[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene cause familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a disorder characterized by coronary heart disease (CHD) at young age. We aimed to apply an extreme sampling method to enhance the statistical power to identify novel genetic risk variants for CHD in individuals with FH. We selected cases and controls with an extreme contrast in CHD risk from 17 000 FH patients from the Netherlands, whose functional LDLR mutation was unequivocally established. The genome-wide association (GWA) study was performed on 249 very young FH cases with CHD and 217 old FH controls without CHD (above 65 years for males and 70 years of age for females) using the Illumina HumanHap550K chip. In the next stage, two independent samples (one from the Netherlands and one from Italy, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom) of FH patients were used as replication samples. In the initial GWA analysis, we identified 29 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with suggestive associations with premature CHD (P<1 × 10(-4)). We examined the association of these SNPs with CHD risk in the replication samples. After Bonferroni correction, none of the SNPs either replicated or reached genome-wide significance after combining the discovery and replication samples. Therefore, we conclude that the genetics of CHD risk in FH is complex and even applying an 'extreme genetics' approach we did not identify new genetic risk variants. Most likely, this method is not as effective in leveraging effect size as anticipated, and may, therefore, not lead to significant gains in statistical power.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 11 June 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.101.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 06/2014; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have discovered multiple common genetic risk variants related to common diseases. It has been proposed that a number of these signals of common polymorphisms are based on synthetic associations that are generated by rare causative variants. We investigated if mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene causing familial hypercholesterolemia (FH, OMIM #143890) produce such signals. We genotyped 480 254 polymorphisms in 464 FH patients and in 5945 subjects from the general population. A total of 28 polymorphisms located up to 2.4 Mb from the LDLR gene were genome-wide significantly associated with FH (P<10(-8)). We replicated the 10 top signals in 2189 patients with a clinical diagnosis of FH and in 2157 subjects of a second sample of the general population (P<0.000087). Our findings confirm that rare variants are able to cause synthetic genome-wide significant associations, and that they exert this effect at relatively large distances from the causal mutation.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 12 September 2012; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.207.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 09/2012; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research into the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD) provides increasing evidence that vascular risk factors, including high serum cholesterol, might influence the progression of cognitive impairment and neural degeneration. In this study, we investigated the effects of high dietary cholesterol intake and the cholesterol-lowering liver X receptor-agonist T0901317 on capillary density, amyloid-β deposition, and presynaptic boutons in the hippocampus of adult (8 months) and aged (15 months) AβPPswe-PS1dE9 and wild-type mice to elucidate how cholesterol may affect neurodegenerative processes in aging and AD. Our results show increased number of presynaptic boutons in 15-month-old AβPP-PS1 mice compared to age-matched wild-type animals, but no difference at 8 months of age. High cholesterol intake accelerated this response by increasing the amount of presynaptic boutons at 8 and 15 months of age, while T0901317 intake decreased the amount of presynaptic boutons in 15-month-old AβPP-PS1 mice. These findings suggest a synaptic compensatory response to maintain connectivity during aging. We hypothesize that high cholesterol intake may cause impaired cerebral blood flow inducing ischemia, fortifying the above mentioned hypothesis of a compensatory mechanism. Contrarily, cholesterol-lowering agents may positively influence cerebral circulation, thereby diminishing aggravation of AD-like pathology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant sterols such as sitosterol and campesterol are frequently administered as cholesterol-lowering supplements in food. Recently, it has been shown in mice that, in contrast to the structurally related cholesterol, circulating plant sterols can enter the brain. We questioned whether the accumulation of plant sterols in murine brain is reversible. After being fed a plant sterol ester-enriched diet for 6 weeks, C57BL/6NCrl mice displayed significantly increased concentrations of plant sterols in serum, liver, and brain by 2- to 3-fold. Blocking intestinal sterol uptake for the next 6 months while feeding the mice with a plant stanol ester-enriched diet resulted in strongly decreased plant sterol levels in serum and liver, without affecting brain plant sterol levels. Relative to plasma concentrations, brain levels of campesterol were higher than sitosterol, suggesting that campesterol traverses the blood-brain barrier more efficiently. In vitro experiments with brain endothelial cell cultures showed that campesterol crossed the blood-brain barrier more efficiently than sitosterol. We conclude that, over a 6-month period, plant sterol accumulation in murine brain is virtually irreversible.
The Journal of Lipid Research 01/2012; 53(4):726-35. · 4.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system in which macrophages and microglia play a central role. Foamy macrophages and microglia, containing degenerated myelin, are abundantly found in active multiple sclerosis lesions. Recent studies have described an altered macrophage phenotype after myelin internalization. However, it is unclear by which mechanisms myelin affects the phenotype of macrophages and how this phenotype can influence lesion progression. Here we demonstrate, by using genome wide gene expression analysis, that myelin-phagocytosing macrophages have an enhanced expression of genes involved in migration, phagocytosis and inflammation. Interestingly, myelin internalization also induced the expression of genes involved in liver-X-receptor signaling and cholesterol efflux. In vitro validation shows that myelin-phagocytosing macrophages indeed have an increased capacity to dispose intracellular cholesterol. In addition, myelin suppresses the secretion of the pro-inflammatory mediator IL-6 by macrophages, which was mediated by activation of liver-X-receptor β. Our data show that myelin modulates the phenotype of macrophages by nuclear receptor activation, which may subsequently affect lesion progression in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e44998. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cholesterol synthesis and transport in oligodendrocytes are essential for optimal myelination and remyelination in pathological conditions such as multiple sclerosis. However, little is known about cholesterol homeostasis in the myelin-forming oligodendrocytes. Liver X receptors (LXRs) are nuclear oxysterol receptors that regulate genes involved in cholesterol homeostasis and may therefore play an important role in de- and remyelination. We investigated whether LXRs regulate cholesterol homeostasis in oligodendrocytes. mRNA expression of genes encoding LXR-α and LXR-β and their target genes (ABCA1, ABCG1, ABCG4, apoE, and LDLR) was detected in oligodendrocytes derived from both neonatal and adult rats using quantitative real-time PCR. The expression of LXR-β and several target genes was increased during oligodendrocyte differentiation. We further demonstrated that treatment of primary neonatal rat oligodendrocytes with the synthetic LXR agonist T0901317 induced the expression of several established LXR target genes, including ABCA1, ABCG1, apoE, and LDLR. Treatment of oligodendrocytes with T0901317 resulted in an enhanced cholesterol efflux in the presence of apolipoprotein A-I or high-density lipoprotein particles. These data show that LXRs are involved in regulating cholesterol homeostasis in oligodendrocytes.
Journal of Neuroscience Research 01/2012; 90(1):60-71. · 2.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In humans, the E4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene is associated with increased coronary heart disease risk. Surprisingly, in rodents, apolipoprotein E4 only accelerates the atherosclerotic process when transgenic for the human low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) protein. We therefore investigated whether the LDLR locus interacted with the apolipoprotein E gene genotype on coronary heart disease risk in patients clinically diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia with and without LDLR mutation. We investigated whether the presence of an LDLR mutation diminishing LDLR function was protective in E4/E4 carriers.
In a cohort of 2400 patients clinically diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, we found an LDLR gene mutation in 1383 patients, whereas in 1013 patients, such mutation was not present. In 92 patients homozygous for the apolipoprotein E4, the presence of an LDLR mutation conferred lower coronary heart disease risk (hazard ratio, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.05-0.58; P=0.005). Mirroring these results, the apolipoprotein E4/E4 genotype was also associated with lower coronary heart disease risk in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia with an LDLR mutation (hazard ratio, 0.26; hazard ratio, 0.08-0.80; P=0.02).
LDLR function is key to the detrimental effects of apolipoprotein E4 in humans. Kinetic studies in humans are now required to study the consequences of our observation for prevention of both coronary heart disease and Alzheimer disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant sterols (sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol and brassicasterol) are solely dietary-derivable sterols that are structurally very similar to cholesterol. In contrast to peripheral cholesterol, plant sterols can cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate within mammalian brain. As an impaired function of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-blood barrier is linked to neurodegenerative disorders, i.e. Alzheimer's disease (AD), we investigated whether this results in altered plant sterol concentrations in CSF.
Applying gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis, plant sterol concentrations were measured in plasma and CSF of patients with AD (n = 67) and controls (n = 29). Age, gender, plasma-to-CSF albumin ratio, CSF Aβ(42) , CSF pTau, APOE4 genotype, and serum creatinine were applied as covariates in the statistical analysis for individual plant sterols in order to compare plasma and CSF plant sterol concentrations between patients with AD and controls.
Albumin quotient was a consistent predictor in CSF for cholesterol and methyl plant sterols campesterol and brassicasterol. Comparison of lipid parameters per diagnosis based on relevant predictors revealed significantly lower concentrations of brassicasterol (P < 0.001) in CSF of patients with AD. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that brassicasterol improved the predictive value when added to pTau and Aβ42 in a biomarker model.
Brassicasterol might be a relevant additional biomarker in AD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant sterols such as sitosterol and campesterol are frequently applied as functional food in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Recently, it became clear that plasma derived plant sterols accumulate in murine brains. We questioned whether plant sterols in the brain are associated with alterations in brain cholesterol homeostasis and subsequently with brain functions. ATP binding cassette (Abc)g5-/- mice, a phytosterolemia model, were compared to Abcg5+/+ mice for serum and brain plant sterol accumulation and behavioral and cognitive performance. Serum and brain plant sterol concentrations were respectively 35-70-fold and 5-12-fold increased in Abcg5-/- mice (P<0.001). Plant sterol accumulation resulted in decreased levels of desmosterol (P<0.01) and 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol (P<0.01) in the hippocampus, the brain region important for learning and memory functions, and increased lanosterol levels (P<0.01) in the cortex. However, Abcg5-/- and Abcg5+/+ displayed no differences in memory functions or in anxiety and mood related behavior. The swimming speed of the Abcg5-/- mice was slightly higher compared to Abcg5+/+ mice (P<0.001). In conclusion, plant sterols in the brains of Abcg5-/- mice did have consequences for brain cholesterol metabolism, but did not lead to an overt phenotype of memory or anxiety related behavior. Thus, our data provide no contra-indication for nutritional intake of plant sterol enriched nutrition.
Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 03/2011; 66(2):149-56. · 2.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Statins are essential for the reduction of risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). One of many genes influenced by statin treatment is the ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) gene, which plays an important role in metabolism of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The present aim was to test if the ABCA1 C69T polymorphism influences CHD risk and response to statin treatment.
In a large cohort of 1686 FH patients without a history of CHD before 1 January 1990, we analysed statin-ABCA1 C69T polymorphism interaction by comparing treated and untreated patients. We used a Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for sex, birth year, and smoking. In analyses restricted to untreated patients, the TT genotype was associated with 1.7 times higher CHD risk than the CC genotype (hazard ratio (HR) =1.65, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.08-2.53; P = 0.02). Conversely, in statin-treated FH patients, CHD risk in TT individuals was not increased (HR: 0.65, 95% CI: 0.35-1.24; P = 0.2). Formal testing confirmed this interaction (P = 0.03). HDL-cholesterol levels were significantly more raised in statin-treated patients with the TT than with the CC genotype (two-way ANOVA, P = 0.045).
In untreated FH patients, the TT genotype of the ABCA1 C69T polymorphism was associated with increased CHD risk. However, in statin-treated patients, CHD risk was no longer significantly different between genotypes, at least partially explained by a higher rise in HDL-cholesterol levels during statin treatment in TT individuals.
European Heart Journal 02/2011; 32(4):469-75. · 14.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE4), which is a well established genetic risk factor for development of Alzheimer's disease (AD), is in genetic disequilibrium with the H2 allele of apolipoprotein C1 (APOC1), giving rise to increased expression of apoC-I. This raises the possibility that the H2 allele of APOC1, either alone or in combination with APOE4, provides a major risk factor for AD. In line herewith, we previously showed that mice overexpressing human APOC1 display impaired learning and memory functions. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the absence of Apoc1 expression in mice may improve memory functions. In contrast with our expectations, Apoc1(-/-) mice showed impaired hippocampal-dependent memory functions, as judged from their performance in the object recognition task (p < 0.001) as compared to their wild-type littermates. No gross changes in brain morphology or in brain sterol concentrations were detected in knockout mice compared to wild-type littermates. Apoc1 deficiency reduced the expression of ApoE mRNA (-25%, p < 0.05), but not ApoE protein levels. In line with a role for apoC-I in inflammatory processes, we observed significantly increased mRNA concentrations of the proinflammatory marker tumor necrosis factor α and oxidative stress related heme oxygenase 1 (Hmox1) in the absence of glial activation. In conclusion, the absence of ApoC-I results in impaired memory functions, which is, together with previous data, suggestive of an important, bell-shaped gene-dose dependent role for ApoC-I in appropriate brain functioning. The relative contributions of the H2 allele of APOC1 and/or APOE4 in the risk assessment in AD remain to be determined.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is characterized by neurofibrillary tangles, beta-amyloid (Abeta) deposition, synapse loss and neurodegeneration. Increasing evidence suggests that vascular risk factors, including high serum cholesterol, play an important role in the development of AD. Cholesterol may promote degenerative processes indirectly by changing the cerebral circulation.
In this study we evaluated the effects of cholesterol on the amount of synapses and Abeta deposition in correlation with glucose transporter type-1 (GLUT-1) levels in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 and wild type (WT) mice during aging.
From 2 months of age, male WT and APP/PS1 mice were fed either a Standard Diet (STD) or a Typical Western Diet (TWD) with 1% cholesterol. A subgroup of AD mice was fed the cholesterol lowering agent LXR-agonist T0901317 (T09). Synaptophysin-immunoreactive presynaptic boutons (SIPBs), Abeta load and GLUT-1 amount were visualized immunohistochemically and quantified in several regions of the hippocampus.
In 15-month-old, but not 8-month-old, APP/PS1 mice we found a significantly higher number of SIPBs compared to WT in most regions of the hippocampus. Mice on TWD diets show increased numbers of SIPBs, both at 8 and 15 months of age, whereas the T09 fed mice show decreased amounts of SIPBs. At 24 months of age, APP/PS1 mice no longer show an increase in the amount of SIPBs compared to WT. We found a significant negative correlation between the number of synaptic boutons and GLUT-1 levels in the dentate gyrus. GLUT-1 levels and Abeta load in 24-month-old mice are currently being processed and will be presented as well. Our results suggest compensatory mechanisms for impaired synaptic function in neurodegenerative diseases, which may be lost in the ageing AD mouse brain. We hypothesize that a high cholesterol intake may cause impaired cerebral blood flow inducing ischemia, fortifying the above mentioned hypothesis of a compensatory mechanism.
FENS Forum of European Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 07/2010
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) has become a widely used tool to examine gene expression levels. Reliable quantification, however, depends on a proper normalization strategy. Normalization with multiple reference genes is becoming the standard, although the most suitable reference genes depend on the applied treatment as well as the tissue or cell type studied. In this study the stability of various reference genes was investigated in cultures of oligodendrocytes derived from either mature or neonatal rats, the latter also in the presence of the liver X receptor (LXR) agonist. The expression stability of ten commonly used reference genes (HPRT, GAPDH, 18S, ActB, CycA, Tbp, Rpl13A, YWHAZ, HMBS, Pgk1) was analyzed using geNorm and NormFinder. When comparing the different types of cell cultures, Rpl13A, CycA, Pgk1 and YWHAZ were identified as most stable genes. After LXR agonist treatment, CycA, Pgk1 and Rpl13A were found to be the most stable by both geNorm and NormFinder. HMBS and the commonly used housekeeping genes GAPDH and 18S turned out to be the most variable according to geNorm and NormFinder. In conclusion, the use of multiple reference genes, instead of only one, in qPCR experiments with rat oligodendrocytes is strongly advised and standard housekeeping genes such as GAPDH and 18S are not recommended as they appear to be relatively unstable under the experimental conditions used. Reference gene selection should always be performed for each individual experiment, since useful reference genes are very specific for every situation.
Journal of neuroscience methods 03/2010; 187(1):78-83. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disturbances in cerebral cholesterol metabolism have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we provide evidence that alterations in brain cholesterol homeostasis also can be a consequence of disease progression. We found that APPSLxPS1mut mice, at the age of 9 months when AD-like pathology starts to develop, display increased levels of the cholesterol precursor desmosterol and of the cholesterol metabolite 27-hydroxy(OH)cholesterol in their cerebellum in comparison with wild-type controls. At the age of 21 months, when APPSLxPS1mut brain contains abundant amyloid deposits, desmosterol levels had further increased (> 200% in comparison with wild-type mice) in all brain regions examined. 24(S)-OHcholesterol levels were increased in hippocampus and cerebellum of the APPSLxPS1mut mice, while 27-OHcholesterol levels were increased in cerebellum exclusively. Brain cholesterol levels remained unaffected. In line with the fact that desmosterol and 24(S)-OHcholesterol are Liver X Receptor (LXR) activators, the LXR-target genes Abca1 and Apoc1 were upregulated predominantly in hippocampus of APPSLxPS1mut mice at both ages evaluated. The reduced expression of the enzyme that converts desmosterol into cholesterol, the Selective AD indicator 1 gene (Seladin-1/Dhcr24), in both cortex and cerebellum may underlie the increased desmosterol levels in 21 month-old APPSLxPS1mut mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to compare the structure of bladders from a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease with age matched control animals and to explore the idea that any structural differences might be related to functional bladder changes associated with the condition.
Two groups of mice were used. Transgenic animals in which the murine Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) gene has been partly replaced by the human APP including both the Swedish and London mutations and that overexpress a mutant of the human Presenilin 1 gene (PS1M146L) driven by the PDGF promoter. The transgenic mice (App(SL)/PS1(M146L)) aged 24+/-3 months were used. The second group was an age matched control group of C57 black mice. The bladders from each group were isolated, fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde and prepared for immunohistochemistry. Antibodies to the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT) and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) were used to identify neural structures.
Cholinergic nerves (VAChT(+)) were observed in the inner and outer muscle bundles of App(SL)/PS1(M146L) and control mice. No major differences were noted in the distribution of these fibres. In contrast, there was a distinct difference in the innervation of the sub-urothelial layer. In App1(SL)/PS1(M146L) mice there were numerous VAChT and nNOS positive fibres in sharp contrast to the paucity of similar nerves in control animals. VAChT and nNOS did not appear to co-localise in the same nerve fibres within the lamina propria. Pairs of nerve fibres, nNOS(+) and VAChT(+), were observed to be intertwined and run in close proximity. A particularly unusual feature of the App(SL)/PS1(M146L) mouse bladder was the presence of neurones within the bladder wall. These nerve cell bodies were seen in all App(SL)/PS1(M146L) mouse bladders. The neurones could be found singly or in small ganglion like groups of cells and were located in all layers of the bladder wall (sub-urothelium, in the lamina propria adjacent to the inner muscle and within the inner muscle and outer muscle layers). No nerve cells or small ganglia were noted in any of the control bladders studied.
There are structural differences in the bladders of App(SL)/PS1(M146L) mice compared to control animals. These differences are associated with sub-urothelial nerves which, because of their location, are likely to be sensory fibres. This may lead to a changed sensory processing from the App(SL)/PS1(M146L) bladders. The physiological role of the intra-mural neurones and ganglia is not known. It is speculated that they may be associated with peripheral motor/sensory mechanisms linked to the generation and modulation of sensation.
Journal of chemical neuroanatomy 12/2009; 39(3):204-10. · 1.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alterations in cerebral cholesterol metabolism are thought to play a role in the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Liver X receptors (LXRs) are key regulators of cholesterol metabolism. The synthetic LXR activator, T0901317 has been reported to improve memory functions in animal models for AD and to reduce amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition in the brain. Here we provide evidence that long-term administration of T0901317 to aged, 21-month-old APPSLxPS1mut mice restores impaired memory. Cerebral cholesterol turnover was enhanced as indicated by the increased levels of brain cholesterol precursors and the upregulation of LXR-target genes Abca1, Abcg1, and Apoe. Unexpectedly, the improved memory functions in the APPSLxPS1mut mice after T0901317 treatment were not accompanied by a decrease in Aβ plaque load in the cortex or hippocampus DG, CA1 or CA3. T0901317 administration also enhanced cerebral cholesterol turnover in aged C57BL/6NCrl mice, but did not further improve their memory functions. In conclusion, long-term activation of the LXR-pathway restored memory functions in aged APPSLxPS1mut mice with advanced Aβ deposition. However the beneficial effects of T0901317 on memory in the APPSLxPS1mut mice were independent of the Aβ plaque load in the hippocampus, but were associated with enhanced brain cholesterol turnover.
Neurobiology of aging 09/2009; 32(7):1262-72. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After it became clear that aberrations in cerebral cholesterol metabolism could lead to severe neurological diseases the interest
in the regulation of brain cholesterol homeostasis increased. In particular when evidence was obtained for an important role
of cholesterol in the still largely unknown molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s Disease. Many proteins involved in
peripheral cholesterol metabolism are also present in the brain. Yet, brain cholesterol metabolism is very different from
that in the remainder of the body. The present chapter first addresses the overall cholesterol turnover in the brain; where
cholesterol is synthesized, where it resides and how it is secreted from the brain. Subsequently, the focus is on mechanisms
related to intercellular cholesterol trafficking between astrocytes and neurons.