In vivoEPR pharmacokinetic evaluation of the redox status and the blood brain barrier permeability in the SOD1G93A ALS rat model

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting the motor pathways of the central nervous system. Although a number of pathophysiological mechanisms have been described in the disease, post mortem and animal model studies indicate blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption and elevated production of reactive oxygen species as major contributors to disease pathology. In this study, the BBB permeability and the brain tissue redox status of the SOD1G93A ALS rat model in the presymptomatic (preALS) and symptomatic (ALS) stages of the disease were investigated by in vivo EPR spectroscopy using three aminoxyl radicals with different cell membrane and BBB permeabilities, Tempol, 3-carbamoyl proxyl (3CP), and 3-carboxy proxyl (3CxP). Additionally, the redox status of the two brain regions previously implicated in disease pathology, brainstem and hippocampus, was investigated by spectrophotometric biochemical assays. The EPR results indicated that among the three spin probes, 3CP is the most suitable for reporting the intracellular redox status changes, as Tempol was reduced in vivo within minutes (t1/2 =2.0±0.5 min), thus preventing reliable kinetic modeling, whereas 3CxP reduction kinetics gave divergent conclusions, most probably due to its membrane impermeability. It was observed that the reduction kinetics of 3CP in vivo, in the head of preALS and ALS SOD1G93A rats was altered compared to the controls. Pharmacokinetic modeling of 3CP reduction in vivo, revealed elevated tissue distribution and tissue reduction rate constants indicating an altered brain tissue redox status, and possibly BBB disruption in these animals. The preALS and ALS brain tissue homogenates also showed increased nitrilation, superoxide production, lipid peroxidation and manganese superoxide dismutase activity, and a decreased copper-zinc superoxide dismutase activity. The present study highlights in vivo EPR spectroscopy as a reliable tool for the investigation of changes in BBB permeability and for the unprecedented in vivo monitoring of the brain tissue redox status, as early markers of ALS.

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