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1.  Cerebrospinal fluid biomarker supported diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and rapid dementias: a longitudinal multicentre study over 10 years 
Brain  2012;135(10):3051-3061.
To date, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, particularly protein 14-3-3 testing, presents an important approach in the identification of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease cases. However, one special point of criticism of 14-3-3 testing is the specificity in the differential diagnosis of rapid dementia. The constant observation of increased cerebrospinal fluid referrals in the national surveillance centres over the last years raises the concern of declining specificity due to higher number of cerebrospinal fluid tests performed in various neurological conditions. Within the framework of a European Community supported longitudinal multicentre study (‘cerebrospinal fluid markers’) we analysed the spectrum of rapid progressive dementia diagnoses, their potential influence on 14-3-3 specificity as well as results of other dementia markers (tau, phosphorylated tau and amyloid-β1–42) and evaluated the specificity of 14-3-3 in Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease diagnosis for the years 1998–2008. A total of 29 022 cerebrospinal fluid samples were analysed for 14-3-3 protein and other cerebrospinal fluid dementia markers in patients with rapid dementia and suspected Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in the participating centres. In 10 731 patients a definite diagnosis could be obtained. Protein 14-3-3 specificity was analysed for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease with respect to increasing cerebrospinal fluid tests per year and spectrum of differential diagnosis. Ring trials were performed to ensure the comparability between centres during the reported time period. Protein 14-3-3 test specificity remained high and stable in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease during the observed time period across centres (total specificity 92%; when compared with patients with definite diagnoses only: specificity 90%). However, test specificity varied with respect to differential diagnosis. A high 14-3-3 specificity was obtained in differentiation to other neurodegenerative diseases (95–97%) and non-neurological conditions (91–97%). We observed lower specificity in the differential diagnoses of acute neurological diseases (82–87%). A marked and constant increase in cerebrospinal fluid test referrals per year in all centres did not influence 14-3-3 test specificity and no change in spectrum of differential diagnosis was observed. Cerebrospinal fluid protein 14-3-3 detection remains an important test in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. Due to a loss in specificity in acute neurological events, the interpretation of positive 14-3-3 results needs to be performed in the clinical context. The spectrum of differential diagnosis of rapid progressive dementia varied from neurodegenerative dementias to dementia due to acute neurological conditions such as inflammatory diseases and non-neurological origin.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws238
PMCID: PMC3470713  PMID: 23012332
rapid dementia; Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; cerebrospinal fluid; 14-3-3; specificity; neurodegeneration; differential diagnosis in dementia
2.  New highly sensitive rodent and human tests for soluble amyloid precursor protein alpha quantification: preclinical and clinical applications in Alzheimer’s disease 
BMC Neuroscience  2012;13:84.
Background
Amyloid precursor protein (APP), a key molecule in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is metabolized in two alternative cleavages, generating either the amyloidogenic peptides involved in AD pathology or the soluble form of APP (sAPPα). The level of amyloidogenic peptides in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is considered to be a biomarker of AD, whereas the level of sAPPα in CSF as a biomarker has not been clearly established. sAPPα has neurotrophic and neuroprotective properties. Stimulating its formation and secretion is a promising therapeutic target in AD research. To this end, very sensitive tests for preclinical and clinical research are required.
Methods
The tests are based on homogenous time-resolved fluorescence and require no washing steps.
Results
We describe two new rapid and sensitive tests for quantifying mouse and human sAPPα. These 20 μl-volume tests quantify the levels of: i) endogenous mouse sAPPα in the conditioned medium of mouse neuron primary cultures, as well as in the CSF of wild-type mice, ii) human sAPPα in the CSF of AD mouse models, and iii) human sAPPα in the CSF of AD and non-AD patients. These tests require only 5 μl of conditioned medium from 5 × 104 mouse primary neurons, 1 μl of CSF from wild-type and transgenic mice, and 0.5 μl of human CSF.
Conclusions
The high sensitivity of the mouse sAPPα test will allow high-throughput investigations of molecules capable of increasing the secretion of endogenous sAPPα in primary neurons, as well as the in vivo validation of molecules of interest through the quantification of sAPPα in the CSF of treated wild-type mice. Active molecules could then be tested in the AD mouse models by quantifying human sAPPα in the CSF through the progression of the disease. Finally, the human sAPPα test could strengthen the biological diagnosis of AD in large clinical investigations. Taken together, these new tests have a wide field of applications in preclinical and clinical studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-84
PMCID: PMC3418197  PMID: 22824057
Alzheimer’s disease; Soluble amyloid precursor protein alpha; Homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence; Rodent; Human; Cerebrospinal fluid; Primary neurons; Sensitivity
3.  Smoking Related Diseases: The Central Role of Monoamine Oxidase 
Smoking is a major risk factor of morbidity and mortality. It is well established that monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity is decreased in smokers. Serotonin (5-HT), a major substrate for MAO that circulates as a reserve pool stored in platelets, is a marker of platelet activation. We recently reported that smoking durably modifies the platelet 5-HT/MAO system by inducing a demethylation of the MAO gene promoter resulting in high MAO protein concentration persisting more than ten years after quitting smoking. The present data enlarges the results to another MAO substrate, norepinephrine (NE), further confirming the central role of MAO in tobacco use-induced diseases. Thus, MAO could be a readily accessible and helpful marker in the risk evaluation of smoking-related diseases, from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases to depression, anxiety and cancer. The present review implements the new finding of epigenetic regulation of MAO and suggests that smoking-induced MAO demethylation can be considered as a hallmark of smoking-related cancers similarly to other aberrant DNA methylations.
doi:10.3390/ijerph8010136
PMCID: PMC3037066  PMID: 21318020
smoking; serotonin; norepinephrine; monoamine oxidase; cardiovascular; platelets; epigenetic; cancer; depression
4.  Smoking Induces Long-Lasting Effects through a Monoamine-Oxidase Epigenetic Regulation 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7959.
Background
Postulating that serotonin (5-HT), released from smoking-activated platelets could be involved in smoking-induced vascular modifications, we studied its catabolism in a series of 115 men distributed as current smokers (S), never smokers (NS) and former smokers (FS) who had stopped smoking for a mean of 13 years.
Methodology/Principal Findings
5-HT, monoamine oxidase (MAO-B) activities and amounts were measured in platelets, and 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (5-HIAA)—the 5-HT/MAO catabolite—in plasma samples. Both platelet 5-HT and plasma 5-HIAA levels were correlated with the 10-year cardiovascular Framingham relative risk (P<0.01), but these correlations became non-significant after adjustment for smoking status, underlining that the determining risk factor among those taken into account in the Framingham risk calculation was smoking. Surprisingly, the platelet 5-HT content was similar in S and NS but lower in FS with a parallel higher plasma level of 5-HIAA in FS. This was unforeseen since MAO-B activity was inhibited during smoking (P<0.00001). It was, however, consistent with a higher enzyme protein concentration found in S and FS than in NS (P<0.001). It thus appears that MAO inhibition during smoking was compensated by a higher synthesis. To investigate the persistent increase in MAO-B protein concentration, a study of the methylation of its gene promoter was undertaken in a small supplementary cohort of similar subjects. We found that the methylation frequency of the MAOB gene promoter was markedly lower (P<0.0001) for S and FS vs. NS due to cigarette smoke-induced increase of nucleic acid demethylase activity.
Conclusions/Significance
This is one of the first reports that smoking induces an epigenetic modification. A better understanding of the epigenome may help to further elucidate the physiopathology and the development of new therapeutic approaches to tobacco addiction. The results could have a larger impact than cardiovascular damage, considering that MAO-dependent 5-HT catabolism is also involved in addiction, predisposition to cancer, behaviour and mental health.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007959
PMCID: PMC2775922  PMID: 19956754
6.  Regulating Factors of PrPres Glycosylation in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease - Implications for the Dissemination and the Diagnosis of Human Prion Strains 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(7):e2786.
Objective
The glycoprofile of pathological prion protein (PrPres) is widely used as a diagnosis marker in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and is thought to vary in a strain-specific manner. However, that the same glycoprofile of PrPres always accumulates in the whole brain of one individual has been questioned. We aimed to determine whether and how PrPres glycosylation is regulated in the brain of patients with sporadic and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Methods
PrPres glycoprofiles in four brain regions from 134 patients with sporadic or variant CJD were analyzed as a function of the genotype at codon 129 of PRNP and the Western blot type of PrPres.
Results
The regional distribution of PrPres glycoforms within one individual was heterogeneous in sporadic but not in variant CJD. PrPres glycoforms ratio significantly correlated with the genotype at codon 129 of the prion protein gene and the Western blot type of PrPres in a region-specific manner. In some cases of sCJD, the glycoprofile of thalamic PrPres was undistinguishable from that observed in variant CJD.
Interpretation
Regulations leading to variations of PrPres pattern between brain regions in sCJD patients, involving host genotype and Western blot type of PrPres may contribute to the specific brain targeting of prion strains and have direct implications for the diagnosis of the different forms of CJD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002786
PMCID: PMC2464735  PMID: 18665216

Results 1-6 (6)