[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many neurodegenerative disorders involve the abnormal accumulation of proteins. In addition to the pathologic hallmarks of neurofibrillary tangles and β-amyloid plaques in Alzheimer disease (AD), here we show that abnormal accumulations of gephyrin, an inhibitory receptor-anchoring protein, are highly correlated with the neuropathologic diagnosis of AD in 17 AD versus 14 control cases. Furthermore, gephyrin accumulations were specific for AD and not seen in normal controls or other neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson disease, corticobasal degeneration, and frontotemporal degeneration. Gephyrin accumulations in AD overlapped with β-amyloid plaques and, more rarely, neurofibrillary tangles. Biochemical and proteomic studies of AD and control brain samples suggested alterations in gephyrin solubility and reveal elevated levels of gephyrin lower-molecular-weight species in the AD insoluble fraction. Because gephyrin is involved in synaptic organization and synaptic dysfunction is an early event in AD, these findings point to its possible role in the pathogenesis of AD.
Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology. 10/2013;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deposition of insoluble protein aggregates is a hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases. The universal presence of β-amyloid and tau in Alzheimer's disease (AD) has facilitated advancement of the amyloid cascade and tau hypotheses that have dominated AD pathogenesis research and therapeutic development. However, the underlying etiology of the disease remains to be fully elucidated. Here we report a comprehensive study of the human brain-insoluble proteome in AD by mass spectrometry. We identify 4,216 proteins, among which 36 proteins accumulate in the disease, including U1-70K and other U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (U1 snRNP) spliceosome components. Similar accumulations in mild cognitive impairment cases indicate that spliceosome changes occur in early stages of AD. Multiple U1 snRNP subunits form cytoplasmic tangle-like structures in AD but not in other examined neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Comparison of RNA from AD and control brains reveals dysregulated RNA processing with accumulation of unspliced RNA species in AD, including myc box-dependent-interacting protein 1, clusterin, and presenilin-1. U1-70K knockdown or antisense oligonucleotide inhibition of U1 snRNP increases the protein level of amyloid precursor protein. Thus, our results demonstrate unique U1 snRNP pathology and implicate abnormal RNA splicing in AD pathogenesis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) share phenotypic and pathologic overlap. Recently, an expansion of GGGGCC repeats in the first intron of C9orf72 was found to be a common cause of both illnesses; however, the molecular pathogenesis of this expanded repeat is unknown. Here we developed both Drosophila and mammalian models of this expanded hexanucleotide repeat and showed that expression of the expanded GGGGCC repeat RNA (rGGGGCC) is sufficient to cause neurodegeneration. We further identified Pur α as the RNA-binding protein of rGGGGCC repeats and discovered that Pur α and rGGGGCC repeats interact in vitro and in vivo in a sequence-specific fashion that is conserved between mammals and Drosophila. Furthermore, overexpression of Pur α in mouse neuronal cells and Drosophila mitigates rGGGGCC repeat-mediated neurodegeneration, and Pur α forms inclusions in the fly eye expressing expanded rGGGGCC repeats, as well as in cerebellum of human carriers of expanded GGGGCC repeats. These data suggest that expanded rGGGGCC repeats could sequester specific RNA-binding protein from their normal functions, ultimately leading to cell death. Taken together, these findings suggest that the expanded rGGGGCC repeats could cause neurodegeneration, and that Pur α may play a role in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic basis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is not entirely clear. While there are families with rare highly penetrant mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1 and several other genes that cause apparent Mendelian inheritance of the disease, most ALS occurs in families without another affected individual. However, twin studies suggest that all ALS has a substantial genetic basis. Herein, we estimate the genetic contribution to ALS in a clinically ascertained case series from the United States.
We used the database of the Emory ALS Center to ascertain individuals with ALS along with their family histories to determine the concordance among parents and offspring for the disease. We found that concordance for all parent-offspring pairs was low (<2%). With this concordance we found that ALS heritability, or the proportion of the disease explained by genetic factors, is between 40 and 45% for all likely estimates of ALS lifetime prevalence.
We found the lifetime risk of ALS is 1.1% in first-degree relatives of those with ALS. Environmental and genetic factors appear nearly equally important for the development of ALS.
PLoS ONE 11/2011; 6(11):e27985. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the genetic contribution to non-autosomal dominant early-onset Alzheimer disease (EOAD) (onset age ≤60 years) cases and identify the likely mechanism of inheritance in those cases.
A liability threshold model of disease was used to estimate heritability of EOAD and late-onset Alzheimer disease (AD) using concordance for AD among parent-offspring pairs.
The Uniform Data Set, whose participants were collected from 32 US Alzheimer's Disease Centers, maintained by the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center.
Individuals with probable AD and detailed parental history (n = 5370).
The concordance among relatives and heritability of EOAD and late-onset AD.
For late-onset AD (n = 4302), we found sex-specific parent-offspring concordance that ranged from approximately 10% to 30%, resulting in a heritability of 69.8% (95% confidence interval, 64.6%-75.0%), and equal heritability for both sexes regardless of parental sex. For EOAD (n = 702), we found that the parent-offspring concordance was 10% or less and concordance among siblings was 21.6%. Early-onset AD heritability was 92% to 100% for all likely values of EOAD prevalence.
We confirm late-onset AD is a highly polygenic disease. By contrast, the data for EOAD suggest it is an almost entirely genetically based disease, and the patterns of observed concordance for parent-offspring pairs and among siblings lead us to reject the hypotheses that EOAD is a purely dominant, mitochondrial, X-linked, or polygenic disorder. The most likely explanation of the data is that approximately 90% of EOAD cases are due to autosomal recessive causes.
Archives of neurology 09/2011; 69(1):59-64. · 7.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Paraoxonase-1 (PON1) is a serum arylsulfatase that metabolizes organophosphate pesticides and protects low-density lipoprotein from oxidation. Case-control studies of PON1 genetic variants in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) have revealed some positive albeit inconsistent associations with 2 PON1 coding polymorphisms: Q192R (rs662) and L55M (rs854560). Because AD and PD exist along a spectrum of disorders with shared epidemiologic, clinical, and pathologic features, here we evaluated PON1 variants in a cohort of 746 AD, 566 PD, 132 AD-PD, and 719 cognitively normal age-matched controls. In the combined AD and Caucasian PD cohorts we had 80% power to detect a relative risk of at least 1.25 and 1.35, respectively, for each polymorphism. We found no association between 2 PON1 coding polymorphisms and AD in African Americans or Caucasians, and no association with PD or AD-PD in Caucasians. There was also no evidence of an interaction between PON1 and apolipoprotein E for any of these diseases. Our results suggest that either these functional PON1 polymorphisms are not associated with AD and PD spectrum disorders, or that the relative risk conferred is small.
Neurobiology of aging 10/2010; 33(1):204.e13-5. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radiolabeled Pittsburgh compound B (PIB) is a benzothiazole imaging agent that usually binds with high affinity, specificity, and stoichiometry to cerebral beta-amyloid (Abeta) in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Among a cohort of ten AD subjects examined postmortem, we describe a case of idiopathic, end-stage Alzheimer's disease with heavy Abeta deposition yet substantially diminished high-affinity binding of (3)H-PIB to cortical homogenates and unfixed cryosections. Cortical tissue samples were analyzed by immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, ELISA, immunoblotting, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, in vitro (3)H-PIB binding and (3)H-PIB autoradiography. The PIB-refractory subject met the histopathological criteria for AD. However, cortical tissue from this case contained more vascular beta-amyloidosis, higher levels of insoluble Abeta40 and Abeta42, and a higher ratio of Abeta40:Abeta42 than did tissue from the nine comparison AD cases. Furthermore, cerebral Abeta from the PIB-refractory subject displayed an unusual distribution of low- and high-molecular weight Abeta oligomers, as well as a distinct pattern of N- and C-terminally truncated Abeta peptides in both the soluble and insoluble cortical extracts. Genetically, the patient was apolipoprotein-E3/4 heterozygous, and exhibited no known AD-associated mutations in the genes for the beta-amyloid precursor protein, presenilin1 or presenilin2. Our findings suggest that PIB may differentially recognize polymorphic forms of multimeric Abeta in humans with Alzheimer's disease. In addition, while the prevalence of PIB-refractory cases in the general AD population remains to be determined, the paucity of high-affinity binding sites in this AD case cautions that minimal PIB retention in positron-emission tomography scans of demented patients may not always rule out the presence of Alzheimer-type Abeta pathology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cognitive impairment is underrecognized among patients with bipolar disorder and may represent not only effects of the illness but also adverse effects of its treatments. Among these, lithium is the best-studied mood stabilizer. As its cognitive effects are mixed and not well-known, we assessed reported effects of lithium on cognitive performance.
MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and EMBASE databases (1950 to December 2008) were queried with the keywords lithium, cognit*, neurocognit*, neuropsych*, psycholog*, attention, concentration, processing speed, memory, executive, and learning. Database searches were supplemented with bibliographic cross-referencing by hand. The literature search was conducted independently by 2 authors (A.P.W. and T.S.W.) during August and September 2008, and questions about appropriate inclusion or exclusion were resolved between them by consensus.
Of 586 reports initially identified as being of potential interest, 12, involving 539 subjects, met our inclusion criteria: (1) cognitive performance compared between subjects taking lithium and comparable subjects not taking lithium; comparability was assured by: (2) patients with the same affective disorder diagnoses in euthymic or remitted status or healthy volunteers; (3) groups of similar age and sex; (4) similar intelligence, education, or occupation; (5) similar distribution of other concurrent psychotropic drugs; and (6) cognitive abilities (outcomes) assessed with performance-based measures.
Standardized mean-difference effect size (ES), corrected for small-sample bias (Hedges' g), was computed for cognitive tasks in each study. ES estimates were transformed so that positive values indicate poorer performance by lithium-treated subjects. Infrequently, when means and standard deviations were not provided, ES was estimated from reported values of t, F, or z tests. For analysis, similar neurocognitive tests were grouped a priori based on the cognitive domains they aimed to assess.
We identified 12 studies involving 276 lithium-treated and 263 similar or the same subjects, lithium-free. Lithium was taken for a mean duration of 3.9 years by affective disorder patients and 2.5 weeks by healthy volunteers, yielding a mean daily trough serum concentration of 0.80 mEq/L. Overall, lithium treatment was associated with small but significant impairment in immediate verbal learning and memory (ES = 0.24; 95% CI, 0.05-0.43) and creativity (ES = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.02-0.64), whereas delayed verbal memory, visual memory, attention, executive function, processing speed, and psychomotor performance were not significantly affected. Selectively, among the 326 affective-disorder patients, in addition to these overall impairments, long-term lithium treatment also was associated with even greater impairment in psychomotor performance (ES = 0.62; 95% CI, 0.27-0.97), with no evidence of cognitive improvements.
Lithium treatment appears to have only few and minor negative effects on cognition.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 09/2009; 70(11):1588-97. · 5.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report 3 cases of impulse control disorders (ICDs) that developed in patients with Parkinson disease treated with the novel dopamine agonist, rotigotine.
Three patients were identified retrospectively who developed symptoms of an ICD while taking rotigotine. The ICD symptoms developed at 4, 5, and 8 years after diagnosis of Parkinson disease in these patients and while they were taking rotigotine and levodopa. Other drugs included entacapone, amantadine, and selegiline. The first patient developed symptoms of hypersexuality while taking rotigotine 18 mg (40-cm2 patch) daily and levodopa 300 mg/d. The second patient developed pathological gambling while taking rotigotine 22.5 mg (50-cm2 patch) daily and levodopa 300 mg/d. The third patient developed symptoms of hypersexuality, punding, and pathological gambling, losing more than $100,000 while taking rotigotine 18 mg (40-cm2 patch) and levodopa 400 mg/d. In the first 2 patients, the development of the ICD was temporally associated with an increase in rotigotine dosage, whereas the third patient experienced a dramatic increase in his gambling with the addition of rotigotine. Both subjects who developed pathological gambling had a history of recreational gambling for many years, and 1 of the 2 subjects who developed hypersexuality had a history of cross-dressing since childhood.
The ICDs in these patients were effectively treated with rotigotine reduction or discontinuation.
Rotigotine has the potential for causing ICD, similar to other dopamine agonists.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The roles of serine proteases and protease activated receptors have been extensively studied in coagulation, wound healing, inflammation, and neurodegeneration. More recently, serine proteases have been suggested to influence synaptic plasticity. In this context, we examined the role of protease activated receptor 1 (PAR1), which is activated following proteolytic cleavage by thrombin and plasmin, in emotionally motivated learning. We were particularly interested in PAR1 because its activation enhances the function of NMDA receptors, which are required for some forms of synaptic plasticity. We examined several baseline behavioral measures, including locomotor activity, expression of anxiety-like behavior, motor task acquisition, nociceptive responses, and startle responses in C57Bl/6 mice in which the PAR1 receptor has been genetically deleted. In addition, we evaluated learning and memory in these mice using two memory tasks, passive avoidance and cued fear-conditioning. Whereas locomotion, pain response, startle, and measures of baseline anxiety were largely unaffected by PAR1 removal, PAR1-/- animals showed significant deficits in a passive avoidance task and in cued fear conditioning. These data suggest that PAR1 may play an important role in emotionally motivated learning.
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 11/2007; 88(3):295-304. · 4.04 Impact Factor