Special Issue "Metabolic and Neurotrophic Pathways Driving the Brain-Heart-Axis"

A special issue of Biomolecules (ISSN 2218-273X). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021) | Viewed by 8602

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Lorena Perrone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples, Italy
Interests: neurodegeneration; Alzheimer; inflammation; protein trafficking; signalling
Prof. Dr. Carola Yvette Förster
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Julius-Maximilians-Universitat Wurzburg, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Wurzburg, Germany
Interests: cerebrovascular biology; cardiovascular biology; brain-heart; brain cancer; neuroinflammation; ischemic brain injury; systems biology and mathematical modeling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Michiaki Nagai
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Cardiology, Hiroshima City Asa Hospital, Hiroshima, Japan
Interests: hypertension; heart failure; coronary heart disease; brain-heart; insular cortex

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Recent studies have underlined the role of metabolic and neurotrophic factors in whole body control, with a special focus on the “brain–heart axis”. Indeed, metabolic alterations are known to affect the brain function as well as the vascular system. In agreement, drugs used to cure hypertension, such as Verapamil, are also beneficial in neurological diseases. On the other hand, mutations in BDNF neurotrophin affect the brain function as well as the vascular system, with a special effect on the heart. It is becoming evident that metabolic alterations alter the expression/activity of neurotrophic factors, affecting the brain function and leading to heart dysfunction.

In this Special Issue, we aim to underline the effect of metabolic alterations that impact the activity of neurotrophic factors, leading to impaired brain activity, which in turn has an impact on heart function. Additionally, we invite articles showing that impaired neurotrophic activity impacts the brain, which consequently leads to impaired heart activity.

We look for innovative research capable to dissect the role of metabolism in altering the expression/activity of neurotrophic factors, showing the relevance of the “brain–heart axis”. Articles showing the role of mutations in molecules involved in the metabolic homeostasis or in neurotrophic factors are welcomed if they underline the relevance of the “brain–heart axis”.

Dr. Lorena Perrone
Prof. Dr. Carola Yvette Förster
Prof. Dr. Michiaki Nagai
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • brain-heart axis
  • metabolism
  • neurotrophins
  • metabolic factors
  • nutrition
  • micro and macronutrients

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Fitness Shifts the Balance of BDNF and IL-6 from Inflammation to Repair among People with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Biomolecules 2021, 11(4), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11040504 - 26 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1687
Abstract
Physical sedentarism is linked to elevated levels of circulating cytokines, whereas exercise upregulates growth-promoting proteins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The shift towards a ‘repair’ phenotype could protect against neurodegeneration, especially in diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). We investigated whether having [...] Read more.
Physical sedentarism is linked to elevated levels of circulating cytokines, whereas exercise upregulates growth-promoting proteins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The shift towards a ‘repair’ phenotype could protect against neurodegeneration, especially in diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). We investigated whether having higher fitness or participating in an acute bout of maximal exercise would shift the balance of BDNF and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in serum samples of people with progressive MS (n = 14), compared to matched controls (n = 8). Participants performed a maximal graded exercise test on a recumbent stepper, and blood samples were collected at rest and after the test. We assessed walking speed, fatigue, and maximal oxygen consumption (V·O2max). People with MS achieved about 50% lower V·O2max (p = 0.003) than controls. At rest, there were no differences in BDNF between MS and controls; however, IL-6 was significantly higher in MS. Higher V·O2max was associated with a shift in BDNF/IL-6 ratio from inflammation to repair (R = 0.7, p = 0.001) when considering both groups together. In the MS group, greater ability to upregulate BDNF was associated with faster walking speed and lower vitality. We present evidence that higher fitness indicates a shift in the balance of blood biomarkers towards a repair phenotype in progressive MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic and Neurotrophic Pathways Driving the Brain-Heart-Axis)
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Review

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Review
Sex Hormone-Specific Neuroanatomy of Takotsubo Syndrome: Is the Insular Cortex a Moderator?
Biomolecules 2022, 12(1), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12010110 - 10 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 785
Abstract
Takotsubo syndrome (TTS), a transient form of dysfunction in the heart’s left ventricle, occurs predominantly in postmenopausal women who have emotional stress. Earlier studies support the concept that the human circulatory system is modulated by a cortical network (consisting of the anterior cingulate [...] Read more.
Takotsubo syndrome (TTS), a transient form of dysfunction in the heart’s left ventricle, occurs predominantly in postmenopausal women who have emotional stress. Earlier studies support the concept that the human circulatory system is modulated by a cortical network (consisting of the anterior cingulate gyrus, amygdala, and insular cortex (Ic)) that plays a pivotal role in the central autonomic nervous system in relation to emotional stressors. The Ic plays a crucial role in the sympathovagal balance, and decreased levels of female sex hormones have been speculated to change functional cerebral asymmetry, with a possible link to autonomic instability. In this review, we focus on the Ic as an important moderator of the human brain–heart axis in association with sex hormones. We also summarize the current knowledge regarding the sex-specific neuroanatomy in TTS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic and Neurotrophic Pathways Driving the Brain-Heart-Axis)
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Review
Do Neurotrophins Connect Neurological Disorders and Heart Diseases?
Biomolecules 2021, 11(11), 1730; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11111730 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 783
Abstract
Neurotrophins (NTs) are one of the most characterized neurotrophic factor family members and consist of four members in mammals. Growing evidence suggests that there is a complex inter- and bi-directional relationship between central nervous system (CNS) disorders and cardiac dysfunction, so-called “brain–heart axis”. [...] Read more.
Neurotrophins (NTs) are one of the most characterized neurotrophic factor family members and consist of four members in mammals. Growing evidence suggests that there is a complex inter- and bi-directional relationship between central nervous system (CNS) disorders and cardiac dysfunction, so-called “brain–heart axis”. Recent studies suggest that CNS disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, and depression, affect cardiovascular function via various mechanisms, such as hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis augmentation. Although this brain–heart axis has been well studied in humans and mice, the involvement of NT signaling in the axis has not been fully investigated. In the first half of this review, we emphasize the importance of NTs not only in the nervous system, but also in the cardiovascular system from the embryonic stage to the adult state. In the second half, we discuss the involvement of NTs in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, and then examine whether an alteration in NTs could serve as the mediator between neurological disorders and heart dysfunction. The further investigation we propose herein could contribute to finding direct evidence for the involvement of NTs in the axis and new treatment for cardiovascular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic and Neurotrophic Pathways Driving the Brain-Heart-Axis)
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Review
The Emerging Role of Metabolism in Brain-Heart Axis: New Challenge for the Therapy and Prevention of Alzheimer Disease. May Thioredoxin Interacting Protein (TXNIP) Play a Role?
Biomolecules 2021, 11(11), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11111652 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 973
Abstract
Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most frequent cause of dementia and up to now there is not an effective therapy to cure AD. In addition, AD onset occurs decades before the diagnosis, affecting the possibility to set up appropriate therapeutic strategies. For this [...] Read more.
Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most frequent cause of dementia and up to now there is not an effective therapy to cure AD. In addition, AD onset occurs decades before the diagnosis, affecting the possibility to set up appropriate therapeutic strategies. For this reason, it is necessary to investigate the effects of risk factors, such as cardiovascular diseases, in promoting AD. AD shows not only brain dysfunction, but also alterations in peripheral tissues/organs. Indeed, it exists a reciprocal connection between brain and heart, where cardiovascular alterations participate to AD as well as AD seem to promote cardiovascular dysfunction. In addition, metabolic dysfunction promotes both cardiovascular diseases and AD. In this review, we summarize the pathways involved in the regulation of the brain-heart axis and the effect of metabolism on these pathways. We also present the studies showing the role of the gut microbiota on the brain-heart axis. Herein, we propose recent evidences of the function of Thioredoxin Interacting protein (TXNIP) in mediating the role of metabolism on the brain-heart axis. TXNIP is a key regulator of metabolism at both cellular and body level and it exerts also a pathological function in several cardiovascular diseases as well as in AD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic and Neurotrophic Pathways Driving the Brain-Heart-Axis)
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Review
TGFβ-Neurotrophin Interactions in Heart, Retina, and Brain
Biomolecules 2021, 11(9), 1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11091360 - 14 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1589
Abstract
Ischemic insults to the heart and brain, i.e., myocardial and cerebral infarction, respectively, are amongst the leading causes of death worldwide. While there are therapeutic options to allow reperfusion of ischemic myocardial and brain tissue by reopening obstructed vessels, mitigating primary tissue damage, [...] Read more.
Ischemic insults to the heart and brain, i.e., myocardial and cerebral infarction, respectively, are amongst the leading causes of death worldwide. While there are therapeutic options to allow reperfusion of ischemic myocardial and brain tissue by reopening obstructed vessels, mitigating primary tissue damage, post-infarction inflammation and tissue remodeling can lead to secondary tissue damage. Similarly, ischemia in retinal tissue is the driving force in the progression of neovascular eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which eventually lead to functional blindness, if left untreated. Intriguingly, the easily observable retinal blood vessels can be used as a window to the heart and brain to allow judgement of microvascular damages in diseases such as diabetes or hypertension. The complex neuronal and endocrine interactions between heart, retina and brain have also been appreciated in myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, and retinal diseases. To describe the intimate relationship between the individual tissues, we use the terms heart-brain and brain-retina axis in this review and focus on the role of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and neurotrophins in regulation of these axes under physiologic and pathologic conditions. Moreover, we particularly discuss their roles in inflammation and repair following ischemic/neovascular insults. As there is evidence that TGFβ signaling has the potential to regulate expression of neurotrophins, it is tempting to speculate, and is discussed here, that cross-talk between TGFβ and neurotrophin signaling protects cells from harmful and/or damaging events in the heart, retina, and brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic and Neurotrophic Pathways Driving the Brain-Heart-Axis)
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Review
The Conspicuous Link between Ear, Brain and Heart–Could Neurotrophin-Treatment of Age-Related Hearing Loss Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Amyloid Cardiomyopathy?
Biomolecules 2021, 11(6), 900; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11060900 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1729
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with neurovascular dysfunction and cognitive decline. While the deposition of amyloid β peptide (Aβ) and the formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are the pathological hallmarks of [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with neurovascular dysfunction and cognitive decline. While the deposition of amyloid β peptide (Aβ) and the formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are the pathological hallmarks of AD-affected brains, the majority of cases exhibits a combination of comorbidities that ultimately lead to multi-organ failure. Of particular interest, it can be demonstrated that Aβ pathology is present in the hearts of patients with AD, while the formation of NFT in the auditory system can be detected much earlier than the onset of symptoms. Progressive hearing impairment may beget social isolation and accelerate cognitive decline and increase the risk of developing dementia. The current review discusses the concept of a brain–ear–heart axis by which Aβ and NFT inhibition could be achieved through targeted supplementation of neurotrophic factors to the cochlea and the brain. Such amyloid inhibition might also indirectly affect amyloid accumulation in the heart, thus reducing the risk of developing AD-associated amyloid cardiomyopathy and cardiovascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic and Neurotrophic Pathways Driving the Brain-Heart-Axis)
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