Most age-associated neurodegenerative diseases involve the aggregation of specific proteins within the nervous system. In Alzheimer’s disease, the insidious pathogenic process begins many years before the symptoms emerge, and the lesions that characterize the disease – senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles – ramify systematically through the brain. We review evidence that the β-amyloid and tau proteins, which aggregate to form senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, respectively, are induced to misfold and self-assemble by a process of templated conformational change that amplifies a toxic species. Recent data also indicate that the spread of these lesions from one site to another is mediated by the cellular uptake, transport and release of endogenous seeds formed by the cognate proteins. This simple pathogenic principle suggests that the formation, trafficking and metabolism of pathogenic protein seeds are promising therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) of tau are one of the defining hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and are closely associated with neuronal degeneration. Although it has been suggested that calcium dysregulation is important to AD pathogenesis, few studies have probed the link between calcium homeostasis, synapse loss and pathological changes in tau. Here we test the hypothesis that pathological changes in tau are associated with changes in calcium by utilizing in vivo calcium imaging in adult rTg4510 mice that exhibit severe tau pathology due to over-expression of human mutant P301L tau. We observe prominent dendritic spine loss without disruptions in calcium homeostasis, indicating that tangles do not disrupt this fundamental feature of neuronal health, and that tau likely induces spine loss in a calcium-independent manner.
Epidemiological and molecular findings suggest a relationship between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dyslipidemia, although the nature of this association is not well understood.
Using linear mixed effects models, we investigated the relationship between CSF levels of heart fatty acid binding protein (HFABP), a lipid binding protein involved with fatty acid metabolism and lipid transport, amyloid-β (Aβ), phospho-tau, and longitudinal MRI-based measures of brain atrophy among 295 non-demented and demented older individuals. Across all participants, we found a significant association of CSF HFABP with longitudinal atrophy of the entorhinal cortex and other AD-vulnerable neuroanatomic regions. However, we found that the relationship between CSF HABP and brain atrophy was significant only among those with low CSF Aβ1–42 and occurred irrespective of phospho-tau181p status.
Our findings indicate that Aβ-associated volume loss occurs in the presence of elevated HFABP irrespective of phospho-tau. This implicates a potentially important role for fatty acid binding proteins in Alzheimer’s disease neurodegeneration.
Alzheimer’s disease; Fatty acids; Lipids; Amyloid; Tau; Brain atrophy
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) trials initiated during or before the prodrome are costly and lengthy because patients are enrolled long before clinical symptoms are apparent, when disease progression is slow. We hypothesized that design of such trials could be improved by: (1) selecting individuals at moderate near-term risk of progression to AD dementia (the current clinical standard) and (2) by using short-term surrogate endpoints that predict progression to AD dementia. We used a longitudinal cohort of older, initially non-demented, community-dwelling participants (n=358) to derive selection criteria and surrogate endpoints and tested them in an independent national data set (n=6,243). To identify a “mid-risk” subgroup, we applied conditional tree-based survival models to Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale scores and common neuropsychological tests. In the validation cohort, a time-to-AD dementia trial applying these mid-risk selection criteria to a pool of all non-demented individuals could achieve equivalent power with 47% fewer participants than enrolling at random from that pool. We evaluated surrogate endpoints measureable over two years of follow-up based on cross-validated concordance between predictions from Cox models and observed time to AD dementia. The best performing surrogate, rate of change in CDR sum-of-boxes, did not reduce the trial duration required for equivalent power using estimates from the validation cohort, but alternative surrogates with better ability to predict time to AD dementia should be able to do so. The approach tested here might improve efficiency of prodromal AD trials using other potential measures and could be generalized to other diseases with long prodromal phases.
Clinical Trials as Topic; Surrogate Endpoint; Alzheimer’s Disease; Survival Analysis; National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set
Accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT), intracellular inclusions of fibrillar forms of tau, is a hallmark of Alzheimer Disease. NFT have been considered causative of neuronal death, however, recent evidence challenges this idea. Other species of tau, such as soluble misfolded, hyperphosphorylated, and mislocalized forms, are now being implicated as toxic. Here we review the data supporting soluble tau as toxic to neurons and synapses in the brain and the implications of these data for development of therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies.
Alzheimer; tauopathy; neurofibrillary tangle; hyperphosphorylated tau
Amyloid-β plaques are a key pathological feature of Alzheimer disease (AD), but whether plaque sizes increase or stabilize over the course of AD is unknown. We measured the size distribution of total immunoreactive (10D5-positive) and dense-core (Thioflavine-S-positive) plaques in the temporal neocortex of a large group of AD and plaque-bearing age-matched non-demented subjects to test the hypothesis that amyloid plaques continue to grow along with the progression of the disease. The size of amyloid-β (10D5)-positive plaques did not differ between groups whereas dense-core plaques from the AD group were slightly larger than those in the non-demented group (~25%–30%, p = 0.01). Within the AD group, dense-core plaque size did not independently correlate with duration of clinical disease (from 4 to 21 years, p = 0.68), whereas 10D5-positive plaque size correlated negatively with disease duration (p = 0.01). By contrast, an earlier age of symptom onset strongly predicted a larger postmortem plaque size; this effect was independent of disease duration and the presence of the APOEε4 allele (p = 0.0001). We conclude that plaques vary in size among patients, with larger size distributions correlating with an earlier age of onset, but plaques do not substantially increase in size over the clinical course of the disease.
Alzheimer disease; Amyloid plaques; APOE genotype; Dense-core plaques; Plaque growth; Plaque size
It has long been assumed that β-amyloid (Aβ) had to assemble into fibrillar amyloid plaques to exert its neurotoxic effects in Alzheimer disease. An alternative hypothesis is that soluble oligomers of Aβ play a much larger role in neuronal damage than the insoluble component. We have tested these competing hypotheses in vivo by studying the clinicopathologic correlates of oligomeric Aβ species and classic fibrillar amyloid plaques in the brains of double-transgenic APPsw-tauvlw mice up to 17 months of age. Biochemical and immunohistochemical measures of brain oligomeric Aβ exponentially increased with age. Oligomeric Aβ load correlated with morphological markers of fibrillar Aβ deposition. In contrast to total amyloid plaque burden, the amount of oligomeric Aβ deposits labeled by the con-formational epitope-specific antibody Nab61 closely correlated with neuronal loss and numbers of astrocytes in the entorhinal cortex and the CA1 hippocampal subfield. However, like other morphological Aβ measurements, brain oligomeric Aβ burden did not correlate well with memory deficits in these mice. The number of glial fibrillary acidic protein–positive astrocytes in entorhinal cortex and CA1 most tightly correlated with memory impairment and neuronal cell loss. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that the astrocyte response, which is likely triggered by brain oligomeric Aβ accumulation, adversely affects cognition and might also contribute to neuronal cell death in this model.
Alzheimer disease; Amyloid plaques; Astrocytes; Neuronal cell death; Oligomeric Aβ; Transgenic mice
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with ubiquitin-positive, tau-negative inclusions, and linkage to chromosome 17 was recently found to be caused by mutations in the progranulin (PGRN) gene. In this study, we screened a group of 51 FTLD patients for PGRN mutations and identified a novel exon 6 splice donor site deletion (IVS6+5_8delGTGA) in 2 unrelated patients. This mutation displayed an altered splicing pattern generating 2 aberrant transcripts and causing frameshifts of the coding sequence, premature termination codons, and a near absence of PGRN mRNA from the mutated alleles most likely through nonsense-mediated decay. The subsequent PGRN haploinsufficiency is consistent with previously described PGRN mutations. We present a molecular characterization of the IVS6+5_8delGTGA mutation and also describe clinical and neuropathologic features from the 2 patients carrying this PGRN mutation. From the screening of these 51 FTLD patients, we could also identify the earlier reported mutation Gln130fs, and several coding sequence variants that are most likely nonpathogenic.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; frontotemporal dementia; progranulin; ubiquitin; TDP-43
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers amyloid β (Aβ)-42, total-tau (T-tau), and phosphorylated-tau (P-tau) demonstrate good diagnostic accuracy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, there are large variations in biomarker measurements between studies, and between and within laboratories. The Alzheimer’s Association has initiated a global quality control program to estimate and monitor variability of measurements, quantify batch-to-batch assay variations, and identify sources of variability. In this article, we present the results from the first two rounds of the program.
The program is open for laboratories using commercially available kits for Aβ, T-tau, or P-tau. CSF samples (aliquots of pooled CSF) are sent for analysis several times a year from the Clinical Neurochemistry Laboratory at the Molndal campus of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Each round consists of three quality control samples.
Forty laboratories participated. Twenty-six used INNOTESTenzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits, 14 used Luminex xMAP with the INNO-BIA AlzBio3 kit (both measure Aβ-(1-42), P-tau(181P), and T-tau), and 5 used Meso Scale Discovery with the Aβ triplex (AβN-42, AβN-40, and AβN-38) or T-tau kits. The total coefficients of variation between the laboratories were 13% to 36%. Five laboratories analyzed the samples six times on different occasions. Within-laboratory precisions differed considerably between biomarkers within individual laboratories.
Measurements of CSF AD biomarkers show large between-laboratory variability, likely caused by factors related to analytical procedures and the analytical kits. Standardization of laboratory procedures and efforts by kit vendors to increase kit performance might lower variability, and will likely increase the usefulness of CSF AD biomarkers.
Alzheimer’s disease; Cerebrospinal fluid; Biomarkers; External assurance; External control; Proficiency testing
Amyloid beta (aβ) protein assembles into larger protein aggregates during the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and there is increasing evidence that soluble aβ oligomers are a critical pathologic species. Diagnostic evaluations rely on the measurement of increased tau and decreased aβ42 in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from AD patients and evidence for oligomeric aβ in patient CSF is conflicting. In this study, we have adapted a monoclonal single antibody sandwich ELISA assay to a Luminex platform and found that this assay can detect oligomerized aβ42 and sAPPα fragments. We evaluated oligomeric aβ reactivity in 20 patients with AD relative to 19 age matched controls and compared these values with a commercially available Alzbio3 kit that detects tau, phosphorylated tau and aβ42 on the same diagnostic platform. We found that CSF samples of patients with AD had elevated aβ oligomers compared to control subjects (p < 0.05) and the ratio of aβ oligomers to aβ42 was also significantly elevated (p < 0.0001). Further research to develop high sensitivity analytical platforms and rigorous methods of developing stable assay standards will be needed before the analysis of oligomeric aβ becomes a routine diagnostic assay for the evaluation of late onset AD patients.
We previously established reliability and cross-sectional validity of the SIST-M (Structured Interview and Scoring Tool–Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center), a shortened version of an instrument shown to predict progression to Alzheimer disease (AD), even among persons with very mild cognitive impairment (vMCI).
To test predictive validity of the SIST-M.
Participants were 342 community-dwelling, non-demented older adults in a longitudinal study. Baseline Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) ratings were determined by either: 1) clinician interviews or 2) a previously developed computer algorithm based on 60 questions (of a possible 131) extracted from clinician interviews. We developed age+gender+education-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models using CDR-sum-of-boxes (CDR-SB) as the predictor, where CDR-SB was determined by either clinician interview or algorithm; models were run for the full sample (n=342) and among those jointly classified as vMCI using clinician- and algorithm-based CDR ratings (n=156). We directly compared predictive accuracy using time-dependent Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves.
AD hazard ratios (HRs) were similar for clinician-based and algorithm-based CDR-SB: for a 1-point increment in CDR-SB, respective HRs (95% CI)=3.1 (2.5,3.9) and 2.8 (2.2,3.5); among those with vMCI, respective HRs (95% CI) were 2.2 (1.6,3.2) and 2.1 (1.5,3.0). Similarly high predictive accuracy was achieved: the concordance probability (weighted average of the area-under-the-ROC curves) over follow-up was 0.78 vs. 0.76 using clinician-based vs. algorithm-based CDR-SB.
CDR scores based on items from this shortened interview had high predictive ability for AD – comparable to that using a lengthy clinical interview.
Alzheimer disease; mild cognitive impairment; dementia; CDR; instrument; questionnaire; validity; prediction; psychometric
The apolipoprotein E ε4 gene is the most important genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, but the link between this gene and neurodegeneration remains unclear. Using array tomography, we analysed >50 000 synapses in brains of 11 patients with Alzheimer’s disease and five non-demented control subjects and found that synapse loss around senile plaques in Alzheimer’s disease correlates with the burden of oligomeric amyloid-β in the neuropil and that this synaptotoxic oligomerized peptide is present at a subset of synapses. Further analysis reveals apolipoprotein E ε4 patients with Alzheimer’s disease have significantly higher oligomeric amyloid-β burden and exacerbated synapse loss around plaques compared with apolipoprotein E ε3 patients. Apolipoprotein E4 protein colocalizes with oligomeric amyloid-β and enhances synaptic localization of oligomeric amyloid-β by >5-fold. Biochemical characterization shows that the amyloid-β enriched at synapses by apolipoprotein E4 includes sodium dodecyl sulphate-stable dimers and trimers. In mouse primary neuronal culture, lipidated apolipoprotein E4 enhances oligomeric amyloid-β association with synapses via a mechanism involving apolipoprotein E receptors. Together, these data suggest that apolipoprotein E4 is a co-factor that enhances the toxicity of oligomeric amyloid-β both by increasing its levels and directing it to synapses, providing a link between apolipoprotein E ε4 genotype and synapse loss, a major correlate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer's disease; apolipoprotein E; synapse; array tomography; oligomeric amyloid-β
Preclinical and epidemiologic studies suggest a protective effect of statins on Alzheimer disease (AD). Experimental evidence indicates that some statins can cross the blood-brain barrier, alter brain cholesterol metabolism, and may ultimately decrease the production of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide. Despite these promising leads, clinical trials have yielded inconsistent results regarding the benefits of statin treatment in AD. Seeking to detect a biological signal of statins effect on AD, we conducted a 12-week open-label trial with simvastatin 40 mg/d and then 80 mg/d in 12 patients with AD or amnestic mild cognitive impairment and hypercholesterolemia. We quantified cholesterol precursors and metabolites and AD biomarkers of Aβ and tau in both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid at baseline and after the 12-week treatment period. We found a modest but significant inhibition of brain cholesterol biosynthesis after simvastatin treatment, as indexed by a decrease of cerebrospinal fluid lathosterol and plasma 24S-hydroxycholesterol. Despite this effect, there were no changes in AD biomarkers. Our findings indicate that simvastatin treatment can affect brain cholesterol metabolism within 12 weeks, but did not alter molecular indices of AD pathology during this short-term treatment.
Alzheimer disease; simvastatin; cholesterol; biomarker
Amyloid-β (Aβ) plaque deposition plays a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Post-mortem analysis of plaque development in mouse models of AD revealed that plaques are initially small, but then increase in size and become more numerous with age. There is evidence that plaques can grow uniformly over time; however, a complementary hypothesis of plaque development is that small plaques cluster and grow together thereby forming larger plaques. To investigate the latter hypothesis, we studied plaque formation in APPPS1 mice using in vivo two-photon microscopy and immunohistochemical analysis. We used sequential pre- and post-mortem staining techniques to label plaques at different stages of development and to detect newly emerged plaques. Post-mortem analysis revealed that a subset (22 %) of newly formed plaques appeared very close (<40 μm) to pre-existing plaques and that many close plaques (25 %) that were initially separate merged over time to form one single large plaque. Our results suggest that small plaques can cluster together, thus forming larger plaques as a complementary mechanism to simple uniform plaque growth from a single initial plaque. This study deepens our understanding of Aβ deposition and demonstrates that there are multiple mechanisms at play in plaque development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-013-1137-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid plaques; APPPS1 transgenic mice; Two-photon in vivo imaging
Progressive microglial accumulation at amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques is a well-established signature of the pathology of Alzheimer's disease, but how and why microglia accumulate in the vicinity of Aβ plaques is unknown. To understand the distinct roles of Aβ on microglial accumulation, we quantified microglial responses to week-long lasting gradients of soluble Aβ and patterns of surface-bound Aβ in microfluidic chemotaxis platforms. We found that human microglia chemotaxis in gradients of soluble Aβ42 was most effective at two distinct concentrations of 23 pg.mL−1 and 23 ng.mL−1
Aβ42 in monomers and oligomers. We uncovered that while the chemotaxis at higher Aβ concentrations was exclusively due to Aβ gradients, chemotaxis at lower concentrations was enhanced by Aβ-induced microglial production of MCP-1. Microglial migration was inhibited by surface-bound Aβ42 in oligomers and fibrils above 45 pg.mm−2. Better understanding of microglial migration can provide insights into the pathophysiology of senile plaques in AD.
Rat models of Parkinson’s disease are widely used to elucidate the mechanisms underlying disease etiology or to investigate therapeutic approaches. Models were developed using toxins such as MPTP or 6-OHDA to specifically target dopaminergic neurons resulting in acute neuronal loss in the substantia nigra or by using viral vectors to induce the specific and gradual expression of alpha synuclein in the substantia nigra. The detection of alpha- synuclein oligomers, the presumed toxic species, in these models and others has been possible using only indirect biochemical approaches to date. Here we coinjected AAVs encoding alpha-synuclein fused to the N- or C-terminal half of VenusYFP in rat substantia nigra pars compacta and describe for the first time a novel viral vector rodent model with the unique ability to directly detect and track alpha synuclein oligomers ex vivo and in vivo.
Viral coinjection resulted in widespread VenusYFP signal within the nigrostriatal pathway, including cell bodies in the substantia nigra and synaptic accumulation in striatal terminals, suggestive of in vivo alpha-synuclein oligomers formation. Transduced rats showed alpha-synuclein induced dopaminergic neuron loss in the substantia nigra, the appearance of dystrophic neurites, and gliosis in the striatum. Moreover, we have applied in vivo imaging techniques in the living mouse to directly image alpha-synuclein oligomers in the cortex.
We have developed a unique animal model that provides a tool for the Parkinson’s disease research community with which to directly detect alpha- synuclein oligomers in vivo and screen therapeutic approaches targeting alpha-synuclein oligomers.
Parkinson’s disease; Alpha synuclein; Oligomers; Animal model; Live imaging
Synucleinopathies like Parkinson disease and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are characterized by α-synuclein aggregates within neurons (Lewy bodies) and their processes (Lewy neurites). Whereas α-synuclein has been genetically linked to the disease process, the pathological relevance of α-synuclein aggregates is still debated. Impaired degradation is considered to result in aggregation of α-synuclein. In addition to the ubiquitin-proteasome degradation, the autophagy-lysosomal pathway (ALP) is involved in intracellular degradation processes for α-synuclein. Here, we asked if modulation of ALP affects α-synuclein aggregation and toxicity. We have identified an induction of the ALP markers LAMP-2A and LC3-II in human brain tissue from DLB patients, in a transgenic mouse model of synucleinopathy, and in a cell culture model for α-synuclein aggregation. ALP inhibition using bafilomycin A1 (BafA1) significantly potentiates toxicity of aggregated α-synuclein species in transgenic mice and in cell culture. Surprisingly, increased toxicity is paralleled by reduced aggregation in both in vivo and in vitro models. The dichotomy of effects on aggregating and nonaggregating species of α-synuclein was specifically sensitive to BafA1 and could not be reproduced by other ALP inhibitors. The present study expands on the accumulating evidence regarding the function of ALP for α-synuclein degradation by isolating an aggregation specific, BafA1-sensitive, ALP-related pathway. Our data also suggest that protein aggregation may represent a detoxifying event rather than being causal for cellular toxicity.
alpha-synuclein; dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB); Lewy body; lysosomal degradation; Parkinson disease (PD); protein aggregation
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common progressive neurodegenerative disorder causing dementia. Massive deposition of amyloid β peptide (Aβ) as senile plaques in the brain is the pathological hallmark of AD, but oligomeric, soluble forms of Aβ have been implicated as the synaptotoxic component. The apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 (apoE ε4) allele is known to be a genetic risk factor for developing AD. However it is still unknown how apoE impacts the process of Aβ oligomerization. Here, we found that the level of Aβ oligomers in APOEε4/ε4 AD patient brains is 2.7 times higher than those in APOEε3/ε3 AD patient brains, matched for total plaque burden, suggesting that apoE4 impacts the metabolism of Aβ oligomers. To test this hypothesis, we examined apoE’s effect on Aβ oligomer formation. Using both synthetic Aβ and a split-luciferase method for monitoring Aβ oligomers, we observed that apoE increased the level of Aβ oligomers in an isoform dependent manner (E2 < E3 < E4). This effect appears to be dependent on the ApoE carboxy-terminal domain. Moreover, these results were confirmed using endogenous apoE isolated from the TBS-soluble fraction of human brain, which increased the formation of Aβ oligomers. Taken together, these data show that lipidated apoE, especially apoE4, increases Aβ oligomers in the brain. Higher levels of Aβ oligomers in the brains of APOEε4/ε4 carriers compared to APOEε3/ε3 carriers may increase the loss of dendritic spines and accelerate memory impairments, leading to earlier cognitive decline in AD.
Experience-induced expression of immediate-early gene Arc/Arg3.1 is known to play a pivotal role in the consolidation of memory. Here we use in-vivo longitudinal multiphoton imaging to show orchestrated activity-dependent expression of Arc in the mouse extrastriate visual cortex in response to a structured visual stimulation. In wild-type mice, the amplitude of the Arc response in individual neurons strongly predicts the probability of reactivation by a subsequent presentation of the same stimulus. In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, this association is markedly disrupted in the cortex specifically near senile plaques. Neurons in the vicinity of plaques are less likely to respond but, paradoxically, there is stronger response in those few neurons around plaques that do respond. To the extent that the orchestrated pattern of Arc expression reflects nervous system responses to, and physiological consolidation of, behavioral experience, the disruption in Arc patterns reveals plaque-associated interference with neural network integration.
Increased intracellular levels of α-synuclein are implicated in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders and may be caused by alterations in the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) or the autophagy-lysosomal pathway (ALP). A critical question remains how α-synuclein is degraded by neurons in vivo. To address this, our study uses α-synuclein transgenic mice, expressing human α-synuclein or α-synuclein-eGFP under the (h)PDGF-β promoter, in combination with in vivo pharmacologic and multiphoton imaging strategies to systematically test degradation pathways in the living mouse brain. We demonstrate that the UPS is the main degradation pathway for α-synuclein under normal conditions in vivo while with increased α-synuclein burden the ALP is recruited. Moreover, we report alterations of the UPS in α-synuclein transgenic mice and age dependence to the role of the UPS in α-synuclein degradation. In addition, we provide evidence that the UPS and ALP might be functionally connected such that impairment of one can upregulate the other. These results provide a novel link between the UPS, the ALP and α-synuclein pathology and may have important implications for future therapeutics targeting degradation pathways.
neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease; Lewy bodies; α-synuclein; degradation; proteasome; autophagy; lysosome; in vivo; multiphoton imaging
Genome-wide association (GWAS) methods have identified genes contributing to Parkinson disease (PD); we sought to identify additional genes associated with PD susceptibility.
A two stage design was used. First, individual level genotypic data from five recent PD GWAS (Discovery Sample: 4,238 PD cases and 4,239 controls) were combined. Following imputation, a logistic regression model was employed in each dataset to test for association with PD susceptibility and results from each dataset were meta-analyzed. Second, 768 SNPs were genotyped in an independent Replication Sample (3,738 cases and 2,111 controls).
Genome-wide significance was reached for SNPs in SNCA (rs356165, G: odds ratio (OR)=1.37; p=9.3 × 10−21), MAPT (rs242559, C: OR=0.78; p=1.5 × 10−10), GAK/DGKQ (rs11248051, T:OR=1.35; p=8.2 × 10−9/ rs11248060, T: OR=1.35; p=2.0×10−9), and the HLA region (rs3129882, A: OR=0.83; p=1.2 × 10−8), which were previously reported. The Replication Sample confirmed the associations with SNCA, MAPT, and the HLA region and also with GBA (E326K OR=1.71; p=5 × 10−8 Combined Sample) (N370 OR=3.08; p=7 × 10−5 Replication sample). A novel PD susceptibility locus, RIT2, on chromosome 18 (rs12456492; p=5 × 10−5 Discovery Sample; p=1.52 × 10−7 Replication sample; p=2 × 10−10 Combined Sample) was replicated. Conditional analyses within each of the replicated regions identified distinct SNP associations within GBA and SNCA, suggesting that there may be multiple risk alleles within these genes.
We identified a novel PD susceptibility locus, RIT2, replicated several previously identified loci, and identified more than one risk allele within SNCA and GBA.
One-half of the integrin α-subunit Propeller domains contain and extra vWFA domain (αA domain), which mediates integrin binding to extracellular physiologic ligands via its metal-ion-dependent adhesion site (MIDAS). We used electron microscopy to determine the 3D structure of the αA-containing ectodomain of the leukocyte integrin CD11b/CD18 (αMβ2) in its inactive state. A well defined density for αA was observed within a bent ectodomain conformation, while the structure of the ectodomain in complex with the Fab fragment of mAb107, which binds at the MIDAS face of CD11b and stabilizes the inactive state, further revealed that αA is restricted to a relatively small range of orientations relative to the Propeller domain. Using Fab 107 as probe in fluorescent lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) revealed that αA is positioned relatively far from the membrane surface in the inactive state, and a systematic orientation search revealed that the MIDAS face would be accessible to extracellular ligand in the inactive state of the full-length cellular integrin. These studies are the first to define the 3D EM structure of an αA-containing integrin ectodomain and to position the ligand-binding face of αA domain in relation to the plasma membrane, providing new insights into current models of integrin activation.
Neurofibrillary tangles advance from layer II of the entorhinal cortex (EC-II) toward limbic and association cortices as Alzheimer disease (AD) evolves. However, the mechanism involved in this hierarchical pattern of disease progression is unknown. We describe a transgenic mouse model in which overexpression of human tau P301L is restricted to EC-II. Tau pathology progresses from EC transgene-expressing neurons to neurons without detectable transgene expression, first to EC neighboring cells, followed by propagation to neurons downstream in the synaptic circuit such as the dentate gyrus, CA fields of the hippocampus, and cingulate cortex. Human tau protein spreads to these regions and co-aggregates with endogenous mouse tau. With age, synaptic degeneration occurs in the entorhinal target zone and EC neurons are lost. These data suggest that a sequence of progressive misfolding of tau proteins, circuit-based transfer to new cell populations, and deafferentation induced degeneration are part of a process of tau-induced neurodegeneration.
Clinicopathologic correlation studies are critically important for the field of Alzheimer disease (AD) research. Studies on human subjects with autopsy confirmation entail numerous potential biases that affect both their general applicability and the validity of the correlations. Many sources of data variability can weaken the apparent correlation between cognitive status and AD neuropathologic changes. Indeed, most persons in advanced old age have significant non-AD brain lesions that may alter cognition independently of AD. Worldwide research efforts have evaluated thousands of human subjects to assess the causes of cognitive impairment in the elderly, and these studies have been interpreted in different ways. We review the literature focusing on the correlation of AD neuropathologic changes (i.e. β-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles) with cognitive impairment. We discuss the various patterns of brain changes that have been observed in elderly individuals to provide a perspective for understanding AD clinicopathologic correlation and conclude that evidence from many independent research centers strongly supports the existence of a specific disease, as defined by the presence of Aβ plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Although Aβ plaques may play a key role in AD pathogenesis, the severity of cognitive impairment correlates best with the burden of neocortical neurofibrillary tangles.
Aging; Alzheimer disease; Amyloid; Dementia; Epidemiology; Neuropathology; MAPT; Neurofibrillary tangles