The current consensus criteria for the neuropathologic diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), known as the National Institute on Aging/Reagan Institute of the Alzheimer Association Consensus Recommendations for the Postmortem Diagnosis of AD or NIA-Reagan Criteria , were published in 1997 (hereafter referred to as “1997 Criteria”). Knowledge of AD and the tools used for clinical investigation of cognitive impairment and dementia have advanced substantially since then and have prompted this update on the neuropathologic assessment of AD.
We present a practical guide for the implementation of recently revised National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association guidelines for the neuropathologic assessment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Major revisions from previous consensus criteria are: (i) recognition that AD neuropathologic changes may occur in the apparent absence of cognitive impairment, (ii) an “ABC” score for AD neuropathologic change that incorporates histopathologic assessments of amyloid β deposits (A), staging of neurofibrillary tangles (B), and scoring of neuritic plaques (C), and (iii) more detailed approaches for assessing commonly co-morbid conditions such as Lewy body disease, vascular brain injury, hippocampal sclerosis, and TAR DNA binding protein (TDP)-43 immunoreactive inclusions. Recommendations also are made for the minimum sampling of brain, preferred staining methods with acceptable alternatives, reporting of results, and clinico-pathologic correlations.
Entorhinal cortex displays a distinctive organization in layer II and forms small elevations on its surface called entorhinal verrucae. In Alzheimer’s disease, the verrucae disappear due to neurofibrillary tangle formation and neuronal death. Isosurface models were reconstructed from high resolution ex vivo MRI volumes scanned at 7.0 T and individual verruca were measured quantitatively for height, width, volume, and surface area on control and mild Alzheimer’s cases. Mean verruca height was 0.13 ± 0.04 mm for our cognitively normal (controls) sample set whereas for mild AD samples mean height was 0.11 mm ± 0.05 mm (p < 0.001) in entorhinal cortex (n=10 cases). These quantitative methods were validated by a significant correlation of verrucae height and volume with qualitative verrucae ratings (n=36 cases). Entorhinal surfaces were significantly different from other cortical heights such as, cingulate, frontal, occipital, parietal and temporal cortices. Colocalization of verrucae with entorhinal islands was confirmed in ex vivo MRI and, moreover, verrucae ratings were negatively correlated to Braak and Braak pathological stage. This study characterizes novel methods to measure individual entorhinal verruca size, and shows that verrucae size correlates to Alzheimer’s pathology. Taken together, these results suggest that verrucae may have the potential to serve as an early and specific morphological marker for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
neuroimaging; modularity; cortex; ex vivo; surface reconstruction
Amyloid-beta (Aβ)-induced changes in synaptic function in experimental models of Alzheimer disease (AD) suggest that Aβ generation and accumulation may affect fundamental mechanisms of synaptic plasticity. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effect of amyloid precursor protein (APP) overexpression on a well-characterized, in vivo, developmental model of systems-level plasticity, ocular dominance plasticity (ODP). Following monocular visual deprivation during the critical period, mice that express mutant alleles of amyloid precursor protein (APPswe) and Presenilin1 (PS1dE9), as well as mice that express APPswe alone, lack ocular dominance plasticity in visual cortex. Defects in the spatial extent and magnitude of the plastic response are evident using two complementary approaches, Arc induction and optical imaging of intrinsic signals in awake mice. This defect in a classic paradigm of systems level synaptic plasticity shows that Aβ overexpression, even early in postnatal life, can perturb plasticity in cerebral cortex, and supports the idea that decreased synaptic plasticity due to elevated Aβ exposure contributes to cognitive impairment in AD.
Previous clinical studies have documented a close relationship between cerebrovascular disease and risk of Alzheimer's disease. We examined possible mechanistic interactions through use of experimental stroke models in a transgenic mouse model of β-amyloid deposition (APPswe/PS1dE9). Following middle cerebral artery occlusion, we observed a rapid increase in amyloid plaque burden in the region surrounding the infarction. In human tissue samples, however, we were unable to detect a localized increase in amyloid burden adjacent to cerebral infarcts. To resolve this discrepancy, we generated cerebral microstrokes in amyloid precursor protein mouse models with the photosensitive dye Rose bengal, and monitored plaque formation in real time using multiphoton microscopy. We observed a striking increase in the number of new plaques and amyloid angiopathy in the area immediately surrounding the infarcted area; however, the effect was transient, potentially resolving the discord between mouse and human tissue. We did not detect changes in candidate proteins related to β-amyloid generation or degradation such as β-amyloid-converting enzyme, amyloid precursor protein, presenilin 1, neprylisin or insulin-degrading enzyme. Together, these results demonstrate that strokes can trigger accelerated amyloid deposition, most likely through interference with amyloid clearance pathways. Additionally, this study indicates that focal ischaemia provides an experimental paradigm in which to study the mechanisms of plaque seeding and growth.
Alzheimer's disease pathology; stroke; amyloid
The mechanism for hemorrhage enlargement in the brain, a key determinant of patient outcome following hemorrhagic stroke, is unknown. We performed computer-based stochastic simulation of one proposed mechanism, in which hemorrhages grow in “domino” fashion via secondary shearing of neighboring vessel segments. Hemorrhages were simulated by creating an initial site of primary bleeding and an associated risk of secondary rupture at adjacent sites that decayed over time. Under particular combinations of parameters for likelihood of secondary rupture and time-dependent decay, a subset of lesions expanded, creating a bimodal distribution of microbleeds and macrobleeds. Systematic variation of the model to simulate anticoagulation yielded increases in both macrobleed occurrence (26.9%, 53.2%, and 70.0% of all hemorrhagic events under conditions simulating no, low-level, and high-level anticoagulation) and final hemorrhage size (median volumes 111, 276, and 412 under the same three conditions), consistent with data from patients with anticoagulant-related brain hemorrhages. Reversal from simulated high-level anticoagulation to normal coagulation was able to reduce final hemorrhage size only if applied relatively early in the course of hemorrhage expansion. These findings suggest that a model based on a secondary shearing mechanism can account for some of the clinically observed properties of intracerebral hemorrhage, including the bimodal distribution of volumes and the enhanced hemorrhage growth seen with anticoagulation. Future iterations of this model may be useful for elucidating the effects of hemorrhage growth of factors related to secondary shearing (such as small vessel pathology) or time-dependent decay (such as hemostatic agents).
By phage display, llama-derived heavy chain antibody fragments were selected from non-immune and immune libraries and tested for their affinity and specificity for beta amyloid by phage-ELISA, immunohistochemistry and surface plasmon resonance.
We identified 8 distinct heavy chain antibody fragments specific for beta amyloid. Whilst three of them recognized vascular and parenchymal beta amyloid deposits, the remaining five heavy chain antibody fragments recognized vascular beta amyloid specifically, failing to bind to parenchymal beta amyloid.
These heavy chain antibody fragments, selected from different libraries, demonstrated differential affinity for different epitopes when used for immunohistochemistry. These observations indicate that the llama heavy chain antibody fragments are the first immunologic probes with the ability to differentiate between parenchymal and vascular beta amyloid aggregates. This indicates that vascular and parenchymal beta amyloid deposits are heterogeneous in epitope presence/availability. The properties of these heavy chain antibody fragments make them potential candidates for use in in vivo differential diagnosis of Alzheimer disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Continued use and characterization of these reagents will be necessary to fully understand the performance of these immunoreagents.
Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid beta; Antibody; Histochemistry; Imaging; Immunoreactivity
Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), characterized by extracellular β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) deposits in vessel walls, is present in the majority of cases of Alzheimer disease and is a major cause of hemorrhagic stroke. Although the molecular pathways activated by vascular Aβ are poorly understood, extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and Aβ-induced oxidative stress appear to play important roles. We adapted fluorogenic assays for MMP activity and ROS generation for use in vivo. Using multiphoton microcopy in APPswe/PS1dE9 and Tg-2576 transgenic mice, we observed strong associations between MMP activation, oxidative stress and CAA deposition in leptomeningeal vessels. Antioxidant treatment with α-phenyl-N-tert-butyl-nitrone (PBN) reduced oxidative stress associated with CAA (~50% reduction) without affecting MMP activation. Conversely, a selection of agents that inhibit MMP by different mechanisms of action, including minocycline, simvastatin and GM6001, reduced not only CAA-associated MMP activation (~30-40% reduction) but also oxidative stress (~40% reduction). The inhibitors of MMP did not have direct antioxidant effects. Treatment of animals with PBN or minocycline did not have a significant effect on CAA progression rates. These data suggest a close association between Aβ-related MMP activation and oxidative stress in vivo and raise the possibility that treatment with MMP inhibitors may have beneficial effects by indirectly reducing the oxidative stress associated with CAA.
transgenic mouse; multiphoton microscopy; MMP; oxidative stress; MMP inhibitor; antioxidant
Recurrent glioblastomas (rGBM) invariably relapse after initial response to anti-VEGF therapy. There are two prevailing hypotheses on how these tumors escape antiangiogenic therapy: switch to VEGF-independent angiogenic pathways and vessel co-option. However, direct evidence in rGBM patients is lacking. Thus, we compared molecular, cellular and vascular parameters in autopsy tissues from five rGBM patients who had been treated with the pan-VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor cediranib versus seven patients who received no therapy or chemoradiation but no antiangiogenic agents. After cediranib treatment, endothelial proliferation and glomeruloid vessels were decreased, and vessel diameters and perimeters were reduced to levels comparable to the unaffected contralateral brain hemisphere. In addition, tumor endothelial cells expressed molecular markers specific to the blood-brain barrier, indicative of a lack of revascularization despite the discontinuation of therapy. Surprisingly, in cediranib-treated GBM cellular density in the central area of the tumor was lower than in control cases and gradually decreased towards the infiltrating edge, indicative of a change in growth pattern of rGBMs after cediranib treatment, unlike that after chemo-radiation. Finally, cediranib treated GBMs showed high levels of PDGF-C and c-Met expression and infiltration by myeloid cells, which may potentially contribute to resistance to anti-VEGF therapy. In summary, we show that rGBMs switch their growth pattern after anti-VEGF therapy – characterized by lower tumor cellularity in the central area, decreased pseudopalisading necrosis and blood vessels with normal molecular expression and morphology without a second wave of angiogenesis.
Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type 1 (HSAN1) causes sensory loss that predominantly affects the lower limbs, often preceded by hyperpathia and spontaneous shooting or lancinating pain. It is caused by several missense mutations in the genes encoding 2 of the 3 subunits of the enzyme serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT). The mutant forms of the enzyme show a shift from their canonical substrate l-serine to the alternative substrate l-alanine. This shift leads to increased formation of neurotoxic deoxysphingolipids (dSLs). Our initial analysis showed that in HEK cells transfected with SPTLC1 mutants, dSL generation was modulated in vitro in the presence of various amino acids. We therefore examined whether in vivo specific amino acid substrate supplementation influenced dSL levels and disease severity in HSAN1. In mice bearing a transgene expressing the C133W SPTLC1 mutant linked to HSAN1, a 10% l-serine–enriched diet reduced dSL levels. l-serine supplementation also improved measures of motor and sensory performance as well as measures of male fertility. In contrast, a 10% l-alanine–enriched diet increased dSL levels and led to severe peripheral neuropathy. In a pilot study with 14 HSAN1 patients, l-serine supplementation similarly reduced dSL levels. These observations support the hypothesis that an altered substrate selectivity of the mutant SPT is key to the pathophysiology of HSAN1 and raise the prospect of l-serine supplementation as a first treatment option for this disorder.
Advanced cerebrovascular β-amyloid deposition (cerebral amyloid angiopathy, CAA) is associated with cerebral microbleeds, but the precise relationship between CAA burden and microbleeds is undefined. We used T2*-weighted MRI and noninvasive amyloid imaging with Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) to analyze the spatial relationship between CAA and microbleeds. On co-registered PET and MRI images, PiB retention was increased at microbleed sites compared to simulated control lesions (p=0.002) and declined with increasing distance from the microbleed (p<0.0001). These findings indicate that microbleeds occur preferentially in local regions of concentrated amyloid and support therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing vascular amyloid deposition.
The neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer disease (AD) include “positive” lesions such as amyloid plaques and cerebral amyloid angiopathy, neurofibrillary tangles, and glial responses, and “negative” lesions such as neuronal and synaptic loss. Despite their inherently cross-sectional nature, postmortem studies have enabled the staging of the progression of both amyloid and tangle pathologies, and, consequently, the development of diagnostic criteria that are now used worldwide. In addition, clinicopathological correlation studies have been crucial to generate hypotheses about the pathophysiology of the disease, by establishing that there is a continuum between “normal” aging and AD dementia, and that the amyloid plaque build-up occurs primarily before the onset of cognitive deficits, while neurofibrillary tangles, neuron loss, and particularly synaptic loss, parallel the progression of cognitive decline. Importantly, these cross-sectional neuropathological data have been largely validated by longitudinal in vivo studies using modern imaging biomarkers such as amyloid PET and volumetric MRI.
Amyloid plaque build-up occurs primarily before the onset of cognitive deficits. Neurofibrillary tangles, neuron loss, and synaptic loss parallel the progression of cognitive decline.
Cerebral accumulation of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) is characteristic of Alzheimer disease and of amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice. Here, we assessed the efficacy of CI-1011, an inhibitor of acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase, which is suitable for clinical use, in reducing amyloid pathology in both young (6.5 months old) and aged (16 months old) hAPP transgenic mice. Treatment of young animals with CI-1011 decreased amyloid plaque load in the cortex and hippocampus and reduced the levels of insoluble Aβ40 and Aβ42 and C-terminal fragments of APP in brain extracts. In aged mice, CI-1011 specifically reduced diffuse amyloid plaques with a minor effect on thioflavin S+ dense-core plaques. Reduced diffusible amyloid was accompanied by suppression of astrogliosis and enhanced microglial activation. Collectively, these data suggest that CI-1011 treatment reduces amyloid burden in hAPP mice by limiting generation and increasing clearance of diffusible Aβ.
Alzheimer disease; Cholesterol transport; Glia; Lipids; Neurodegeneration; Transgenic
Huntingtin protein (Htt) is ubiquitously expressed, yet Huntington's disease (HD), a fatal neurologic disorder produced by expansion of an Htt polyglutamine tract, is characterized by neurodegeneration that occurs primarily in the striatum and cerebral cortex. Such discrepancies between sites of expression and pathology occur in multiple neurodegenerative disorders associated with expanded polyglutamine tracts. One possible reason is that disease-modifying factors are tissue-specific. Here, we show that the striatum-enriched protein, CalDAG-GEFI, is severely down-regulated in the striatum of mouse HD models and is down-regulated in HD individuals. In the R6/2 transgenic mouse model of HD, striatal neurons with the largest aggregates of mutant Htt have the lowest levels of CalDAG-GEFI. In a brain-slice explant model of HD, knock-down of CalDAG-GEFI expression rescues striatal neurons from pathology induced by transfection of polyglutamine-expanded Htt exon 1. These findings suggest that the striking down-regulation of CalDAG-GEFI in HD could be a protective mechanism that mitigates Htt-induced degeneration.
Anti-amyloid-β immunization leads to amyloid clearance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but the effect of vaccination on amyloid-β-induced neuronal pathology has not been quantitatively examined. The objectives of this study were to address the effects of anti-amyloid-β active immunization on neurite trajectories and the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease in the human hippocampus. Hippocampal sections from five patients with Alzheimer’s disease enrolled in the AN1792 Phase 2a trial were compared with those from 13 non-immunized Braak-stage and age-matched patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and eight age-matched non-demented controls. Analyses included neurite curvature ratio as a quantitative measure of neuritic abnormalities, amyloid and tau loads, and a quantitative characterization of plaque-associated neuritic dystrophy and astrocytosis. Amyloid load and density of dense-core plaques were decreased in the immunized group compared to non-immunized patients (P < 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively). The curvature ratio in non-immunized patients with Alzheimer’s disease was elevated compared to non-demented controls (P < 0.0001). In immunized patients, however, the curvature ratio was normalized when compared to non-immunized patients (P < 0.0001), and not different from non-demented controls. In the non-immunized patients, neurites close to dense-core plaques (within 50 µm) were more abnormal than those far from plaques (i.e. beyond 50 µm) (P < 0.0001). By contrast, in the immunized group neurites close to and far from the remaining dense-core plaques did not differ, and both were straighter compared to the non-immunized patients (P < 0.0001). Compared to non-immunized patients, dense-core plaques remaining after immunization had similar degree of astrocytosis (P = 0.6060), more embedded dystrophic neurites (P < 0.0001) and were more likely to have mitochondrial accumulation (P < 0.001). In addition, there was a significant decrease in the density of paired helical filament-1-positive neurons in the immunized group as compared to the non-immunized (P < 0.05), but not in the density of Alz50 or thioflavin-S positive tangles, suggesting a modest effect of anti-amyloid-β immunization on tangle pathology. Clearance of amyloid plaques upon immunization with AN1792 effectively improves a morphological measure of neurite abnormality in the hippocampus. This improvement is not just attributable to the decrease in plaque load, but also occurs within the halo of the remaining dense-core plaques. However, these remaining plaques still retain some of their toxic potential. Anti-amyloid-β immunization might also ameliorate the hippocampal tau pathology through a decrease in tau phosphorylation. These data agree with preclinical animal studies and further demonstrate that human anti-amyloid-β immunization does not merely clear amyloid from the Alzheimer’s disease brain, but reduces some of the neuronal alterations that characterize Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; immunization; AN1792
Many mutations confer upon copper/zinc superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) one or more toxic function(s) that impair motor neuron viability and cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS). Using a conformation-specific antibody that detects misfolded SOD1 (C4F6), we demonstrate that oxidized WT-SOD1 and mutant-SOD1 share a conformational epitope that is not present in normal WT-SOD1. In a subset of human sporadic ALS (SALS) cases, motor neurons in the lumbosacral spinal cord displayed striking C4F6 immunoreactivity, denoting the presence of aberrant WT-SOD1 species. Recombinant, oxidized WT-SOD1 and WT-SOD1 immunopurified from SALS tissues inhibited kinesin-based fast axonal transport in a manner similar to FALS-linked mutant SOD1. Studies here suggest that WT-SOD1 can be pathogenic in SALS and identifies an SOD1-dependent pathogenic mechanism common to FALS and SALS.
Patent foramen ovale and pulmonary arteriovenous shunts are associated with serious complications such as cerebral emboli, stroke, and migraine with aura. The pathophysiological mechanisms that link these conditions are unknown. We aimed to establish a mechanism linking microembolization to migraine aura in an experimental animal model.
We introduced particulate or air microemboli into the carotid circulation in mice to determine whether transient microvascular occlusion, insufficient to cause infarcts, triggered cortical spreading depression (CSD), a propagating slow depolarization that underlies migraine aura.
Air microemboli reliably triggered CSD without causing infarction. Polystyrene microspheres (10μm) or cholesterol crystals (<70μm) triggered CSD in 16 of 28 mice, with 60% of the mice (40% of those with CSD) showing no infarcts or inflammation on detailed histological analysis of serial brain sections. No evidence of injury was detected on magnetic resonance imaging examination (9.4T; T2 weighted) in 14 of 15 selected animals. The occurrence of CSD appeared to be related to the magnitude and duration of flow reduction, with a triggering mechanism that depended on decreased brain perfusion but not sustained tissue damage.
In a mouse model, microemboli triggered CSD, often without causing microinfarction. Paradoxical embolization then may link cardiac and extracardiac right-to-left shunts to migraine aura. If translatable to humans, a subset of migraine auras may belong to a spectrum of hypoperfusion disorders along with transient ischemic attacks and silent infarcts.
Entorhinal cortex (EC) is a medial temporal lobe area critical to memory formation and spatial navigation that is among the earliest parts of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Accurate localization of EC would thus greatly facilitate early detection and diagnosis of AD. In this study, we used ultra-high resolution ex vivo MRI to directly visualize the architectonic features that define EC rostrocaudally and mediolaterally, then applied surface-based registration techniques to quantify the variability of EC with respect to cortical geometry, and make predictions of its location on in vivo scans. The results indicate that EC can be localized quite accurately based on cortical folding patterns, within 3 mm in vivo, a significant step forward in our ability to detect the earliest effects of AD when clinical intervention is most likely to be effective.
morphometry; MRI; Alzheimer’s disease
Many cognitively impaired patients’ brains fall into neuropathologic diagnostic categories that cannot be defined explicitly by the National Institute on Aging and Reagan Institute (NIA-RI) guidelines. Two specific case categories are considered: “tangle-intensive” patients with the highest density of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs, as graded by the Braak staging system) but only moderate density of neuritic amyloid plaques (NPs, as graded by CERAD); and conversely “plaque-intensive” patients with intermediate severity NFTs and high density of NPs. To better understand these technically unclassifiable cases, we analyzed NACC Registry data, which includes both clinical and pathological information from the National Institute on Aging-funded Alzheimer Disease Centers (ADCs). 1,672 cases with antemortem diagnoses of dementia were included. To evaluate the diagnostic tendencies of ADC neuropathologists, we assessed how the plaque-intensive and tangle-intensive cases were diagnosed ultimately. Tangle-intensive cases were more likely to be designated “High likelihood” that the dementia was due to AD, whereas plaque-intensive cases were typically designated “Intermediate likelihood”. Only the Braak stage VI “tangle-intensive” cases had lower final MMSE scores than the “plaque-intensive” cases (P<0.02). We conclude that more explicit diagnostic categories, along with better understanding of pathology in earlier phases of the disease, may be helpful to better guide neuropathologists.
Pigmented orthochromatic leukodystrophy (POLD) and Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids HDLS are two adult onset leukodystrophies with neuroaxonal spheroids presenting with prominent neurobehavioral, cognitive, and motor symptoms. These are familial or sporadic disorders characterized by cerebral white matter degeneration including myelin and axonal loss, gliosis, macrophages, and axonal spheroids. We report clinical, neuroimaging and pathological correlations of four women ages 34–50 years with adult onset leukodystrophy. Their disease course ranged from 1.5–8 years. Three patients had progressive cognitive and behavioral changes whereas one had acute onset. Neuroimaging revealed white matter abnormalities characterized by symmetric, bilateral, T2 hyperintense and T1 hypointense MRI signal involving frontal lobe white matter in all patients. Extensive laboratory investigations were negative apart from abnormalities in some mitochondrial enzymes and immunologic parameters. Autopsies demonstrated severe leukodystrophy with myelin and axonal loss, axonal spheroids, and macrophages with early and severe frontal white matter involvement. The extent and degree of changes outside the frontal lobe appeared to correlate with disease duration. The prominent neurobehavioral deficits and frontal white matter disease provides clinical-pathologic support for association pathways linking distributed neural circuits subserving cognition. These observations lend further support to the notion that white matter disease alone can account for dementia.
Cerebral volume loss has long been associated with normal aging but whether this is due to aging itself or to age-related diseases including incipient Alzheimer disease (AD) is uncertain. To understand the changes that occur in the aging brain, we examined the cerebral cortex of 27 normal individuals ranging in age from 56 to 103 years. None fulfilled the criteria for the neuropathological diagnosis of AD or other neurodegenerative disease. Seventeen of the elderly participants had cognitive testing an average of 6.7 months prior to death. We used quantitative approaches to analyze cortical thickness, neuronal number, and density. Frontal and temporal neocortical regions had clear evidence of cortical thinning with age but total neuronal numbers in frontal and temporal neocortical regions remained relatively constant over a 50-year age range. These data suggest that loss of neuronal and dendritic architecture, rather than loss of neurons, underlies neocortical volume loss with increasing age in the absence of AD.
Aging; Cerebral cortex; Neurons; Stereology
An estimated 200 million patients worldwide have surgery each year. Anesthesia and surgery have been reported to facilitate emergence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The commonly used inhalation anesthetic isoflurane has previously been reported to induce apoptosis and to increase levels and aggregation of AD-associated amyloid β-protein (Aβ) in cultured cells. However, the in vivo relevance has not been addressed.
We therefore set out to determine effects of isoflurane on caspase activation, levels of BACE and Aβ in naïve mice, employing Western blot, immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR.
Here we show for the first time that a clinically relevant isoflurane anesthesia (1.4% isoflurane for two hours) leads to caspase activation and modest increases in levels of the β-site APP-cleaving enzyme (BACE) six hours after anesthesia in mouse brain. Isoflurane anesthesia induces caspase activation, increases levels of BACE and Aβ up to 24 hours after anesthesia. Isoflurane may increase BACE levels by reducing BACE degradation. Moreover, the Aβ aggregation inhibitor, clioquinol, was able to attenuate isoflurane-induced caspase-3 activation in vivo.
Given that transient insults to brain may lead to long term brain damage, these findings suggest that isoflurane may promote AD neuropathogenesis and, as such, have implications for use of isoflurane in humans, pending on human study confirmation.
Previous studies of human primary visual cortex (V1) have demonstrated a significant eye-specific decrease in cytochrome oxidase (CO) staining following monocular enucleation. We have extended these results by examining CO staining and neurofilament labeling in V1 from a patient with long-standing monocular blindness. A pattern of reduced neurofilament reactivity was found to align with pale CO-stained ocular dominance columns. Neurons located within deprived ocular dominance columns were significantly smaller compared with those in nondeprived columns. A spatial analysis of the relationship between CO blobs and ocular dominance columns revealed that both deprived and nondeprived blobs tended to align with the centers of ocular dominance columns.
CO blobs; deprivation; human; neurofilament; ocular dominance columns; primary visual cortex
To identify gene expression patterns in human dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) of male and female control and Parkinson disease (PD) patients, we harvested DA neurons from frozen SNc from 16 subjects (4 male PD, 4 female PD, 4 male and 4 female controls) using Laser Capture microcrodissection and microarrays. We assessed for enrichment of functional categories with a hypergeometric distribution. The data were validated with QPCR.
We observed that gender has a pervasive effect on gene expression in DA neurons. Genes upregulated in females relative to males are mainly involved in signal transduction and neuronal maturation, while in males some of the upregulated genes (alpha-synuclein and PINK1) were previously implicated in the pathogenesis of PD. In females with PD we found alterations in genes with protein kinase activity, genes involved in proteolysis and WNT signaling pathway, while in males with PD there were alterations in protein-binding proteins and copper-binding proteins.
Our data reveal broad gender-based differences in gene expression in human dopaminergic neurons of SNc that may underlie the predisposition of males to PD. Moreover, we show that gender influences the response to PD, suggesting that the nature of the disease and the response to treatment may be gender-dependent.
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