This paper presents the first known research to examine sound production by fishes during harmful algal blooms (HABs). Most fish sound production is species-specific and repetitive, enabling passive acoustic monitoring to identify the distribution and behavior of soniferous species. Autonomous gliders that collect passive acoustic data and environmental data concurrently can be used to establish the oceanographic conditions surrounding sound-producing organisms. Three passive acoustic glider missions were conducted off west-central Florida in October 2011, and September and October 2012. The deployment period for two missions was dictated by the presence of red tide events with the glider path specifically set to encounter toxic Karenia brevis blooms (a.k.a red tides). Oceanographic conditions measured by the glider were significantly correlated to the variation in sounds from six known or suspected species of fish across the three missions with depth consistently being the most significant factor. At the time and space scales of this study, there was no detectable effect of red tide on sound production. Sounds were still recorded within red tide-affected waters from species with overlapping depth ranges. These results suggest that the fishes studied here did not alter their sound production nor migrate out of red tide-affected areas. Although these results are preliminary because of the limited measurements, the data and methods presented here provide a proof of principle and could serve as protocol for future studies on the effects of algal blooms on the behavior of soniferous fishes. To fully capture the effects of episodic events, we suggest that stationary or vertically profiling acoustic recorders and environmental sampling be used as a complement to glider measurements.
Many neurodegenerative diseases are characterised by accumulations of misfolded proteins that can colocalise with chaperone proteins (for example, heat shock protein 27 (HSP27)), which might act as modulators of protein aggregation.
The role of HSP27 in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and motor neuron disease (MND) was investigated. We used immunohistochemical and Western blot analysis to determine the distribution and amount of this protein in the frontal and temporal cortices of diseased and control subjects.
HSP27 immunostaining presented as accumulations of granules within neuronal and glial cell perikarya. Patients with AD and FTLD were affected more often, and showed greater immunostaining for HSP27, than patients with MND and controls. In FTLD, there was no association between HSP27 and histological type. The neuropathological changes of FTLD, AD and MND were not immunoreactive to HSP27. Western blot analysis revealed higher HSP27 expression in FTLD than in controls, but without qualitative differences in banding patterns.
The pattern of HSP27 immunostaining observed may reflect the extent of ongoing neurodegeneration in affected brain areas and is not specific to FTLD, AD or MND. It may represent an accumulation of misfolded, damaged or unwanted proteins, awaiting or undergoing degradation.
Here we present a formal description of Biremis panamae Barka, Witkowski et Weisenborn sp. nov., which was isolated from the marine littoral environment of the Pacific Ocean coast of Panama. The description is based on morphology (light and electron microscopy) and the rbcL, psbC and SSU sequences of one clone of this species. The new species is included in Biremis due to its morphological features; i.e. two marginal rows of foramina, chambered striae, and girdle composed of numerous punctate copulae. The new species also possesses a striated valve face which is not seen in most known representatives of marine littoral Biremis species. In this study we also present the relationship of Biremis to other taxa using morphology, DNA sequence data and observations of auxosporulation. Our results based on these three sources point to an evolutionary relationship between Biremis, Neidium and Scoliopleura. The unusual silicified incunabular caps present in them are known otherwise only in Muelleria, which is probably related to the Neidiaceae and Scoliotropidaceae. We also discuss the relationship between Biremis and the recently described Labellicula and Olifantiella.
Clinical and neuropathological similarities between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (PD and AD, respectively) suggest that these disorders may share etiology. To test this hypothesis, we have performed an association study of 54 genomic regions, previously implicated in PD or AD, in a large cohort of DLB cases and controls. The cohort comprised 788 DLB cases and 2624 controls. To minimize the issue of potential misdiagnosis, we have also performed the analysis including only neuropathologically proven DLB cases (667 cases). The results show that the APOE is a strong genetic risk factor for DLB, confirming previous findings, and that the SNCA and SCARB2 loci are also associated after a study-wise Bonferroni correction, although these have a different association profile than the associations reported for the same loci in PD. We have previously shown that the p.N370S variant in GBA is associated with DLB, which, together with the findings at the SCARB2 locus, suggests a role for lysosomal dysfunction in this disease. These results indicate that DLB has a unique genetic risk profile when compared with the two most common neurodegenerative diseases and that the lysosome may play an important role in the etiology of this disorder. We make all these data available.
Early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) represents 1%–2% of the Alzheimer's disease (AD) cases, and it is generally characterized by a positive family history and a rapidly progressive symptomatology. Rare coding and fully penetrant variants in amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin 1 (PSEN1), and presenilin 2 (PSEN2) are the only causative mutations reported for autosomal dominant AD. Thus, in this study we used exome sequencing data to rapidly screen rare coding variability in APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2, in a British cohort composed of 47 unrelated EOAD cases and 179 elderly controls, neuropathologically proven. We report 2 novel and likely pathogenic variants in PSEN1 (p.L166V and p.S230R). A comprehensive catalog of rare pathogenic variants in the AD Mendelian genes is pivotal for a premortem diagnosis of autosomal dominant EOAD and for the differential diagnosis with other early onset dementias such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
Early-onset Alzheimer's disease; APP; PSEN1; PSEN2; British cohort
Rare mutations in AβPP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 cause uncommon early onset forms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and common variants in MAPT are associated with risk of other neurodegenerative disorders. We sought to establish whether common genetic variation in these genes confer risk to the common form of AD which occurs later in life (>65 years). We therefore tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms at these loci for association with late-onset AD (LOAD) in a large case-control sample consisting of 3,940 cases and 13,373 controls. Single-marker analysis did not identify any variants that reached genome-wide significance, a result which is supported by other recent genome-wide association studies. However, we did observe a significant association at the MAPT locus using a gene-wide approach (p = 0.009). We also observed suggestive association between AD and the marker rs9468, which defines the H1 haplotype, an extended haplotype that spans the MAPT gene and has previously been implicated in other neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and corticobasal degeneration. In summary common variants at AβPP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 and MAPT are unlikely to make strong contributions to susceptibility for LOAD. However, the gene-wide effect observed at MAPT indicates a possible contribution to disease risk which requires further study.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β protein precursor; genetics; human; MAPT protein; PSEN1 protein; PSEN2 protein
3′-Deoxy-3′-[18F]-fluorothymidine ([18F]FLT) is being investigated as a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) proliferation biomarker. The mechanism of cellular [18F]FLT retention has been assigned primarily to alteration of the strict transcriptionally regulated S-phase expression of thymidine kinase 1 (TK1). This, however, does not explain how anticancer agents acting primarily through G2/M arrest affect [18F]FLT uptake. We investigated alternative mechanisms of [18F]FLT cellular retention involving post-translational modification of TK1 during mitosis.
[18F]FLT cellular retention was assessed in cell lines having different TK1 expression. Drug-induced phosphorylation of TK1 protein was evaluated by MnCl2-phos-tag gel electrophoresis and correlated with [18F]FLT cellular retention. We further elaborated the amino acid residues involved in TK1 phosphorylation by transient transfection of FLAG-pCMV2 plasmids encoding wild type or mutant variants of TK1 into TK1 negative cells.
Baseline [18F]FLT cellular retention and TK1 protein expression were associated. S-phase and G2/M phase arrest caused greater than two-fold reduction in [18F]FLT cellular retention in colon cancer HCT116 cells (p<0.001). G2/M cell cycle arrest increased TK1 phosphorylation as measured by induction of at least one phosphorylated form of the protein on MnCl2-phos-tag gels. Changes in [18F]FLT cellular retention reflected TK1 phosphorylation and not expression of total protein, in keeping with the impact of phosphorylation on enzyme catalytic activity. Both Ser13 and Ser231 were shown to be involved in the TK1 phosphorylation-modulated [18F]FLT cellular retention; although the data suggested involvement of other amino-acid residues.
We have defined a regulatory role of TK1 phosphorylation in mediating [18F]FLT cellular retention and hence reporting of antiproliferative activity, with implications especially for drugs that induce a G2/M cell cycle arrest.
Clinical and neuropathological similarities between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases (PD and AD, respectively) suggest that these disorders may share etiology. To test this hypothesis, we have performed an association study of 54 genomic regions, previously implicated in PD or AD, in a large cohort of DLB cases and controls. The cohort comprised 788 DLB cases and 2624 controls. To minimize the issue of potential misdiagnosis, we have also performed the analysis including only neuropathologically proven DLB cases (667 cases). The results show that the APOE is a strong genetic risk factor for DLB, confirming previous findings, and that the SNCA and SCARB2 loci are also associated after a study-wise Bonferroni correction, although these have a different association profile than the associations reported for the same loci in PD. We have previously shown that the p.N370S variant in GBA is associated with DLB, which, together with the findings at the SCARB2 locus, suggests a role for lysosomal dysfunction in this disease. These results indicate that DLB has a unique genetic risk profile when compared with the two most common neurodegenerative diseases and that the lysosome may play an important role in the etiology of this disorder. We make all these data available.
A hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) expansion in C9ORF72 gene is the most common genetic change seen in familial Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) and familial Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Pathologically, expansion bearers show characteristic p62 positive, TDP-43 negative inclusion bodies within cerebellar and hippocampal neurons which also contain dipeptide repeat proteins (DPR) formed from sense and antisense RAN (repeat associated non ATG-initiated) translation of the expanded repeat region itself. ‘Inappropriate’ formation, and aggregation, of DPR might therefore confer neurotoxicity and influence clinical phenotype. Consequently, we compared the topographic brain distribution of DPR in 8 patients with Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), 6 with FTD + MND and 7 with MND alone (all 21 patients bearing expansions in C9ORF72) using a polyclonal antibody to poly-GA, and related this to the extent of TDP-43 pathology in key regions of cerebral cortex and hippocampus. There were no significant differences in either the pattern or severity of brain distribution of DPR between FTD, FTD + MND and MND groups, nor was there any relationship between the distribution of DPR and TDP-43 pathologies in expansion bearers. Likewise, there were no significant differences in the extent of TDP-43 pathology between FTLD patients bearing an expansion in C9ORF72 and non-bearers of the expansion. There were no association between the extent of DPR pathology and TMEM106B or APOE genotypes. However, there was a negative correlation between the extent of DPR pathology and age at onset. Present findings therefore suggest that although the presence and topographic distribution of DPR may be of diagnostic relevance in patients bearing expansion in C9ORF72 this has no bearing on the determination of clinical phenotype. Because TDP-43 pathologies are similar in bearers and non-bearers of the expansion, the expansion may act as a major genetic risk factor for FTLD and MND by rendering the brain highly vulnerable to those very same factors which generate FTLD and MND in sporadic disease.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Motor neurone disease; C9ORF72; Dipeptide repeat proteins
In a collaboration involving 11 groups with research interests in cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), we used a two-stage process to develop and in turn validate a new consensus protocol and scoring scheme for the assessment of CAA and associated vasculopathic abnormalities in post-mortem brain tissue. Stage one used an iterative Delphi-style survey to develop the consensus protocol. The resultant scoring scheme was tested on a series of digital images and paraffin sections that were circulated blind to a number of scorers. The scoring scheme and choice of staining methods were refined by open-forum discussion. The agreed protocol scored parenchymal and meningeal CAA on a 0-3 scale, capillary CAA as present/absent and vasculopathy on 0-2 scale, in the 4 cortical lobes that were scored separately. A further assessment involving three centres was then undertaken. Neuropathologists in three centres (Bristol, Oxford and Sheffield) independently scored sections from 75 cases (25 from each centre) and high inter-rater reliability was demonstrated. Stage two used the results of the three-centre assessment to validate the protocol by investigating previously described associations between APOE genotype (previously determined), and both CAA and vasculopathy. Association of capillary CAA with or without arteriolar CAA with APOE ε4 was confirmed. However APOE ε2 was also found to be a strong risk factor for the development of CAA, not only in AD but also in elderly non-demented controls. Further validation of this protocol and scoring scheme is encouraged, to aid its wider adoption to facilitate collaborative and replication studies of CAA.
Angiopathy; amyloid; dementia; Delphi; validation; APOE; CAA; consensus; parenchymal; meningeal
While mutations in glucocerebrosidase (GBA1) are associated with an increased risk for Parkinson disease (PD), it is important to establish whether such mutations are also a common risk factor for other Lewy body disorders.
To establish whether GBA1 mutations are a risk factor for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
We compared genotype data on patients and controls from 11 centers. Data concerning demographics, age at onset, disease duration, and clinical and pathological features were collected when available. We conducted pooled analyses using logistic regression to investigate GBA1 mutation carrier status as predicting DLB or PD with dementia status, using common control subjects as a reference group. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to account for additional heterogeneity.
Eleven centers from sites around the world performing genotyping.
Seven hundred twenty-one cases met diagnostic criteria for DLB and 151 had PD with dementia. We compared these cases with 1962 controls from the same centers matched for age, sex, and ethnicity.
Main Outcome Measures
Frequency of GBA1 mutations in cases and controls.
We found a significant association between GBA1 mutation carrier status and DLB, with an odds ratio of 8.28 (95% CI, 4.78–14.88). The odds ratio for PD with dementia was 6.48 (95% CI, 2.53–15.37). The mean age at diagnosis of DLB was earlier in GBA1 mutation carriers than in noncarriers (63.5 vs 68.9 years; P<.001), with higher disease severity scores.
Conclusions and Relevance
Mutations in GBA1 are a significant risk factor for DLB. GBA1 mutations likely play an even larger role in the genetic etiology of DLB than in PD, providing insight into the role of glucocerebrosidase in Lewy body disease.
Cases of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) associated with expansions in C9ORF72 gene are characterised pathologically by the presence of TDP-43 negative, but p62 positive, inclusions in granule cells of the cerebellum and in cells of dentate gyrus and area CA4 of the hippocampus.
We screened 84 cases of pathologically confirmed FTLD and 23 cases of MND for the presence of p62 positive inclusions in these three brain regions, and identified 13 positive cases of FTLD and 3 of MND. All cases demonstrated expansions in C9ORF72 by Southern blotting where frozen tissues were available. The p62 positive inclusions in both cerebellum and hippocampus were immunostained by antibodies to dipeptide repeat proteins (DPR), poly Gly-Ala (poly-GA), poly Gly-Pro (poly-GP) and poly Gly-Arg (poly-GR), these arising from a putative non-ATG initiated (RAN) sense translation of the GGGGCC expansion. There was also some slight, but variable, immunostaining with poly-AP antibody implying some antisense translation might also occur, though the relative paucity of immunostaining could reflect poor antigen avidity on the part of the antisense antibodies. Of the FTLD cases with DPR, 6 showed TDP-43 type A and 6 had TDP-43 type B histology; one had FTLD-tau with the pathology of corticobasal degeneration. There were no qualitative or quantitative differences in the pattern of immunostaining with antibodies to DPR, or p62, proteins between TDP-43 type A and type B cases. Ratings for frequency of inclusions immunostained by these poly-GA, poly-GP and poly-GR antibodies broadly correlated with those for immunolabelled by p62 antibody in all three regions.
We conclude that DPR are a major component of p62 positive inclusions in FTLD and MND.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; C9ORF72; p62 inclusions; Dipeptide repeat proteins
We aimed to investigate the role of the nuclear carrier and binding proteins, transportin-1 (TRN1) and transportin-2 (TRN2), TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 (TAF15) and Ewing’s Sarcoma protein (EWS) in inclusion body formation in cases of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) associated with Fused in Sarcoma protein (FTLD-FUS).
Eight cases of FTLD-FUS (5 cases of atypical FTLD-U (aFTLD-U), 2 of Neuronal Intermediate Filament Inclusion Body Disease (NIFID) and 1 of Basophilic Inclusion Body Disease (BIBD)) were immunostained for FUS, TRN1, TRN2, TAF15 and EWS. 10 cases of FTLD associated with TDP-43 inclusions served as reference cases.
The inclusion bodies in FTLD-FUS contained TRN1 and TAF15 and, to a lesser extent, EWS, but not TRN2. The patterns of immunostaining for TRN1 and TAF15 were very similar to that of FUS. None of these proteins was associated with tau or TDP-43 aggregations in FTLD.
Data suggest that FUS, TRN1 and TAF15 may participate in a functional pathway in an interdependent way, and imply that the function of TDP-43 may not necessarily be in parallel with, or complementary to, that of FUS, despite each protein sharing many similar structural elements.
Frontotemporal Lobar degeneration; Fused in Sarcoma; TDP-43; transportins; TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15; Ewing’s sarcoma protein
Breast cancer remains a significant scientific, clinical and societal challenge. This gap analysis has reviewed and critically assessed enduring issues and new challenges emerging from recent research, and proposes strategies for translating solutions into practice.
More than 100 internationally recognised specialist breast cancer scientists, clinicians and healthcare professionals collaborated to address nine thematic areas: genetics, epigenetics and epidemiology; molecular pathology and cell biology; hormonal influences and endocrine therapy; imaging, detection and screening; current/novel therapies and biomarkers; drug resistance; metastasis, angiogenesis, circulating tumour cells, cancer ‘stem’ cells; risk and prevention; living with and managing breast cancer and its treatment. The groups developed summary papers through an iterative process which, following further appraisal from experts and patients, were melded into this summary account.
The 10 major gaps identified were: (1) understanding the functions and contextual interactions of genetic and epigenetic changes in normal breast development and during malignant transformation; (2) how to implement sustainable lifestyle changes (diet, exercise and weight) and chemopreventive strategies; (3) the need for tailored screening approaches including clinically actionable tests; (4) enhancing knowledge of molecular drivers behind breast cancer subtypes, progression and metastasis; (5) understanding the molecular mechanisms of tumour heterogeneity, dormancy, de novo or acquired resistance and how to target key nodes in these dynamic processes; (6) developing validated markers for chemosensitivity and radiosensitivity; (7) understanding the optimal duration, sequencing and rational combinations of treatment for improved personalised therapy; (8) validating multimodality imaging biomarkers for minimally invasive diagnosis and monitoring of responses in primary and metastatic disease; (9) developing interventions and support to improve the survivorship experience; (10) a continuing need for clinical material for translational research derived from normal breast, blood, primary, relapsed, metastatic and drug-resistant cancers with expert bioinformatics support to maximise its utility. The proposed infrastructural enablers include enhanced resources to support clinically relevant in vitro and in vivo tumour models; improved access to appropriate, fully annotated clinical samples; extended biomarker discovery, validation and standardisation; and facilitated cross-discipline working.
With resources to conduct further high-quality targeted research focusing on the gaps identified, increased knowledge translating into improved clinical care should be achievable within five years.
There have been no longitudinal studies on α-synuclein as a potential biomarker for the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, blood plasma ‘total α-synuclein’ and ‘Ser-129 phosphorylated α-synuclein’ were assayed at 4–6 monthly intervals from a cohort of 189 newly-diagnosed patients with PD. For log-transformed data, plasma total α-synuclein levels increased with time for up to 20 yrs after the appearance of initial symptoms (p = 0.012), whereas phosphorylated α-synuclein remained constant over this same period. The mean level of phosphorylated α-synuclein, but not of total α-synuclein, was higher in the PD plasma samples taken at first visit than in single samples taken from a group of 91 healthy controls (p = 0.012). Overall, we conclude that the plasma level of phosphorylated α-synuclein has potential value as a diagnostic tool, whereas the level of total α-synuclein could act as a surrogate marker for the progression of PD.
Intracytoplasmic inclusions composed of filamentous tau proteins are defining characteristics of neurodegenerative tauopathies, but it remains unclear why different tau isoforms accumulate in different diseases and how they induce abnormal filamentous structures and pathologies. Two tau isoform-specific antibodies, RD3 and RD4, are widely used for immunohistochemical and biochemical studies of tau species in diseased brains.
Here, we show that extensive irreversible post-translational deamidation takes place at asparagine residue 279 (N279) in the RD4 epitope of tau in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but not corticobasal degeneration (CBD) or progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and this modification abrogates the immunoreactivity to RD4. An antiserum raised against deamidated RD4 peptide specifically recognized 4R tau isoforms, regardless of deamidation, and strongly stained tau in AD brain. We also found that mutant tau with N279D substitution showed reduced ability to bind to microtubules and to promote microtubule assembly.
The biochemical and structural differences of tau in AD from that in 4R tauopathies found in this study may therefore have implications for prion-like propagation of tau.
Alzheimer’s disease; Tau; Deamidation; Aging; Microtubule
We have sought histological evidence, using TDP-43 and p62 immunohistochemistry, for the presence of expansions in C9ORF72 among 200 patients with pathologically confirmed AD.
We noted TDP-43 pathological changes in hippocampus and temporal cortex in 45 (22.5%) of these patients, but did not detect any cases where p62 positive changes in hippocampus and cerebellum, considered pathognomic for C9ORF72 expansions, were present.
We conclude that expansions in C9ORF72 associated with AD are a rare occurrence, and in those instances in the literature where these have been reported, the presence of AD may in fact be coincidental and unrelated to the expansion.
Alzheimer’s disease; Genetics; C9ORF72
Two types of vibrissal surface structures, undulated and smooth, exist among pinnipeds. Most Phocidae have vibrissae with undulated surfaces, while Otariidae, Odobenidae, and a few phocid species possess vibrissae with smooth surfaces. Variations in cross-sectional profile and orientation of the vibrissae also exist between pinniped species. These factors may influence the way that the vibrissae behave when exposed to water flow. This study investigated the effect that vibrissal surface structure and orientation have on flow-induced vibrations of pinniped vibrissae. Laser vibrometry was used to record vibrations along the whisker shaft from the undulated vibrissae of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) and the smooth vibrissae of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Vibrations along the whisker shaft were measured in a flume tank, at three orientations (0°, 45°, 90°) to the water flow. The results show that vibration frequency and velocity ranges were similar for both undulated and smooth vibrissae. Angle of orientation, rather than surface structure, had the greatest effect on flow-induced vibrations. Vibration velocity was up to 60 times higher when the wide, flat aspect of the whisker faced into the flow (90°), compared to when the thin edge faced into the flow (0°). Vibration frequency was also dependent on angle of orientation. Peak frequencies were measured up to 270 Hz and were highest at the 0° orientation for all whiskers. Furthermore, CT scanning was used to quantify the three-dimensional structure of pinniped vibrissae that may influence flow interactions. The CT data provide evidence that all vibrissae are flattened in cross-section to some extent and that differences exist in the orientation of this profile with respect to the major curvature of the hair shaft. These data support the hypothesis that a compressed cross-sectional profile may play a key role in reducing self-noise of the vibrissae.
Arylstibonates structurally resemble phosphotyrosine side chains in proteins and here we addressed the ability of such compounds to act as inhibitors of a panel of mammalian tyrosine and dual-specificity phosphatases. Two arylstibonates both possessing a carboxylate side chain were identified as potent inhibitors of the protein tyrosine phosphatase PTP-β. In addition, they inhibited the dual-specificity, cell cycle regulatory phosphatases Cdc25a and Cdc25b with sub-micromolar potency. However, the Cdc25c phosphatase was not affected demonstrating that arylstibonates may be viable leads from which to develop isoform specific Cdc25 inhibitors.
Arylstibonic acids; protein tyrosine phosphatase; Cdc25 inhibitor
A key pathological feature of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) is the abnormal extracellular accumulation of the amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide. Thus altered Aβ degradation could be a major contributor to the development of LOAD. Variants in the gene encoding the Aβ-degrading enzyme, angiotensin-1 converting enzyme (ACE) therefore represent plausible candidates for association with LOAD pathology and risk. Following Alzgene meta-analyses of all published case-control studies, the ACE variants rs4291 and rs1800764 showed significant association with LOAD risk. Furthermore ACE haplotypes are associated with both plasma ACE levels and LOAD risk. We tested three ACE variants (rs4291, rs4343 and rs1800764) for association with LOAD in ten Caucasian case-control populations (n=8,212). No association was found using multiple logistic models (all p>0.09). We found no population heterogeneity (all p>0.38) or evidence for association with LOAD risk following meta-analysis of the ten populations for rs4343 (OR=1.00), rs4291 (OR=0.97) or rs1800764 (OR=0.99). Although we found no haplotypic association in our complete dataset (p=0.51), a significant global haplotypic p-value was observed in one population (p=0.007) due to an association of the H3 haplotype (OR=0.72, p=0.02) and a trend towards an association of H4 (OR=1.38, p=0.09) and H7 (OR=2.07, p=0.08) although these did not survive Bonferroni correction. Previously reported associations of ACE variants with LOAD will be diminished following this study. At best, ACE variants have modest effect sizes, which are likely part of a complex interaction between genetic, phenotypic and pharmacological effects that would be undetected in traditional case-control studies.
Alzheimer Disease; Late Onset; Angiotensin-1 Converting Enzyme; Haplotype; Heterogeneity; Meta-Analysis
Hitters in fast ball-sports do not align their gaze with the ball throughout ball-flight; rather, they use predictive eye movement strategies that contribute towards their level of interceptive skill. Existing studies claim that (i) baseball and cricket batters cannot track the ball because it moves too quickly to be tracked by the eyes, and that consequently (ii) batters do not – and possibly cannot – watch the ball at the moment they hit it. However, to date no studies have examined the gaze of truly elite batters. We examined the eye and head movements of two of the world’s best cricket batters and found both claims do not apply to these batters. Remarkably, the batters coupled the rotation of their head to the movement of the ball, ensuring the ball remained in a consistent direction relative to their head. To this end, the ball could be followed if the batters simply moved their head and kept their eyes still. Instead of doing so, we show the elite batters used distinctive eye movement strategies, usually relying on two predictive saccades to anticipate (i) the location of ball-bounce, and (ii) the location of bat-ball contact, ensuring they could direct their gaze towards the ball as they hit it. These specific head and eye movement strategies play important functional roles in contributing towards interceptive expertise.
α-Synuclein is the major component of filamentous inclusions that constitute the defining characteristic of neurodegenerative α-synucleinopathies. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying α-synuclein accumulation and spread are unclear. Here we show that intracerebral injections of sarkosyl-insoluble α-synuclein from brains of patients with dementia with Lewy bodies induced hyperphosphorylated α-synuclein pathology in wild-type mice. Furthermore, injection of fibrils of recombinant human and mouse α-synuclein efficiently induced similar α-synuclein pathologies in wild-type mice. C57BL/6J mice injected with α-synuclein fibrils developed abundant Lewy body/Lewy neurite-like pathology, whereas mice injected with soluble α-synuclein did not. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that endogenous mouse α-synuclein started to accumulate 3 months after inoculation, while injected human α-synuclein fibrils disappeared in about a week. These results indicate that α-synuclein fibrils have prion-like properties and inoculation into wild-type brain induces α-synuclein pathology in vivo. This is a new mouse model of sporadic α-synucleinopathy and should be useful for elucidating progression mechanisms and evaluating disease-modifying therapy.
α-synuclein; Lewy bodies; Parkinson’s disease; propagation
The identification of a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene as the cause of chromosome 9-linked frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease offers the opportunity for greater understanding of the relationship between these disorders and other clinical forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. In this study, we screened a cohort of 398 patients with frontotemporal dementia, progressive non-fluent aphasia, semantic dementia or mixture of these syndromes for mutations in the C9ORF72 gene. Motor neuron disease was present in 55 patients (14%). We identified 32 patients with C9ORF72 mutations, representing 8% of the cohort. The patients’ clinical phenotype at presentation varied: nine patients had frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease, 19 had frontotemporal dementia alone, one had mixed semantic dementia with frontal features and three had progressive non-fluent aphasia. There was, as expected, a significant association between C9ORF72 mutations and presence of motor neuron disease. Nevertheless, 46 patients, including 22 familial, had motor neuron disease but no mutation in C9ORF72. Thirty-eight per cent of the patients with C9ORF72 mutations presented with psychosis, with a further 28% exhibiting paranoid, deluded or irrational thinking, whereas <4% of non-mutation bearers presented similarly. The presence of psychosis dramatically increased the odds that patients carried the mutation. Mutation bearers showed a low incidence of motor stereotypies, and relatively high incidence of complex repetitive behaviours, largely linked to patients’ delusions. They also showed a lower incidence of acquired sweet food preference than patients without C9ORF72 mutations. Post-mortem pathology in five patients revealed transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 pathology, type A in one patient and type B in three. However, one patient had corticobasal degeneration pathology. The findings indicate that C9ORF72 mutations cause some but not all cases of frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease. Other mutations remain to be discovered. C9ORF72 mutations are associated with variable clinical presentations and pathology. Nevertheless, the findings highlight a powerful association between C9ORF72 mutations and psychosis and suggest that the behavioural characteristics of patients with C9ORF72 mutations are qualitatively distinct. Mutations in the C9ORF72 gene may be a major cause not only of frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease but also of late onset psychosis.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; clinical characteristics; motor neuron disease; psychosis; neuropathology
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