmental brain damage and thus contributes to the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases including schizophrenia and autism. The mechanisms of aberrant neurodevelopmental processes on the offspring, in which primary cerebral insults occur during early brain development, are not fully understood. In the present investigation, maternal infection was modelled in timed-pregnant rats at embryonic day (E) 14, 16 and 18 by administering intraperitoneal injections of polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidilic acid,poly(I:C), a viral mimetic double stranded RNA complex which activates Toll-Like-Receptor-3 (TLR-3). The aim was to examine the impact of maternal inflammatory response on the regulation of expression of neurodevelopmental proteins that play important roles in many neurodevelopment aspects, including maintenance of synaptic plasticity, intracellular signalling and neurogenesis which may be relevant in cognitive and behavioural functions. An examination of embryo brains 5 h after maternal poly(I:C) showed significant differences in expression of the NMDA receptor NR2 subunits. The expression of NR2A subunits was reduced, whereas infection induced during pregnancy enhanced NR2B subunit expression. Expression levels of both subunits at postnatal day 21 (P21) were not affected by prenatal poly(I:C) exposure. In utero viral challenge led to significant changes among neurogenesis factor only at P21. In the fetal brain, acute poly(I:C) exposure had no effect on the expression of SHH, PCNA and also SOX2 proteins. However, when poly(I:C) was administered during mid and late gestation in the rodent model, long term effects of prenatal viral challenge on survival and maintenance of cell in the brain as indicated by the expression of SOX2 and SHH was clearly demonstrable. Expression of SOX2 level was increased,while SHH was significantly decreased, suggesting possible increase in the number of cells and changes in the rate of differentiation, respectively. The results demonstrate that poly(I:C) challenge in pregnant dams results in selective molecular changes in the brain, with transient alteration in the levels of NMDA receptor subunit NR2A and NR2B in the foetal brain, and also affecting molecules associated with cell genesis processes at later stages of developmental age of offspring. On the other hand, recent pharmacological interest in kynurenines with respect to CNS diseases has mainly focussed on two neuroactive molecules: quinolinic acid (QUIN) and kynurenic acid (KYNA). Manipulation of the kynurenine pathway and its neuroactive metabolites has been associated with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor neurotoxicity and dysfunction which linked to the development of various neurological disorders. An early developmental event has been proposed to precipitate alterations in the NMDA receptor function. In this respect, early development during the gestational period of rats is most suitable for investigating the modulating effect of kynurenine pathway inhibition by compound Ro61-8048 (3,4-dimethoxy-N-[4-(3-nitrophenyl)thiazol-2-yl]benzenesulphomide) an inhibitor of kynurenine-3-monooxygenase (KMO) in shifting the balance towards the production of neuroprotective, kynurenic acid. Western blots were generated to indicate the expression of a range of proteins relevant to different aspects of CNS development including neuritogenesis, axon guidance, maintenance of synaptic plasticity, intracellular signalling and cell proliferation and migration. Within 5 h of Ro61-8048, there was a significant decrease in NR2A expression and increased NR2B in the embryo brains, with subsequent changes in SHH and NFB at 24 h post treatment. The litters were left undisturbed until weaning on P21 and other groups were allowed to develop to P60, at which time they euthanized and the brains removed for analysis. At P21, western blot analysis revealed significantly increased protein expression of the NR2A and NR2B subunits and postsynaptic density protein (PSD95). Among several neurodevelopmental proteins, the expression of NFB and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) was increased, while reduced level of SHH was detected. We demonstrate here persisting changes in NR2A expression, with reduced level in the hippocampus while a raised level was noted in the cortex suggesting prenatal modulation of kynurenine pathway causes long lasting modifications of NMDA receptor composition and function. It is important to note that kynurenine pathway inhibition can generate a consistent set of long term changes in the SHH in which the levels of this protein remained repressed in some regional areas of the brain including hippocampus, cerebellum and cortex. We show that there are some common pathways that are affected by kynurenine pathway inhibition, and this early modulation tends to disrupt critical molecular processes that are known to be actively occurring at each specific developmental time. Overall, given these selective and differing developmental profile, an early life modulation of the kynurenine pathway might be expected to cause a sufficient disturbance of biological processes that are actively occurring at the time of exposure and also able to leave a series of molecular changes that persist into adulthood. This disruption is likely to influence the resulting physiology of the adolescent and adult brain and subsequently can lead to impairments in social behaviour. It is hoped that this study provides a broad analysis of the long term molecular effects of developmental kynurenine metabolism, and that it allows for a viable opportunity of potential therapeutic targets for disease intervention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology