Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a degenerative motor neuron disease, causing muscle paralysis and death from respiratory failure. Effective means to preserve/restore ventilation are necessary to increase the quality and duration of life in ALS patients. At disease end-stage in a rat ALS model (SOD1G93A ), acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) restores phrenic nerve activity to normal levels via enhanced phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF). Mechanisms enhancing pLTF in end-stage SOD1G93A rats are not known. Moderate AIH-induced pLTF is normally elicited via cellular mechanisms that require the following: Gq-protein-coupled 5-HT2 receptor activation, new BDNF synthesis, and MEK/ERK signaling (the Q pathway). In contrast, severe AIH elicits pLTF via a distinct mechanism that requires the following: Gs-protein-coupled adenosine 2A receptor activation, new TrkB synthesis, and PI3K/Akt signaling (the S pathway). In end-stage male SOD1G93A rats and wild-type littermates, we investigated relative Q versus S pathway contributions to enhanced pLTF via intrathecal (C4) delivery of small interfering RNAs targeting BDNF or TrkB mRNA, and MEK/ERK (U0126) or PI3 kinase/Akt (PI828) inhibitors. In anesthetized, paralyzed and ventilated rats, moderate AIH-induced pLTF was abolished by siBDNF and UO126, but not siTrkB or PI828, demonstrating that enhanced pLTF occurs via the Q pathway. Although phrenic motor neuron numbers were decreased in end-stage SOD1G93A rats (∼30% survival; p < 0.001), BDNF and phosphorylated ERK expression were increased in spared phrenic motor neurons (p < 0.05), consistent with increased Q-pathway contributions to pLTF. Our results increase understanding of respiratory plasticity and its potential to preserve/restore breathing capacity in ALS.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Since neuromuscular disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), end life via respiratory failure, the ability to harness respiratory motor plasticity to improve breathing capacity could increase the quality and duration of life. In a rat ALS model (SOD1G93A ) we previously demonstrated that spinal respiratory motor plasticity elicited by acute intermittent hypoxia is enhanced at disease end-stage, suggesting greater potential to preserve/restore breathing capacity. Here we demonstrate that enhanced intermittent hypoxia-induced phrenic motor plasticity results from amplification of normal cellular mechanisms versus addition/substitution of alternative mechanisms. Greater understanding of mechanisms underlying phrenic motor plasticity in ALS may guide development of new therapies to preserve and/or restore breathing in ALS patients.
Pubmed ID: 28500219 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis | Animals | Cell Hypoxia | Male | Motor Neurons | Neural Conduction | Phrenic Nerve | Rats | Rats, Sprague-Dawley | Rats, Transgenic | Respiratory Insufficiency | Superoxide Dismutase-1
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