826 research outputs found

    Expression levels of blood microRNAs as biomarker of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer's disease

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    Studies investigating differential miRNAs expression levels in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) abounded in the last decades and catalysed the interest towards miRNAs as novel non-invasive biomarkers of AD. Chapter 1 provides an overview of AD’s pathogenesis, discusses the evolution of the disease’s definition, and introduces miRNAs. In Chapter 2, a systematic review and a P-value based meta-analysis of 107 studies investigate miRNA expression levels in AD patients. This leads to a prioritisation of 25, 32 and 5 dysregulated miRNAs at study-wide significance in the brain, the blood and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD patients, respectively. A pathway enrichment analysis for the top dysregulated miRNAs in the brain confirms their role in regulating biological functions implicated in AD. In Chapter 3, expression levels of the 32 dysregulated miRNAs in the blood and 6 top dysregulated miRNAs in the brain of AD patients, are assessed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction in the blood of cognitively healthy individuals from the CHARIOT-PRO cohort. Low performers on the total Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status scale show downregulation of six miRNAs (hsa-miR-128-3p, hsa-miR-144-5p, hsa-miR-146a-5p, hsa-miR-26a-5p, hsa-miR-29c-3p and hsa-miR-363-3p). Pathway enrichment analysis highlights involvement in pathways initiating early pathogenetic changes in AD. Finally, in chapter 4, whole-genome sequencing data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative is used to perform an association analysis between polymorphisms within the six miRNAs’ genes and CSF biomarkers of neurodegeneration. A functional annotation of significant variants highlights expression quantitative trait loci, location in enhancer regions and alterations in the binding sites of transcription factors regulating neuronal function. The association of variants located within the same miRNA gene with different markers of neurodegeneration reveals a positive correlation between members of the amyloid cascade and microglial activation in the CSF. The final chapter highlights the clinical relevance of these findings and discusses future perspectives.Open Acces

    Genetic insights into immune mechanisms of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease

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    Microglia, the macrophages of the brain, are vital for brain homeostasis and have been implicated in a broad range of brain disorders. Neuroinflammation has gained traction as a possible therapeutic target for neurodegeneration, however, the precise function of microglia in specific neurodegenerative disorders is an ongoing area of research. Genetic studies offer valuable insights into understanding causality, rather than merely observing a correlation. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many genetic loci that are linked to susceptibility to neurodegenerative disorders. (Post)-GWAS studies have determined that microglia likely play an important role in the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). The process of understanding how individual GWAS risk loci affect microglia function and mediate susceptibility is complex. A rapidly growing number of publications with genomic datasets and computational tools have formulated new hypotheses that guide the biological interpretation of AD and PD genetic risk. In this review, we discuss the key concepts and challenges in the post-GWAS interpretation of AD and PD GWAS risk alleles. Post-GWAS challenges include the identification of target cell (sub)type(s), causal variants, and target genes. Crucially, the prediction of GWAS-identified disease-risk cell types, variants and genes require validation and functional testing to understand the biological consequences within the pathology of the disorders. Many AD and PD risk genes are highly pleiotropic and perform multiple important functions that might not be equally relevant for the mechanisms by which GWAS risk alleles exert their effect(s). Ultimately, many GWAS risk alleles exert their effect by changing microglia function, thereby altering the pathophysiology of these disorders, and hence, we believe that modelling this context is crucial for a deepened understanding of these disorders

    Induced pluripotent stem cell models of frontotemporal dementia

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    The increasing prevalence of dementia in the ageing population combined with the lack of treatments and the burden on national healthcare systems globally, make dementia a public health priority. Despite the plethora of important research findings published over the past two decades, the mechanisms underlying dementia are still poorly understood and the progress in pharmacological interventions is limited. Recent advances in cellular reprogramming and genome engineering technologies offer an unprecedented new paradigm in disease modeling. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have enabled the study of patient-derived neurons in vitro, a significant progress in the field of dementia research. The first studies using iPSCs to model dementia have recently emerged, holding promise for elucidating disease pathogenic mechanisms and accelerating drug discovery. In this review, we summarise the major findings of iPSC-based studies in Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) and FTD overlapping with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (FTD/ALS). We also discuss some of the main challenges in the use of iPSCs to model complex, late-onset neurodegenerative diseases such as dementias

    Primary skin fibroblasts as a model of Parkinson's disease

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    Parkinson's disease is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disorder. While most cases occur sporadic mutations in a growing number of genes including Parkin (PARK2) and PINK1 (PARK6) have been associated with the disease. Different animal models and cell models like patient skin fibroblasts and recombinant cell lines can be used as model systems for Parkinson's disease. Skin fibroblasts present a system with defined mutations and the cumulative cellular damage of the patients. PINK1 and Parkin genes show relevant expression levels in human fibroblasts and since both genes participate in stress response pathways, we believe fibroblasts advantageous in order to assess, e.g. the effect of stressors. Furthermore, since a bioenergetic deficit underlies early stage Parkinson's disease, while atrophy underlies later stages, the use of primary cells seems preferable over the use of tumor cell lines. The new option to use fibroblast-derived induced pluripotent stem cells redifferentiated into dopaminergic neurons is an additional benefit. However, the use of fibroblast has also some drawbacks. We have investigated PARK6 fibroblasts and they mirror closely the respiratory alterations, the expression profiles, the mitochondrial dynamics pathology and the vulnerability to proteasomal stress that has been documented in other model systems. Fibroblasts from patients with PARK2, PARK6, idiopathic Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 demonstrated a distinct and unique mRNA expression pattern of key genes in neurodegeneration. Thus, primary skin fibroblasts are a useful Parkinson's disease model, able to serve as a complement to animal mutants, transformed cell lines and patient tissues

    Probing sporadic and familial Alzheimer's disease using induced pluripotent stem cells.

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    Our understanding of Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis is currently limited by difficulties in obtaining live neurons from patients and the inability to model the sporadic form of the disease. It may be possible to overcome these challenges by reprogramming primary cells from patients into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Here we reprogrammed primary fibroblasts from two patients with familial Alzheimer's disease, both caused by a duplication of the amyloid-β precursor protein gene (APP; termed APP(Dp)), two with sporadic Alzheimer's disease (termed sAD1, sAD2) and two non-demented control individuals into iPSC lines. Neurons from differentiated cultures were purified with fluorescence-activated cell sorting and characterized. Purified cultures contained more than 90% neurons, clustered with fetal brain messenger RNA samples by microarray criteria, and could form functional synaptic contacts. Virtually all cells exhibited normal electrophysiological activity. Relative to controls, iPSC-derived, purified neurons from the two APP(Dp) patients and patient sAD2 exhibited significantly higher levels of the pathological markers amyloid-β(1-40), phospho-tau(Thr 231) and active glycogen synthase kinase-3β (aGSK-3β). Neurons from APP(Dp) and sAD2 patients also accumulated large RAB5-positive early endosomes compared to controls. Treatment of purified neurons with β-secretase inhibitors, but not γ-secretase inhibitors, caused significant reductions in phospho-Tau(Thr 231) and aGSK-3β levels. These results suggest a direct relationship between APP proteolytic processing, but not amyloid-β, in GSK-3β activation and tau phosphorylation in human neurons. Additionally, we observed that neurons with the genome of one sAD patient exhibited the phenotypes seen in familial Alzheimer's disease samples. More generally, we demonstrate that iPSC technology can be used to observe phenotypes relevant to Alzheimer's disease, even though it can take decades for overt disease to manifest in patients

    A comprehensive resource for induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with primary tauopathies

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    Primary tauopathies are characterized neuropathologically by inclusions containing abnormal forms of the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) and clinically by diverse neuropsychiatric, cognitive, and motor impairments. Autosomal dominant mutations in the MAPT gene cause heterogeneous forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with tauopathy (FTLD-Tau). Common and rare variants in the MAPT gene increase the risk for sporadic FTLD-Tau, including progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). We generated a collection of fibroblasts from 140 MAPT mutation/risk variant carriers, PSP, CBD, and cognitively normal controls; 31 induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from MAPT mutation carriers, non-carrier family members, and autopsy-confirmed PSP patients; 33 genome engineered iPSCs that were corrected or mutagenized; and forebrain neural progenitor cells (NPCs). Here, we present a resource of fibroblasts, iPSCs, and NPCs with comprehensive clinical histories that can be accessed by the scientific community for disease modeling and development of novel therapeutics for tauopathies

    Human fibroblast and stem cell resource from the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network

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    BACKGROUND: Mutations in amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin 1 (PSEN1) and presenilin 2 (PSEN2) cause autosomal dominant forms of Alzheimer disease (ADAD). More than 280 pathogenic mutations have been reported in APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2. However, understanding of the basic biological mechanisms that drive the disease are limited. The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN) is an international observational study of APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 mutation carriers with the goal of determining the sequence of changes in presymptomatic mutation carriers who are destined to develop Alzheimer disease. RESULTS: We generated a library of 98 dermal fibroblast lines from 42 ADAD families enrolled in DIAN. We have reprogrammed a subset of the DIAN fibroblast lines into patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines. These cells were thoroughly characterized for pluripotency markers. CONCLUSIONS: This library represents a comprehensive resource that can be used for disease modeling and the development of novel therapeutics

    Metabolomics analysis in rats with thiamine deficiency identifies key metabolites in vulnerable brain regions and suggests neural stem progenitor cells play a role in ameliorating metabolic dysfunction

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    La documentation scientifique fait état de la présence, chez l’adulte, de cellules souches et progénitrices neurales (CSPN) endogènes dans les zones sous-ventriculaire et sous-granulaire du cerveau ainsi que dans le gyrus denté de l’hippocampe. De plus, un postulat selon lequel il serait également possible de retrouver ce type de cellules dans la moelle épinière et le néocortex des mammifères adultes a été énoncé. L’encéphalopathie de Wernicke, un trouble neurologique grave toutefois réversible qui entraîne un dysfonctionnement, voire une défaillance du cerveau, est causée principalement par une carence importante en thiamine (CT). Des observations récentes laissent envisager que les facteurs en cause dans la prolifération et la différenciation des CSPN pourraient également jouer un rôle important lors d’un épisode de CT. L’hypothèse, selon laquelle l’identification de nouveaux métabolites entrant dans le mécanisme ou la séquence de réactions se soldant en une CT pourraient en faciliter la compréhension, a été émise au moyen d'une démarche en cours permettant d’établir le profil des modifications métaboliques qui surviennent en de telles situations. Cette approche a été utilisée pour constater les changements métaboliques survenus au niveau du foyer cérébral dans un modèle de rats déficients en thiamine (rats DT), particulièrement au niveau du thalamus et du colliculus inférieur (CI). La greffe de CSPN a quant à elle été envisagée afin d’apporter de nouvelles informations sur la participation des CSPN lors d’un épisode de CT et de déterminer les bénéfices thérapeutiques potentiels offerts par cette intervention. Les sujets de l’étude étaient répartis en quatre groupes expérimentaux : un premier groupe constitué de rats dont la CT était induite par la pyrithiamine (rats DTiP), un deuxième groupe constitué de rats-contrôles nourris ensemble (« pair-fed control rats » ou rats PFC) ainsi que deux groupes de rats ayant subi une greffe de CSPN, soit un groupe de rats DTiP greffés et un dernier groupe constitué de rats-contrôles (rats PFC) greffés. Les échantillons de foyers cérébraux (thalamus et CI) des quatre groupes de rats ont été prélevés et soumis à des analyses métabolomiques non ciblées ainsi qu’à une analyse visuelle par microscopie à balayage électronique (SEM). Une variété de métabolites-clés a été observée chez les groupes de rats déficients en thiamine (rats DTiP) en plus de plusieurs métabolites dont la documentation ne faisait pas mention. On a notamment constaté la présence d’acides biliaires, d’acide cynurénique et d’acide 1,9— diméthylurique dans le thalamus, alors que la présence de taurine et de carnosine a été observée dans le colliculus inférieur. L’étude a de plus démontré une possible implication des CSPN endogènes dans les foyers cérébraux du thalamus et du colliculus inférieur en identifiant les métabolites-clés ciblant les CSPN. Enfin, les analyses par SEM ont montré une amélioration notable des tissus à la suite de la greffe de CSPN. Ces constatations suggèrent que l’utilisation de CSPN pourrait s’avérer une avenue thérapeutique intéressante pour soulager la dégénérescence symptomatique liée à une grave carence en thiamine chez l’humain.Endogenous neural-stem progenitor cells (NSPC) have been documented to be found in the subventricular and subgranular zones, the dentate gyrus, and suggestions of the possibility of these cells being found in the spinal cord and neocortex in adult mammalian brain have been postulated. Thiamine deficiency (TD) is the major cause of Wernicke's Encephalopathy, a reversible neurological disorder that results in cerebral dysfunction and impairment. Recent evidence suggests factors involved in neural NSPC proliferation and differentiation are involved during TD. By means of a current approach for profiling metabolic changes occurring in focal areas of the TD rat brain, specifically the thalamus and the inferior colliculus (IC), it was hypothesized that new metabolites that might offer a better understanding into the sequel and/or mechanism of TD could be identified. It was also considered that the use of NSPC transplantation could offer new information into the involvement of NSPC and potential therapeutic benefit in TD. Non-targeted metabolomics analysis, fluorescences microscopy, and scanning election microscopy (SEM) analysis visualization was performed on samples of the focal areas (thalamus and IC) of pyrithiamine induced TD rats (PTD), pair-fed controls (PFC) rats, and NSPC transplanted TD and PFC rats. Various key metabolites were identified in rats with TD, including previous undocumented metabolites such as bile acids, kynurenic acid, and 1,9-dimethyluric acid in the thalamus and taurine and carnosine in the IC. The study also demonstrated a possible involvement of endogenous NSPC in focal areas of the thalamus and IC identifying key metabolites targeting NSPC and showed tissue amelioration (observed through SEM) following NSPC transplantation. The findings suggested that NSPC could offer a therapeutic alternative to alleviate some of symptomatic degeneration of TD
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