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1.  Cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-β 42/40 ratio in clinical setting of memory centers: a multicentric study 
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers amyloid-β (Aβ), tau and phosphorylated tau (p-tau181) are now used for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aβ40 is the most abundant Aβ peptide isoform in the CSF, and the Aβ 42/40 ratio has been proposed to better reflect brain amyloid production. However, its additional value in the clinical setting remains uncertain.
A total of 367 subjects with cognitive disorders who underwent a lumbar puncture were prospectively included at three French memory centers (Paris-North, Lille and Montpellier; the PLM Study). The frequency of positive, negative and indeterminate CSF profiles were assessed by various methods, and their adequacies with the diagnosis of clinicians were tested using net reclassification improvement (NRI) analyses.
On the basis of local optimum cutoffs for Aβ42 and p-tau181, 22% of the explored patients had indeterminate CSF profiles. The systematic use of Aβ 42/40 ratio instead of Aβ42 levels alone decreased the number of indeterminate profiles (17%; P = 0.03), but it failed to improve the classification of subjects (NRI = −2.1%; P = 0.64). In contrast, the use of Aβ 42/40 ratio instead of Aβ42 levels alone in patients with a discrepancy between p-tau181 and Aβ42 led to a reduction by half of the number of indeterminate profiles (10%; P < 0.001) and was further in agreement with clinician diagnosis (NRI = 10.5%; P = 0.003).
In patients with a discrepancy between CSF p-tau181 and CSF Aβ42, the assessment of Aβ 42/40 ratio led to a reliable biological conclusion in over 50% of cases that agreed with a clinician’s diagnosis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13195-015-0114-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4450486  PMID: 26034513
2.  Genotyping Test with Clinical Factors: Better Management of Acute Postoperative Pain? 
Individualization of acute postoperative pain treatment on an evidence-based decision process is a major health concern. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of genetic and non-genetic factors on the variability of response to morphine in acute postoperative pain. A group of nighty-five patients undergoing major surgery were included prospectively. At 24 h, a logistic regression model was carried out to determine the factors associated with morphine doses given by a Patient Controlled Analgesia device. The dose of morphine was associated with age (p = 0.011), patient weight (p = 0.025) and the duration of operation (p = 0.030). This dose decreased with patient’s age and duration of operation and increased with patient’s weight. OPRM1 and ABCB1 polymorphisms were significantly associated with administered dose of morphine (p = 0.038 and 0.012 respectively). Patients with at least one G allele for c.118A>G OPRM1 polymorphism (AG/GG) needed 4 times the dose of morphine of AA patients. Additionally, patients with ABCB1 CT and CC genotypes for c.3435C>T polymorphism were 5.6 to 7.1 times more prone to receive higher dose of morphine than TT patients. Our preliminary results support the evidence that OPRM1/ABCB1 genotypes along with age, weight and duration of operation have an impact on morphine consumption for acute postoperative pain treatment.
PMCID: PMC4394533  PMID: 25809606
morphine; polymorphism; OPRM1; ABCB1; pain; pharmacogenetics
3.  A diagnostic scale for Alzheimer’s disease based on cerebrospinal fluid biomarker profiles 
The relevance of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related disorders is clearly established. However, the question remains on how to use these data, which are often heterogeneous (not all biomarkers being pathologic). The objective of this study is to propose to physicians in memory clinics a biologic scale of probabilities that the patient with cognitive impairments has an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathologic process.
For that purpose, we took advantage of the multicenter data of our Paris-North, Lille, and Montpellier (PLM) study, which has emerged through the initial sharing of information from these memory centers. Different models combining the CSF levels of amyloid-β 42, tau, and p-tau(181) were tested to generate categories of patients with very low (<10%), low (<25%), high (>75%), and very high predictive values (>90%) for positive AD. In total, 1,273 patients (646 AD and 627 non-AD) from six independent memory-clinic cohorts were included.
A prediction model based on logistic regressions achieved a very good stratification of the population but had the disadvantages of needing mathematical optimization and being difficult to use in daily clinical practice. Remarkably, a simple and intuitive model based on the number (from zero to three) of three pathologic CSF biomarkers resulted in a very efficient predictive scale for AD in patients seen in memory clinics. The scale’s overall predictive value for AD for the different categories were as follows: class 0, 9.6% (95% confidence interval (CI), 6.0% to 13.2%); class 1, 24.7% (95% CI, 18.0% to 31.3%); class 2, 77.2% (95% CI, 67.8% to 86.5%); and class 3, 94.2% (95% CI, 90.7% to 97.7%). In addition, with this scale, significantly more patients were correctly classified than with the logistic regression. Its superiority in model performance was validated by the computation of the net reclassification index (NRI). The model was also validated in an independent multicenter dataset of 408 patients (213 AD and 195 non-AD).
In conclusion, we defined a new scale that could be used to facilitate the interpretation and routine use of multivariate CSF data, as well as helping the stratification of patients in clinical research trials.
PMCID: PMC4255520  PMID: 25478015
4.  New highly sensitive rodent and human tests for soluble amyloid precursor protein alpha quantification: preclinical and clinical applications in Alzheimer’s disease 
BMC Neuroscience  2012;13:84.
Amyloid precursor protein (APP), a key molecule in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is metabolized in two alternative cleavages, generating either the amyloidogenic peptides involved in AD pathology or the soluble form of APP (sAPPα). The level of amyloidogenic peptides in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is considered to be a biomarker of AD, whereas the level of sAPPα in CSF as a biomarker has not been clearly established. sAPPα has neurotrophic and neuroprotective properties. Stimulating its formation and secretion is a promising therapeutic target in AD research. To this end, very sensitive tests for preclinical and clinical research are required.
The tests are based on homogenous time-resolved fluorescence and require no washing steps.
We describe two new rapid and sensitive tests for quantifying mouse and human sAPPα. These 20 μl-volume tests quantify the levels of: i) endogenous mouse sAPPα in the conditioned medium of mouse neuron primary cultures, as well as in the CSF of wild-type mice, ii) human sAPPα in the CSF of AD mouse models, and iii) human sAPPα in the CSF of AD and non-AD patients. These tests require only 5 μl of conditioned medium from 5 × 104 mouse primary neurons, 1 μl of CSF from wild-type and transgenic mice, and 0.5 μl of human CSF.
The high sensitivity of the mouse sAPPα test will allow high-throughput investigations of molecules capable of increasing the secretion of endogenous sAPPα in primary neurons, as well as the in vivo validation of molecules of interest through the quantification of sAPPα in the CSF of treated wild-type mice. Active molecules could then be tested in the AD mouse models by quantifying human sAPPα in the CSF through the progression of the disease. Finally, the human sAPPα test could strengthen the biological diagnosis of AD in large clinical investigations. Taken together, these new tests have a wide field of applications in preclinical and clinical studies.
PMCID: PMC3418197  PMID: 22824057
Alzheimer’s disease; Soluble amyloid precursor protein alpha; Homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence; Rodent; Human; Cerebrospinal fluid; Primary neurons; Sensitivity
5.  Increased levels of cerebrospinal fluid JNK3 associated with amyloid pathology: links to cognitive decline 
Alzheimer disease is characterized by cognitive decline, senile plaques of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides, neurofibrillary tangles composed of hyperphosphorylated τ proteins and neuronal loss. Aβ and τ are useful markers in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). C-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) are serine-threonine protein kinases activated by phosphorylation and involved in neuronal death.
In this study, Western blots, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and histological approaches were used to assess the concentrations of Aβ, τ and JNK isoforms in postmortem brain tissue samples (10 Alzheimer disease and 10 control) and in CSF samples from 30 living patients with Alzheimer disease and 27 controls with neurologic disease excluding Alzheimer disease. Patients with Alzheimer disease were followed for 1–3 years and assessed using Mini–Mental State Examination scores.
The biochemical and morphological results showed a significant increase of JNK3 and phosphorylated JNK levels in patients with Alzheimer disease, and JNK3 levels correlated with Aβ42 levels. Confocal microscopy revealed that JNK3 was associated with Aβ in senile plaques. The JNK3 levels in the CSF were significantly elevated in patients with Alzheimer disease and correlated statistically with the rate of cognitive decline in a mixed linear model.
The study involved different samples grouped into 3 small cohorts. Evaluation of JNK3 in CSF was possible only with immunoblot analysis.
We found that JNK3 levels are increased in brain tissue and CSF from patients with Alzheimer disease. The finding that increased JNK3 levels in CSF could reflect the rate of cognitive decline is new and merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4409432  PMID: 25455349
6.  A Genome Wide Association Study Links Glutamate Receptor Pathway to Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Risk 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123654.
We performed a genome-wide association (GWA) study in 434 sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) patients and 1939 controls from the United Kingdom, Germany and The Netherlands. The findings were replicated in an independent sample of 1109 sCJD and 2264 controls provided by a multinational consortium. From the initial GWA analysis we selected 23 SNPs for further genotyping in 1109 sCJD cases from seven different countries. Five SNPs were significantly associated with sCJD after correction for multiple testing. Subsequently these five SNPs were genotyped in 2264 controls. The pooled analysis, including 1543 sCJD cases and 4203 controls, yielded two genome wide significant results: rs6107516 (p-value=7.62x10-9) a variant tagging the prion protein gene (PRNP); and rs6951643 (p-value=1.66x10-8) tagging the Glutamate Receptor Metabotropic 8 gene (GRM8). Next we analysed the data stratifying by country of origin combining samples from the pooled analysis with genotypes from the 1000 Genomes Project and imputed genotypes from the Rotterdam Study (Total n=12967). The meta-analysis of the results showed that rs6107516 (p-value=3.00x10-8) and rs6951643 (p-value=3.91x10-5) remained as the two most significantly associated SNPs. Rs6951643 is located in an intronic region of GRM8, a gene that was additionally tagged by a cluster of 12 SNPs within our top100 ranked results. GRM8 encodes for mGluR8, a protein which belongs to the metabotropic glutamate receptor family, recently shown to be involved in the transduction of cellular signals triggered by the prion protein. Pathway enrichment analyses performed with both Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and ALIGATOR postulates glutamate receptor signalling as one of the main pathways associated with sCJD. In summary, we have detected GRM8 as a novel, non-PRNP, genome-wide significant marker associated with heightened disease risk, providing additional evidence supporting a role of glutamate receptors in sCJD pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4412535  PMID: 25918841
7.  Large deletions encompassing the TCOF1 and CAMK2A genes are responsible for Treacher Collins syndrome with intellectual disability 
Mandibulofacial dysostosis is part of a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of disorders of craniofacial development, which lead to malar and mandibular hypoplasia. Treacher Collins syndrome is the major cause of mandibulofacial dysostosis and is due to mutations in the TCOF1 gene. Usually patients with Treacher Collins syndrome do not present with intellectual disability. Recently, the EFTUD2 gene was identified in patients with mandibulofacial dysostosis associated with microcephaly, intellectual disability and esophageal atresia. We report on two patients presenting with mandibulofacial dysostosis characteristic of Treacher Collins syndrome, but associated with unexpected intellectual disability, due to a large deletion encompassing several genes including the TCOF1 gene. We discuss the involvement of the other deleted genes such as CAMK2A or SLC6A7 in the cognitive development delay of the patients reported, and we propose the systematic investigation for 5q32 deletion when intellectual disability is associated with Treacher Collins syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3865420  PMID: 23695276
mandibulofacial dysostosis; Treacher Collins syndrome; TCOF1; CAMK2A; intellectual disability
9.  Glycoform-Selective Prion Formation in Sporadic and Familial Forms of Prion Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58786.
The four glycoforms of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) variably glycosylated at the two N-linked glycosylation sites are converted into their pathological forms (PrPSc) in most cases of sporadic prion diseases. However, a prominent molecular characteristic of PrPSc in the recently identified variably protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr) is the absence of a diglycosylated form, also notable in familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (fCJD), which is linked to mutations in PrP either from Val to Ile at residue 180 (fCJDV180I) or from Thr to Ala at residue 183 (fCJDT183A). Here we report that fCJDV180I, but not fCJDT183A, exhibits a proteinase K (PK)-resistant PrP (PrPres) that is markedly similar to that observed in VPSPr, which exhibits a five-step ladder-like electrophoretic profile, a molecular hallmark of VPSPr. Remarkably, the absence of the diglycosylated PrPres species in both fCJDV180I and VPSPr is likewise attributable to the absence of PrPres glycosylated at the first N-linked glycosylation site at residue 181, as in fCJDT183A. In contrast to fCJDT183A, both VPSPr and fCJDV180I exhibit glycosylation at residue 181 on di- and monoglycosylated (mono181) PrP prior to PK-treatment. Furthermore, PrPV180I with a typical glycoform profile from cultured cells generates detectable PrPres that also contains the diglycosylated PrP in addition to mono- and unglycosylated forms upon PK-treatment. Taken together, our current in vivo and in vitro studies indicate that sporadic VPSPr and familial CJDV180I share a unique glycoform-selective prion formation pathway in which the conversion of diglycosylated and mono181 PrPC to PrPSc is inhibited, probably by a dominant-negative effect, or by other co-factors.
PMCID: PMC3602448  PMID: 23527023
10.  Cerebrospinal Fluid PKR Level Predicts Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53587.
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of the proapoptotic kinase R (PKR) and its phosphorylated PKR (pPKR) are increased in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but whether CSF PKR concentrations are associated with cognitive decline in AD patients remain unknown. In this study, 41 consecutive patients with AD and 11 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) from our Memory Clinic were included. A lumbar puncture was performed during the following month of the clinical diagnosis and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) evaluations were repeated every 6 months during a mean follow-up of 2 years. In AD patients, linear mixed models adjusted for age and sex were used to assess the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between MMSE scores and baseline CSF levels of Aβ peptide (Aβ 1-42), Tau, phosphorylated Tau (p-Tau 181), PKR and pPKR. The mean (SD) MMSE at baseline was 20.5 (6.1) and MMSE scores declined over the follow-up (-0.12 point/month, standard error [SE] = 0.03). A lower MMSE at baseline was associated with lower levels of CSF Aβ 1–42 and p-Tau 181/Tau ratio. pPKR level was associated with longitudinal MMSE changes over the follow-up, higher pPKR levels being related with an exacerbated cognitive deterioration. Other CSF biomarkers were not associated with MMSE changes over time. In aMCI patients, mean CSF biomarker levels were not different in patients who converted to AD from those who did not convert.These results suggest that at the time of AD diagnosis, a higher level of CSF pPKR can predict a faster rate of cognitive decline.
PMCID: PMC3539966  PMID: 23320095
11.  Cerebrospinal fluid biomarker supported diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and rapid dementias: a longitudinal multicentre study over 10 years 
Brain  2012;135(10):3051-3061.
To date, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, particularly protein 14-3-3 testing, presents an important approach in the identification of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease cases. However, one special point of criticism of 14-3-3 testing is the specificity in the differential diagnosis of rapid dementia. The constant observation of increased cerebrospinal fluid referrals in the national surveillance centres over the last years raises the concern of declining specificity due to higher number of cerebrospinal fluid tests performed in various neurological conditions. Within the framework of a European Community supported longitudinal multicentre study (‘cerebrospinal fluid markers’) we analysed the spectrum of rapid progressive dementia diagnoses, their potential influence on 14-3-3 specificity as well as results of other dementia markers (tau, phosphorylated tau and amyloid-β1–42) and evaluated the specificity of 14-3-3 in Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease diagnosis for the years 1998–2008. A total of 29 022 cerebrospinal fluid samples were analysed for 14-3-3 protein and other cerebrospinal fluid dementia markers in patients with rapid dementia and suspected Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in the participating centres. In 10 731 patients a definite diagnosis could be obtained. Protein 14-3-3 specificity was analysed for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease with respect to increasing cerebrospinal fluid tests per year and spectrum of differential diagnosis. Ring trials were performed to ensure the comparability between centres during the reported time period. Protein 14-3-3 test specificity remained high and stable in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease during the observed time period across centres (total specificity 92%; when compared with patients with definite diagnoses only: specificity 90%). However, test specificity varied with respect to differential diagnosis. A high 14-3-3 specificity was obtained in differentiation to other neurodegenerative diseases (95–97%) and non-neurological conditions (91–97%). We observed lower specificity in the differential diagnoses of acute neurological diseases (82–87%). A marked and constant increase in cerebrospinal fluid test referrals per year in all centres did not influence 14-3-3 test specificity and no change in spectrum of differential diagnosis was observed. Cerebrospinal fluid protein 14-3-3 detection remains an important test in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. Due to a loss in specificity in acute neurological events, the interpretation of positive 14-3-3 results needs to be performed in the clinical context. The spectrum of differential diagnosis of rapid progressive dementia varied from neurodegenerative dementias to dementia due to acute neurological conditions such as inflammatory diseases and non-neurological origin.
PMCID: PMC3470713  PMID: 23012332
rapid dementia; Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; cerebrospinal fluid; 14-3-3; specificity; neurodegeneration; differential diagnosis in dementia
12.  A case of Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease with a novel six octapeptide repeat insertion 
PMCID: PMC3135713  PMID: 21426368
Amyloid; Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease; Neuropathology; Octapeptide repeat insertion (OPRI); Prion protein
13.  Serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and hyperserotonemia in autistic disorder 
Molecular Psychiatry  2002;7(1):67-71.
Previous studies have provided conflicting evidence regarding the association of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene with autism. Two polymorphisms have been identified in the human 5-HTT gene, a VNTR in intron 21 and a functional deletion/insertion in the promoter region (5-HTTLPR) with short and long variants.2 Positive associations of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism with autism have been reported by two family-based studies, but one found preferential transmission of the short allele3 and the other of the long allele.4 Two subsequent studies failed to find evidence of transmission disequilibrium at the 5-HTTLPR locus.5,6 These conflicting results could be due to heterogeneity of clinical samples with regard to serotonin (5-HT) blood levels, which have been found to be elevated in some autistic subjects.7–9 Thus, we examined the association of the 5-HTTLPR and VNTR polymorphisms of the 5-HTT gene with autism, and we investigated the relationship between 5-HTT variants and whole-blood 5-HT. The transmission/disequilibrium test (TDT) revealed no linkage disequilibrium at either loci in a sample of 96 families comprising 43 trios and 53 sib pairs. Furthermore, no significant relationship between 5-HT blood levels and 5-HTT gene polymorphisms was found. Our results suggest that the 5-HTT gene is unlikely to play a major role as a susceptibility factor in autism.
PMCID: PMC1896269  PMID: 11803447
Adolescent; Adult; Alleles; Autistic Disorder; blood; genetics; Blood Platelets; metabolism; Carrier Proteins; genetics; physiology; Child; Child, Preschool; Female; Genetic Heterogeneity; Genetic Predisposition to Disease; Haplotypes; genetics; Humans; Introns; genetics; Linkage Disequilibrium; Male; Membrane Glycoproteins; genetics; physiology; Membrane Transport Proteins; Minisatellite Repeats; Mutagenesis, Insertional; Nerve Tissue Proteins; Polymorphism, Genetic; Risk Factors; Sequence Deletion; Serotonin; blood; Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins; Autistic disorder; serotonin; serotonin transporter; endophenotype; association; linkage disequilibrium
14.  Platelet serotonergic markers as endophenotypes for obsessive-compulsive disorder 
Neuropsychopharmacology   2005;30(8):1539-1547.
Although compelling evidence has shown that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has a strong genetic component, its genetic basis remains to be elucidated. Identifying biological abnormalities in non-affected relatives is one of the strategies advocated to isolate genetic vulnerability factors in complex disorders. Because peripheral serotonergic disturbances are frequently observed in OCD patients, the aim of this study was to investigate if they could represent endophenotypes, by searching for similar abnormalities in the unaffected parents of OCD patients.
We assessed whole blood serotonin (5-HT) concentration, platelet 5-HT transporter (5-HTT) and 5-HT2A receptor binding characteristics, and platelet inositol trisphosphate (IP3) content in a sample of OCD probands (n = 48) and their unaffected parents (n = 65), and compared them with sex- and age-matched controls (n = 113).
Lower whole blood 5-HT concentration, fewer platelet 5-HTT binding sites, and higher platelet IP3 content were found in OCD probands and their unaffected parents compared to controls. Whole blood 5-HT concentration showed a strong correlation within families (p<0.001). The only parameter that appeared to discriminate affected and unaffected subjects was 5-HT2A receptor binding characteristics, with increased receptor number and affinity in parents and no change in OCD probands.
The presence of peripheral serotonergic abnormalities in OCD patients and their unaffected parents supports a familial origin of these disturbances. These alterations may serve as endophenotypic markers in OCD, and could contribute to the study of the biological mechanisms and genetic underpinnings of the disorder.
PMCID: PMC1885456  PMID: 15886722
Adolescent; Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors; pharmacokinetics; Adult; Biological Markers; Blood Platelets; drug effects; metabolism; Case-Control Studies; Child; Female; Genotype; Humans; Imipramine; pharmacokinetics; Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate; blood; Iodine Isotopes; pharmacokinetics; Lysergic Acid Diethylamide; pharmacokinetics; Male; Middle Aged; Minisatellite Repeats; genetics; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; blood; genetics; Paroxetine; pharmacokinetics; Radioimmunoassay; methods; Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A; metabolism; Serotonin; blood; Serotonin Agents; pharmacokinetics; Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors; pharmacokinetics; Statistics; Statistics, Nonparametric; Tritium; pharmacokinetics; serotonin; serotonin transporter; 5-HT2A receptor; binding; inositol triphosphate; intrafamilial correlation

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