Karen Duff

Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York, United States

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Publications (156)995.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) deficits have been associated with schizophrenia susceptibility and supplementation has been recommended for those at-risk. Although the mechanism by which a deficit confers risk is unknown, vitamin D is a potent transcriptional modulator and can regulate proline dehydrogenase (PRODH) expression. PRODH maps to chromosome 22q11, a region conferring the highest known genetic risk of schizophrenia, and encodes proline oxidase, which catalyzes proline catabolism. l-Proline is a neuromodulator at glutamatergic synapses, and peripheral hyperprolinemia has been associated with decreased IQ, cognitive impairment, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia. We investigated the relationship between 25(OH)D and schizophrenia, comparing fasting plasma 25(OH)D in 64 patients and 90 matched controls. We then tested for a mediating effect of hyperprolinemia on the association between 25(OH)D and schizophrenia. 25(OH)D levels were significantly lower in patients, and 25(OH)D insufficiency associated with schizophrenia (OR 2.1, adjusted p = 0.044, 95% CI: 1.02–4.46). Moreover, 25(OH)D insufficient subjects had three times greater odds of hyperprolinemia than those with optimal levels (p = 0.035, 95% CI: 1.08–8.91), and formal testing established that hyperprolinemia is a significantly mediating phenotype that may explain over a third of the effect of 25(OH)D insufficiency on schizophrenia risk. This study presents a mechanism by which 25(OH)D insufficiency confers risk of schizophrenia; via proline elevation due to reduced PRODH expression, and a concomitant dysregulation of neurotransmission. Although definitive causality cannot be confirmed, these findings strongly support vitamin D supplementation in patients, particularly for those with elevated proline, who may represent a large subgroup of the schizophrenia population.
    Schizophrenia Research 01/2014; · 4.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Microtubule-based axonal transport is believed to become globally disrupted in Alzheimer's disease in part due to alterations of tau expression or phosphorylation. We previously showed that axonal transport rates along retinal ganglion axons are unaffected by deletion of normal mouse tau or by overexpression of wild-type human tau. Here, we report that htau mice expressing 3-fold higher levels of human tau in the absence of mouse tau also display normal fast and slow transport kinetics despite the presence of abnormally hyperphosphorylated tau in some neurons. In addition, markers of slow transport (neurofilament light subunit) and fast transport (snap25) exhibit normal distributions along optic axons of these mice. These studies demonstrate that human tau expressed, even when associated with a limited degree of tau pathology, do not necessarily impair general axonal transport function in vivo.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 07/2013; · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stress induces aggregation of RNA-binding proteins to form inclusions, termed stress granules (SGs). Recent evidence suggests that SG proteins also colocalize with neuropathological structures, but whether this occurs in Alzheimer's disease is unknown. We examined the relationship between SG proteins and neuropathology in brain tissue from P301L Tau transgenic mice, as well as in cases of Alzheimer's disease and FTDP-17. The pattern of SG pathology differs dramatically based on the RNA-binding protein examined. SGs positive for T-cell intracellular antigen-1 (TIA-1) or tristetraprolin (TTP) initially do not colocalize with tau pathology, but then merge with tau inclusions as disease severity increases. In contrast, G3BP (ras GAP-binding protein) identifies a novel type of molecular pathology that shows increasing accumulation in neurons with increasing disease severity, but often is not associated with classic markers of tau pathology. TIA-1 and TTP both bind phospho-tau, and TIA-1 overexpression induces formation of inclusions containing phospho-tau. These data suggest that SG formation might stimulate tau pathophysiology. Thus, study of RNA-binding proteins and SG biology highlights novel pathways interacting with the pathophysiology of AD, providing potentially new avenues for identifying diseased neurons and potentially novel mechanisms regulating tau biology.
    Journal of Neuroscience 06/2012; 32(24):8270-83. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process versus those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process);5,6 thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
    Autophagy 04/2012; 8(4). · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
    Autophagy 04/2012; 8(4):445-544. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    Autophagy 04/2012; 4454(8):445-544. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    Autophagy 01/2012; 4454(8):445-544. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tauopathy in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease starts in the entorhinal cortex (EC) and spreads anatomically in a defined pattern. To test whether pathology initiating in the EC spreads through the brain along synaptically connected circuits, we have generated a transgenic mouse model that differentially expresses pathological human tau in the EC and we have examined the distribution of tau pathology at different timepoints. In relatively young mice (10-11 months old), human tau was present in some cell bodies, but it was mostly observed in axons within the superficial layers of the medial and lateral EC, and at the terminal zones of the perforant pathway. In old mice (>22 months old), intense human tau immunoreactivity was readily detected not only in neurons in the superficial layers of the EC, but also in the subiculum, a substantial number of hippocampal pyramidal neurons especially in CA1, and in dentate gyrus granule cells. Scattered immunoreactive neurons were also seen in the deeper layers of the EC and in perirhinal and secondary somatosensory cortex. Immunoreactivity with the conformation-specific tau antibody MC1 correlated with the accumulation of argyrophilic material seen in old, but not young mice. In old mice, axonal human tau immunoreactivity, especially at the endzones of the perforant pathway, was greatly reduced. Relocalization of tau from axons to somatodendritic compartments and propagation of tauopathy to regions outside of the EC correlated with mature tangle formation in neurons in the EC as revealed by thioflavin-S staining. Our data demonstrate propagation of pathology from the EC and support a trans-synaptic mechanism of spread along anatomically connected networks, between connected and vulnerable neurons. In general, the mouse recapitulates the tauopathy that defines the early stages of AD and provides a model for testing mechanisms and functional outcomes associated with disease progression.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e31302. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms underlying the chronic neurodegeneration that occurs in Parkinson's disease (PD) are unknown. One emerging hypothesis is that neural systems deteriorate and eventually degenerate due to a primary failure of either extrinsic neurotrophic support or the intrinsic cellular pathways that mediate such support. One of the cellular pathways that have been often identified in mediating neurotrophic effects is that of PI3K/Akt signaling. In addition, recent observations have suggested a primary failure of PI3K/Akt signaling in animal models and in PD patients. Therefore, to explore the possible role of endogenous Akt signaling in maintaining the viability and functionality of substantia nigra (SN) dopamine neurons, one of the principal systems affected in PD, we have used an adeno-associated viral vector to transduce them with a dominant negative (DN) form of Akt, the pleckstrin homology (PH) domain alone (DN(PH)-Akt). In addition, we have examined the effect of DN(PH)-Akt in murine models of two risk factors for human PD: advanced age and increased expression of α-synuclein. We find that transduction of these neurons in normal adult mice has no effect on any aspect of their morphology at 4 or 7weeks. However, in both aged mice and in transgenic mice with increased expression of human α-synuclein we observe decreased phenotypic expression of the catecholamine synthetic enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in dopaminergic axons and terminals in the striatum. In aged transgenic α-synuclein over-expressing mice this reduction was 2-fold as great. We conclude that the two principal risk factors for human PD, advanced age and increased expression of α-synuclein, reveal a dependence of dopaminergic neurons on endogenous Akt signaling for maintenance of axonal phenotype.
    Neurobiology of Disease 07/2011; 44(2):215-22. · 5.62 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2011; 7(4).
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2011; 7(4).
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    ABSTRACT: Although macroautophagy is known to be an essential degradative process whereby autophagosomes mediate the engulfment and delivery of cytoplasmic components into lysosomes, the lipid changes underlying autophagosomal membrane dynamics are undetermined. Here, we show that phospholipase D1 (PLD1), which is primarily associated with the endosomal system, partially relocalizes to the outer membrane of autophagosome-like structures upon nutrient starvation. The localization of PLD1, as well as the starvation-induced increase in PLD activity, are altered by wortmannin, a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor, suggesting PLD1 may act downstream of Vps34. Pharmacological inhibition of PLD and genetic ablation of PLD1 in mouse cells decreased the starvation-induced expansion of LC3-positive compartments, consistent with a role of PLD1 in the regulation of autophagy. Furthermore, inhibition of PLD results in higher levels of Tau and p62 aggregates in organotypic brain slices. Our in vitro and in vivo findings establish a role for PLD1 in autophagy.
    Nature Communications 12/2010; 1:142. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: beta-amyloid levels are elevated in Down syndrome (DS) patients throughout life and are believed to cause Alzheimer's disease (AD) in adult members of this population. However, it is not known if beta-amyloid contributes to intellectual disability in younger individuals. We used a gamma-secretase inhibitor to lower beta-amyloid levels in young mice that model DS. This treatment corrected learning deficits characteristic of these mice, suggesting that beta-amyloid-lowering therapies might improve cognitive function in young DS patients.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(6):e10943. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(6). · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2010; 6(4).
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    ABSTRACT: A hallmark feature of Alzheimer's disease pathology is the presence of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which are intracellular aggregates of conformationally abnormal and hyperphosphorylated tau. The presence of NFTs in the forebrain is associated with impairments of cognitive function, supporting a central role for tau in dementia. The significance of the accumulation of NFTs for neuronal and cognitive function is still obscure. It is possible that NFTs disrupt synaptic transmission and plasticity, leading to memory deficits and cognitive malfunction. To elucidate the relationship between the development of tau pathology and synaptic and cognitive functions, we performed behavioral tests and electrophysiological experiments in the htau mouse. Here we report age-dependent cognitive and physiological impairments in htau mice that preceded neurodegeneration. Twelve-month-old htau mice with moderate tau pathology, but not 4-month-old mice with early-stage tau pathology, presented cognitive deficits in an object recognition memory task in which the visual recognition memory of a novel object was disrupted. Moreover, only 12-month-old htau mice exhibit spatial memory deficits, as indicated by the impaired performance in the Morris water maze. In addition, we report that basal synaptic transmission and induction of long-term potentiation with high-frequency stimulation, but not theta burst stimulation, is perturbed in hippocampal CA1 region of old but not young htau mice. Our results suggest that tau pathology may underlie an age-dependent learning impairment through disruption of synaptic function.
    Journal of Neuroscience 09/2009; 29(34):10741-9. · 6.91 Impact Factor
  • American Journal Of Pathology 08/2009; 175(2):736. · 4.52 Impact Factor
  • John Hardy, Karen Duff
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic data, implicating mutations framing the beta-amyloid segment of the amyloid precursor protein as causes of Alzheimer's disease are reviewed and integrated with information on the normal processing of the amyloid precursor protein. The data indicating that there is a second and quantitatively major locus for early-onset Alzheimer's disease on the long arm of chromosome 14 are reviewed. The prediction that this second genetic locus will produce a protein intimately involved in the metabolism of the amyloid precursor protein is reiterated, together with the prediction that all causes of Alzheimer's disease will directly involve this process.
    Annals of Medicine. 07/2009; 25(5).
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    ABSTRACT: Intrinsic optical emissions, such as autofluorescence and second harmonic generation (SHG), are potentially useful for functional fluorescence imaging and biomedical disease diagnosis for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, using multiphoton and SHG microscopy, we identified sources of intrinsic emissions in ex vivo, acute brain slices from AD transgenic mouse models. We observed autofluorescence and SHG at senile plaques as well as characterized their emission spectra. The utility of intrinsic emissions was demonstrated by imaging senile plaque autofluorescence in conjunction with SHG from microtubule arrays to assess the polarity of microtubules near pathological lesions. Our results suggest that tissues from AD transgenic models contain distinct intrinsic emissions, which can provide valuable information about the disease mechanisms.
    Optics Express 04/2009; 17(5):3679-89. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    Scott A Small, Karen Duff
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease is characterized by abnormal elevation of Abeta peptide and abnormal hyperphosphorylation of the tau protein. The "amyloid hypothesis," which is based on molecular defects observed in autosomal-dominant early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD), suggests a serial model of causality, whereby elevation of Abeta drives other disease features including tau hyperphosphorylation. Here, we review recent evidence from drug trials, genetic studies, and experimental work in animal models that suggests that an alternative model might exist in late-onset AD (LOAD), the complex and more common form of the disease. Specifically, we hypothesize a "dual pathway" model of causality, whereby Abeta and tau can be linked by separate mechanisms driven by a common upstream driver. This model may account for the results of recent drug trials and, if confirmed, may guide future drug development.
    Neuron 12/2008; 60(4):534-42. · 15.77 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

11k Citations
995.77 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1999–2013
    • Nathan Kline Institute
      Orangeburg, New York, United States
  • 2008–2012
    • Columbia University
      • Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2003–2009
    • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
      • • "Dominick P. Purpura" Department of Neuroscience
      • • Department of Pathology
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 1993–2009
    • University of South Florida
      Tampa, Florida, United States
    • Karolinska Institutet
      • Institutionen för klinisk neurovetenskap
      Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
    • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
      • Division of Biochemistry
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1970–2009
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2005–2007
    • Georgetown University
      • Department of Neurology
      Washington, D. C., DC, United States
  • 2004–2006
    • McGill University
      • Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    • McLean Hospital
      • Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory
      Cambridge, MA, United States
  • 2000–2004
    • New York University
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      New York City, NY, United States
    • The University of Tokyo
      • Faculty and Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
      Tokyo, Tokyo-to, Japan
  • 2002
    • Boston University
      • Department of Physics
      Boston, MA, United States
    • Baylor College of Medicine
      • Department of Molecular & Human Genetics
      Houston, TX, United States
  • 2001
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      • Department of Neurology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 1997–2001
    • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
      • Department of Neurology
      Scottsdale, AZ, United States
  • 1996
    • The University of Tampa
      Tampa, Florida, United States