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Special Issue "Parkinson's Disease and Related Disorders: Mechanisms, Biomarkers, and Models"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Neurobiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 7256

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Birgitt Schuele
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Interests: Parkinson's disease; genetics; stem cell modelling; neurodegeneration
Dr. Laurie Sanders
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Neurology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC 27701, USA
Interests: Parkinson's disease; mitochondrial DNA damage; repair and bioenergetics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to announce a call for submissions to a Special Issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences on the topic of “Parkinson's Disease and Related Disorders: Mechanisms, Biomarkers, and Models”.

Is Parkinson’s disease one big puzzle, or are we looking at many rare diseases under one umbrella?

This Special Issue offers an open access forum that is gathering a collection of review and primary research articles aiming to update and advance the current knowledge on PD mechanisms, biomarkers, and models, which also include genetic forms of PD.

The suggested potential topics include, but are not restricted to, mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction, lysosomal and proteasome failure, neuroinflammation, protein misfolding, calcium imbalance, synaptic dysfunction, oxidative stress, mitophagy, propagation, and spreading in the context of Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative diseases. We also welcome contributions that shed light on pathologies overlapping with other neurodegenerative diseases, e.g., tau, amyloid, and TDP-43 accumulation. All model systems are of interest including flies, worms, fish models, rodent models (transgenic, pharmacological, viral, pre-formed fibrils), and nonhuman primates. All submitted articles will undergo peer review.

Dr. Birgitt Schuele
Dr. Laurie Sanders
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Neurodegeneration
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Genetics/genomics
  • Mechanisms of neurodegeneration
  • Co-neuropathologies
  • Model organisms

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Novel NOX Inhibitor Treatment Attenuates Parkinson’s Disease-Related Pathology in Mouse Models
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(8), 4262; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23084262 - 12 Apr 2022
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative motor disorder without an available therapeutic to halt the formation of Lewy bodies for preventing dopaminergic neuronal loss in the nigrostriatal pathway. Since oxidative-stress-mediated damage has been commonly reported as one of the main pathological mechanisms [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative motor disorder without an available therapeutic to halt the formation of Lewy bodies for preventing dopaminergic neuronal loss in the nigrostriatal pathway. Since oxidative-stress-mediated damage has been commonly reported as one of the main pathological mechanisms in PD, we assessed the efficacy of a novel NOX inhibitor from AptaBio Therapeutics (C-6) in dopaminergic cells and PD mouse models. The compound reduced the cytotoxicity and enhanced the cell viability at various concentrations against MPP+ and α-synuclein preformed fibrils (PFFs). Further, the levels of ROS and protein aggregation were significantly reduced at the optimal concentration (1 µM). Using two different mouse models, we gavaged C-6 at two different doses to the PD sign-displaying transgenic mice for 2 weeks and stereotaxically PFF-injected mice for 5 weeks. Our results demonstrated that both C-6-treated mouse models showed alleviated motor deficits in pole test, hindlimb clasping, crossbeam, rotarod, grooming, and nesting analyses. We also confirmed that the compound treatment reduced the levels of protein aggregation, along with phosphorylated-α-synuclein, in the striatum and ventral midbrain and further dopaminergic neuronal loss. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that NOX inhibition can be a potential therapeutic target for PD. Full article
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Article
Interaction of Alpha Synuclein and Microtubule Organization Is Linked to Impaired Neuritic Integrity in Parkinson’s Patient-Derived Neuronal Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1812; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031812 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 804
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is neuropathologically characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the deposition of aggregated alpha synuclein (aSyn). Mounting evidence suggests that neuritic degeneration precedes neuronal loss in PD. A possible underlying mechanism could be the interference of aSyn with microtubule [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is neuropathologically characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the deposition of aggregated alpha synuclein (aSyn). Mounting evidence suggests that neuritic degeneration precedes neuronal loss in PD. A possible underlying mechanism could be the interference of aSyn with microtubule organization in the neuritic development, as implied by several studies using cell-free model systems. In this study, we investigate the impact of aSyn on microtubule organization in aSyn overexpressing H4 neuroglioma cells and midbrain dopaminergic neuronal cells (mDANs) generated from PD patient-derived human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) carrying an aSyn gene duplication (SNCADupl). An unbiased mass spectrometric analysis reveals a preferential binding of aggregated aSyn conformers to a number of microtubule elements. We confirm the interaction of aSyn with beta tubulin III in H4 and hiPSC-derived mDAN cell model systems, and demonstrate a remarkable redistribution of tubulin isoforms from the soluble to insoluble fraction, accompanied by a significantly increased insoluble aSyn level. Concordantly, SNCADupl mDANs show impaired neuritic phenotypes characterized by perturbations in neurite initiation and outgrowth. In summary, our findings suggest a mechanistic pathway, through which aSyn aggregation interferes with microtubule organization and induces neurite impairments. Full article
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Article
The Stimulatory Effects of Intracellular α-Synuclein on Synaptic Transmission Are Attenuated by 2-Octahydroisoquinolin-2(1H)-ylethanamine
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(24), 13253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222413253 - 09 Dec 2021
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Abstract
α-Synuclein (αSyn) species can be detected in synaptic boutons, where they play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). However, the effects of intracellular αSyn species on synaptic transmission have not been thoroughly studied. Here, using patch-clamp recordings in hippocampal [...] Read more.
α-Synuclein (αSyn) species can be detected in synaptic boutons, where they play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). However, the effects of intracellular αSyn species on synaptic transmission have not been thoroughly studied. Here, using patch-clamp recordings in hippocampal neurons, we report that αSyn oligomers (αSynO), intracellularly delivered through the patch electrode, produced a fast and potent effect on synaptic transmission, causing a substantial increase in the frequency, amplitude and transferred charge of spontaneous synaptic currents. We also found an increase in the frequency of miniature synaptic currents, suggesting an effect located at the presynaptic site of the synapsis. Furthermore, our in silico approximation using docking analysis and molecular dynamics simulations showed an interaction between a previously described small anti-amyloid beta (Aβ) molecule, termed M30 (2-octahydroisoquinolin-2(1H)-ylethanamine), with a central hydrophobic region of αSyn. In line with this finding, our empirical data aimed to obtain oligomerization states with thioflavin T (ThT) and Western blot (WB) indicated that M30 interfered with αSyn aggregation and decreased the formation of higher-molecular-weight species. Furthermore, the effect of αSynO on synaptic physiology was also antagonized by M30, resulting in a decrease in the frequency, amplitude, and charge transferred of synaptic currents. Overall, the present results show an excitatory effect of intracellular αSyn low molecular-weight species, not previously described, that are able to affect synaptic transmission, and the potential of a small neuroactive molecule to interfere with the aggregation process and the synaptic effect of αSyn, suggesting that M30 could be a potential therapeutic strategy for synucleinopathies. Full article
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Article
Gastric Helicobacter suis Infection Partially Protects against Neurotoxicity in A 6-OHDA Parkinson’s Disease Mouse Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11328; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111328 - 20 Oct 2021
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Abstract
The exact etiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) remains largely unknown, but more and more research suggests the involvement of the gut microbiota. Interestingly, idiopathic PD patients were shown to have at least a 10 times higher prevalence of Helicobacter suis (H. suis [...] Read more.
The exact etiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) remains largely unknown, but more and more research suggests the involvement of the gut microbiota. Interestingly, idiopathic PD patients were shown to have at least a 10 times higher prevalence of Helicobacter suis (H. suis) DNA in gastric biopsies compared to control patients. H. suis is a zoonotic Helicobacter species that naturally colonizes the stomach of pigs and non-human primates but can be transmitted to humans. Here, we investigated the influence of a gastric H. suis infection on PD disease progression through a 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) mouse model. Therefore, mice with either a short- or long-term H. suis infection were stereotactically injected with 6-OHDA in the left striatum and sampled one week later. Remarkably, a reduced loss of dopaminergic neurons was seen in the H. suis/6-OHDA groups compared to the control/6-OHDA groups. Correspondingly, motor function of the H. suis-infected 6-OHDA mice was superior to that in the non-infected 6-OHDA mice. Interestingly, we also observed higher expression levels of antioxidant genes in brain tissue from H. suis-infected 6-OHDA mice, as a potential explanation for the reduced 6-OHDA-induced cell loss. Our data support an unexpected neuroprotective effect of gastric H. suis on PD pathology, mediated through changes in oxidative stress. Full article
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Review

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Review
Biomarker of Neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(8), 4148; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23084148 - 08 Apr 2022
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is caused by abnormal accumulation of α-synuclein in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra, which subsequently causes motor symptoms. Neuroinflammation plays a vital role in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in PD. This neuroinflammatory neurodegeneration involves the activation of microglia, upregulation [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is caused by abnormal accumulation of α-synuclein in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra, which subsequently causes motor symptoms. Neuroinflammation plays a vital role in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in PD. This neuroinflammatory neurodegeneration involves the activation of microglia, upregulation of proinflammatory factors, and gut microbiota. In this review, we summarized the recent findings on detection of PD by using inflammatory biomarkers, such as interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α; regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and presumably secreted (RANTES) and high-sensitivity c-reactive protein (hsCRP); and radiotracers such as [11C]PK11195 and [18F]-FEPPA, as well as by monitoring disease progression and the treatment response. Many PD-causing mutations in SNCA, LRRK2, PRKN, PINK1, and DJ-1 are also associated with neuroinflammation. Several anti-inflammatory medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), inhibitors of TNF-α and NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3), agonists of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ), and steroids, have demonstrated neuroprotective effects in in vivo or in vitro PD models. Clinical trials applying objective biomarkers are required to investigate the therapeutic potential of anti-inflammatory medications for PD. Full article
Review
Respiratory Abnormalities in Parkinson’s Disease: What Do We Know from Studies in Humans and Animal Models?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(7), 3499; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23073499 - 23 Mar 2022
Viewed by 465
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by movement disorders due to the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the ventrolateral region of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). Apart from the cardinal motor symptoms such as rigidity [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by movement disorders due to the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the ventrolateral region of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). Apart from the cardinal motor symptoms such as rigidity and bradykinesia, non-motor symptoms including those associated with respiratory dysfunction are of increasing interest. Not only can they impair the patients’ quality of life but they also can cause aspiration pneumonia, which is the leading cause of death among PD patients. This narrative review attempts to summarize the existing literature on respiratory impairments reported in human studies, as well as what is newly known from studies in animal models of the disease. Discussed are not only respiratory muscle dysfunction, apnea, and dyspnea, but also altered central respiratory control, responses to hypercapnia and hypoxia, and how they are affected by the pharmacological treatment of PD. Full article
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Review
Challenges in Discovering Drugs That Target the Protein–Protein Interactions of Disordered Proteins
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031550 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 816
Abstract
Protein–protein interactions (PPIs) outnumber proteins and are crucial to many fundamental processes; in consequence, PPIs are associated with several pathological conditions including neurodegeneration and modulating them by drugs constitutes a potentially major class of therapy. Classically, however, the discovery of small molecules for [...] Read more.
Protein–protein interactions (PPIs) outnumber proteins and are crucial to many fundamental processes; in consequence, PPIs are associated with several pathological conditions including neurodegeneration and modulating them by drugs constitutes a potentially major class of therapy. Classically, however, the discovery of small molecules for use as drugs entails targeting individual proteins rather than targeting PPIs. This is largely because discovering small molecules to modulate PPIs has been seen as extremely challenging. Here, we review the difficulties and limitations of strategies to discover drugs that target PPIs directly or indirectly, taking as examples the disordered proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
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Review
Protein Misfolding and Aggregation: The Relatedness between Parkinson’s Disease and Hepatic Endoplasmic Reticulum Storage Disorders
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(22), 12467; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222212467 - 18 Nov 2021
Viewed by 977
Abstract
Dysfunction of cellular homeostasis can lead to misfolding of proteins thus acquiring conformations prone to polymerization into pathological aggregates. This process is associated with several disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), and endoplasmic reticulum storage disorders (ERSDs), like alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency [...] Read more.
Dysfunction of cellular homeostasis can lead to misfolding of proteins thus acquiring conformations prone to polymerization into pathological aggregates. This process is associated with several disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), and endoplasmic reticulum storage disorders (ERSDs), like alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) and hereditary hypofibrinogenemia with hepatic storage (HHHS). Given the shared pathophysiological mechanisms involved in such conditions, it is necessary to deepen our understanding of the basic principles of misfolding and aggregation akin to these diseases which, although heterogeneous in symptomatology, present similarities that could lead to potential mutual treatments. Here, we review: (i) the pathological bases leading to misfolding and aggregation of proteins involved in PD, AATD, and HHHS: alpha-synuclein, alpha-1-antitrypsin, and fibrinogen, respectively, (ii) the evidence linking each protein aggregation to the stress mechanisms occurring in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of each pathology, (iii) a comparison of the mechanisms related to dysfunction of proteostasis and regulation of homeostasis between the diseases (such as the unfolded protein response and/or autophagy), (iv) and clinical perspectives regarding possible common treatments focused on improving the defensive responses to protein aggregation for diseases as different as PD, and ERSDs. Full article
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