[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human prion diseases are a group of rare fatal neurodegenerative conditions with well-developed clinical and neuropathological diagnostic criteria. Recent observations have expanded the spectrum of prion diseases beyond the classically recognized forms.
In the present study we report six patients with a novel, apparently sporadic disease characterised by thalamic degeneration and rapidly progressive dementia (duration of illness 2¿12 months; age at death: 55¿81 years). Light and electron microscopic immunostaining for the prion protein (PrP) revealed a peculiar intraneuritic distribution in neocortical regions. Proteinase K resistant PrP (PrPres) was undetectable by Western blotting in frontal cortex from the three cases with frozen tissue, even after enrichment for PrPres by centrifugation or by phosphotungstic acid precipitation. Conformation-dependent immunoassay analysis using a range of PK digestion conditions (and no PK digestion) produced only very limited evidence of meaningful D-N (denatured/native) values, indicative of the presence of disease-associated PrP (PrPSc) in these cases, when the results were compared with appropriate negative control groups.
Our observation expands the spectrum of conditions associated with rapidly progressive dementia and may have implications for the understanding of the pathogenesis of prion diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have highlighted a group of 4-repeat (4R) tauopathies that are characterised neuropathologically by widespread, globular glial inclusions (GGIs). Tau immunohistochemistry reveals 4R immunoreactive globular oligodendroglial and astrocytic inclusions and the latter are predominantly negative for Gallyas silver staining. These cases are associated with a range of clinical presentations, which correlate with the severity and distribution of underlying tau pathology and neurodegeneration. Their heterogeneous clinicopathological features combined with their rarity and under-recognition have led to cases characterised by GGIs being described in the literature using various and redundant terminologies. In this report, a group of neuropathologists form a consensus on the terminology and classification of cases with GGIs. After studying microscopic images from previously reported cases with suspected GGIs (n = 22), this panel of neuropathologists with extensive experience in the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and a documented record of previous experience with at least one case with GGIs, agreed that (1) GGIs were present in all the cases reviewed; (2) the morphology of globular astrocytic inclusions was different to tufted astrocytes and finally that (3) the cases represented a number of different neuropathological subtypes. They also agreed that the different morphological subtypes are likely to be part of a spectrum of a distinct disease entity, for which they recommend that the overarching term globular glial tauopathy (GGT) should be used. Type I cases typically present with frontotemporal dementia, which correlates with the fronto-temporal distribution of pathology. Type II cases are characterised by pyramidal features reflecting motor cortex involvement and corticospinal tract degeneration. Type III cases can present with a combination of frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease with fronto-temporal cortex, motor cortex and corticospinal tract being severely affected. Extrapyramidal features can be present in Type II and III cases and significant degeneration of the white matter is a feature of all GGT subtypes. Improved detection and classification will be necessary for the establishment of neuropathological and clinical diagnostic research criteria in the future.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prospective national screening and surveillance programmes serve a range of public health functions. Objectively determining their adequacy and impact on disease may be problematic for rare disorders. We undertook to assess whether objective measures of disease surveillance intensity could be developed for the rare disorder sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and whether such measures correlate with disease incidence.
From 10 countries with national human prion disease surveillance centres, the annual number of suspected prion disease cases notified to each national unit (n=17 610), referrals for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 14-3-3 protein diagnostic testing (n=28 780) and the number of suspect cases undergoing diagnostic neuropathological examination (n=4885) from 1993 to 2006 were collected. Age and survey year adjusted incidence rate ratios with 95% CIs were estimated using Poisson regression models to assess risk factors for sporadic, non-sporadic and all prion disease cases.
Age and survey year adjusted analysis showed all three surveillance intensity measures (suspected human prion disease notifications, 14-3-3 protein diagnostic test referrals and neuropathological examinations of suspect cases) significantly predicted the incidence of sporadic CJD, non-sporadic CJD and all prion disease.
Routine national surveillance methods adjusted as population rates allow objective determination of surveillance intensity, which correlates positively with reported incidence for human prion disease, especially sporadic CJD, largely independent of national context. The predictive relationship between surveillance intensity and disease incidence should facilitate more rapid delineation of aberrations in disease occurrence and assessment of the adequacy of disease monitoring by national registries.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 08/2013; · 4.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative diseases are characterised by neuronal loss and cerebral deposition of proteins with altered physicochemical properties. The major proteins are amyloid-β (Aβ), tau, α-synuclein, and TDP-43. Although neuropathological studies on elderly individuals have emphasised the importance of mixed pathologies, there have been few observations on the full spectrum of proteinopathies in the ageing brain. During a community-based study we performed comprehensive mapping of neurodegeneration-related proteins and vascular pathology in the brains of 233 individuals (age at death 77-87; 73 examined clinically in detail). While all brains (from individuals with and without dementia) showed some degree of neurofibrillary degeneration, Aβ deposits were observed only in 160 (68.7 %). Further pathologies included α-synucleinopathies (24.9 %), non-Alzheimer tauopathies (23.2 %; including novel forms), TDP-43 proteinopathy (13.3 %), vascular lesions (48.9 %), and others (15.1 %; inflammation, metabolic encephalopathy, and tumours). TDP-43 proteinopathy correlated with hippocampal sclerosis (p < 0.001) and Alzheimer-related pathology (CERAD score and Braak and Braak stages, p = 0.001). The presence of one specific variable (cerebral amyloid angiopathy, Aβ parenchymal deposits, TDP-43 proteinopathy, α-synucleinopathy, vascular lesions, non-Alzheimer type tauopathy) did not increase the probability of the co-occurrence of others (p = 0.24). The number of observed pathologies correlated with AD-neuropathologic change (p < 0.0001). In addition to AD-neuropathologic change, tauopathies associated well with dementia, while TDP-43 pathology and α-synucleinopathy showed strong effects but lost significance when evaluated together with AD-neuropathologic change. Non-AD neurodegenerative pathologies and their combinations have been underestimated, but are frequent in reality as demonstrated here. This should be considered in diagnostic evaluation of biomarkers, and for better clinical stratification of patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Presenile dementia may be caused by a variety of different genetic conditions such as familial Alzheimer's disease, prion disease as well as several hereditary metabolic disorders including adult onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. We report a multigenerational family with autosomal dominant presenile dementia harboring a cerebellar phenotype. Longitudinal clinical work-up in affected family members revealed ataxia accompanied by progressive cognitive decline, rapid loss of global cognition, memory, visuospatial and frontal-executive functions accompanied by progressive motor deterioration and early death. Linkage analysis and exome sequencing identified the p.S170F mutation of Presenilin 1 in all affected individuals, which is known to be associated with very early onset Alzheimer's disease. Additional search for potentially modifying variants revealed in all affected individuals of the third generation a paternally inherited variant p.A58V (rs17571) of Cathepsin D which is considered an independent risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Involvement of cerebellar and brainstem structures leading to functional decortication in addition to rapid progressive presenile dementia in this PSEN1 family may therefore indicate an epistatic effect of the p.A58V Cathepsin D variant on the deleterious course of this disease.
Journal of the neurological sciences 03/2013; 326(1-2):75-82. · 2.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Muscle repair relies on coordinated activation and differentiation of satellite cells, a process that is unable to counterbalance progressive degeneration in sporadic inclusion body myositis (s-IBM). To explore features of myo regeneration, the expression of myogenic regulatory factors Pax7, MyoD and Myogenin and markers of regenerating fibers was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in s-IBM muscle compared with polymyositis, dermatomyositis, muscular dystrophy and age-matched controls. In addition, the capillary density and number of interstitial CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells was determined by double-immunoflourescence staining. Satellite cells and regenerating fibers were significantly increased in s-IBM similar to other inflammatory myopathies and correlated with the intensity of inflammation (R>0.428). Expression of MyoD, visualizing activated satellite cells and proliferating myoblasts, was lower in s-IBM compared to polymyosits. In contrast, Myogenin a marker of myogenic cell differentiation was strongly up-regulated in s-IBM muscle. The microvascular architecture in s-IBM was distorted, although the capillary density was normal. Notably, CD34(+) hematopoietic cells were significantly increased in the interstitial compartment. Our findings indicate profound myo-endothelial remodeling of s-IBM muscle concomitant to inflammation. An altered expression of myogenic regulatory factors involved in satellite cell activation and differentiation, however, might reflect perturbations of muscle repair in s-IBM.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: The external granular layer (EGL) of the developing human cerebellum is detectable until an age of ~ 1 year. It has been described as a thin, evenly calibrated layer of germinal cells. We have repeatedly observed a distinct discontinuous bobbled configuration of the EGL (external granular layer bobbling = EGLB) in human infantile autopsy brains. Aim, materials and methods: We investigated 106 human fetal and infantile postmortem brains (range of gestational week at birth: 14 - term; range of postpartal age: 0 - 500 days) for presence of EGLB and correlated it with gestational/postpartal age, gender, developmental stage of cerebellar cortex, medical history and neuropathological findings. Results: EGLB was detectable in 38/106 (35.8%) cases. EGLB presents as focal series of uniform knob-like protrusions of the EGL. In the notches between individual knobs, capillaries penetrate from the primitive leptomeningeal vascular plexus into the molecular layer. We found EGLB predominantly in depths of fissures of cerebellar hemispheres, vermis and/or tonsils. Presence of EGLB was statistically significantly more common in liveborn cases who died after gestational week 25 and cases with higher maturity grade of the cerebellar cortex, respectively. There was no gender difference. EGLB was not associated with medical history or neuropathological findings. Conclusions: EGLB is a distinct histomorphological feature of the developing cerebellum, which is predominantly found in infants. Our data indicate that EGLB is a physiological phenomenon occuring during cerebellar development at a certain gestational age, although we cannot exclude that it represents an artifact related to tissue fixation. In any case, recognition of this recurring feature is relevant for the practicing neuropathologist and should not be interpreted as a cerebellar migration disorder.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transmission of prions to a new host is frequently accompanied by strain adaptation, a phenomenon that involves reduction of the incubation period, a change in neuropathological features and, sometimes, tissue tropism. Here we show that a strain of synthetic origin (SSLOW), although serially transmitted within the same species, displayed the key attributes of the strain adaptation process. At least four serial passages were required to stabilize the strain-specific SSLOW phenotype. The biological titration of SSLOW revealed a correlation between clinical signs and accumulation of PrP(Sc) in brains of animals inoculated with high doses (10(-1)-10(-5) diluted brain material), but dissociation between the two processes at low dose inocula (10(-6)-10(-8) diluted brain material). At low doses, several asymptomatic animals harbored large amounts of PrP(Sc) comparable with those seen in the brains of terminally ill animals, whereas one clinically ill animal had very little, if any, PrP(Sc). In summary, the current study illustrates that the phenomenon of prion strain adaptation is more common than generally thought and could be observed upon serial transmission without changing the host species. When PrP(Sc) is seeded by recombinant PrP structures different from that of authentic PrP(Sc), PrP(Sc) properties continued to evolve for as long as four serial passages.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2012; 287(36):30205-14. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Here, we summarise the results after carrying out a large survey regarding the assessment of vascular alterations, both vessel changes and vascular lesions in an inter-laboratory setting. In total, 32 neuropathologists from 22 centres, most being members of BrainNet Europe (BNE), participated by filling out a questionnaire with emphasis on assessment of common vascular alterations seen in the brains of aged subjects. A certain level of harmonisation has been reached among BNE members regarding sectioning of the brain, harvesting of brain tissue for histology and staining used when compared to the survey carried out in 2006 by Pantoni and colleagues. The most significant variability was seen regarding the assessment of severity and of clinical significance of vascular alterations. Two strategies have recently been recommended regarding the assessment of vascular alterations in aged and demented subjects. The National Institute on Aging - Alzheimer's Association (NIA-AA) recommends the assessment of hippocampal sclerosis, vascular brain injury and microvascular lesions in 12 regions. Although this strategy will be easy to follow, the recommendations do not inform how the load of observed alterations should be assessed and when the observed lesions are of significance. Deramecourt and his colleagues recommend an assessment and semiquantitative grading of various pathologies in 4 brain regions. This strategy yielded a total score of 0 to 20 as an estimate of pathology load. It is, however, not clear which score is considered to be of clinical significance. Furthermore, in several BNE trials the semiquantitative assessment has yielded poor agreement rates; an observation that might negatively influence the strategy proposed by Deramecourt and his colleagues. In line with NIA-AA, a dichotomised approach of easily recognisable lesions in a standardised set of brain regions harvested for neuropathological assessment and applying reproducible sampling and staining strategies is recommended by BNE. However, a simple strategy regarding assessment of load of alteration is urgently needed to yield reproducible, and at the same time, comparable results between centres.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transmissible agent of prion disease consists of prion protein (PrP) in β-sheet-rich state (PrP(Sc)) that can replicate its conformation according to a template-assisted mechanism. This mechanism postulates that the folding pattern of a newly recruited polypeptide accurately reproduces that of the PrP(Sc) template. Here, three conformationally distinct amyloid states were prepared in vitro using Syrian hamster recombinant PrP (rPrP) in the absence of cellular cofactors. Surprisingly, no signs of prion infection were found in Syrian hamsters inoculated with rPrP fibrils that resembled PrP(Sc), whereas an alternative amyloid state, with a folding pattern different from that of PrP(Sc), induced a pathogenic process that led to transmissible prion disease. An atypical proteinase K-resistant, transmissible PrP form that resembled the structure of the amyloid seeds was observed during a clinically silent stage before authentic PrP(Sc) emerged. The dynamics between the two forms suggest that atypical proteinase K-resistant PrP (PrPres) gave rise to PrP(Sc). While no PrP(Sc) was found in preparations of fibrils using protein misfolding cyclic amplification with beads (PMCAb), rPrP fibrils gave rise to atypical PrPres in modified PMCAb, suggesting that atypical PrPres was the first product of PrP(C) misfolding triggered by fibrils. The current work demonstrates that a new mechanism responsible for prion diseases different from the PrP(Sc)-templated or spontaneous conversion of PrP(C) into PrP(Sc) exists. This study provides compelling evidence that noninfectious amyloids with a structure different from that of PrP(Sc) could lead to transmissible prion disease. This work has numerous implications for understanding the etiology of prion and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Journal of Neuroscience 05/2012; 32(21):7345-55. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prions, composed of a misfolded protein designated PrP(Sc), are infectious agents causing fatal neurodegenerative diseases. We have shown previously that, following induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, prion-infected mice succumb to disease significantly earlier than controls, concomitant with the deposition of PrP(Sc) aggregates in inflamed white matter areas. In the present work, we asked whether prion disease acceleration by experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis results from infiltration of viable prion-infected immune cells into the central nervous system.
C57Bl/6 J mice underwent intraperitoneal inoculation with scrapie brain homogenates and were later induced with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by inoculation of MOG(35-55) in complete Freund's adjuvant supplemented with pertussis toxin. Spleen and lymph node cells from the co-induced animals were reactivated and subsequently injected into naïve mice as viable cells or as cell homogenates. Control groups were infected with viable and homogenized scrapie immune cells only with complete Freund's adjuvant. Prion disease incubation times as well as levels and sites of PrP(Sc) deposition were next evaluated.
We first show that acceleration of prion disease by experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis requires the presence of high levels of spleen PrP(Sc). Next, we present evidence that mice infected with activated prion-experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis viable cells succumb to prion disease considerably faster than do mice infected with equivalent cell extracts or other controls, concomitant with the deposition of PrP(Sc) aggregates in white matter areas in brains and spinal cords.
Our results indicate that inflammatory targeting of viable prion-infected immune cells to the central nervous system accelerates prion disease propagation. We also show that in the absence of such targeting it is the load of PrP(Sc) in the inoculum that determines the infectivity titers for subsequent transmissions. Both of these conclusions have important clinical implications as related to the risk of prion disease contamination of blood products.
Journal of Neuroinflammation 03/2012; 9:58. · 4.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) comprises a group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders associated with spastic paraparesis (pure HSP) with or without additional neurological symptoms (complicated HSP). Here we present a case of an adult-onset, apparently autosomal-dominant, complicated form of HSP. Onset of clinical symptoms was at the age 40 years and characterised by slowly progressive corticospinal tract dysfunction, dysarthria, disorientation, extrapyramidal symptoms, and bilateral ptosis. Cranial MRI revealed hyperintensities on T2-weighted sequences mostly in the posterior limb of the internal capsule. The proband deceased at the age of 64 years. As morphological substrate for the slowly progressive clinical symptoms, comprehensive neuropathological and ultrastructural evaluation revealed a novel oligodendrogliopathy with distinctive, partly ubiquitinated and p62 positive fibrillar inclusions evolving into crystalloid deposits, containing elements of the oligodendroglial cytoskeleton (α- and β-tubulin, TPPP/p25). In the central nervous system, accumulation of crystalloid structures has been related to histiocytes but not to glial cells. This study has implications for the understanding on how the human central nervous system reacts to protracted dysfunction and disruption of the oligodendroglial cytoskeleton, including development of crystalloid structures, which have not yet been reported in neurodegenerative diseases including HSP.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, we reported widespread intraneuronal prion protein (PrP) immunoreactivity in genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) associated with the E200K mutation. Here, we evaluated 6 cases ofsporadic CJD MM type 1, 5 MV type 2, and 7 VV type 2 and compared their anatomical appearance with that of 29 E200K genetic CJD (gCJD) cases. We also performed double immunolabeling for ubiquitin, p62, early endosomal marker rab5, and immunogold electronmicroscopy in 3 cases. We identified 4 morphological types of intraneuronal PrP immunoreactivity: one type, defined as multiple globular structures, was significantly associated with a subset of E200K gCJD cases and was distinct from the intraneuronal small dotlike PrP immunoreactivity seen in sporadic CJD. Whereas the latter colocalized with rab5, there were single large (7.5 μm-15 μm) globular inclusion body-like structures detected predominantly but not exclusively in E200K gCJD; these were immunoreactive in part for ubiquitin and p62 and showed focal γ-tubulin immunoreactivity, suggesting aggresome features. Ultrastructural examination using immunogold revealed PrP localization in aggresome-like structures and in autophagic vacuoles. These findings suggest that the permanent production of mutant PrP in the E200K gCJD cases overwhelms the ubiquitin-proteasome system and shifts the balance toward selectivemacroautophagy and/or to ubiquitinated inclusion body and aggresome formation as a cytoprotective effort to sequester the mutant protein.
Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 03/2012; 71(3):223-32. · 4.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: α-Synuclein is the major protein associated with Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy. Since α-synuclein is present in the brain in physiological conditions as a presynaptic protein, it is crucial to characterize disease-associated modifications to develop an in vivo biomarker. With the aim to develop antibodies showing high specificity and sensitivity for disease-associated α-synuclein, synthetic peptides containing different amino acid sequences were used for immunization of mice. After generation of α-synuclein aggregates, ELISA and immunoblotting were used to test the specificity of antibodies. Tissue microarray sections originating from different human α-synucleinopathies were used to compare immunostaining with other, commercially available antibodies. Immunization of mice with the peptide TKEGVVHGVATVAE (amino acid 44-57 of α-synuclein) resulted in the generation of a monoclonal antibody (5G4), which was able to bind aggregated α-synuclein preparation in sandwich ELISA or coated on magnetic beads. 5G4 proved to be superior to other antibodies in comparative immunohistochemical studies by revealing more widespread and distinct α-synuclein pathology. Immunoblotting of human brain tissue revealed an additional band seen in dementia with Lewy bodies, whereas the band representing monomeric α-synuclein was very weak or lacking. In summary, the 5G4 antibody is most promising for re-evaluation of archival material and may offer new perspective for the development of in vivo diagnostic assays for detecting disease-associated α-synuclein in body fluids.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent evidence suggests that soluble oligomeric amyloid-β (Aβ) assemblies are critically involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have generated a conformation-dependent monoclonal antibody (9D5) that selectively recognizes low-molecular weight AβpE3 oligomers, and demonstrated its diagnostic and therapeutic potential. Here, we further characterize the specificity of this antibody by evaluating a spectrum of neurodegeneration-related protein deposits for cross-reactivity, and by comparing the staining pattern of 9D5 with a generic Aβ antibody that targets a linear epitope (mAb NT244), and with another conformation-dependent Aβ antibody that selectively labels amyloid fibrils of various molecular weights (pAb OC). The 9D5 antibody does not cross-react with other aggregated protein deposits in brains of progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, argyrophilic grain disease, Pick's disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, multiple system atrophy, frontotemporal lobar degeneration or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with TDP-43 inclusions, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and vessel changes in Binswanger encephalopathy, demonstrating the specificity of 9D5 for Aβ deposits. While NT244 and OC showed a comparable plaque load, 9D5 detected only approximately 15% of the total Aβ plaque load in the entorhinal cortex, the CA1 region, and the temporal neocortex. Our study further supports a possible therapeutic advantage of 9D5 by the highly specific recognition of an epitope found only in oligomeric assemblies of AβpE3 of AD patients. Moreover, selective binding to only a pathogenetically relevant fraction of Aβ deposits serves as rationale for passive immunization with 9D5-derivatives by limiting potential side effects of vaccination due to dissolvement of existing amyloid deposits.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The abnormal misfolded isoform of prion protein (PrPd; "d" for disease) is considered as a surrogate marker for infectivity in the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). In this experiment, we used intraocular inoculation to study PrPd deposition in the visual system of the brain of mice infected with the Fujisaki (K.Fu) strain of Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease. We report here that PrPd is deposited in the superior colliculus following contralateral intraocular inoculation and thus follows neuronal connections when it spreads into the brain. Until 26 weeks postinoculation, no PrPd-specific immunostaining was observed in the brain. At 27 weeks postinoculation, PrPd targeted to the contralateral superior colliculus as delicate granular synaptic deposits located in the superficial part of this structure. As already reported, a few spongiform vacuoles were visible in the same area by conventional H and E staining. In several other sections, vacuoles were visible but no PrPd staining could be detected.
Folia neuropathologica / Association of Polish Neuropathologists and Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences. 01/2012; 50(1):85-8.