Our researchers

Marisol Aymerich Soler

Most recent scientific publications (since 2010)

Authors: Rojo-Bustamante, E. ; et al.
ISSN 0969-9961  Vol. 118  2018  pp. 64 - 75
Management of levodopa-induced dyskinesias (LID) is one of the main challenges in the treatment of Parkinson's disease patients. Mechanisms involved in the appearance of these involuntary movements are not well known but modifications in the activity of different neurotransmitter pathways seem to play an important role. The objective of this study was to determine differences in the expression levels of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) elements that would support a role in LID. The basal ganglia nuclei, putamen, external segment of the globus pallidus (GPe), internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi), subthalamic nucleus (STN) and substantia nigra (SN) were dissected out from cryostat sections obtained from two groups of parkinsonian monkeys treated with levodopa to induce dyskinesias. One group of dyskinetic animals was sacrificed under the effect of levodopa, during the active phase of LID, and the other group 24 h after the last levodopa dose (OFF levodopa). Biochemical analysis by real-time PCR for ECS elements was performed. CBI receptor expression was upregulated in the putamen, GPe and STN during the active phase of dyskinesia and downregulated in the same nuclei and in the SN when dyskinetic animals were OFF levodopa. Changes in the 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) synthesizing/degrading enzymes affecting the pallidal-subthalamic projections in dyskinetic animals OFF levodopa would suggest that 2-AG may play a role in LID. Anandamide (AEA) synthesizing/degrading enzymes were altered specifically in the GPe of untreated parkinsonian monkeys, suggesting that increased AEA levels may be a compensatory mechanism. These results indicate that the expression of the ECS elements is influenced by alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission. On one hand, changes in CBI, receptor expression and in the 2-AG synthesizing/degrading enzymes suggest that they could be a therapeutic target for the active phase of LID. On the other hand, AEA metabolism could provide a non-dopaminergic target for symptomatic relief. However, further research is needed to unravel the mechanism of action of the ECS and how they could be modulated for a therapeutic purpose.
Authors: Ugarte, A.; Corbacho, D.; Aymerich, MS; et al.
ISSN 1933-7213  Vol. 15  Nº 3  2018  pp. 742 - 750
Drug efficacy in the central nervous system (CNS) requires an additional step after crossing the blood-brain barrier. Therapeutic agents must reach their targets in the brain to modulate them; thus, the free drug concentration hypothesis is a key parameter for in vivo pharmacology. Here, we report the impact of neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) compared with healthy controls) on the binding of 10 known drugs to postmortem brain tissues from animal models and humans. Unbound drug fractions, for some drugs, are significantly different between healthy and injured brain tissues (AD or PD). In addition, drugs binding to brain tissues from AD and PD animal models do not always recapitulate their binding to the corresponding human injured brain tissues. These results reveal potentially relevant implications for CNS drug discovery.
Authors: Huerta, I.; Aymerich, MS; et al.
ISSN 1662-5129  Vol. 12  2018  pp. 34
The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN) and laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) are functionally associated brainstem structures implicated in behavioral state control and sensorimotor integration. The PPN is also involved in gait and posture, while the LDT plays a role in reward. Both nuclei comprise characteristic cholinergic neurons intermingled with glutamatergic and GABAergic cells whose absolute numbers in the rat have been only partly established. Here we sought to determine the complete phenotypical profile of each nucleus to investigate potential differences between them. Counts were obtained using stereological methods after the simultaneous visualization of cholinergic and either glutamatergic or GABAergic cells. The two isoforms of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), GAD65 and GAD67, were separately analyzed. Dual in situ hybridization revealed coexpression of GAD65 and GAD67 mRNAs in ~90% of GAD-positive cells in both nuclei; thus, the estimated mean numbers of (1) cholinergic, (2) glutamatergic, and (3) GABAergic cells in PPN and LDT, respectively, were (1) 3,360 and 3,650; (2) 5,910 and 5,190; and (3) 4,439 and 7,599. These data reveal significant differences between PPN and LDT in their relative phenotypical composition, which may underlie some of the functional differences observed between them. The estimation of glutamatergic cells was significantly higher in the caudal PPN, supporting the reported functional rostrocaudal segregation in this nucleus. Fi
Authors: Silveira, M. M.; Arnold, J. C.; Laviolette, S. R.; et al.
ISSN 0149-7634  Vol. 76  Nº Part B  2017  pp. 380 - 395
Public opinion surrounding the recreational use and therapeutic potential of cannabis is shifting. This review describes new work examining the behavioural and neural effects of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system, highlighting key regions within corticolimbic brain circuits. First, we consider the role of human genetic factors and cannabis strain chemotypic differences in contributing to interindividual variation in the response to cannabinoids, such as THC, and review studies demonstrating that THC-induced impairments in decision-making processes are mediated by actions at prefrontal CB1 receptors. We further describe evidence that signalling through prefrontal or ventral hippocampal CB1 receptors modulates mesolimbic dopamine activity, aberrations of which may contribute to emotional processing deficits in schizophrenia. Lastly, we review studies suggesting that endocannabinoid tone in the amygdala is a critical regulator of anxiety, and report new data showing that FAAH activity is integral to this response. Together, these findings underscore the importance of cannabinoid signalling in the regulation of cognitive and affective behaviours, and encourage further research given their social, political, and therapeutic implications
Authors: Elgueta, D.; Aymerich, MS; Contreras, F.; et al.
ISSN 0028-3908  Vol. 113  2017  pp. 110 - 123
Neuroinflammation involves the activation of glial cells, which is associated to the progression of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease. Recently, we and other researchers demonstrated that dopamine receptor D3 (D3R)-deficient mice are completely refractory to neuroinflammation and consequent neurodegeneration associated to the acute intoxication with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). In this study we examined the therapeutic potential and underlying mechanism of a D3R-selective antagonist, PG01037, in mice intoxicated with a chronic regime of administration of MPTP and probenecid (MPTPp). Biodistribution analysis indicated that intraperitoneally administered PG01037 crosses the blood-brain barrier and reaches the highest concentration in the brain 40 min after the injection. Furthermore, the drug was preferentially distributed to the brain in comparison to the plasma. Treatment of MPTPp-intoxicated mice with PG01037 (30 mg/kg, administrated twice a week for five weeks) attenuated the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta, as evaluated by stereological analysis, and the loss of striatal dopaminergic terminals, as determined by densitometric analyses of tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine transporter immunoreactivities. Accordingly, the treatment resulted in significant improvement of motor performance of injured animals. Interestingly, the therapeutic dose of PG01037 exacerbated astrdgliosis and resulted in increased ramification density of microglial cells in the striatum of MPTPp-intoxicated mice. Further analyses suggested that D3R expressed in astrocytes favours a beneficial astrogliosis with antiinflammatory consequences on microglia. Our findings indicate that D3R-antagonism exerts a therapeutic effect in parkinsonian animals by reducing the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the nigrostriatal pathway, alleviating motor impairments and modifying the pro-inflammatory phenotype of glial cells. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Authors: Celorrio, Marta; Rojo-Bustamante, E.; Echeverry-Alzate, V.; et al.
ISSN 0889-1591  Vol. 57  2016  pp. 94 - 105
Elements of the endocannabinoid system are strongly expressed in the basal ganglia where they suffer profound rearrangements after dopamine depletion. Modulation of the levels of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol by inhibiting monoacylglycerol lipase alters glial phenotypes and provides neuroprotection in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease. In this study, we assessed whether inhibiting fatty acid amide hydrolase could also provide beneficial effects on the time course of this disease. The fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor, URB597, was administered chronically to mice treated with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine and probenecid (MPTPp) over 5 weeks. URB597 (1 mg/kg) prevented MPTPp induced motor impairment but it did not preserve the dopamine levels in the nigrostriatal pathway or regulate glial cell activation. The symptomatic relief of URB597 was confirmed in haloperidol-induced catalepsy assays, where its anti-cataleptic effects were both blocked by antagonists of the two cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), and abolished in animals deficient in these receptors. Other fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitors, JNJ1661010 and TCF2, also had anti-cataleptic properties. Together, these results demonstrate an effect of fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibition on the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease in two distinct experimental models that is mediated by cannabinoid receptors.
Authors: Aymerich, MS; Rojo-Bustamante, E.; Molina, C.; et al.
ISSN 0893-7648  Vol. 53  Nº 4  2016  pp. 2312 -2319
Growing evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease. Recently, we have shown the neuroprotective effect of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) inhibition with JZL184 in the chronic 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model. However, further investigation is needed to determine the neuroprotective mechanisms of the endocannabinoid system on the nigrostriatal pathway. The aim of this work was to investigate whether the neuroprotective effect of JZL184 in mice could be extended to an in vitro cellular model to further understand the mechanism of action of the drug. The SH-SY5Y cell line was selected based on its dopaminergic-like phenotype and its susceptibility to 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium iodide (MPP(+)) toxicity. Furthermore, SH-SY5Y cells express both cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. The present study describes the neuroprotective effect of MAGL inhibition with JZL184 in SH-SY5Y cells treated with MPP(+). The effect of JZL184 in cell survival was blocked by AM630, a CB2 receptor antagonist, and it was mimicked with JWH133, a CB2 receptor agonist. Rimonabant, a CB1 receptor antagonist, did not affect JZL184-induced cell survival. These results demonstrate that the neuroprotective effect of MAGL inhibition with JZL184 described in animal models of Parkinson's disease could be extended to in vitro models such as SH-SY5Y cells treated with MPP(+). This represents a useful tool to study mechanisms of neuroprotection mediated by MAGL inhibition, and we provide evidence for the possible involvement of CB2 receptors in the improvement of cell survival.
Authors: Cordomí, A.; Navarro, G.; Aymerich, MS; et al.
ISSN 0968-0004  Vol. 40  Nº 10  2015  pp. 548 - 551
G-Protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) were classically described as monomers. We now appreciate that they also function as homo- and hetero-oligomers, for which structural information is lacking. Here, we use available 3D structures and biochemical considerations to present and evaluate experimentally testable structural models for GPCR oligomers and associated G proteins.
Authors: Etayo-Labiano I; Aymerich, MS; et al.
ISSN 1050-9631  2014 
GPR40, the free fatty acid receptor 1, is expressed strongly in the primate pancreas and brain. While the role of pancreatic GPR40 in glucose homeostasis has been extensively studied, the absence of this G-protein-coupled receptor from the brain of rodents has hampered studies into its role in the central nervous system. However, we found intense GPR40 mRNA expression by in situ hybridization in mouse hippocampal and motor cortex neurons. Furthermore, in a neuroblastoma cell GPR40 was activated by docosahexaenoic acid and selective agonists, yet not by palmitic acid. Significantly, the activation of GPR40 provoked the phosphorylation of the cAMP response element-binding protein, CREB. The receptor was also functional in primary cultures of murine neurons, in which its activation by a selective agonist produced the phosphorylation of CREB and of extracellular signal-regulated kinases, ERK1/2. These results suggest that mice represent a suitable model for elucidating the role of GPR40 in brain function.
Authors: Celorrio, Marta; Riezu-Boj, José Ignacio; Ugarte, A.; et al.
ISSN 0197-4580  Vol. 35  Nº 11  2014  pp. 2603 - 2616
Changes in cannabinoid receptor expression and concentration of endocannabinoids have been described in Parkinson's disease; however, it remains unclear whether they contribute to, or result from, the disease process. To evaluate whether targeting the endocannabinoid system could provide potential benefits in the treatment of the disease, the effect of a monoacylglycerol lipase inhibitor that prevents degradation of 2-arachidonyl-glycerol was tested in mice treated chronically with probenecid and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTPp). Chronic administration of the compound, JZL184 (8 mg/kg), prevented MPTPp-induced motor impairment and preserved the nigrostriatal pathway. Furthermore, none of the hypokinetic effects associated with cannabinoid receptor agonism were observed. In the striatum and substantia nigra pars compacta, MPTPp animals treated with JZL184 exhibited astroglial and microglial phenotypic changes that were accompanied by increases in TGFß messenger RNA expression and in glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor messenger RNA and protein levels. JZL184 induced an increase in ß-catenin translocation to the nucleus, implicating the Wnt/catenin pathway. Together, these results demonstrate a potent neuroprotective effect of JZL184 on the nigrostriatal pathway of parkinsonian animals, likely involving restorative astroglia and microglia activation and the release of neuroprotective and antiinflammatory molecules.
Authors: Ansorena, Eduardo; et al.
ISSN 0378-5173  Vol. 440  Nº 1  2013  pp. 19-26
Human glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (hGDNF) is a very promising protein for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. The present work describes a quick and simple method to obtain a high amount of purified hGDNF using a mammalian cell-derived system. The method is based on the high expression level provided by a Semliki Forest virus vector and its ability to induce a strong shut-off of host-cell protein synthesis in mammalian cells. As a result, hGDNF is the only protein present in the supernatant and can be efficiently purified by a single chromatographic step. Using this system it was possible to eliminate other secreted proteins from the culture medium, like insulin-like growth factor-5, which are hard to remove using other hGDNF production methods. Purified hGDNF presents a complex glycosylation pattern typical of mammalian expression systems and is biologically active. This protocol could be extended to other secreted proteins and could be easily scaled up for industrial purposes. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Authors: Celorrio, M.; Lanciego, José Luis; et al.
ISSN 0022-3069  Vol. 71  Nº 11  2012  pp. 973-982
The external segment of the globus pallidus (GPe) in humans and the equivalent structure in rodents, the globus pallidus (GP), influence signal processing in the basal ganglia under normal and pathological conditions. Parvalbumin (PV) immunoreactivity defines 2 main neuronal subpopulations in the GP/GPe: PV-immunopositive cells that project mainly to the subthalamic nucleus and the internal segment of the GP and PV-negative cells that mainly project to the striatum. We evaluated the number of neurons in the GP/GPe in animal models of Parkinson disease. In rats, dopaminergic denervation with 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) provoked a significant decrease in the number of GP neurons (12% +/- 4%, p < 0.05), which specifically affected the PV+ subpopulation. A similar trend was observed in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated monkeys. Markers of GABAergic activity (GAD65 and GAD67 mRNA) were not different from those of controls in 6-OHDA-lesioned rats. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for nondopaminergic neuronal cell loss in the basal ganglia of 6-OHDA-lesioned rats and suggest that a similar loss may occur in the MPTP monkey. These data suggest that in patients with Parkinson disease, the loss of GABAergic neurons projecting to the subthalamic nucleus may contribute to the hyperactivity of this nucleus despite the absence of gross alterations in GAD mRNA expression.
Authors: Garbayo, Elisa; Ansorena, Eduardo; Lanciego, José Luis; et al.
ISSN 0885-3185  Vol. 26  Nº 10  2011  pp. 1943 - 1947
Background: Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor is a survival factor for dopaminergic neurons and a promising candidate for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. However, the delivery issue of the protein to the brain still remains unsolved. Our aim was to investigate the effect of long-term delivery of encapsulated glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor within microspheres. Methods: A single dose of microspheres containing 2.5 mu g of glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor was implanted intrastriatally in animals 2 weeks after a 6-hydroxydopamine lesion. Results: The amphetamine test showed a complete behavioral recovery after 16 weeks of treatment, which was maintained until the end of the study (week 30). This effect was accompanied by an increase in dopaminergic striatal terminals and neuroprotection of dopaminergic neurons. Conclusions: The main achievement was the long-term neurorestoration in parkinsonian animals induced by encapsulated glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor, suggesting that microspheres may be considered as a means to deliver glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor for Parkinson's disease treatment.
Authors: Aymerich, MS; López, Jon; Boncaventura, J; et al.
ISSN 1537-744X  Vol. 11  2011  pp. 1995 - 2010
Understanding the trafficking of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their regulation by agonists and antagonists is fundamental to develop more effective drugs. Optical methods using fluorescent-tagged receptors and spinning disk confocal microscopy are useful tools to investigate membrane receptor dynamics in living cells. The aim of this study was to develop a method to characterize receptor dynamics using this system which offers the advantage of very fast image acquisition with minimal cell perturbation. However, in short-term assays photobleaching was still a problem. Thus, we developed a procedure to perform a photobleaching-corrected image analysis. A study of short-term dynamics of the long isoform of the dopamine type 2 receptor revealed an agonist-induced increase in the mobile fraction of receptors with a rate of movement of 0.08¿¿m/s For long-term assays, the ratio between the relative fluorescence intensity at the cell surface versus that in the intracellular compartment indicated that receptor internalization only occurred in cells co-expressing G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2. These results indicate that the lateral movement of receptors and receptor internalization are not directly coupled. Thus, we believe that live imaging of GPCRs using spinning disk confocal image analysis constitutes a powerful tool to study of receptor dynamics.
Authors: Pérez, Eva ; Aymerich, MS; et al.
Journal: Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
ISSN 0022-1554  Vol. 58  Nº 4  2010  pp. 359 - 368
Acrolein is a potent fixative that provides both excellent preservation of ultrastructural morphology and retention of antigenicity, thus it is frequently used for immunocytochemical detection of antigens at the electron microscopic level. However, acrolein is not commonly used for fluorescence microscopy because of concerns about possible autofluorescence and destruction of the luminosity of fluorescent dyes. Here we describe a simple protocol that allows fine visualization of two fluorescent markers in 40-mu m sections from acrolein-perfused rat brain. Autofluorescence was removed by pretreatment with 1% sodium borohydride for 30 min, and subsequent incubation in a 50% ethanol solution containing 0.3% hydrogen peroxide enhanced fluorescence labeling. Thus, fluorescence labeling can be used for high-quality detection of markers in tissue perfused with acrolein. Furthermore, adjacent acrolein-fixed sections from a single experiment can be processed to produce high-quality results for electron microscopy or fluorescence labeling.
Authors: Ansorena, Eduardo; Garbayo, Elisa; Lanciego, José Luis; et al.
ISSN 0378-5173  Vol. 385  Nº 1-2  2010  pp. 6 - 11
The administration of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) has emerged as a promising strategy for the treatment of several diseases of the nervous system as Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury and nerve regeneration as well as ocular diseases and drug addictions. A procedure for the purification of human recombinant glycosylated GDNF using a mammalian expression system as the source of the protein is discussed in the present paper. The neurotrophic factor was purified using cation exchange chromatography and gel filtration. A human cell line was chosen as the source of therapeutic protein, since a recombinant protein with a structure and glycosylation pattern equivalent to the native form is desirable for its prospective therapeutic utilization. The activity of the highly pure protein obtained was confirmed with a cell-based bioassay. The purified protein is suitable for its in vivo evaluation in animals and for possible subsequent clinical application.
Authors: Navarro, G.; Moreno, E.; Aymerich, MS; et al.
ISSN 0027-8424  Vol. 107  Nº 43  2010  pp. 18676 - 18681
It is well known that cocaine blocks the dopamine transporter. This mechanism should lead to a general increase in dopaminergic neurotransmission, and yet dopamine D-1 receptors (D(1)Rs) play a more significant role in the behavioral effects of cocaine than the other dopamine receptor subtypes. Cocaine also binds to sigma-1 receptors, the physiological role of which is largely unknown. In the present study, D1R and sigma R-1 were found to heteromerize in transfected cells, where cocaine robustly potentiated D1R-mediated adenylyl cyclase activation, induced MAPK activation per se and counteracted MAPK activation induced by D1R stimulation in a dopamine transporter-independent and sigma R-1-dependent manner. Some of these effects were also demonstrated in murine striatal slices and were absent in sigma R-1 KO mice, providing evidence for the existence of sigma R-1-D1R heteromers in the brain. Therefore, these results provide a molecular explanation for which D1R plays a more significant role in the behavioral effects of cocaine, through sigma R-1-D1R heteromerization, and provide a unique perspective toward understanding the molecular basis of cocaine addiction.
Authors: Ferré, Sergi; Woods, AS; et al.
Journal: Current Opinion in Pharmacology
ISSN 1471-4892  Vol. 10  Nº 1  2010  pp. 67 - 72
Authors: Seeman, P; Barrera, C.; et al.
Journal: Synapse
ISSN 0887-4476  Vol. 64  Nº 7  2010  pp. 566 - 569
Authors: Aymerich, MS; García, M.; Suburo, A. M.; et al.
Book title:  Biología Celular Biomédica
2015  pp. 173-195