Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been suggested as a contributing force behind the impaired immune responsiveness in the elderly, with decreased numbers of naïve T-cells and an increased proportion of effector T-cells. Immunological impairment is also implicated as a part of the pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The aim of this study was to investigate whether AD patients present with a different CMV-specific CD8 immune profile compared to non-demented controls. Blood samples from 50 AD patients and 50 age-matched controls were analysed for HLA-type, CMV serostatus and systemic inflammatory biomarkers. Using multi-colour flow cytometry, lymphocytes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analysed for CMV-specific CD8 immunity with MHC-I tetramers A01, A02, A24, B07, B08 and B35 and further classified using CD27, CD28, CD45RA and CCR7 antibodies. Among CMV seropositive subjects, patients with AD had significantly lower proportions of CMV-specific CD8 T-cells compared to controls, 1.16 % vs. 4.13 % (p=0.0057). Regardless of dementia status, CMV seropositive subjects presented with a lower proportion of naïve CD8 cells and a higher proportion of effector CD8 cells compared to seronegative subjects. Interestingly, patients with AD showed a decreased proportion of CMV-specific CD8 cells but no difference in general CD8 differentiation.
Calcium signaling in the brain is fundamental to the learning and memory process and there is evidence to suggest that its dysfunction is involved in the pathological pathways underlying Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Recently, the calcium hypothesis of AD has received support with the identification of the non-selective Ca2+-permeable channel CALHM1. A genetic polymorphism (p. P86L) in CALHM1 reduces plasma membrane Ca2+ permeability and is associated with an earlier age-at-onset of AD. To investigate the role of CALHM1 variants in early-onset AD (EOAD), we sequenced all CALHM1 coding regions in three independent series comprising 284 EOAD patients and 326 controls. Two missense mutations in patients (p.G330D and p.R154H) and one (p.A213T) in a control individual were identified. Calcium imaging analyses revealed that while the mutation found in a control (p.A213T) behaved as wild-type CALHM1 (CALHM1-WT), a complete abolishment of the Ca2+ influx was associated with the mutations found in EOAD patients (p.G330D and p.R154H). Notably, the previously reported p. P86L mutation was associated with an intermediate Ca2+ influx between the CALHM1-WT and the p.G330D and p.R154H mutations. Since neither expression of wild-type nor mutant CALHM1 affected amyloid ß-peptide (Aß) production or Aß-mediated cellular toxicity, we conclude that rare genetic variants in CALHM1 lead to Ca2+ dysregulation and may contribute to the risk of EOAD through a mechanism independent from the classical Aß cascade.
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
Soluble amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregates of various sizes, ranging from dimers to large protofibrils, have been associated with neurotoxicity and synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease (AD). To investigate the properties of biologically relevant Aβ species, brain extracts from amyloid β protein precursor (AβPP) transgenic mice and AD patients as well as synthetic Aβ preparations were separated by size under native conditions with density gradient ultracentrifugation. The fractionated samples were then analyzed with atomic force microscopy (AFM), ELISA, and MTT cell viability assay. Based on AFM appearance and immunoreactivity to our protofibril selective antibody mAb158, synthetic Aβ42 was divided in four fractions, with large aggregates in fraction 1 and the smallest species in fraction 4. Synthetic Aβ aggregates from fractions 2 and 3 proved to be most toxic in an MTT assay. In AβPP transgenic mouse brain, the most abundant soluble Aβ species were found in fraction 2 and consisted mainly of Aβ40. Also in AD brains, Aβ was mainly found in fraction 2 but primarily as Aβ42. All biologically derived Aβ from fraction 2 was immunologically discriminated from smaller species with mAb158. Thus, the predominant species of biologically derived soluble Aβ, natively separated by density gradient ultracentrifugation, were found to match the size of the neurotoxic, 80–500 kDa synthetic Aβ protofibrils and were equally detected with mAb158.
Recent research implicates soluble aggregated forms of α-synuclein as neurotoxic species with a central role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and related disorders. The pathway by which α-synuclein aggregates is believed to follow a step-wise pattern, in which dimers and smaller oligomers are initially formed. Here, we used H4 neuroglioma cells expressing α-synuclein fused to hemi:GFP constructs to study the effects of α-synuclein monoclonal antibodies on the early stages of aggregation, as quantified by Bimolecular Fluorescence Complementation assay. Widefield and confocal microscopy revealed that cells treated for 48 h with monoclonal antibodies internalized antibodies to various degrees. C-terminal and oligomer-selective α-synuclein antibodies reduced the extent of α-synuclein dimerization/oligomerization, as indicated by decreased GFP fluorescence signal. Furthermore, ELISA measurements on lysates and conditioned media from antibody treated cells displayed lower α-synuclein levels compared to untreated cells, suggesting increased protein turnover. Taken together, our results propose that extracellular administration of monoclonal antibodies can modify or inhibit early steps in the aggregation process of α-synuclein, thus providing further support for passive immunization against diseases with α-synuclein pathology.
The only established genetic determinant of non-Mendelian forms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE). Recently, it has been reported that the P86L polymorphism of the calcium homeostasis modulator 1 gene (CALHM1) is associated with the risk of developing AD. In order to independently assess this association, we performed a meta-analysis of 7,873 AD cases and 13,274 controls of Caucasian origin (from a total of 24 centres in Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA). Our results indicate that the CALHM1 P86L polymorphism is likely not a genetic determinant of AD but may modulate age at onset by interacting with the effect of the ε4 allele of the APOE gene.
Several components in the Wnt pathway, including β-catenin and glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta, have been implied in AD pathogenesis. Here, mRNA brain levels from five-month-old tg-ArcSwe and nontransgenic mice were compared using Affymetrix microarray analysis. With surprisingly small overall changes, Wnt signaling was the most affected pathway with altered expression of nine genes in tg-ArcSwe mice. When analyzing mRNA levels of these genes in human brain, transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) and v-myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (MYC), were increased in Alzheimer's disease (AD) (P < .05). Furthermore, no clear differences in TCF7L2 and MYC mRNA were found in brains with frontotemporal lobar degeneration, suggesting that altered regulation of these Wnt-related genes could be specific to AD. Finally, mRNA levels of three neurogenesis markers were analyzed. Increased mRNA levels of dihydropyrimidinase-like 3 were observed in AD brain, suggesting that altered Wnt pathway regulation may signify synaptic rearrangement or neurogenesis.
Recently, the P86L alteration in CALHM1 (calcium homeostasis modulator-1) was reported to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Moreover, the risk allele increased amyloid-β (Aβ) levels in conditioned media from cultured cells. Therefore, we hypothesized that CALHM1 P86L may modulate Aβ or tau levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Nearly 200 individuals with AD or other cognitive disorders were included for CSF analysis and CALHM1 genotyping. No significant differences in CSF levels of Aβ42, tau or phospho-tau were found across the various CALHM1 genotypes. In conclusion, we found no evidence that CALHM1 P86L is associated with altered CSF levels of the investigated AD biomarkers.
CALHM1; Calcium homeostasis modulator-1; Amyloid-β; Alzheimer’s disease; Cerebrospinal fluid; Biomarker; Total tau; Phospho-tau; Genotyping SNP
Amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) plaques, one of the major neuropathological lesions in Alzheimer's disease (AD), can be broadly subdivided into two morphological categories: neuritic and diffuse. Heparan sulfate (HS) and HS proteoglycans (HSPGs) are codeposits of multiple amyloidoses, including AD. Although HS has been considered a limiting factor in the initiation of amyloid deposition, the pathological implications of HS in Aβ deposits of AD remain unclear. In this study, immunohistochemistry combined with fluorescence and confocal microscopy was employed to gain deeper insight into the accumulation of HS with Aβ plaques in sporadic and familial AD. Here we demonstrate that HS preferentially accumulated around the Aβ40 dense cores of neuritic plaques, but was largely absent from diffuse Aβ42 plaques, suggesting that Aβ42 deposition may occur independently of HS. A codeposition pattern of HS with Aβ deposits in Tg2576 mice was also examined. We identified the membrane-bound HSPGs, glypican-1 (GPC1) and syndecan-3 (SDC3), in glial cells associated with Aβ deposits, proximal to sites of HS accumulation. In mouse primary glial cultures, we observed increased levels of GPC1 and SDC3 following Aβ stimulation. These results suggest that HS codeposits with Aβ40 in neuritic plaques and is mainly derived from glial cells.
b-Amyloid; glial cells; heparan sulfate
The amyloid β-protein (Aβ) is believed to be the key mediator of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. Aβ is most often characterized as an incidental catabolic byproduct that lacks a normal physiological role. However, Aβ has been shown to be a specific ligand for a number of different receptors and other molecules, transported by complex trafficking pathways, modulated in response to a variety of environmental stressors, and able to induce pro-inflammatory activities.
Here, we provide data supporting an in vivo function for Aβ as an antimicrobial peptide (AMP). Experiments used established in vitro assays to compare antimicrobial activities of Aβ and LL-37, an archetypical human AMP. Findings reveal that Aβ exerts antimicrobial activity against eight common and clinically relevant microorganisms with a potency equivalent to, and in some cases greater than, LL-37. Furthermore, we show that AD whole brain homogenates have significantly higher antimicrobial activity than aged matched non-AD samples and that AMP action correlates with tissue Aβ levels. Consistent with Aβ-mediated activity, the increased antimicrobial action was ablated by immunodepletion of AD brain homogenates with anti-Aβ antibodies.
Our findings suggest Aβ is a hitherto unrecognized AMP that may normally function in the innate immune system. This finding stands in stark contrast to current models of Aβ-mediated pathology and has important implications for ongoing and future AD treatment strategies.
The presence of AβpE3 (N-terminal truncated Aβ starting with pyroglutamate) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has received considerable attention since the discovery that this peptide represents a dominant fraction of Aβ peptides in senile plaques of AD brains. This was later confirmed by other reports investigating AD and Down’s syndrome postmortem brain tissue. Importantly, AβpE3 has a higher aggregation propensity, and stability, and shows an increased toxicity compared to full-length Aβ. We have recently shown that intraneuronal accumulation of AβpE3 peptides induces a severe neuron loss and an associated neurological phenotype in the TBA2 mouse model for AD. Given the increasing interest in AβpE3, we have generated two novel monoclonal antibodies which were characterized as highly specific for AβpE3 peptides and herein used to analyze plaque deposition in APP/PS1KI mice, an AD model with severe neuron loss and learning deficits. This was compared with the plaque pattern present in brain tissue from sporadic and familial AD cases. Abundant plaques positive for AβpE3 were present in patients with sporadic AD and familial AD including those carrying mutations in APP (arctic and Swedish) and PS1. Interestingly, in APP/PS1KI mice we observed a continuous increase in AβpE3 plaque load with increasing age, while the density for Aβ1-x plaques declined with aging. We therefore assume that, in particular, the peptides starting with position 1 of Aβ are N-truncated as disease progresses, and that, AβpE3 positive plaques are resistant to age-dependent degradation likely due to their high stability and propensity to aggregate.
Transgenic mice; Arctic mutation; Swedish mutation; Presenilin-1 mutation; Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease; Pyroglutamate Abeta; Biacore; Antibody specificity
A majority of mutations within the amyloid β (Aβ) region of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene cause inherited forms of intracerebral haemorrhage. Most of these mutations may also cause cognitive impairment, but the Arctic APP mutation is the only known intra-Aβ mutation to date causing the more typical clinical picture of Alzheimer's disease (AD).
To describe features of one Swedish and one American family with the previously reported Arctic APP mutation.
Affected and non-affected carriers of the Arctic APP mutation from the Swedish and American families were investigated clinically. In addition, one brain from each family was investigated neuropathologically.
The clinical picture, with age at disease onset in the sixth to seventh decade of life and dysfunction in multiple cognitive areas, is indicative of AD and similar to the phenotype for other AD APP mutations. Several affected mutation carriers displayed general brain atrophy and reduced blood flow of the parietal lobe, as demonstrated by magnetic resonance imaging and single photon emission computed tomography. One Swedish and one American case with the Arctic APP mutation have come to autopsy, neither of which showed any signs of haemorrhage but revealed severe congophilic angiopathy, region-specific neurofibrillary tangle pathology as well as abundant amyloid plaques. Intriguingly, a majority of plaques from both of these cases had a characteristic ring-like character.
Overall, our findings corroborate that the Arctic APP mutation causes a clinical and neuropathological picture compatible with AD.
Familial Alzheimer's disease; APP gene mutations; Arctic mutation; cerebral amyloid angiopathy; dementia; genealogy