Inhibition of neutral sphingomyelinase 2 reduces extracellular vesicle release from neurons, oligodendrocytes, and activated microglial cells following acute brain injury

Extracellular Vesicles

Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) are implicated in the spread of pathogenic proteinsin a growing number of neurological diseases. Given this, there is rising interest in developing inhibitors of Neutral Sphingomyelinase 2 (nSMase2), an enzyme critical in EV biogenesis. Our group recently discovered phenyl(R)-(1-(3-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-2,6-dimethylimidazo[1,2-b]pyridazin-8-yl)pyrrolidin-3-yl)carbamate (PDDC), the first potent, selective, orally-available, and brain-penetrable nSMase2 inhibitor, capable of dose-dependently reducing EVs release in vitro and in vivo. Herein, using multiplexed Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging (SPRi), we evaluated which brain cell-derived EVs were affected by PDDC following acute brain injury. Mice were fed PDDC-containing chow at doses which gave steady PDDC brain exposures exceeding its nSMase2 IC50. Mice were then administered an intra-striatal IL-1β injection and two hours later plasma and brain were collected. IL-1β injection significantly increased striatal nSMase2 activity which was completely normalized by PDDC. Using SPRi, we found that IL-1β-induced injury selectively increased plasma levels of CD171 + and PLP1 + EVs; this EV increase was normalized by PDDC. In contrast, GLAST1 + EVs were unchanged by IL-1β or PDDC. IL-1β injection selectively increased EVs released from activated versus non-activated microglia, indicated by the CD11b+/IB4 + ratio. The increase in EVs from CD11b + microglia was dramatically attenuated with PDDC. Taken together, our data demonstrate that following acute injury, brain nSMase2 activity is elevated. EVs released from neurons, oligodendrocytes, and activated microglial are increased in plasma and inhibition of nSMase2 with PDDC reduced these IL-1β-induced changes implicating nSMase2 inhibition as a therapeutic target for acute brain injury.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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