Cell-Mediated Neuroprotection in a Mouse Model of Human Tauopathy
ABSTRACT Tau protein in a hyperphosphorylated state makes up the intracellular inclusions of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and cases of frontotemporal dementia. Mutations in Tau cause familial forms of frontotemporal dementia, establishing that dysfunction of tau protein is sufficient to cause neurodegeneration and dementia. Transgenic mice expressing human mutant tau in neurons exhibit the essential features of tauopathies, including neurodegeneration and abundant filaments composed of hyperphosphorylated tau. Here we show that a previously described mouse line transgenic for human P301S tau exhibits an age-related, layer-specific loss of superficial cortical neurons, similar to what has been observed in human frontotemporal dementias. We also show that focal neural precursor cell implantation, resulting in glial cell differentiation, leads to the sustained rescue of cortical neurons. Together with evidence indicating that astrocyte transplantation may be neuroprotective, our findings suggest a beneficial role for glial cell-based repair in neurodegenerative diseases.
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ABSTRACT: The advent of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), reprogrammed in vitro from both healthy and disease-state human somatic cells, has triggered an enormous global research effort to realize personalized regenerative medicine for numerous degenerative conditions. hiPSCs have been generated from cells of many tissue types and can be differentiated in vitro to most somatic lineages, not only for the establishment of disease models that can be utilized as novel drug screening platforms and to study the molecular and cellular processes leading to degeneration, but also for the in vivo cell-based repair or modulation of a patient's disease profile. hiPSCs derived from patients with the neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis have been successfully differentiated in vitro into disease-relevant cell types, including motor neurons, dopaminergic neurons and oligodendrocytes. However, the generation of functional iPSC-derived neural cells that are capable of engraftment in humans and the identification of robust disease phenotypes for modeling neurodegeneration still require a number of key challenges to be addressed. Here, we discuss these challenges and summarize recent progress towards the application of iPSC technology for these four common neurodegenerative diseases.New Biotechnology 05/2014; 32(1). DOI:10.1016/j.nbt.2014.05.001 · 2.11 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Human neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease represent unmet medical need. There is no effective cure available on the market. Several novel therapeutic approaches targeting fundamental features of these disorders have been proposed during the last two decades. Cell therapy represents one of the most promising therapeutic avenues targeting different pathological traits of these disorders. However, there are some caveats that should be taken into the consideration including ethical issues and limited utilization for routine clinical practice. It is unlikely that cell therapy constitutes the 'magic bullet' therapeutic approach that would meet all therapeutic needs. However, in the future it can potentially bolster the effect of disease modifying drugs by improving the brain environment and regulation of inflammatory and neurotrophic pathways.Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 08/2013; 37(2). DOI:10.3233/JAD-130572 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Clinico-pathological correlation studies and positron emission tomography amyloid imaging studies have shown that some individuals can tolerate substantial amounts of Alzheimer's pathology in their brains without experiencing dementia. Few details are known about the neuropathological phenotype of these unique cases that might prove relevant to understanding human resilience to Alzheimer's pathology. We conducted detailed quantitative histopathological and biochemical assessments on brains from non-demented individuals before death whose brains were free of substantial Alzheimer's pathology, non-demented individuals before death but whose post-mortem examination demonstrated significant amounts of Alzheimer's changes ('mismatches'), and demented Alzheimer's cases. Quantification of amyloid-β plaque burden, stereologically-based counts of neurofibrillary tangles, neurons and reactive glia, and morphological analyses of axons were performed in the multimodal association cortex lining the superior temporal sulcus. Levels of synaptic integrity markers, and soluble monomeric and multimeric amyloid-β and tau species were measured. Our results indicate that some individuals can accumulate equivalent loads of amyloid-β plaques and tangles to those found in demented Alzheimer's cases without experiencing dementia. Analyses revealed four main phenotypic differences among these two groups: (i) mismatches had striking preservation of neuron numbers, synaptic markers and axonal geometry compared to demented cases; (ii) demented cases had significantly higher burdens of fibrillar thioflavin-S-positive plaques and of oligomeric amyloid-β deposits reactive to conformer-specific antibody NAB61 than mismatches; (iii) strong and selective accumulation of hyperphosphorylated soluble tau multimers into the synaptic compartment was noted in demented cases compared with controls but not in mismatches; and (iv) the robust glial activation accompanying amyloid-β and tau pathologies in demented cases was remarkably reduced in mismatches. Further biochemical measurements of soluble amyloid-β species-monomers, dimers and higher molecular weight oligomers-in total brain homogenates and synaptoneurosomal preparations failed to demonstrate significant differences between mismatches and demented cases. Together, these data suggest that amyloid-β plaques and tangles do not inevitably result in neural system derangement and dementia in all individuals. We identified distinct phenotypic characteristics in the profile of brain fibrillar and soluble amyloid-β and tau accrual and in the glial response that discriminated demented and non-demented individuals with high loads of Alzheimer's pathology. Amyloid-β deposition in the form of fibrillar plaques and intimately related oligomeric amyloid-β assemblies, hyperphosphorylated soluble tau species localized in synapses, and glial activation emerged in this series as likely mediators of neurotoxicity and altered cognition, providing further insight into factors and pathways potentially involved in human susceptibility or resilience to Alzheimer's pathological changes.Brain 07/2013; 136(8). DOI:10.1093/brain/awt171 · 10.23 Impact Factor