Here we review progress by the Penn Biomarker Core in the Alzheimer's disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) towards developing a pathological cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma biomarker signature for mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) as well as a biomarker profile that predicts conversion of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and/or normal control (NC) subjects to AD. The Penn Biomarker Core also collaborated with other ADNI Cores to integrate data across ADNI to temporally order changes in clinical measures, imaging data and chemical biomarkers that serve as mileposts and predictors of the conversion of NC to MCI as well as MCI to AD, and the progression of AD.
Initial CSF studies by the ADNI Biomarker Core revealed a pathological CSF biomarker signature of AD defined by the combination of Aβ1-42 and total tau (T-tau) that effectively delineates mild AD in the large multisite prospective clinical investigation conducted in ADNI. This signature appears to predict conversion from MCI to AD. Data fusion efforts across ADNI Cores generated a model for the temporal ordering of AD biomarkers which suggests that Aβ amyloid biomarkers become abnormal first, followed by changes in neurodegenerative biomarkers (CSF tau, FDG-PET, MRI) and the onset of clinical symptoms. The timing of these changes varies in individual patients due to genetic and environmental factors that increase or decrease an individual's resilience in response to progressive accumulations of AD pathologies. Further studies in ADNI will refine this model and render the biomarkers studied in ADNI more applicable to routine diagnosis and to clinical trials of disease modifying therapies.
Alzheimer's disease; cerebrospinal fluid; plasma; biomarkers; mild cognitive impairment
The microtubule-binding protein, tau, is the major component of neurofibrillary inclusions characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and related neurodegenerative tauopathies. When tau fibrillizes, it undergoes abnormal post-translational modifications resulting in decreased solubility and altered microtubule-stabilizing properties. Recently, we reported that the abnormal acetylation of tau at lysine residue 280 is a novel, pathological post-translational modification. Here, we performed detailed immunohistochemistry to further examine acetylated-tau expression in Alzheimer's disease and other major tauopathies. Immunohistochemistry using a polyclonal antibody specific for acetylated-tau at lysine 280 was conducted on 30 post-mortem central nervous system regions from patients with Alzheimer's disease (10 patients), corticobasal degeneration (5 patients), and progressive supranuclear palsy (5 patients). Acetylated-tau pathology was compared with the sequential emergence of other tau modifications in the Alzheimer's disease hippocampus using monoclonal antibodies to multiple well-characterized tau epitopes. All cases studied showed significant acetylated-tau pathology in a distribution pattern similar to hyperphosphorylated-tau. Acetylated-tau pathology was largely in intracellular, thioflavin-S-positive tau inclusions in Alzheimer's disease, and also thioflavin-S-negative pathology in corticobasal degeneration and progressive supranuclear palsy. Acetylated-tau was present throughout all stages of Alzheimer's disease pathology, but was more prominently associated with pathological tau epitopes in moderate to severe-stage cases. These temporal and morphological immunohistochemical features suggest acetylation of tau at this epitope is preceded by early modifications, including phosphorylation, and followed by later truncation events and cell death in Alzheimer's disease. Acetylation of tau at lysine 280 is a pathological modification that may contribute to tau-mediated neurodegeneration by both augmenting losses of normal tau properties (reduced solubility and microtubule assembly) as well as toxic gains of function (increased tau fibrillization). Thus, inhibiting tau acetylation could be a disease-modifying target for drug discovery target in tauopathies.
Alzheimer's disease; tauopathy; acetylation; post-translational modification; tau
The frequency and clinical and pathological characteristics associated with the Gly206Ala presenilin 1 (PSEN1) mutation in Puerto Rican and non-Puerto Rican Hispanics were evaluated at the University of Pennsylvania’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center. DNAs from all cohort subjects were genotyped for the Gly206Ala PSEN1 mutation. Carriers and non-carriers with neurodegenerative disease dementias were compared for demographic, clinical, psychometric, and biomarker variables. Nineteen (12.6%) of 151 unrelated subjects with dementia were discovered to carry the PSEN1 Gly 206Ala mutation. Microsatellite marker genotyping determined a common ancestral haplotype for all carriers. Carriers were all of Puerto Rican heritage with significantly younger age of onset, but otherwise were clinically and neuropsychologically comparable to those of non-carriers with AD. Three subjects had extensive topographic and biochemical biomarker assessments that were also typical of non-carriers with AD. Neuropathological examination in one subject revealed severe, widespread plaque and tangle pathology without other meaningful disease lesions. The PSEN1 Gly206Ala mutation is notably frequent in unrelated Puerto Rican immigrants with dementia in Philadelphia. Considered together with the increased prevalence and mortality of AD reported in Puerto Rico, these high rates may reflect hereditary risk concentrated in the island which warrants further study.
Age of onset; dementia; haplotype; presenilin
Tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with tau pathologies, are neurodegenerative diseases characterized by neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) comprised of filamentous tau protein. Although emerging evidence suggests tau pathology may be transmitted, we demonstrate here that synthetic tau fibrils are sufficient to transmit tau inclusions in a mouse model. Specifically, intracerebral inoculation of young PS19 mice overexpressing mutant human tau (P301S) with synthetic preformed fibrils (pffs) assembled from recombinant full length tau or truncated tau containing four microtubule binding repeats resulted in rapid induction of NFT-like inclusions which propagated from injected sites to connected brain regions in a time-dependent manner. Interestingly, injection of tau pffs into either hippocampus or striatum together with overlaying cortex gave rise to distinct pattern of spreading. Moreover, unlike tau pathology that spontaneously develops in old PS19 mice, the pff-induced tau inclusions more closely resembled AD NFTs because they were Thioflavin-S positive, acetylated and more resistant to proteinase K digestion. Taken together, our study demonstrates that synthetic tau pffs alone are capable of inducing authentic NFT-like tau aggregates and initiating prion-like spreading of tau pathology in a tauopathy mouse model.
Biomarkers; Neurodegenerative disease diagnosis; Cerebrospinal fluid; Plasma; Neuroimaging; Disease progression; Clinical testing; Alzheimer’s disease; Magnetic resonance imaging; Neuronal network dysfunction
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no available treatments. Mutations in the progranulin gene (GRN) causing impaired production or secretion of progranulin are a common Mendelian cause of FTLD-TDP; additionally, common variants at chromosome 7p21 in the uncharacterized gene TMEM106B were recently linked by genome-wide association to FTLD-TDP with and without GRN mutations. Here we show that TMEM106B is neuronally expressed in postmortem human brain tissue, and that expression levels are increased in FTLD-TDP brain. Furthermore, using an unbiased, microarray-based screen of over 800 microRNAs, we identify microRNA-132 as the top microRNA differentiating FTLD-TDP and control brains, with <50% normal expression levels of three members of the microRNA-132 cluster (microRNA-132, microRNA-132*, and microRNA-212) in disease. Computational analyses, corroborated empirically, demonstrate that the top mRNA target of both microRNA-132 and microRNA-212 is TMEM106B; both microRNAs repress TMEM106B expression through shared microRNA-132/212 binding sites in the TMEM106B 3’UTR. Increasing TMEM106B expression to model disease results in enlargement and poor acidification of endo-lysosomes, as well as impairment of mannose-6-phosphate-receptor trafficking. Finally, endogenous neuronal TMEM106B co-localizes with progranulin in late endo-lysosomes, and TMEM106B over-expression increases intracellular levels of progranulin. Thus, TMEM106B is an FTLD-TDP risk gene, with microRNA-132/212 depression as an event which can lead to aberrant over-expression of TMEM106B, which in turn alters progranulin pathways. Evidence for this pathogenic cascade includes the striking convergence of two independent, genomic-scale screens on a microRNA:mRNA regulatory pair. Our findings open novel directions for elucidating miRNA-based therapies in FTLD-TDP.
Frontotemporal dementia; microRNA-132; microRNA-212; progranulin; TDP-43; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; TMEM106B
It is now established that pathological transactive response DNA-binding protein with a Mr of 43 kD (TDP-43) on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis is the major disease protein in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (now known as FTLD-TDP). In fact, the discovery of pathological TDP-43 solidified the idea that these disorders are multi-system diseases and this led to the concept of a TDP-43 proteinopathy as a spectrum of disorders comprised of different clinical and pathological entities extending from ALS to ALS with cognitive impairment/dementia and FTLD-TDP without or with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND). These align along a broad disease continuum sharing similar pathogenetic mechanisms linked to pathological TDP-43. We here review salient findings in the development of a concept of TDP-43 proteinopathy as a novel group of neurodegenerative diseases similar in concept to α-synucleinopathies and tauopathies.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; multi-system disease; proteinopathy; transactive response DNA-binding protein with a Mr of 43 kD (TDP-43)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, adult-onset neurodegenerative disease characterized by degeneration of motor neurons, resulting in paralysis and death. A pathological hallmark of the degenerating motor neurons in most ALS patients is the presence of cytoplasmic inclusions containing the protein TDP-43. The morphology and type of TDP-43 pathological inclusions is variable and can range from large round Lewy body-like inclusions to filamentous skein-like inclusions. The clinical significance of this variable pathology is unclear. Intermediate-length polyglutamine (polyQ) expansions in ataxin 2 were recently identified as a genetic risk factor for ALS. Here we have analyzed TDP-43 pathology in a series of ALS cases with or without ataxin 2 intermediate-length polyQ expansions. The motor neurons of ALS cases harboring ataxin 2 polyQ expansions (n=6) contained primarily skein-like or filamentous TDP-43 pathology and only rarely, if ever, contained large round inclusions, whereas the ALS cases without ataxin 2 polyQ expansions (n=13) contained abundant large round and skein-like TDP-43 pathology. The paucity of large round TDP-43 inclusions in ALS cases with ataxin 2 polyQ expansions suggests a distinct pathological subtype of ALS and highlights the possibility for distinct pathogenic mechanisms.
TDP-43; ataxin 2; polyglutamine; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
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.
Accurate ante mortem diagnosis in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is crucial to the development and implementation of etiology-based therapies. Several neurodegenerative disease-associated proteins, including the major protein constituents of inclusions in Alzheimer's disease (AD) associated with amyloid-beta (Aβ1−42) plaque and tau neurofibrillary tangle pathology, can be measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for diagnostic applications. Comparative studies using autopsy-confirmed samples suggest that CSF total-tau (t-tau) and Aβ1−42 levels can accurately distinguish FTLD from AD, with a high t-tau to Aβ1−42 ratio diagnostic of AD; however, there is also an urgent need for FTLD-specific biomarkers. These analytes will require validation in large autopsy-confirmed cohorts and face challenges of standardization of within- and between-laboratory sources of error. In addition, CSF biomarkers with prognostic utility and longitudinal study of CSF biomarker levels over the course of disease are also needed. Current goals in the field include identification of analytes that are easily and reliably measured and can be used alone or in a multi-modal approach to provide an accurate prediction of underlying neuropathology for use in clinical trials of disease modifying treatments in FTLD. To achieve these goals it will be of the utmost importance to view neurodegenerative disease, including FTLD, as a clinicopathological entity, rather than exclusively a clinical syndrome.
cerebrospinal fluid; biomarker; tau; Aβ1−42; frontotemporal dementia; primary progressive aphasia; Alzheimer's disease
Neuronal and glial changes associated with tau, TAR DNA binding protein of ~43 kD (TDP-43), and fused in sarcoma (FUS) together constitute the pathologic spectrum of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Most patients with FTLD present with prominent behavior or language changes, sometimes accompanied by extrapyramidal symptoms or motor neuron disease. Identification of FTLD patients with mutations in genes for tau, TDP-43, and FUS lends strong support for their pathogenic roles in FTLD, and elucidation of their dysfunction will pave the way for development of substrate specific therapy. However, there remains no reliable biomarker for early detection of FTLD or prediction of underlying FTLD pathologic change. Clinical syndromes usually reflects the earliest affected brain regions where atrophy can be visualized on structural MRI, but neither clinical nor structural imaging-based biomarkers has been accurately correlated with underlying pathology on the individual patient level. Biochemical markers in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have also been investigated in FTLD and related disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). However, their accuracy and pathologic significance need to be confirmed in future multi-center studies. Here we review the progress made in FTLD biomarkers, including clinical phenotype/feature characterization, neuropsychological analysis, CSF and plasma analytes, and patterns of brain atrophy and network dysfunction detectable on brain imaging. Given the pathologic overlap of FTLD with ALS and PSP, collaboration with specialists in those fields will be essential in the translation of promising FTLD biomarkers into clinical practice.
Biomarker; diagnosis; frontotemporal dementia; tau; tauopathy; TDP-43
Pathological 43-kDa transactive responsive sequence DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) has been recognized as the major disease protein in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin positive, tau and α-synuclein negative inclusions (FTLD-U) and the transitional forms between these multisystem conditions. In order to develop TDP-43 into a successful ALS biomarker, the natural history of TDP-43 pathology needs to be characterized and the underlying pathophysiology established. Here we propose a spatial and temporal “two-axis” model of central nervous system vulnerability for TDP-43 linked degeneration and discuss recent studies on potential biomarkers related to pathological TDP-43 in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), blood, and skeletal muscle. The model includes the following “two arms”: First, a “motor neuron disease” or “spinal cord/brainstem to motor cortex” axis (with degeneration possibly ascending from the lower motor neurons to the upper motor neurons); and secondly, a “dementia” or “corticoid/allocortical to neocortex” axis (with a probable spread of TDP-43 linked degeneration from the mediotemporal lobe to wider mesocortical and neocortical brain areas). At the cellular level, there is a gradual disappearance of normal TDP-43 in the nucleus in combination with the formation of pathological aggregates in the cell body and cellular processes, which can also be used to identify the stage of the disease process. Moreover, TDP-43 lesions in subpial/subependymal or perivascular localizations have been noted in TDP-43 linked neurodegeneration, and this might account for increased CSF and blood TDP-43 levels through mechanisms that remain to be elucidated.
The emergence of longevity in the modern world has brought a sense of urgency to understanding age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, there is a lack of consensus regarding the correlation between the pathological substrates of neurodegeneration and dementia status, particularly in the oldest-old. To better understand the pathological correlates of dementia in the oldest-old, we characterized the topographical spread and severity of amyloid-β, tau, TDP-43 and α-synuclein pathologies in the 90+ Study, a prospective longitudinal population-based study of ageing and dementia. Neuropathological analysis with immunohistochemically labelled sections was carried out blind to clinical diagnosis on the first 108 participants of the 90+ Study who came to autopsy including participants with dementia (n = 66) and without dementia (n = 42). We used quantitative and/or semi-quantitative measures to assess the burden of amyloid-β, tau, TDP-43 and α-synuclein pathologies as well as hippocampal sclerosis. Amyloid-β and tau were the predominant pathologies in the 90+ Study cohort and both amyloid-β area and tau area occupied measures were strongly associated with the presence of dementia, as was Braak staging but semi-quantitative plaque scores were not. Notably, TDP-43 pathology also correlated with dementia, while α-synuclein distribution did not. In addition, hippocampal sclerosis was specific to participants with dementia and correlated with the presence of limbic TDP-43. In contrast to previous reports, we found that tau and amyloid-β continue to be robust pathological correlates of dementia, even in the oldest-old. While individuals with no dementia had limited hippocampal tau and neocortical amyloid-β pathology, dementia associated with an expansion in pathology, including increased neocortical tau and hippocampal amyloid-β plaques, more abundant neocortical amyloid-β deposition and hippocampal sclerosis with its attendant TDP-43 pathology.
Alzheimer's; tau; amyloid; dementia; oldest-old
MRI patterns were examined together with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers in serial scans of ADNI participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The SPARE-AD score, summarizing brain atrophy patterns, was tested as predictor of short-term conversion to AD. MCI individuals that converted to AD (MCI-C) had mostly positive baseline SPARE-AD and atrophy in temporal lobe grey (GM) and white (WM) matter, posterior cingulate/precuneous, insula. MCI-C had mostly AD-like baseline CSF biomarkers. MCI non-converters (MCI-NC) had mixed baseline SPARE-AD and CSF values, suggesting that some MCI-NC subjects may later convert. Those MCI-NC with most negative baseline SPARE-AD scores (normal brain structure) had significantly higher baseline MMSE scores (28.67) than others, and relatively low annual rate of MMSE decrease (−0.25). MCI-NC with mid-level baseline SPARE-AD displayed faster annual rates of SPARE-AD increase (indicating progressing atrophy). SPARE-AD and CSF combination improved prediction over individual values. In summary, both SPARE-AD and CSF biomarkers showed high baseline sensitivity, however, many MCI-NC had abnormal baseline SPARE-AD and CSF biomarkers. Longer follow-up will elucidate the specificity of baseline measurements.
Alzheimer’s disease; early detection; mild cognitive impairment; MCI; pattern classification; imaging biomarkers; CSF biomarkers; SPARE-AD
Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) is linked to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) senile plaques (SPs) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), but the specific contributions of each of the GSK-3 α and β isoforms to mechanisms of AD have not been clarified. In this study, we sought to elucidate the role of each GSK-3α and β using novel viral and genetic approaches. First, we developed recombinant adeno-associated virus 2/1 short hairpin RNA constructs which specifically reduced expression and activity of GSK-3α or -β. These constructs were injected intraventricularly in newborn AD transgenic (tg) mouse models of SPs (PDAPP+/−), both SPs and NFTs (PDAPP+/−;PS19+/−) or wild type controls. We found that knockdown (KD) of GSK-3α, but not -β reduced SP formation in PDAPP+/− and PS19+/−;PDAPP+/− tg mice. Moreover, both GSK-3α and GSK-3β KD reduced tau phosphorylation and tau misfolding in PS19+/−;PDAPP+/− mice. Next, we generated triple tg mice using the CaMKIIα-Cre (α-calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II-Cre) system to KD GSK-3α in PDAPP+/− mice for further study the effects of GSK-3α reduction on SP formation. GSK-3α KD showed a significant effect on reducing SPs and ameliorating memory deficits in PDAPP+/− mice. Together, the data from both approaches suggests that GSK-3α contributes to both SP and NFT pathogenesis while GSK-3β only modulates NFT formation, suggesting common but also different targets for both isoforms. These findings highlight the potential importance of GSK-3α as a possible therapeutic target for ameliorating behavioral impairments linked to AD SPs and NFTs.
Synthetic a-Synuclein fibrils injected into the brain spread far beyond the injection site and are sufficient to accelerate Parkinson’s disease–like pathology in mice.
The accumulation of misfolded proteins is a fundamental pathogenic process in neurodegenerative diseases. However, the factors that trigger aggregation of α-Synuclein (α-Syn), the principal component of the intraneuronal inclusions known as Lewy bodies (LBs), and Lewy neurites (LNs), which characterize Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with LBs (DLB), are poorly understood. We show here that in young asymptomatic α-Syn transgenic (Tg) mice, intracerebral injections of brain homogenates derived from older Tg mice exhibiting α-Syn pathology accelerate both the formation of intracellular LB/LN-like inclusions and the onset of neurological symptoms in recipient animals. Pathological α-Syn propagated along major central nervous system (CNS) pathways to regions far beyond injection sites and reduced survival with a highly reproducible interval from injection to death in inoculated animals. Importantly, inoculation with α-Syn amyloid fibrils assembled from recombinant human α-Syn induced identical consequences. Furthermore, we show for the first time that synthetic α-Syn fibrils are wholly sufficient to initiate PD-like LBs/LNs and to transmit disease in vivo. Thus, our data point to a prion-like cascade in synucleinopathies whereby cell–cell transmission and propagation of misfolded α-Syn underlie the CNS spread of LBs/LNs. These findings open up new avenues for understanding the progression of PD and for developing novel therapeutics.
Given the critical role for TDP-43 in diverse neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP), there has been a recent surge in efforts to understand the normal functions of TDP-43 and the molecular basis of dysregulation that occurs in TDP-43 proteinopathies. Here, we highlight recent findings examining TDP-43 molecular functions with particular emphasis on stress-mediated regulation of TDP-43 localization, putative downstream TDP-43 target genes and RNAs, as well as TDP-43 interacting proteins, all of which represent viable points of therapeutic intervention for ALS, FTLD-TDP, and related proteinopathies. Finally, we review current mouse models of TDP-43 and discuss their similarities and potential relevance to human TDP-43 proteinopathies including ALS and FTLD-TDP.
Patients with corticobasal degeneration (CBD) pathology present with diverse clinical syndromes also associated with other neuropathologies, including corticobasal syndrome, progressive nonfluent aphasia, and an Alzheimer’s-type dementia. Some present with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), though this subtype still requires more detailed phenotypic characterization. All patients with CBD pathology and clinical assessment were reviewed (N=17) and selected if they initially met criteria for bvFTD [bvFTD(CBD): N=5]. Available bvFTD patients with Pick’s [bvFTD(Pick’s): N=5] were selected as controls. Patients were also compared to healthy older controls [N=53] on neuropsychological and neuroimaging measures. At initial presentation, bvFTD(CBD) showed few neuropsychological or motor differences from bvFTD(Pick’s). Neuropsychiatrically, they were predominantly apathetic with less florid social disinhibition and eating disturbances, and were more anxious than bvFTD(Pick’s) patients. Voxel-based morphometry revealed similar patterns of predominantly frontal atrophy between bvFTD groups, though overall degree of atrophy was less severe in bvFTD(CBD), who also showed comparative preservation of the frontoinsular rim, with dorsal > ventral frontal atrophy, and sparing of temporal and parietal structures relative to bvFTD(Pick’s) patients. Despite remarkable overlap between the two patient types, bvFTD patients with underlying CBD pathology show subtle clinical features that may distinguish them from patients with Pick’s disease neuropathology.
Corticobasal degeneration; frontotemporal dementia; behavior; neuropsychiatry; neuropsychology; neuropathology
Cyclopentane-1,3-diones are known to exhibit pKa values typically in the range of carboxylic acids. To explore the potential of the cyclopentane-1,3-dione unit as a carboxylic acid isostere, the physical-chemical properties of representative congeners were examined and compared with similar derivatives bearing carboxylic acid or tetrazole residues. These studies suggested that cyclopentane-1,3-diones may effectively substitute for the carboxylic acid functional group. To demonstrate the use of the cyclopentane-1,3-dione isostere in drug-design, derivatives of a known thromboxane-A2 prostanoid (TP) receptor antagonist, 3-(3-(2-(4-chlorophenylsulfonamido)ethyl)-phenyl)propanoic acid (12), were synthesized and evaluated in both functional and radioligand-binding assays. A series of mono- and di-substituted cyclopentane-1,3-dione derivatives (41–45) were identified that exhibit nM IC50 and Kd values similar to 12. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that the cyclopentane-1,3-dione moiety comprises a novel isostere of the carboxylic acid functional group. Given the combination of the relatively strong acidity, tunable lipophilicity, and versatility of the structure, the cyclopentane-1,3-dione moiety may constitute a valuable addition to the palette of carboxylic acid isosteres.
isostere; bio-isostere; TP receptor; antagonist; cyclopentane-1,3-dione
Inclusions comprised of α-synuclein (α-syn), i.e. Lewy bodies (LBs) and Lewy neurites (LNs), define synucleinopathies including Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). Here, we demonstrate that pre-formed fibrils generated from full length and truncated recombinant α-syn enter primary neurons, likely by adsorptive-mediated endocytosis and promote recruitment of soluble endogenous α-syn into insoluble PD-like LBs and LNs. Remarkably, endogenous α-syn was sufficient for formation of these aggregates, and overexpression of wild type or mutant α-syn was not required. LN-like pathology first developed in axons and propagated to form LB-like inclusions in perikarya. Accumulation of pathologic α-syn led to selective decreases in synaptic proteins, progressive impairments in neuronal excitability and connectivity, and eventually, neuron death. Thus, our data contribute important insights into the etiology and pathogenesis of PD-like α-syn inclusions, their impact on neuronal functions, and provide a model for discovering therapeutics targeting pathologic α-syn- mediated neurodegeneration.
Mutations in NIPA1 (non-imprinted in Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome) have been described as a cause of autosomal dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) known as SPG6 (spastic paraplegia-6). We present the first neuropathological description of a patient with a NIPA1 mutation, and clinical phenotype of complicated HSP with motor neuron disease-like syndrome and cognitive decline. Postmortem examination revealed degeneration of lateral corticospinal tracts and dorsal columns with motor neuron loss. TDP-43 immunostaining showed widespread spinal cord and cerebral skein-like and round neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions. We ruled out NIPA1 mutations in 419 additional cases of motor neuron disease. These findings suggest that hereditary spastic paraplegia due to NIPA1 mutations could represent a TDP-43 proteinopathy.
Neurodegenerative tauopathies, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), are characterized by insoluble deposits of hyperphosphorylated tau protein within brain neurons. Increased phosphorylation and decreased solubility has been proposed to diminish normal tau stabilization of microtubules (MTs), thereby leading to neuronal dysfunction. Earlier studies have provided evidence that small molecule MT-stabilizing drugs that are used in the treatment of cancer may have utility in the treatment of tauopathies. However, it has not been established whether treatment with a small molecule MT-stabilizing compound will provide benefit in a Tg model with pre-existing tau pathology, as would be seen in human patients with clinical symptoms. Accordingly, we describe here an interventional study of the brain-penetrant MT-stabilizing agent, epothilone D (EpoD), in aged PS19 mice with existing tau pathology and related behavioral deficits. EpoD treatment reduced axonal dystrophy and increased axonal MT density in the aged PS19 mice, which led to improved fast axonal transport and cognitive performance. Moreover, the EpoD-treated PS19 mice had less forebrain tau pathology and increased hippocampal neuronal integrity, with no dose-limiting side effects. These data reveal that brain-penetrant MT-stabilizing drugs hold promise for the treatment of AD and related tauopathies, and that EpoD could be a candidate for clinical testing.
Deficits in the generation and control of saccades have been described in clinically-defined frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Because clinical FTD syndromes can correspond to a number of different underlying neuropathologic FTD and non-FTD diagnoses, we sought to determine the saccade abnormalities associated with autopsy-defined cases of FTLD and AD.
Participants and design
An infrared eye tracker was used to record visually guided saccades to ten degree targets and antisaccades in 28 autopsy-confirmed FTD and 10 AD subjects, an average of 35.6 ± 10 months prior to death and 27 age-matched normal controls (NC). 12 FTD subjects had FTLD-TDP pathology, 15 had FTLD-tau pathology and one showed FTLD-FUS pathology. Receiver operating curve (ROC) statistics were used to determine diagnostic value of oculomotor variables. Neuroanatomical correlates of oculomotor abnormalities were investigated using voxel-based morphometry (VBM).
All FTD and AD subjects were impaired relative to NC on the antisaccade task. However, only FTLD-tau and AD cases displayed reflexive visually-guided saccade abnormalities. AD cases displayed prominent increases in horizontal saccade latency that differentiated them from FTD cases. Impairments in velocity and gain were most severe in individuals with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) but were also present in other tauopathies. Vertical and horizontal saccade velocity and gain were able to differentiate PSP cases from other patients. Vertical saccade velocity was strongly correlated with dorsal midbrain volume.
Decreased visually-guided saccade velocity and gain are suggestive of underlying tau pathology in FTD, with vertical saccade abnormalities most diagnostic of PSP.
Frontotemporal Dementia; Corticobasal Degeneration; Progressive Supranuclear Palsy; Ocular Motility
Phosphorylated α-synuclein (PS-129), a protein implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD), was identified by mass spectrometry in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A highly sensitive and specific assay was established and used to measure PS-129, along withtotal α-synuclein, in the CSF of patients with PD, other parkinsonian disorders such as multiple system atrophy (MSA) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and healthy individuals (a total of ~600 samples). PS-129 CSF concentrations correlated weakly with PD severity and, when combined with total α-synuclein CSF concentrations, contributed to distinguishing PD from MSA and PSP. Further rigorous validation in independent cohorts of patients, especially those where samples have been collected longitudinally, will determine whether PS-129 CSF concentrations will be useful for diagnosing PD and for monitoring PD severity and progression.