Recent evidence suggests that changes in the expression of membrane receptors/ion channels in cerebellar Purkinje cells contribute to the onset of cerebellar motor symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). We examined the expression of group-I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlu1 and mGlu5 receptors) in the cerebellum of mice developing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and in autoptic cerebellar samples of MS patients. EAE was induced in mice by immunization with the 35-55 fragment of MOG (myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein). EAE mice showed a progressive loss of mGlu1a receptors in the cerebellum, associated with an increased expression of mGlu5 receptors. These changes were restricted to Purkinje cells and their dendritic arborization, as shown by immunohistochemistry. A reduced expression of mGlu1a receptors in cerebellar Purkinje cells was also found in 7 of 9 MS patients. In addition, a light/moderate to very strong mGlu5 receptor immunoreactivity was detected in Purkinje cells of 8 MS patients, but was always absent in non-MS control patients. In EAE mice, an acute treatment with the mGlu1 receptor enhancer, 9H-xanthene-9-carboxylic acid (4-trifluoromethyl-oxazol-2-yl)-amide (RO0711401), significantly improved motor coordination, whereas treatment with the mGlu5 receptor antagonists, 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP) and 6-methyl-2-(phenylazo)-3-pyridinol (SIB-1757), had no effect. We conclude that mGlu1 receptor enhancers improve motor symptoms associated with EAE and might be helpful as symptomatic drugs in patients with MS.
- Metabotropic glutamate receptors
- Multiple sclerosis
- Purkinje cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Drug Discovery