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1.  A Low-Molecular-Weight Ferroxidase Is Increased in the CSF of sCJD Cases: CSF Ferroxidase and Transferrin as Diagnostic Biomarkers for sCJD 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;19(14):1662-1675.
Abstract
Aims: Most biomarkers used for the premortem diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are surrogate in nature, and provide suboptimal sensitivity and specificity. Results: We report that CJD-associated brain iron dyshomeostasis is reflected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), providing disease-specific diagnostic biomarkers. Analysis of 290 premortem CSF samples from confirmed cases of CJD, Alzheimer's disease, and other dementias (DMs), and 52 non-DM (ND) controls revealed a significant difference in ferroxidase (Frx) activity and transferrin (Tf) levels in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) relative to other DM and ND controls. A combination of CSF Frx and Tf discriminated sCJD from other DMs with a sensitivity of 86.8%, specificity of 92.5%, accuracy of 88.9%, and area-under-the receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.94. This combination provided a similar diagnostic accuracy in discriminating CJD from rapidly progressing cases who died within 6 months of sample collection. Surprisingly, ceruloplasmin and amyloid precursor protein, the major brain Frxs, displayed minimal activity in the CSF. Most of the Frx activity was concentrated in the <3-kDa fraction in normal and diseased CSF, and resisted heat and proteinase-K treatment. Innovation: (i) A combination of CSF Frx and Tf provides disease-specific premortem diagnostic biomarkers for sCJD. (ii) A novel, nonenzymatic, nonprotein Frx predominates in human CSF that is distinct from the currently known CSF Frxs. Conclusion: The underlying cause of iron imbalance is distinct in sCJD relative to other DMs associated with the brain iron imbalance. Thus, change in the CSF levels of iron-management proteins can provide disease-specific biomarkers and insight into the cause of iron imbalance in neurodegenerative conditions. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 1662–1675.
doi:10.1089/ars.2012.5032
PMCID: PMC3809602  PMID: 23379482
2.  Multimodal fMRI Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Granulin Mutations: The Case of Fronto-Parietal Dementia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106500.
Background
Monogenic dementias represent a great opportunity to trace disease progression from preclinical to symptomatic stages. Frontotemporal Dementia related to Granulin (GRN) mutations presents a specific framework of brain damage, involving fronto-temporal regions and long inter-hemispheric white matter bundles. Multimodal resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) is a promising tool to carefully describe disease signature from the earliest disease phase.
Objective
To define local connectivity alterations in GRN related pathology moving from the presymptomatic (asymptomatic GRN mutation carriers) to the clinical phase of the disease (GRN- related Frontotemporal Dementia).
Methods
Thirty-one GRN Thr272fs mutation carriers (14 patients with Frontotemporal Dementia and 17 asymptomatic carriers) and 38 healthy controls were recruited. Local connectivity measures (Regional Homogeneity (ReHo), Fractional Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuation (fALFF) and Degree Centrality (DC)) were computed, considering age and gender as nuisance variables as well as the influence of voxel-level gray matter atrophy.
Results
Asymptomatic GRN carriers had selective reduced ReHo in the left parietal region and increased ReHo in frontal regions compared to healthy controls. Considering Frontotemporal Dementia patients, all measures (ReHo, fALFF and DC) were reduced in inferior parietal, frontal lobes and posterior cingulate cortex. Considering GRN mutation carriers, an inverse correlation with age in the posterior cingulate cortex, inferior parietal lobule and orbitofrontal cortex was found.
Conclusions
GRN pathology is characterized by functional brain network alterations even decades before the clinical onset; they involve the parietal region primarily and then spread to the anterior regions of the brain, supporting the concept of molecular nexopathies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106500
PMCID: PMC4154688  PMID: 25188321
3.  Rare mutations in SQSTM1 modify susceptibility to frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
van der Zee, Julie | Van Langenhove, Tim | Kovacs, Gabor G. | Dillen, Lubina | Deschamps, William | Engelborghs, Sebastiaan | Matěj, Radoslav | Vandenbulcke, Mathieu | Sieben, Anne | Dermaut, Bart | Smets, Katrien | Van Damme, Philip | Merlin, Céline | Laureys, Annelies | Van Den Broeck, Marleen | Mattheijssens, Maria | Peeters, Karin | Benussi, Luisa | Binetti, Giuliano | Ghidoni, Roberta | Borroni, Barbara | Padovani, Alessandro | Archetti, Silvana | Pastor, Pau | Razquin, Cristina | Ortega-Cubero, Sara | Hernández, Isabel | Boada, Mercè | Ruiz, Agustín | de Mendonça, Alexandre | Miltenberger-Miltényi, Gabriel | do Couto, Frederico Simões | Sorbi, Sandro | Nacmias, Benedetta | Bagnoli, Silvia | Graff, Caroline | Chiang, Huei-Hsin | Thonberg, Håkan | Perneczky, Robert | Diehl-Schmid, Janine | Alexopoulos, Panagiotis | Frisoni, Giovanni B. | Bonvicini, Christian | Synofzik, Matthis | Maetzler, Walter | vom Hagen, Jennifer Müller | Schöls, Ludger | Haack, Tobias B. | Strom, Tim M. | Prokisch, Holger | Dols-Icardo, Oriol | Clarimón, Jordi | Lleó, Alberto | Santana, Isabel | Almeida, Maria Rosário | Santiago, Beatriz | Heneka, Michael T. | Jessen, Frank | Ramirez, Alfredo | Sanchez-Valle, Raquel | Llado, Albert | Gelpi, Ellen | Sarafov, Stayko | Tournev, Ivailo | Jordanova, Albena | Parobkova, Eva | Fabrizi, Gian Maria | Testi, Silvia | Salmon, Eric | Ströbel, Thomas | Santens, Patrick | Robberecht, Wim | De Jonghe, Peter | Martin, Jean-Jacques | Cras, Patrick | Vandenberghe, Rik | De Deyn, Peter Paul | Cruts, Marc | Sleegers, Kristel | Van Broeckhoven, Christine
Acta Neuropathologica  2014;128(3):397-410.
Mutations in the gene coding for Sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1) have been genetically associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Paget disease of bone. In the present study, we analyzed the SQSTM1 coding sequence for mutations in an extended cohort of 1,808 patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), ascertained within the European Early-Onset Dementia consortium. As control dataset, we sequenced 1,625 European control individuals and analyzed whole-exome sequence data of 2,274 German individuals (total n = 3,899). Association of rare SQSTM1 mutations was calculated in a meta-analysis of 4,332 FTLD and 10,240 control alleles. We identified 25 coding variants in FTLD patients of which 10 have not been described. Fifteen mutations were absent in the control individuals (carrier frequency <0.00026) whilst the others were rare in both patients and control individuals. When pooling all variants with a minor allele frequency <0.01, an overall frequency of 3.2 % was calculated in patients. Rare variant association analysis between patients and controls showed no difference over the whole protein, but suggested that rare mutations clustering in the UBA domain of SQSTM1 may influence disease susceptibility by doubling the risk for FTLD (RR = 2.18 [95 % CI 1.24–3.85]; corrected p value = 0.042). Detailed histopathology demonstrated that mutations in SQSTM1 associate with widespread neuronal and glial phospho-TDP-43 pathology. With this study, we provide further evidence for a putative role of rare mutations in SQSTM1 in the genetic etiology of FTLD and showed that, comparable to other FTLD/ALS genes, SQSTM1 mutations are associated with TDP-43 pathology.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-014-1298-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00401-014-1298-7
PMCID: PMC4131163  PMID: 24899140
Sequestosome 1; SQSTM1; p62; FTLD; ALS; Rare variants
4.  Evaluating the levels of interleukin-1 family cytokines in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Background
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive motor neuron disease leading to the death of affected individuals within years. The involvement of inflammation in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS, is increasingly recognized but still not well understood. The aim of this study is to evaluate the levels of inflammation-related IL-1 family cytokines (IL-1β, IL-18, IL-33, IL-37) and their endogenous inhibitors (IL-1Ra, sIL-1R2, IL-18BP, sIL-1R4) in patients with sporadic ALS (sALS),
Methods
Sera were collected from 144 patients (125 patients were characterized by disease form, duration, and disability, using the revised ALS functional rating scale (ALSFRS-R) and from 40 matched controls. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was collected from 54 patients with sALS and 65 patients with other non-infectious non-oncogenic diseases as controls. Cytokines and inhibitors were measured by commercial ELISA.
Results
Among the IL-1 family cytokines tested total IL-18, its endogenous inhibitor IL-18BP, and the active form of the cytokine (free IL-18) were significantly higher in the sALS sera than in controls. No correlation between these soluble mediators and different clinical forms of sALS or the clinical setting of the disease was found. IL-18BP was the only mediator detectable in the CSF of patients.
Conclusions
Among the IL-1 family cytokines, only IL-18 correlates with this disease and may therefore have a pathological role in sALS. The increase of total IL-18 suggests the activation of IL-18-cleaving inflammasome. Whether IL-18 upregulation in circulation of sALS patients is a consequence of inflammation or one of the causes of the pathology still needs to be addressed.
doi:10.1186/1742-2094-11-94
PMCID: PMC4039322  PMID: 24884937
ALS; Inflammation; IL-1 family; IL-18
5.  Subcortical and Deep Cortical Atrophy in Frontotemporal Dementia due to Granulin Mutations 
Background/Aims
Parkinsonism is often associated with symptoms of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but its pathogenesis has been largely neglected. In genetic inherited FTD-related granulin (GRN) mutations, parkinsonism is an early sign, and it is more common than in sporadic disorders. Our aim was to study grey matter (GM) volume changes in subcortical and deep cortical regions in GRN-related FTD.
Methods
A total of 33 FTD patients (13 carriers of the GRN mutation, GRN+, and 20 non-carriers, GRN-) and 12 healthy controls (HC) were included in the study. Each subject underwent an MRI examination (1) for voxel-based morphometry to study GM differences in cortical and subcortical regions, and (2) for a region of interest approach using a probabilistic atlas of subcortical regions (caudate nucleus, putamen, thalamus and amygdala) to assess the regional differences.
Results
The GRN+ group showed greater damage in frontotemporal regions than the GRN- group. The FTD patients had greater GM atrophy in the caudate nucleus and in the thalamus bilaterally than the HC. Damage to these subcortical and deep cortical regions was greater in the GRN+ than in the GRN- patients. Discussion: Subcortical and deep cortical involvement is a key feature of FTD, and more pronounced in GRN-related disease. Damage to the caudate region in GRN+ patients may explain the parkinsonism frequently associated since the early stages of the disease.
doi:10.1159/000355428
PMCID: PMC4036148  PMID: 24926307
Frontotemporal dementia; Granulin; Magnetic resonance imaging; Subcortical regions; Basal ganglia; Probabilistic atlases; Voxel-based morphometry

6.  Criteria for the diagnosis of corticobasal degeneration 
Neurology  2013;80(5):496-503.
Current criteria for the clinical diagnosis of pathologically confirmed corticobasal degeneration (CBD) no longer reflect the expanding understanding of this disease and its clinicopathologic correlations. An international consortium of behavioral neurology, neuropsychology, and movement disorders specialists developed new criteria based on consensus and a systematic literature review. Clinical diagnoses (early or late) were identified for 267 nonoverlapping pathologically confirmed CBD cases from published reports and brain banks. Combined with consensus, 4 CBD phenotypes emerged: corticobasal syndrome (CBS), frontal behavioral-spatial syndrome (FBS), nonfluent/agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia (naPPA), and progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome (PSPS). Clinical features of CBD cases were extracted from descriptions of 209 brain bank and published patients, providing a comprehensive description of CBD and correcting common misconceptions. Clinical CBD phenotypes and features were combined to create 2 sets of criteria: more specific clinical research criteria for probable CBD and broader criteria for possible CBD that are more inclusive but have a higher chance to detect other tau-based pathologies. Probable CBD criteria require insidious onset and gradual progression for at least 1 year, age at onset ≥50 years, no similar family history or known tau mutations, and a clinical phenotype of probable CBS or either FBS or naPPA with at least 1 CBS feature. The possible CBD category uses similar criteria but has no restrictions on age or family history, allows tau mutations, permits less rigorous phenotype fulfillment, and includes a PSPS phenotype. Future validation and refinement of the proposed criteria are needed.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31827f0fd1
PMCID: PMC3590050  PMID: 23359374
7.  Clinical, Biological, and Imaging Features of Monogenic Alzheimer's Disease 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:689591.
The discovery of monogenic forms of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) associated with mutations within PSEN1, PSEN2, and APP genes is giving a big contribution in the understanding of the underpinning mechanisms of this complex disorder. Compared with sporadic form, the phenotype associated with monogenic cases is somewhat broader including behavioural disturbances, epilepsy, myoclonus, and focal presentations. Structural and functional imaging show typical early changes also in presymptomatic monogenic carriers. Amyloid imaging and CSF tau/Aβ ratio may be useful in the differential diagnosis with other neurodegenerative dementias, especially, in early onset cases. However, to date any specific biomarkers of different monogenic cases have been identified. Thus, in clinical practice, the early identification is often difficult, but the copresence of different elements could help in recognition. This review will focus on the clinical and instrumental markers useful for the very early identification of AD monogenic cases, pivotal in the development, and evaluation of disease-modifying therapy.
doi:10.1155/2013/689591
PMCID: PMC3860086  PMID: 24377094
8.  Cognitive Reserve in Granulin-Related Frontotemporal Dementia: from Preclinical to Clinical Stages 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74762.
Objective
Consistent with the cognitive reserve hypothesis, higher education and occupation attainments may help persons with neurodegenerative dementias to better withstand neuropathology before developing cognitive impairment. We tested here the cognitive reserve hypothesis in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), with or without pathogenetic granulin mutations (GRN+ and GRN-), and in presymptomatic GRN mutation carriers (aGRN+).
Methods
Education and occupation attainments were assessed and combined to define Reserve Index (RI) in 32 FTD patients, i.e. 12 GRN+ and 20 GRN-, and in 17 aGRN+. Changes in functional connectivity were estimated by resting state fMRI, focusing on the salience network (SN), executive network (EN) and bilateral frontoparietal networks (FPNs). Cognitive status was measured by FTD-modified Clinical Dementia Rating Scale.
Results
In FTD patients higher level of premorbid cognitive reserve was associated with reduced connectivity within the SN and the EN. EN was more involved in FTD patients without GRN mutations, while SN was more affected in GRN pathology. In aGRN+, cognitive reserve was associated with reduced SN.
Conclusions
This study suggests that cognitive reserve modulates functional connectivity in patients with FTD, even in monogenic disease. In GRN inherited FTD, cognitive reserve mechanisms operate even in presymptomatic to clinical stages.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074762
PMCID: PMC3767639  PMID: 24040338
9.  Endocytosis of synaptic ADAM10 in neuronal plasticity and Alzheimer’s disease 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(6):2523-2538.
A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 (ADAM10), a disintegrin and metalloproteinase that resides in the postsynaptic densities (PSDs) of excitatory synapses, has previously been shown to limit β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) formation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). ADAM10 also plays a critical role in regulating functional membrane proteins at the synapse. Using human hippocampal homogenates, we found that ADAM10 removal from the plasma membrane was mediated by clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Additionally, we identified the clathrin adaptor AP2 as an interacting partner of a previously uncharacterized atypical binding motif in the ADAM10 C-terminal domain. This domain was required for ADAM10 endocytosis and modulation of its plasma membrane levels. We found that the ADAM10/AP2 association was increased in the hippocampi of AD patients compared with healthy controls. Long-term potentiation (LTP) in hippocampal neuronal cultures induced ADAM10 endocytosis through AP2 association and decreased surface ADAM10 levels and activity. Conversely, long-term depression (LTD) promoted ADAM10 synaptic membrane insertion and stimulated its activity. ADAM10 interaction with the synapse-associated protein-97 (SAP97) was necessary for LTD-induced ADAM10 trafficking and required for LTD maintenance and LTD-induced changes in spine morphogenesis. These data identify and characterize a mechanism controlling ADAM10 localization and activity at excitatory synapses that is relevant to AD pathogenesis.
doi:10.1172/JCI65401
PMCID: PMC3668814  PMID: 23676497
10.  A comparative clinical, pathological, biochemical and genetic study of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies 
Brain  2011;134(9):2548-2564.
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease and atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration are rare diseases characterized by ubiquitin-positive inclusions lacking transactive response DNA-binding protein-43 and tau. Recently, mutations in the fused in sarcoma gene have been shown to cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal inclusions have subsequently been demonstrated in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease and atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions. Here we provide clinical, imaging, morphological findings, as well as genetic and biochemical data in 14 fused in sarcoma proteinopathy cases. In this cohort, the age of onset was variable but included cases of young-onset disease. Patients with atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions all presented with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, while the clinical presentation in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease was more heterogeneous, including cases with motor neuron disease and extrapyramidal syndromes. Neuroimaging revealed atrophy of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes as well as the caudate in the cases with atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions, but was more heterogeneous in the cases with neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, often being normal to visual inspection early on in the disease. The distribution and severity of fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, neuronal intranuclear inclusions and neurites were recorded and fused in sarcoma was biochemically analysed in both subgroups. Fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic and intranuclear inclusions were found in the hippocampal granule cell layer in variable numbers. Cortical fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions were often ‘Pick body-like’ in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, and annular and crescent-shaped inclusions were seen in both conditions. Motor neurons contained variable numbers of compact, granular or skein-like cytoplasmic inclusions in all fused in sarcoma-positive cases in which brainstem and spinal cord motor neurons were available for study (five and four cases, respectively). No fused in sarcoma mutations were found in any cases. Biochemically, two major fused in sarcoma species were found and shown to be more insoluble in the atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions subgroup compared with neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease. There is considerable overlap and also significant differences in fused in sarcoma-positive pathology between the two subgroups, suggesting they may represent a spectrum of the same disease. The co-existence of fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in both motor neurons and extramotor cerebral structures is a characteristic finding in sporadic fused in sarcoma proteinopathies, indicating a multisystem disorder.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr160
PMCID: PMC3170529  PMID: 21752791
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FUS; clinical presentation; neuropathology; biochemistry
11.  Identification of common variants influencing risk of the tauopathy Progressive Supranuclear Palsy 
Nature genetics  2011;43(7):699-705.
Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a movement disorder with prominent tau neuropathology. Brain diseases with abnormal tau deposits are called tauopathies, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease. Environmental causes of tauopathies include repetitive head trauma associated with some sports. To identify common genetic variation contributing to risk for tauopathies, we carried out a genome-wide association study of 1,114 PSP cases and 3,247 controls (Stage 1) followed up by a second stage where 1,051 cases and 3,560 controls were genotyped for Stage 1 SNPs that yielded P ≤ 10−3. We found significant novel signals (P < 5 × 10−8) associated with PSP risk at STX6, EIF2AK3, and MOBP. We confirmed two independent variants in MAPT affecting risk for PSP, one of which influences MAPT brain expression. The genes implicated encode proteins for vesicle-membrane fusion at the Golgi-endosomal interface, for the endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response, and for a myelin structural component.
doi:10.1038/ng.859
PMCID: PMC3125476  PMID: 21685912
12.  Clinical and neuroanatomical signatures of tissue pathology in frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
Brain  2011;134(9):2565-2581.
Relating clinical symptoms to neuroanatomical profiles of brain damage and ultimately to tissue pathology is a key challenge in the field of neurodegenerative disease and particularly relevant to the heterogeneous disorders that comprise the frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum. Here we present a retrospective analysis of clinical, neuropsychological and neuroimaging (volumetric and voxel-based morphometric) features in a pathologically ascertained cohort of 95 cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration classified according to contemporary neuropathological criteria. Forty-eight cases (51%) had TDP-43 pathology, 42 (44%) had tau pathology and five (5%) had fused-in-sarcoma pathology. Certain relatively specific clinicopathological associations were identified. Semantic dementia was predominantly associated with TDP-43 type C pathology; frontotemporal dementia and motoneuron disease with TDP-43 type B pathology; young-onset behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with FUS pathology; and the progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome with progressive supranuclear palsy pathology. Progressive non-fluent aphasia was most commonly associated with tau pathology. However, the most common clinical syndrome (behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia) was pathologically heterogeneous; while pathologically proven Pick's disease and corticobasal degeneration were clinically heterogeneous, and TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with similar clinical features in cases with and without progranulin mutations. Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging, voxel-based morphometry and cluster analyses of the pathological groups here suggested a neuroanatomical framework underpinning this clinical and pathological diversity. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration-associated pathologies segregated based on their cerebral atrophy profiles, according to the following scheme: asymmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (TDP-43 type C); relatively symmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (microtubule-associated protein tau mutations); strongly asymmetric, distributed atrophy (Pick's disease); relatively symmetric, predominantly extratemporal atrophy (corticobasal degeneration, fused-in-sarcoma pathology). TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with substantial individual variation; however, within this group progranulin mutations were associated with strongly asymmetric, distributed hemispheric atrophy. We interpret the findings in terms of emerging network models of neurodegenerative disease: the neuroanatomical specificity of particular frontotemporal lobar degeneration pathologies may depend on an interaction of disease-specific and network-specific factors.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr198
PMCID: PMC3170537  PMID: 21908872
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; voxel-based morphometry; MRI; neural network
13.  Loss of function mutations in the progranulin gene are related to pro-inflammatory cytokine dysregulation in frontotemporal lobar degeneration patients 
The progranulin gene (PGRN) encodes a pleiotropic molecule with anti-inflammatory actions and neuronal protective effects. Accordingly, PGRN-deficient mice have been demonstrated to develop enhanced inflammation and progressive neurodegeneration. Loss of function mutations of the PGRN gene have been also reported to cause frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), a neurodegenerative disease leading to dementia generally in the presenium. Since neurodegeneration might be negatively impacted by chronic inflammation, the possible influence of PGRN defects on inflammatory pathways appears to be of great relevance for the understanding of neurodegeneration pathogenic processes in those patients. However, no data about the inflammatory profile of PGRN-defective subjects have been so far provided.
In this study, we analyzed serum levels of the pro-inflammatory mediators IL-6, TNF-α and IL-18 in FTLD patients with or without PGRN mutations, at both pre-symptomatic and symptomatic stages. We provide evidence that circulating IL-6 is increased in PGRN-mutated FTLD patients, as compared to both PGRN non-mutated FTLD patients and controls. In contrast, levels of IL-6 were not altered in asymptomatic subjects carrying the PGRN mutations. Finally, TNF-α and IL-18 serum levels did not differ among all groups of included subjects.
We conclude that the profile of circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines is altered in PGRN-related symptomatic FTLD. Thus, our findings point to IL-6 as a possible specific mediator and a potential therapeutic target in this monogenic disease, suggesting that an enhanced inflammatory response might be indeed involved in its progression.
doi:10.1186/1742-2094-8-65
PMCID: PMC3141503  PMID: 21645364
14.  The Usefulness of Biological and Neuroimaging Markers for the Diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease 
The recent proposed criteria for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) have strongly claimed the usefulness of biological and neuroimaging markers for early identification AD. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Tau/Abeta ratio, hippocampal atrophy, posterior cingulate, and neocortical associative area hypometabolism, or amyloid burden evaluated by PiB compound, held the premises to increase diagnostic accuracy in the preclinical disease stages. Despite many efforts to identify subjects at risk of developing AD, less attention has been paid to presenile AD diagnosis. A few data are already available in early onset AD, mainly obtained in cases of monogenic disorder. In this paper, we discuss the current literature on the role of biological and neuroimaging markers in presenile AD.
doi:10.4061/2011/296374
PMCID: PMC3087487  PMID: 21559247
15.  Latent profile analysis in frontotemporal lobar degeneration and related disorders: clinical presentation and SPECT functional correlates 
BMC Neurology  2007;7:9.
Background
Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) thus recently renamed, refers to a spectrum of heterogeneous conditions. This same heterogeneity of presentation represents the major methodological limit for the correct evaluation of clinical designation and brain functional correlates. At present, no study has investigated clinical clusters due to specific cognitive and behavioural disturbances beyond current clinical criteria.
The aim of this study was to identify clinical FTLD presentation, based on cognitive and behavioural profile, and to define their SPECT functional correlations.
Methods
Ninety-seven FTLD patients entered the study. A clinical evaluation and standardised assessment were preformed, as well as a brain SPECT perfusion imaging study. Latent Profile Analysis on clinical, neuropsychological, and behavioural data was performed. Voxel-basis analysis of SPECT data was computed.
Results
Three specific clusters were identified and named "pseudomanic behaviour" (LC1), "cognitive" (LC2), and "pseudodepressed behaviour" (LC3) endophenotypes. These endophenotypes showed a comparable hypoperfusion in left temporal lobe, but a specific pattern involving: medial and orbitobasal frontal cortex in LC1, subcortical brain region in LC2, and right dorsolateral frontal cortex and insula in LC3.
Conclusion
These findings provide evidence that specific functional-cluster symptom relationship can be delineated in FTLD patients by a standardised assessment. The understanding of the different functional correlates of clinical presentations will hopefully lead to the possibility of individuating diagnostic and treatment algorithms.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-7-9
PMCID: PMC1884173  PMID: 17506892
16.  Functional correlates of Apolipoprotein E genotype in Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
BMC Neurology  2006;6:31.
Background
It has been recently demonstrated that in Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) memory deficits at presentation are commoner than previously thought. Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) genotype, the major genetic risk factor in sporadic late-onset Alzheimer Disease (AD), modulates cerebral perfusion in late middle-age cognitively normal subjects. ApoE ε4 homozygous have reduced glucose metabolism in the same regions involved in AD.
The aim of this study was to determine whether ApoE genotype might play a key-role in influencing the cerebral functional pattern as well as the degree of memory deficits in FTLD patients.
Methods
Fifty-two unrelated FTLD patients entered the study and underwent a somatic and neurological evaluation, laboratory examinations, a brain structural imaging study, and a brain functional Single Photon Emission Tomography study. ApoE genotype was determined.
Results
ApoE genotype influenced both clinical and functional features in FTLD. ApoE ε4-carriers were more impaired in long-term memory function (ApoE ε4 vs. ApoE non ε4, 6.3 ± 3.9 vs. 10.1 ± 4.2, p = 0.004) and more hypoperfused in uncus and parahippocampal regions (x,y,z = 38,-6,-20, T = 2.82, cluster size = 100 voxels; -32,-12,-28, T= 2.77, cluster size = 40 voxels).
Conclusion
The present findings support the view that ApoE genotype might be considered a disease-modifying factor in FTLD, thus contributing to define a specific clinical presentation, and might be of relevance for pharmacological approaches.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-6-31
PMCID: PMC1569858  PMID: 16930470
17.  Artificial neural networks allow the use of simultaneous measurements of Alzheimer Disease markers for early detection of the disease 
Background
Previous studies have shown that in platelets of mild Alzheimer Disease (AD) patients there are alterations of specific APP forms, paralleled by alteration in expression level of both ADAM 10 and BACE when compared to control subjects. Due to the poor linear relation among each key-element of beta-amyloid cascade and the target diagnosis, the use of systems able to afford non linear tasks, like artificial neural networks (ANNs), should allow a better discriminating capacity in comparison with classical statistics.
Objective
To evaluate the accuracy of ANNs in AD diagnosis.
Methods
37 mild-AD patients and 25 control subjects were enrolled, and APP, ADM10 and BACE measures were performed. Fifteen different models of feed-forward and complex-recurrent ANNs (provided by Semeion Research Centre), based on different learning laws (back propagation, sine-net, bi-modal) were compared with the linear discriminant analysis (LDA).
Results
The best ANN model correctly identified mild AD patients in the 94% of cases and the control subjects in the 92%. The corresponding diagnostic performance obtained with LDA was 90% and 73%.
Conclusion
This preliminary study suggests that the processing of biochemical tests related to beta-amyloid cascade with ANNs allows a very good discrimination of AD in early stages, higher than that obtainable with classical statistics methods.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-3-30
PMCID: PMC1198261  PMID: 16048651
18.  [alpha]-Secretase ADAM10 as well as [alpha]APPs is reduced in platelets and CSF of Alzheimer disease patients. 
Molecular Medicine  2002;8(2):67-74.
BACKGROUND: Members of membrane-bound disintegrin metalloproteinases (ADAMs) were shown to be capable of cleaving amyloid precursor protein (APP) at the alpha-cleavage site in different cell systems. One of the candidate alpha-secretases identified in this family is ADAM10. The present study addresses the following major questions: 1) Are the levels of an alpha-secretase candidate (i.e., ADAM10) reduced in accessible cells of Alzheimer Disease (AD) patients? 2) Are ADAM10 levels in the peripheral cells of AD patients related to a concomitant decrease in alpha APPs? MATERIALS AND METHODS: Western Blot analysis of ADAM10 is performed on platelet homogenates from 33 sporadic AD patients and on 26 age-matched control subjects. Moreover, the levels of alpha-secretase metabolite (alpha APPs) are tested both in platelets and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the same pool of subjects by means of Western blot with a specific antibody. RESULTS: A significant decrease of platelet ADAM10 levels is observed in patients affected by probable AD when compared to control subjects and this is paralleled by a reduced level of alpha APPs released from platelets. Moreover, in the same pool of AD patients, alpha APPs levels were reduced concomitantly in CSF. CONCLUSIONS: ADAM10 is expressed in platelets. A reduced level of ADAM10 is observed in platelets obtained from AD patients compared to age-matched controls. Further, in the same pool of AD patients, a qualitatively and quantitatively similar decrease in alpha APPs is present both in thrombin-activated platelets and CSF, thus suggesting that alterations of APP processing might occur both in the neuronal compartment and peripheral cells.
PMCID: PMC2039975  PMID: 12080182

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