Publications

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    ABSTRACT: AD (Alzheimer's disease) is the most prevalent form of dementia in the aged population. Definitive diagnosis of AD is based on the presence of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that are identified in post-mortem brain specimens. A third pathological component is inflammation. AD results from multiple genetic and environmental risk factors. Among other factors, epidemiological studies report beneficial effects of caffeine, a non-selective antagonist of adenosine receptors. In the present review, we discuss the impact of caffeine and the adenosinergic system in AD pathology as well as consequences in terms of pathology and therapeutics.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 04/2014; 42(2):587-92. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) is a powerful tool to uncover proteome modifications potentially related to different physiological or pathological conditions. Basically, this technique is based on the separation of proteins according to their isoelectric point in a first step, and secondly according to their molecular weights by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). In this report an optimized simple preparation protocol for little amount of human post-mortem and mouse brain tissue is described. This method enables to perform both twodimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and mini 2DE immunoblotting. The combination of these approaches allows one to not only find new proteins and/or protein modifications in their expression thanks to its compatibility with mass spectrometry detection, but also a new insight into markers validation. Thus, mini-2DE coupled to western-blotting permits to identify and validate post-translational modifications, proteins catabolism and provides a qualitative comparison among different conditions and/or treatments. Herein, we provide a method to study components of protein aggregates found in AD and Lewy body dementia such as the amyloid-beta peptide and the alphasynuclein. Our method can thus be adapted for the analysis of the proteome and insoluble proteins extract from human brain tissue and mice models too. In parallel, it may provide useful information for the study of molecular and cellular pathways involved in neurodegenerative diseases as well as potential novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
    Journal of Visualized Experiments 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Tau pathology found in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is crucial in cognitive decline. Epidemiological evidences support that habitual caffeine intake prevents memory decline during ageing and reduces the risk to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. So far, experimental studies addressed the impact of caffeine in models mimicking the amyloid pathology of AD. However, in vivo effects of caffeine in a model of AD-like tauopathy remain unknown. Here, we evaluated effects of chronic caffeine intake (0.3 g/L through drinking water), given at an early pathological stage, in the THY-Tau22 transgenic mouse model of progressive AD-like Tau pathology. We found that chronic caffeine intake prevents from the development of spatial memory deficits in Tau mice. Improved memory was associated with reduced hippocampal Tau phosphorylation and proteolytic fragments. Moreover, caffeine treatment mitigated several pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress markers found upregulated in the hippocampus of THY-Tau22 animals. Together, our data support that moderate caffeine intake is beneficial in a model of AD-like Tau pathology, paving the way for furture clinical evaluation in AD patients.
    Neurobiology of Aging 03/2014; in press. · 6.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases are a growing challenge for society. Accumulation of tau pathology has been proposed to partially contribute to these impairments. This study provides a behavioral characterization during aging of transgenic mice bearing tau mutations. THY-Tau22 mice were evaluated at ages wherein tau neuropathology in this transgenic mouse model is low (3-4 months), moderate (6-7 months), or extensive (>9 months). Spatial memory was found to be impaired only after 9 months of age in THY-Tau22 mice, whereas non-spatial memory was affected as early as 6 months, appearing to offer an opportunity for assessing potential therapeutic agents in attenuating or preventing tauopathies through modulation of tau kinetics.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 07/2013; · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a consequence of degenerative brain pathology with amyloid plaque deposition and neurofibrillary tangle formation. These distinct aspects of AD neuropathology have been suggested to induce a cascade of pathological events ultimately leading to neurodegeneration as well as cognitive and behavioral decline. Amyloid and tau neuropathology is known to develop along distinct stages and affect parts of the brain differentially. In this study, we examined two mouse AD lines (AβPPPS1-21 and Tau22 mice), which mimic different partial aspects of AD pathology, at comparable stages of their pathology. Since prefrontal cortex (PFC) is one of the first regions to be affected in clinical AD, we compared long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic responses in medial PFC of AβPPPS1-21 and Tau22 mice. Frontal LTP was impaired in AβPPPS1-21 mice, but not in Tau22 mice. Consequently, we observed different behavioral defects between AβPPPS1-21 and Tau22 animals. Apart from spatial learning deficits, AβPPPS1-21 transgenic mice were impaired in fear learning, aversion learning, and extinction learning, whereas THY-Tau22 were impaired in appetitive responding. Discriminant function analysis identified critical behavioral variables that differentiated AβPPPS1-21 and THY-Tau22 mice from wild type littermates, and further confirmed that amyloid- versus tau-pathology differentially affects brain function.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 06/2013; · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Habitual consumption of caffeine, a non-selective adenosine receptors (ARs) antagonist, has been suggested to be beneficial in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Experimental evidence support that ARs play a role in Huntington's disease (HD) raising the hypothesis that caffeine may be a life-style modifier in HD. To determine a possible relationship between caffeine consumption and age at onset (AAO) in HD, we retrospectively assessed caffeine consumption in 80 HD patients using a dietary survey and determined relationship with AAO. Following adjustment for gender, smoking status and CAG repeat length, caffeine consumption greater than 190 mg/day was significantly associated with an earlier AAO. These data support an association between habitual caffeine intake and AAO in HD patients, but further studies are warranted to understand the link between these variables.
    Neurobiology of Disease 05/2013; · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    David Blum, Luc Buée
    Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 05/2013; 13(5):461-3. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The τ pathology found in Alzheimer disease (AD) is crucial in cognitive decline. Midlife development of obesity, a major risk factor of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, increases the risk of dementia and AD later in life. The impact of obesity on AD risk has been suggested to be related to central insulin resistance, secondary to peripheral insulin resistance. The effects of diet-induced obesity (DIO) on τ pathology remain unknown. In this study, we evaluated effects of a high-fat diet, given at an early pathological stage, in the THY-Tau22 transgenic mouse model of progressive AD-like τ pathology. We found that early and progressive obesity potentiated spatial learning deficits as well as hippocampal τ pathology at a later stage. Surprisingly, THY-Tau22 mice did not exhibit peripheral insulin resistance. Further, pathological worsening occurred while hippocampal insulin signaling was upregulated. Together, our data demonstrate that DIO worsens τ phosphorylation and learning abilities in τ transgenic mice independently from peripheral/central insulin resistance.
    Diabetes 12/2012; · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: THY-Tau22 mice constitute an animal model for tau aggregation, a hallmark in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Tauopathies. Our previous studies have shown learning and memory deficits and changes in synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus in THY-Tau22 mice that are consistent with the learning impairments seen in AD-patients. However, behavioural disturbances are the most important problems in the management of AD and are major determinants of nursing home placement. Thus, we hypothesized that THY-Tau22 mice would demonstrate, in addition to the cognitive impairments, at least some behavioural and psychological signs and symptoms of dementia (BPSD). We found that 12 months old THY-Tau22 mice, relative to wild-type (WT) littermates display increased depression-like and aggressive behaviour, co-occurring with disturbances in nocturnal activity. Moreover, these changes were linked to a decreased hippocampal concentration in serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), the main metabolite of serotonin. Together these data corroborate the usefulness of the model in preclinical evaluations of therapeutic strategies that aim to reverse cognitive defects and alleviate BPSD in the human disease.
    Behavioural brain research 12/2012; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While the spatiotemporal development of Tau pathology has been correlated with occurrence of cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's patients, mechanisms underlying these deficits remain unclear. Both brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its tyrosine kinase receptor TrkB play a critical role in hippocampus-dependent synaptic plasticity and memory. When applied on hippocampal slices, BDNF is able to enhance AMPA receptor-dependent hippocampal basal synaptic transmission through a mechanism involving TrkB and NMDA receptors (NMDAR). Using THY-Tau22 transgenic mice, we demonstrated that hippocampal Tau pathology is associated with loss of synaptic enhancement normally induced by exogenous BDNF. This defective response was concomitant to significant memory impairments. We show here that loss of BDNF response was due to impaired NMDAR function. Indeed, we observed a significant reduction of NMDA-induced field excitatory post-synaptic potential depression in the hippocampus of Tau mice together with a reduced phosphorylation of NR2B at the Y1472, known to be critical for NMDAR function. Interestingly, we found that both NR2B and Src, one of NR2B main kinase, interact with Tau and are mislocalized to the insoluble protein fraction rich in pathological Tau species. Defective response to BDNF was thus likely related to abnormal interaction of Src and NR2B with Tau in THY-Tau22 animals. These are the first data demonstrating a relationship between Tau pathology and synaptic effects of BDNF and supporting a contribution of defective BDNF response and impaired NMDAR function to the cognitive deficits associated with Tauopathies. © 2012 The Authors Aging Cell © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
    Aging cell 10/2012; · 7.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Given that memantine is thought to decrease N-methyl-D-aspartic-acid-related (NMDA) glutamatergic hyperactivity and improve locomotion in rats, we sought to assess the drug's impact on axial symptoms in advanced Parkinson's disease (PD). METHODS: We performed a 90-day, randomised, double-blind, study with two parallel arms: 20 mg/day memantine versus placebo (ClinicalTrials.gov:NCT01108029). The main inclusion criterion was the presence of a severe gait disorder and an abnormal, forward-leaning stance. The following parameters were analysed under standardised conditions before and after acute administration of L-dopa: gait (stride length as primary criterion), the United-Parkinson's-Disease-Rating-Scale (UPDRS) motor score and its axial subscore, the hypertonia and strength of the axial extensors and flexors (isokinetic dynamometer), the Dyskinesia Rating Scale score (DRS) and its axial subscore. RESULTS: Twenty-five patients were included. The memantine and placebo group did not differ significantly in terms of stride length. However, in the memantine group, we observed significantly better results (vs placebo) for the overall UPDRS score (F((1,21))=4.9; p=0.039(-1)) and its axial subscore (F((1,21))=7.2; p=0.014(-1.1)), axial hypertonia, the axial and overall DRS and axial strength. CONCLUSIONS: Memantine treatment was associated with lower axial motor symptom and dyskinesia scores but did not improve gait. These benefits must be confirmed in a broader population of patients.
    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 10/2012; · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A prerequisite to dephosphorylation at Ser-Pro or Thr-Pro motifs is the isomerization of the imidic peptide bond preceding the proline. The peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerase named Pin1 catalyzes this mechanism. Through isomerization, Pin1 regulates the function of a growing number of targets including the microtubule-associated tau protein and is supposed to be deregulated Alzheimer's disease (AD). Using proteomics, we showed that Pin1 is posttranslationally modified on more than 5 residues, comprising phosphorylation, N-acetylation, and oxidation. Although Pin1 expression remained constant, Pin1 posttranslational two-dimensional pattern was modified by tau overexpression in a tau-inducible neuroblastoma cell line, in our THY-Tau22 mouse model of tauopathy as well as in AD. Interestingly, in all of these systems, Pin1 modifications were very similar. In AD brain tissue when compared with control, Pin1 is hyperphosphorylated at serine 16 and found in the most insoluble hyperphosphorylated tau fraction of AD brain tissue. Furthermore, in all tau pathology conditions, acetylation of Pin1 may also contribute to the differences observed. In conclusion, Pin1 displays several posttranslational modifications, which are specific in tauopathies and may be useful as biomarker.
    Neurobiology of aging 08/2012; · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuronal and synaptic degeneration are the best pathological correlates for memory decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although the accumulation of soluble low-molecular-weight amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers has been suggested to trigger neurodegeneration in AD, animal models overexpressing or infused with Aβ lack neuronal loss at the onset of memory deficits. Using a novel in vivo approach, we found that repeated hippocampal injections of small soluble Aβ(1-42) oligomers in awake, freely moving mice were able to induce marked neuronal loss, tau hyperphosphorylation, and deficits in hippocampus-dependent memory. The neurotoxicity of small Aβ(1-42) species was observed in vivo as well as in vitro in association with increased caspase-3 activity and reduced levels of the NMDA receptor subunit NR2B. We found that the sequestering agent transthyretin is able to bind the toxic Aβ(1-42) species and attenuated the loss of neurons and memory deficits. Our novel mouse model provides evidence that small, soluble Aβ(1-42) oligomers are able to induce extensive neuronal loss in vivo and initiate a cascade of events that mimic the key neuropathological hallmarks of AD.
    Journal of Neuroscience 06/2012; 32(23):7852-61. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is a growing interest in the involvement of anesthetic agents in the etiology of postoperative cognitive dysfunction. Recent animal studies suggest that acute anesthesia induces transient hyperphosphorylation of tau, an effect essentially ascribed to hypothermia. The main aim of the present study was to investigate effects, in normothermic conditions, of acute or repeated exposure to sevoflurane, a halogenated anesthetic agent, on hippocampal tau phosphorylation and spatial memory in adult mice. 5 to 6-month-old C57Bl6/J mice were submitted to acute (1 h) or repeated (five exposures of 1h every month) anesthesia using 1.5 or 2.5% sevoflurane, in normothermic conditions. In the acute protocol, animals were sacrificed 1 and 24 h after exposure. In the chronic protocol, spatial memory was evaluated using the Morris water maze following the fourth exposure, and tau phosphorylation evaluated 1 month following the last exposure using bi- and mono-dimensional electrophoresis. Acute sevoflurane anesthesia in normothermic conditions led to a significant dose-dependent and reversible hippocampal tau phosphorylation, 1 h following the end of exposure (P < 0.001). Conversely, repeated anesthesia led to persistent tau hyperphosphorylation and significant memory impairments, as seen in the retention phase of the Morris water maze in sevoflurane-anesthesized animals. These pathologic features may be related to the activation of both Akt and Erk pathways. The present study demonstrates, in mice, that sevoflurane exposure is associated with increased tau phosphorylation through specific kinases activation and spatial memory deficits. These data support a correlation between exposures to this anesthetic agent and cognitive decline.
    Anesthesiology 02/2012; 116(4):779-87. · 5.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by extracellular accumulation of amyloid deposits and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) composed of hyperphosphorylated Tau proteins. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophic factor playing a critical role in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and memory and whose levels have been shown reduced in AD brains. While recent data support a pivotal role of β-amyloid peptides towards BDNF decrease, whether Tau pathology impacts on BDNF expression remains unknown so far. In the present study, we have evaluated this relationship using quantitative PCR, Western blot and ELISA in the THY-Tau22 transgenic strain, known to display a progressive development of both hippocampal AD-like Tau pathology and memory impairments. We observed that Tau pathology was not associated with down-regulation of BDNF at the protein and mRNA levels in this model, suggesting that the alteration of BDNF homeostasis observed in AD patients' brains might rather be ascribed to amyloid pathology.
    Current Alzheimer research 01/2012; 9(4):406-10. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent data indicate that Tau immunotherapy may be relevant for interfering with neurofibrillary degeneration in Alzheimer disease and related disorders referred to as Tauopathies. The key question for immunotherapy is the choice of the epitope to target. Abnormal phosphorylation is a well-described post-translational modification of Tau proteins and may be a good target. In the present study, we investigated the effects of active immunization against the pathological epitope phospho-Ser422 in the THY-Tau22 transgenic mouse model. Starting from 3-6 months of age, THY-Tau22 mice develop hippocampal neurofibrillary tangle-like inclusions and exhibit phosphorylation of Tau on several AD-relevant Tau epitopes. Three month-old THY-Tau22 mice were immunized with a peptide including the phosphoserine 422 residue while control mice received the adjuvant alone. A specific antibody response against the phospho-Ser422 epitope was observed. We noticed a decrease in insoluble Tau species (AT100- and pS422 immunoreactive) by both biochemical and immunohistochemical means correlated with a significant cognitive improvement using the Y-maze. This Tau immunotherapy may facilitate Tau clearance from the brain toward the periphery since, following immunization, an increase in Tau concentrations was observed in blood. Overall, the present work is, to our knowledge, the first one to demonstrate that active immunotherapy targeting a real pathological epitope such as phospho-Ser422 epitope is efficient. This immunotherapy allows for Tau clearance and improves cognitive deficits promoted by Tau pathology in a well-defined Tau transgenic model.
    Current Alzheimer research 01/2012; 9(4):397-405. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    International journal of Alzheimer's disease. 01/2012; 2012:707482.
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    ABSTRACT: Human blood platelets (PLTs) contain brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin that binds to neurotrophic tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) receptor on central nervous system cells. This binding promotes neural synaptic plasticity and memory and prevents neuronal degeneration. Alterations in BDNF homeostasis are associated with aging and are found in several neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's diseases and multiple sclerosis. We have developed PLT viral inactivation and chromatographic fractionation processes and decided here to identify fractions enriched in BDNF. PLT concentrates (PCs) were treated by solvent/detergent (S/D), extracted by oil, and subjected to fractionation (C18, sulfopropyl [SP]-Sepharose, diethylaminoethyl [DEAE]-Sepharose, or activated charcoal). BDNF and pro-BDNF were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and Western blot. TrkB was studied by Western blot. Tri-n-butyl phosphate (TnBP) was quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography, and Triton X-45 by gas chromatography. The mean BDNF content of 2.9 ± 0.7 ng/mL in PC was noted to increase to 56.2 ± 2.4 ng/mL after S/D treatment and remained stable during oil extraction. Approximately 70% of the BDNF content was recovered after C18 chromatography. BDNF did not bind to DEAE-Sepharose and was almost completely adsorbed by charcoal. Chromatography on SP-Sepharose yielded a highly enriched 13-kDa mature BDNF fraction that was more than 170-fold purified, with a mean of 137 ± 29.4 ng/mL and 82% chromatographic recovery, devoid of detectable TnBP and Triton X-45. Pro-BDNF and TrkB proteins were not detected in the PLT extracts. We obtained a S/D-treated, highly enriched mature PLT-derived BDNF fraction that could help unveil the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamic, and potential therapeutic applications of the BDNF neurotrophin.
    Transfusion 12/2011; 52(8):1721-8. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tau pathology is encountered in many neurodegenerative disorders known as tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease. Physical activity is a lifestyle factor affecting processes crucial for memory and synaptic plasticity. Whether long-term voluntary exercise has an impact on Tau pathology and its pathophysiological consequences is currently unknown. To address this question, we investigated the effects of long-term voluntary exercise in the THY-Tau22 transgenic model of Alzheimer's disease-like Tau pathology, characterized by the progressive development of Tau pathology, cholinergic alterations and subsequent memory impairments. Three-month-old THY-Tau22 mice and wild-type littermates were assigned to standard housing or housing supplemented with a running wheel. After 9 months of exercise, mice were evaluated for memory performance and examined for hippocampal Tau pathology, cholinergic defects, inflammation and genes related to cholesterol metabolism. Exercise prevented memory alterations in THY-Tau22 mice. This was accompanied by a decrease in hippocampal Tau pathology and a prevention of the loss of expression of choline acetyltransferase within the medial septum. Whereas the expression of most cholesterol-related genes remained unchanged in the hippocampus of running THY-Tau22 mice, we observed a significant upregulation in mRNA levels of NPC1 and NPC2, genes involved in cholesterol trafficking from the lysosomes. Our data support the view that long-term voluntary physical exercise is an effective strategy capable of mitigating Tau pathology and its pathophysiological consequences.
    Neurobiology of Disease 08/2011; 43(2):486-94. · 5.62 Impact Factor

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