Glia: initiators and progressors of pathology in Parkinson's disease.
ABSTRACT Glia are traditionally known as support cells for neurons, and their role in neurodegeneration has been largely considered secondary to neuronal dysfunction. We review newer concepts on glial function and assess glial changes in Parkinson's disease (PD) at the time of disease initiation when α-synuclein is accumulating in brain tissue but there is limited neuronal loss, and also as the disease progresses and neuronal loss is evident.
Of the two main types of astrocytes, only protoplasmic astrocytes are involved in PD, where they become nonreactive and accumulate α-synuclein. Experimental evidence has shown that astrocytic α-synuclein deposition initiates the noncell autonomous killing of neurons through microglial signaling. As the disease progresses, more protoplasmic astrocytes are affected by the disease with an increasing microglial response. Although there is still controversy on the role microglia play in neurodegeneration, there is evidence that microglia are activated early in PD and possibly assist with the clearance of extracellular α-synuclein at this time. Microglia transform to phagocytes and target neurons as the disease progresses but appear to become dysfunctional with increasing amounts of ingested debris. Only nonmyelinating oligodendroglial cells are affected in PD, and only late in the disease process.
Glial cells are responsible for the progression of PD and play an important role in initiating the early tissue response. In particular, early dysfunction and α-synuclein accumulation in astrocytes causes recruitment of phagocytic microglia that attack selected neurons in restricted brain regions causing the clinical symptoms of PD.
Article: Dementia in Parkinson's Disease Correlates with α-Synuclein Pathology but Not with Cortical Astrogliosis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Dementia is a common feature in Parkinson's disease (PD) and is considered to be the result of limbic and cortical Lewy bodies and/or Alzheimer changes. Astrogliosis may also affect the development of dementia, since it correlates well with declining cognition in Alzheimer patients. Thus, we determined whether cortical astrogliosis occurs in PD, whether it is related to dementia, and whether this is reflected by the presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We have examined these proteins by immunohistochemistry in the frontal cortex and by Western blot in CSF of cases with PD, PD with dementia (PDD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and nondemented controls. We were neither able to detect an increase in cortical astrogliosis in PD, PDD, or DLB nor could we observe a correlation between the extent of astrogliosis and the degree of dementia. The levels of GFAP and vimentin in CSF did not correlate to the extent of astrogliosis or dementia. We did confirm the previously identified positive correlation between the presence of cortical Lewy bodies and dementia in PD. In conclusion, we have shown that cortical astrogliosis is not associated with the cognitive decline in Lewy body-related dementia.Parkinson's disease. 01/2012; 2012:420957.
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ABSTRACT: Protein clearance is critical for the maintenance of the integrity of neuronal cells, and there is accumulating evidence that in most-if not all-neurodegenerative disorders, impaired protein clearance fundamentally contributes to functional and structural alterations eventually leading to clinical symptoms. Dysfunction of protein clearance leads to intra- and extraneuronal accumulation of misfolded proteins and aggregates. The pathological hallmark of Lewy body disorders (LBDs) is the abnormal accumulation of misfolded proteins such as alpha-synuclein (Asyn) and amyloid-beta (Abeta) in a specific subset of neurons, which in turn has been related to deficits in protein clearance. In this paper we will highlight common intraneuronal (including autophagy and unfolded protein stress response) and extraneuronal (including interaction of neurons with astrocytes and microglia, phagocytic clearance, autoimmunity, cerebrospinal fluid transport, and transport across the blood-brain barrier) protein clearance mechanisms, which may be altered across the spectrum of LBDs. A better understanding of the pathways underlying protein clearance-in particular of Asyn and Abeta-in LBDs may result in the identification of novel biomarkers for disease onset and progression and of new therapeutic targets.International journal of Alzheimer's disease. 01/2012; 2012:391438.
Article: ATM kinase inhibition in glial cells activates the innate immune response and causes neurodegeneration in Drosophila.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To investigate the mechanistic basis for central nervous system (CNS) neurodegeneration in the disease ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), we analyzed flies mutant for the causative gene A-T mutated (ATM). ATM encodes a protein kinase that functions to monitor the genomic integrity of cells and control cell cycle, DNA repair, and apoptosis programs. Mutation of the C-terminal amino acid in Drosophila ATM inhibited the kinase activity and caused neuron and glial cell death in the adult brain and a reduction in mobility and longevity. These data indicate that reduced ATM kinase activity is sufficient to cause neurodegeneration in A-T. ATM kinase mutant flies also had elevated expression of innate immune response genes in glial cells. ATM knockdown in glial cells, but not neurons, was sufficient to cause neuron and glial cell death, a reduction in mobility and longevity, and elevated expression of innate immune response genes in glial cells, indicating that a non-cell-autonomous mechanism contributes to neurodegeneration in A-T. Taken together, these data suggest that early-onset CNS neurodegeneration in A-T is similar to late-onset CNS neurodegeneration in diseases such as Alzheimer's in which uncontrolled inflammatory response mediated by glial cells drives neurodegeneration.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2012; 109(11):E656-64. · 9.68 Impact Factor