To further characterize the neuropathology of the heterogeneous molecular disorder frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP).
We quantified the neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI), glial inclusions (GI), neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII), dystrophic neurites (DN), surviving neurons, abnormally enlarged neurons (EN), and vacuoles in regions of the frontal and temporal lobe using a phosphorylation independent TDP-43 antibody in thirty-two cases of FTLD-TDP comprising sporadic and familial cases, with associated pathology such as hippocampal sclerosis (HS) or Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and four neuropathological subtypes using TDP-43 immunohistochemistry. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare differences between the various groups of cases.
These data from FTLD-TDP cases demonstrate quantitative differences in pathological features between: (1) regions of the frontal and temporal lobe, (2) upper and lower cortex, (3) sporadic and progranulin (GRN) mutation cases, (4) cases with and without AD or HS, and (5) between assigned subtypes.
The data confirm that the dentate gyrus is a major site of neuropathology in FTLD-TDP and that most laminae of the cerebral cortex are affected. GRN mutation cases are quantitatively different from sporadic cases while cases with associated HS and AD have increased densities of dystrophic neurites (DN) and abnormally enlarged neurons (EN) respectively. There is little correlation between the subjective assessment of subtypes and the more objective quantitative data.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP); Density; Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI); Neuronal intranuclear inclusion (NII)
Professional boxers and other contact sport athletes are exposed to repetitive brain trauma that may affect motor functions, cognitive performance, emotional regulation and social awareness. The term of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was recently introduced to regroup a wide spectrum of symptoms such as cerebellar, pyramidal, and extrapyramidal syndromes, impairments in orientation, memory, language, attention, information processing and frontal executive functions, as well as personality changes and behavioural and psychiatric symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) usually reveals hippocampal and vermis atrophy, a cavum septum pellucidum (CSP), signs of diffuse axonal injury, pituitary gland atrophy, dilated perivascular spaces, and periventricular white matter disease. Given the partial overlapping of the clinical expression, epidemiology, and pathogenesis of CTE and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as well as the close association between traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and neurofibrillary tangle formation, a mixed pathology promoted by pathogenetic cascades resulting in either CTE or AD has been postulated. Molecular studies suggested that TBIs increase the neurotoxicity of the TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) that is a key pathological marker of ubiquitin-positive forms of frontotemporal dementia (FTLD-TDP) associated or not with motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (MND/ALS). Similar patterns of immunoreactivity for TDP-43 in CTE, FTLD-TDP, and ALS as well as epidemiological correlations support the presence of common pathogenetic mechanisms. The present review provides a critical update of the evolution of the concept of CTE with reference to its neuropathological definition together with an in depth discussion of the differential diagnosis between this entity, AD and frontotemporal dementia.
chronic traumatic encephalopathy; traumatic brain injuries; boxing; contact sports; Alzheimer’s disease; frontotemporal dementia; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Previous studies have demonstrated the therapeutic potential for human embryonic stem cell-derived neural precursor cells (hES-NPCs) in autoimmune and genetic animal models of demyelinating diseases. Herein, we tested whether intravenous (i.v) administration of hES-NPCs would impact central nervous system (CNS) demyelination in a cuprizone model of demyelination.
C57Bl/6 mice were fed cuprizone (0.2%) for two weeks and then separated into two groups that either received an i.v. injection of hES-NPCs or i.v. administration of media without these cells. After an additional two weeks of dietary cuprizone treatment, CNS tissues were analyzed for detection of transplanted cells and differences in myelination in the region of the corpus callosum (CC).
Cuprizone-induced demyelination in the CC was significantly reduced in mice treated with hES-NPCs compared with cuprizone-treated controls that did not receive stem cells. hES-NPCs were identified within the brain tissues of treated mice and revealed migration of transplanted cells into the CNS. A limited number of human cells were found to express the mature oligodendrocyte marker, O1, or the astrocyte marker, GFAP. Reduced apoptosis and attenuated microglial and astrocytic responses were also observed in the CC of hES-NPC-treated mice.
These findings indicated that systemically-administered hES-NPCs migrated from circulation into a demyelinated lesion within the CNS and effectively reduced demyelination. Observed reductions in astrocyte and microglial responses, and (c) the benefit of hES-NPC treatment in this model of myelin injury was not obviously accountable to tissue replacement by exogenously administered cells.
embryonic stem cell; microglia; demyelination; differentiation; oligodendrocyte
Amyloid; Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease; Neuropathology; Octapeptide repeat insertion (OPRI); Prion protein
Cannabinoids have been proposed for treating various neurodegenerative disorders and as adjunct therapy for HIV+ patients with neurologic sequelae. The expression of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) has been reported in neurodegenerative diseases and in SIV encephalitis, yet the receptor expression in the CNS of HIV+ individuals is not known.
An anti-CB1 antibody and two anti-CB2 antibodies were employed for immunohistochemistry in the cerebral cortex and white matter of HIV encephalitis (HIVE) and HIV-associated comorbidities, as well as control brains (HIV− and HIV+).
By quantitative image analysis, we observed that CB1 was increased in HIVE brains and those with comorbidities, while CB2 was significantly increased in the white matter of HIVE. Morphologically, CB1 was present in neurons, and both CB1 and CB2 were present in meningeal macrophages and subpial glia in all brains. In HIVE, CB1 was found in white matter microglia and perivascular cells, while CB2 was increased in microglia, astrocytes and perivascular macrophages. Double immunofluorescence with cell-specific markers and immunoblots on primary cultured microglia and astrocytes substantiated the glial localization of the cannabinoid receptors and specificity of the antibodies.
Our study indicates that cannabinoid receptor expression occurs in glia in HIVE brains, and this may have ramifications for the potential use of cannabinoid ligands in HIV-infected patients.
cannabinoid receptor; human; inflammation; microglia; astrocytes; immunohistochemistry
Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is a neurotropic herpesvirus that infects nearly all humans. Primary infection usually causes chickenpox (varicella), after which virus becomes latent in cranial nerve ganglia, dorsal root ganglia and autonomic ganglia along the entire neuraxis. Although VZV cannot be isolated from human ganglia, nucleic acid hybridization and, later, polymerase chain reaction proved that VZV is latent in ganglia. Declining VZV-specific host immunity decades after primary infection allows virus to reactivate spontaneously, resulting in shingles (zoster) characterized by pain and rash restricted to 1-3 dermatomes. Multiple other serious neurological and ocular disorders also result from VZV reactivation. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of the clinical and pathological complications of neurological and ocular disease produced by VZV reactivation, molecular aspects of VZV latency, VZV virology and VZV-specific immunity, the role of apoptosis in VZV-induced cell death, and the development of an animal model provided by simian varicella virus infection of monkeys.
VZV; neurological disease; latency; apoptosis; animal model
Aims and Methods
The α-synucleinopathy multiple system atrophy (MSA) and diseases defined by pathological TDP-43 or FUS aggregates such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration show overlapping clinico-pathological features. Consequently, we examined MSA for evidence of TDP-43 or FUS pathology utilizing immunohistochemical studies in autopsy material from 29 MSA patients.
TDP-43 pathology was generally rare, and there were no FUS lesions. The TDP-43 lesions were located predominantly in medio-temporal lobe structures and subcortical brain areas and were comprised mainly of dystrophic processes and perivascular (and subpial) lesions.
The multisystem clinical symptoms and signs of MSA, and in particular the neurobehavioural/cognitive and pyramidal features, appear not to result from concomitant TDP-43 or FUS pathology, but rather from widespread white matter α-synuclein positive glial cytoplasmic inclusions and neurodegeneration in keeping with a primary α-synuclein mediated oligodendrogliopathy. The gliodegenerative disease MSA evidently results from different pathogenetic mechanisms than neurodegenerative diseases linked to pathological TDP-43.
Multiple system atrophy; 43-kDa transactivating responsive sequence DNA-binding protein
Granulovacuolar degeneration involves the accumulation of large, double membrane-bound bodies within certain neurons during the course of Alzheimer’s disease and other adultonset dementias. Because of the two-layer membrane morphology, it has been proposed that the bodies are related to autophagic organelles. The aim of this study was to test this hypothesis, and determine the approximate stage at which the pathway stalled in Alzheimer’s disease.
Spatial colocalization of autophagic and endocytic markers with casein kinase 1 delta, a marker for GVD bodies, was evaluated in hippocampal sections prepared from postmortem Braak stage IV and V Alzheimer’s disease cases using double-label confocal fluorescence microscopy.
GVD bodies colocalized weakly with early-stage autophagy markers LC3 and p62, but strongly with late-stage marker LAMP1 (lysosome-associated membrane protein 1), which decorated their surrounding membranes. GVD bodies also colocalized strongly with CHMP2B (charged multivesicular body protein 2B), which colocalized with the core granule, but less strongly with lysosomal marker cathepsin D.
The resultant immunohistochemical signature suggests that GVD bodies contain late-stage autophagic markers, and accumulate at the nexus of autophagic and endocytic pathways. . The data further suggest that failure to complete autolysosome formation may be an important correlate of GVD body accumulation.
Alzheimer’s disease; granulovacuolar degeneration; autophagy; endocytosis; lysosome
This review of age-related brain microvascular pathologies focuses on topics studied by this laboratory, including anatomy of the blood supply, tortuous vessels, venous collagenosis, capillary remnants, vascular density, and microembolic brain injury. Our studies feature thick sections, large blocks embedded in celloidin, and vascular staining by alkaline phosphatase (AP). This permits study of the vascular network in three dimensions, and the differentiation of afferent from efferent vessels. Current evidence suggests that there is decreased vascular density in aging, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and leukoaraiosis (LA), and cerebrovascular dysfunction precedes and accompanies cognitive dysfunction and neurodegeneration. A decline in cerebrovascular angiogenesis may inhibit recovery from hypoxia-induced capillary loss. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) is inhibited by tortuous arterioles and deposition of excessive collagen in veins and venules. Misery perfusion due to capillary loss appears to occur before cell loss in LA, and CBF is also reduced in the normal-appearing white matter. Hypoperfusion occurs early in AD, inducing white matter lesions and correlating with dementia. In vascular dementia, cholinergic reductions are correlated with cognitive impairment, and cholinesterase inhibitors have some benefit. Most lipid microemboli from cardiac surgery pass through the brain in a few days, but some remain for weeks. They can cause what appears to be a type of vascular dementia years after surgery. Donepezil has shown some benefit. Emboli, such as clots, cholesterol crystals, and microspheres can be extruded through the walls of cerebral vessels, but there is no evidence yet that lipid emboli undergo such extravasation.
Alzheimer’s disease; Vascular dementia; Leukoaraiosis; Tortuous vessels; Capillary loss; String vessels; Periventricular venous collagenosis; Cerebrovascular lipid emboli
Previous neuropathological studies documented that small vascular and microvascular pathology is associated with cognitive decline. More recently, we showed that thalamic and basal ganglia lacunes are associated with post-stroke depression and may affect emotional regulation. The present study examines whether this is also the case for late-onset depression.
We performed a detailed analysis of small macrovascular and microvascular pathology in the postmortem brains of 38 patients with late-onset major depression (LOD) and 29 healthy elderly controls. A clinical diagnosis of LOD was established while the subjects were alive using the DSM-IV criteria. Additionally, we retrospectively reviewed all charts for the presence of clinical criteria of vascular depression. Neuropathological evaluation included bilateral semiquantitative assessment of lacunes, deep white matter and periventricular demyelination, cortical microinfarcts and both focal and diffuse gliosis. The association between vascular burden and LOD was investigated using Fisher’s exact test and univariate and multivariate logistic regression models.
Neither the existence of lacunes nor the presence of microvascular ischaemic lesions was related to occurrence of LOD. Similarly, there was no relationship between vascular lesion scores and LOD. This was also the case within the subgroup of LOD patients fulfilling the clinical criteria for vascular depression.
Our results challenge the vascular depression hypothesis by showing that neither deep white matter nor periventricular demyelination is associated with LOD. In conjunction with our previous observations in stroke patients, they also imply that the impact of lacunes on mood may be significant solely in the presence of acute brain compromise.
brain ischaemia; elderly; mood; neuropathology; vascular depression
TARDBP; TDP-43; FUS; motor neuron disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Alzheimer’s disease; mutation
Tau protein is a prominent component of paired helical filaments in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other tauopathies. While the abnormal phosphorylation of tau on serine and threonine has been well established in the disease process, its phosphorylation on tyrosine has only recently been described. We previously showed that the Src family non-receptor tyrosine kinases (SFKs) Fyn and Src phosphorylate tau on Tyr18 and that phospho-Tyr18-tau was present in AD brain. In this study, we have investigated the appearance of phospho-Tyr18-tau, activated-SFK, and Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) during disease progression in a mouse model of human tauopathy.
We have used JNPL3, which expresses human tau with P301L mutation, and antibodies specific for phospho-Tyr18-tau (9G3), ser/thr phosphorylated tau (AT8), activated-SFK, and PCNA. Antibody staining was viewed by either epifluorescence or confocal microscopy.
Phospho-Tyr18-tau appeared concurrently with AT8-reactive tau as early as 4 months in JNPL3. Some 9G3-positive cells also contained activated-SFKs and PCNA. We also investigated the triple transgenic mouse model of AD and found that unlike the JNPL3 model, the appearance of 9G3 reactivity did not coincide with AT8 in the hippocampus, suggesting that the presence of APP/presenilin influences tau phosphorylation. Also, thioflavin-S positive plaques were 9G3 negative, suggesting that phospho-Tyr18 tau is absent from the dystrophic neurites of the mouse triple transgenic brain.
Our results provide evidence for the association of tyrosine-phosphorylated tau with mechanisms of neuropathogenesis and indicate that SFK activation and cell cycle activation are also involved in JNPL3.
tyrosine-phosphorylated tau; Src family tyrosine kinases; tauopathy mouse model; AT8; Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen; tau hyperphosphorylation
Protein aggregation, mitochondrial impairment and oxidative stress are common to multiple neurodegenerative diseases. Homeostasis is regulated by a balanced set of anabolic and catabolic responses, which govern removal and repair of damaged proteins and organelles. Macroautophagy is an evolutionarily conserved pathway for the degradation of long-lived proteins, effete organelles and protein aggregates. Aberrations in macroautophagy have been observed in Alzheimer, Huntington, Parkinson, motor neurone and prion diseases. In this review, we will discuss the divergent roles of macroautophagy in neuro-degenerative diseases and suggest a potential regulatory mechanism that could determine cell death or survival outcomes. We also highlight emerging data on neurite morphology and synaptic remodelling that indicate the possibility of detrimental functional trade-offs in the face of neuronal cell survival, particularly if the need for elevated macroautophagy is sustained.
autophagy; Beclin 1; cell death; neurite retraction; neuroprotection; PTEN-induced kinase 1
To determine the spatial pattern of β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition throughout the temporal lobe in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Sections of the complete temporal lobe from six cases of sporadic AD were immunolabelled with antibody against Aβ. Fourier (spectral) analysis was used to identify sinusoidal patterns in the fluctuation of Aβ deposition in a direction parallel to the pia mater or alveus.
Significant sinusoidal fluctuations in density were evident in 81/99 (82%) analyses. In 64% of analyses, two frequency components were present with density peaks of Aβ deposits repeating every 500–1000μm and at distances greater than 1000μm. In 25% of analyses, three or more frequency components were present. The estimated period or wavelength (number of sample units to complete one full cycle) of the first and second frequency components did not vary significantly between gyri of the temporal lobe, but there was evidence that the fluctuations of the classic deposits had longer periods than the diffuse and primitive deposits.
(i) Aβ deposits exhibit complex sinusoidal fluctuations in density in the temporal lobe in AD, (ii) fluctuations in Aβ deposition may reflect the formation of Aβ deposits in relation to the modular and vascular structure of the cortex, and (iii) Fourier analysis may be a useful statistical method for studying the patterns of Aβ deposition both in AD and in transgenic models of disease.
Alzheimer’s disease; Fourier (spectral) analysis; β-amyloid (Aβ) deposits; Spatial pattern; Spectral density; Wavelength
Since the identification of phosphorylated and truncated transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) as a primary component of ubiquitinated inclusions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions, and the discovery that mutations in the TDP-43 gene cause ALS, much effort has been directed towards establishing how TDP-43 contributes to the development of neurodegeneration. Although few in vivo models are presently available, findings thus far strongly support the involvement of abnormally modified TDP-43 in promoting TDP-43 aggregation and cellular mislocalization. Therefore, TDP-43-mediated neurotoxicity is likely to result from a combination of toxic gains of function conferred by TDP-43 inclusions as well as from the loss of normal TDP-43 function. Nonetheless, the exact neurotoxic TDP-43 species remain unclear, as do the mechanism(s) by which they cause neuronal death. Moreover, little is currently known about the roles of TDP-43, both in the nucleus and the cytoplasm, making it difficult to truly appreciate the detrimental consequences of aberrant TDP-43 function. This review will summarize what is currently understood regarding normal TDP-43 function and the involvement of TDP-43 in neurodegeneration, and will also highlight some of the many remaining questions in need of further investigation.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions; inclusions; neurodegeneration; neurotoxicity; TDP-43
Ubiquitin performs essential roles in a myriad of signalling pathways required for cellular function and survival. Recently, we reported that disruption of the stress-inducible ubiquitin-encoding gene Ubb reduces ubiquitin content in the hypothalamus and leads to adult-onset obesity coupled with a loss of arcuate nucleus neurones and disrupted energy homeostasis in mice. Neuropeptides expressed in the hypothalamus control both metabolic and sleep behaviours. In order to demonstrate that the loss of Ubb results in broad hypothalamic abnormalities, we attempted to determine whether metabolic and sleep behaviours were altered in Ubb knockout mice.
Metabolic rate and energy expenditure were measured in a metabolic chamber, and sleep stage was monitored via electroencephalographic/electromyographic recording. The presence of neurodegeneration and increased reactive gliosis in the hypothalamus were also evaluated.
We found that Ubb disruption leads to early-onset reduced activity and metabolic rate. Additionally, we have demonstrated that sleep behaviour is altered and sleep homeostasis is disrupted in Ubb knockout mice. These early metabolic and sleep abnormalities are accompanied by persistent reactive gliosis and the loss of arcuate nucleus neurones, but are independent of neurodegeneration in the lateral hypothalamus.
Ubb knockout mice exhibit phenotypes consistent with hypothalamic dysfunction. Our data also indicate that Ubb is essential for the maintenance of the ubiquitin levels required for proper regulation of metabolic and sleep behaviours in mice.
glial fibrillary acidic protein; hypothalamus; knockout mice; metabolism; polyubiquitin gene; sleep
Although substantial evidence indicates that the progression of pathological changes of the neuronal cytoskeleton is crucial in determining the severity of dementia in Alzheimer's disease (AD), the exact causes and evolution of these changes, the initial site at which they begin, and the neuronal susceptibility levels for their development are poorly understood. The current clinical criteria for diagnosis of AD are focused mostly on cognitive deficits produced by dysfunction of hippocampal and high-order neocortical areas, whereas non-cognitive, behavioural, and psychological symptoms of dementia such as disturbances in mood, emotion, appetite, and wake-sleep cycle, confusion, agitation, and depression, have been less considered. The early occurrence of these symptoms suggests brainstem involvement, and more specifically of the serotonergic nuclei. In spite of the fact that the Braak staging system and NIA-RI criteria do not include their evaluation, several recent reports drew attention to the possibility of selective and early involvement of raphe nuclei, particularly the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), in the pathogenesis of AD. Based on these findings of differential susceptibility and anatomical connectivity, a novel pathogenetic scheme of AD progression was proposed. Although the precise mechanisms of neurofibrillary degeneration still await elucidation, we speculated that cumulative oxidative damage may be the main cause of DRN alterations, as the age is the main risk factor for sporadic AD. Within such a framework, β–amyloid production is considered only as one of the factors (although a significant one in familial cases) that promotes molecular series of events underlying AD-related neuropathological changes.
aging; Alzheimer's disease; behavioural and psychological symptoms; cerebrospinal fluid; dorsal raphe nucleus; early diagnosis; fetal brain development; neurofibrillary degeneration; serotonin; tau protein
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Recent evidence suggests that dysfunction of surviving demyelinated axons and axonal degeneration contribute to the progression of MS. We review the evidence for and potential mechanisms of degeneration as well as dysfunction of chronically demyelinated axons in MS with particular reference to mitochondria, the main source of adenosine-5′-triphosphate in axons. Besides adenosine-5′-triphosphate production, mitochondria play an important role in calcium handling and produce reactive oxygen species. The mitochondrial changes in axons lacking healthy myelin sheaths as well as redistribution of sodium channels suggest that demyelinated axons would be more vulnerable to energy deficit than myelinated axons. A dysfunction of mitochondria in lesions as well as in the normal-appearing white and grey matter is increasingly recognized in MS and could be an important determinant of axonal dysfunction and degeneration. Mitochondria are a potential therapeutic target in MS.
axon; disease progression; mitochondria; multiple sclerosis
Reticulon 3 (RTN3), a member of the reticulon family of proteins, interacts with the β-secretase, BACE1, and inhibits its activity to produce β-amyloid protein. The aim of the present study was to clarify the biological role of RTN3 in the brain and its potential involvement in the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
We performed immunohistochemical and biochemical analyses using a specific antibody against RTN3 to investigate the expression and subcellular localization of RTN3 in control and AD brain tissue samples.
Western blot analysis revealed no significant differences in the RTN3 levels between control and AD brains. Immunohistochemical staining showed that RTN3 immunoreactivity was predominantly localized in pyramidal neurons of the cerebral cortex. The patterns of RTN3 immunostaining were similar in control and AD cerebral cortices, and senile plaques were generally negative for RTN3. Biochemical subcellular fractionation disclosed that RTN3 co-localized with BACE1 in various fractions, including the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. Double immunofluorescence staining additionally indicated that RTN3 was localized in both endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi compartments in neurons.
These results show that RTN3 is primarily expressed in pyramidal neurons of the human cerebral cortex and that no clear difference of RTN3 immunoreactivity is observable between control and AD brains. Our data also suggest that there is considerable co-localization of RTN3 with BACE1 at a subcellular level.
Alzheimer’s disease; β-amyloid; BACE1; reticulon 3; subcellular localization
Classical Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the appearance of Lewy bodies (LBs) in affected brain regions, showing mostly compact alpha-synuclein deposition, in contrast with punctate or granular deposition, hypothesized to represent early stages of aggregation. Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is the commonest mutated gene in inherited and idiopathic PD. LRRK2 mutation carriers display a diverse neuropathology, including alpha-synuclein and tau inclusions, suggesting an upstream role for LRRK2 in protein aggregation. We studied LRRK2 expression throughout the normal human brain with three different antibodies. We also examined the pattern of LRRK2 expression in relation to alpha-synuclein aggregation and LB formation in the brainstem of sporadic LB disease. Physiological LRRK2 expression was not restricted to regions preferentially affected in PD and LRRK2 often localised to the nuclear envelope in addition to the known cytoplasmic expression. In PD, we were able to consistently detect LRRK2 in the halo of a minority (~10%) of nigral LBs using three different antibodies. Only one antibody detected LRRK2 in the core of ~80% of classic LBs. In the lower brainstem, most notably in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, we found previously unrecognised LRRK2 labelling of complex globular lesions, filled with LB-like-matter showing a punctate or granular staining for alpha-synuclein. This was often accompanied by strong LRRK2 expression within dystrophic neurites. Our findings confirm widespread physiological LRRK2 expression in the human brain and suggest an association of LRRK2 with possible early-stage alpha-synuclein pathology in the brainstem of PD.
LRRK2; dardarin; alpha-synuclein; Parkinson's disease; brainstem; Lewy body
We report a comparative study on the mRNA expression of ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases, and in particular ERBB4 transcript variants, in two common paediatric brain tumours: medulloblastoma (MB) and pilocytic astrocytoma (PA).
While the conventional real-time quantitative PCR was used to measure the expression of ERRBs and ErbB4-processing proteases genes, the LightCycler FRET probes were specifically designed to investigate all of the known ERBB4 juxtamembrane (JM) and cytoplasmic (CYT) transcript variants.
The overall expression of ERBBs suggests that ErbB2/ErbB4 heterodimers and ErbB4 homodimers may be major functional units of the ErbBs in MB, while ErbB2/ErbB3 heterodimers may play a more prominent role in addition to ErbB4-containing dimmers in PA. Different expression patterns of ERBB4 JM transcripts in MB, PA and normal brain were observed. The JM-d variant was only detected in MBs, while JM-c was present in MB and PA but was not identified in normal brain. The expression of cleavable ERBB4 transcript variants was elevated in PAs and MBs compared to normal brain, while mRNA levels of ErbB4-processing proteases were similar in both tumour types and normal brain. This suggests that proteolytic cleavage of ErbB4 may be more common in MB and PA, which leads to signaling events divergent from those in normal brain.
Taken together, these results suggest that ErbB4 processing and function may be altered in brain tumours such as MB and PA via differential expression of JM transcript variants.
ErbB4; transcript variants; real-time quantitative PCR; LightCycler hybridization probe; medulloblastoma; pilocytic astrocytoma
Two different disease-specific mutations in the BRI2 gene, situated on chromosome 13, have been identified as giving rise to familial British dementia (FBD) and familial Danish dementia (FDD). Each mutation results in extension of the open reading frame generating the disease-specific precursor proteins which are cleaved by furin-like proteolysis releasing the amyloidogenic C-terminal peptides ABri and ADan in FBD and FDD, respectively.
Material and methods
To understand the mechanism of the formation of amyloid lesions in FBD, we studied the origin of the precursor proteins and furin in the human brain. We used control brains, cases of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), variant AD with cotton wool plaques and FBD to study BRI2 mRNA expression using in situ hybridization. Furin and BRI2 protein expression was investigated using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry.
BRI2 mRNA and BRI2 protein are widely expressed primarily by neurones and glia and are deposited in the amyloid lesions in FBD. They were, however, not expressed by cerebrovascular components. Furin expression showed a similar pattern except that it was also present in cerebrovascular smooth muscle cells.
These findings suggest that neurones and glia and are a major source of BRI2 protein and that in FBD, the mutated precursor protein may undergo furin cleavage within neurones to produce the amyloid peptide ABri. The failure to demonstrate BRI2 in blood vessels under the conditions tested suggests that vascular amyloid peptide production does not contribute significantly to cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) in FBD and FDD, lending indirect support to the drainage hypothesis of CAA.
Alzheimer’s disease; familial British dementia; furin; human brain; immunohistochemistry; in situ hybridization
Periventricular white matter injury in premature infants occurs following hypoxia/ischaemia and systemic infection, and results in hypomyelination, as well as neuromotor and cognitive deficits later in life. Inflammatory infiltrates are seen within human cerebral white matter from periventricular leucomalacia (PVL) cases.
In this study, we examine the time course of CD-68+ microglial cell responses relative to cell death within white matter following hypoxia/ischaemia in a rat model of PVL. We also tested the efficacy of the minocycline, an agent that suppresses microglial activation, in this model when administered as a post-insult treatment.
We show that preoligodendrocyte injury in the post-natal day 6 begins within 24 h and continues for 48–96 h after hypoxia/ischaemia, and that microglial responses occur primarily over the first 96 h following hypoxia/ischaemia. Minocycline treatment over this 96 h time window following the insult resulted in significant protection against white matter injury, and this effect was concomitant with a reduction in CD-68+ microglial cell numbers.
These results suggest that anti-inflammatory treatments may represent a useful strategy in the treatment of PVL, where clinical conditions would favour a post-insult treatment strategy.
hypoxia ischaemia; microglia; minocycline; oligodendrocyte; periventricular leucomalacia
Microglia are involved in neurodegeneration, are prime targets for anti-inflammatory therapy and are potential biomarkers of disease progression. For example, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging employing radioligands for the mitochondrial translocator protein of 18 kDa (TSPO, formerly known as the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor) is being scrutinized to detect neuroinflammation in various diseases. TSPO is presumably present in activated microglia, but may be present in other neural cells.
We sought to elucidate the protein expression in normal human CNS, several neurological diseases (HIV encephalitis, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke) and SIV encephalitis by performing immunohistochemistry with two anti-TSPO antibodies.
Although the overall parenchymal staining was minimal in normal brain, endothelial and smooth muscle cells, subpial glia, intravascular monocytes and ependymal cells were TSPO positive. In disease states, elevated TSPO was present in parenchymal microglia, macrophages and some hypertrophic astrocytes, but the distribution of TSPO varied depending on the disease, disease stage and proximity to the lesion or relation to infection. Staining with the two antibodies correlated well in white matter, but one antibody also stained cortical neurons. Quantitative analysis demonstrated a significant increase in TSPO in the white matter of HIV encephalitis compared to brains without encephalitis. TSPO expression was also increased in SIV encephalitis.
This report provides the first comprehensive immunohistochemical analysis of the expression of TSPO. The results are useful for informing the usage of PET as an imaging modality and have an impact on the potential use of TSPO as an anti-inflammatory pharmacological target.
positron emission tomography; peripheral benzodiazepine receptor; immunohistochemistry; human; HIV encephalitis; Alzheimer’s disease; multiple sclerosis
The p53 homologue p73 accumulates in the nucleus and localizes to neurites and neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer disease brain
The molecular mechanisms that regulate neuronal survival vs. death during Alzheimer disease (AD) remain unclear. Nonetheless, a number of recent studies indicate that increased expression or altered subcellular distribution of numerous cell cycle proteins during AD may contribute to disease pathogenesis. Because homologues of p53, a key regulatory protein in the cell cycle, such as p73, have been identified and shown to participate in cellular differentiation and death pathways, we examined the expression and distribution of p73 in the hippocampus of eight control and 16 AD subjects. In control subjects, hippocampal pyramidal neurones exhibit p73 immunoreactivity that is distributed predominately in the cytoplasm. In AD hippocampus, increased levels of p73 are located in the nucleus of pyramidal neurones and p73 is located in dystrophic neurites and cytoskeletal pathology. Immunoblot analysis confirmed the presence of p73 in the hippocampus. These data indicate that p73 is expressed within hippocampal pyramidal neurones and exhibits altered subcellular distribution in AD.
Alzheimer disease; cell cycle; hippocampus; p53; p73