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The authors had validated a proprietary method, Transcriptome-To-Metabolome™ (TTM™) Biosimulation, for using the transcriptome to determine parameters for kinetic biosimulation of 16 core metabolic pathways. In vivo and in silico evidence confirmed that hippocampal cholesterol metabolism decreases with aging and increases with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The molecular studies on aging primate and human hippocampus, including AD samples, provided internal validations on the biosimulations, while evidence from the literature, bibliome, provided external validations. This study extends the investigations with the TTM™ Biosimulations into the changes in these 16 metabolic pathways in aging male human hippocampus and for stages of AD. The authors report robust hippocampal hypometabolism in the fifth to tenth decade of life involving glucose and lipid metabolism in male humans. These findings are validated externally from the bibliome. Several changes in AD are demonstrated to be exaggerations or deviations of very late stage changes of normal aging among these pathways.
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... The TTM TM method is patent pending (Phelix 2011;Phelix et al. 2011;Valdez et al. 2011), wherein the gene expression level (see above) values are used to derive a set of k-values via globalisation (Fundel et al. 2008) to be used as a tool. Each (GSM) sample generated its own unique set of k-values that were input into separate COPASI â TTM TM model files. ...
... This study is a clear demonstration of utility and applicability of the Transcriptome-To-Metabolome TM (TTM TM ) biosimulation method (Phelix 2011;Phelix et al. 2011) for biomarker identification and prediction of plant condition (Schudoma et al. 2012). The method is easily implemented with database, spreadsheet and simulation freeware, e.g. ...
Measuring biomarkers from plant tissue samples is challenging and expensive when the desire is to integrate transcriptomics, fluxomics, metabolomics, lipidomics, proteomics, physiomics and phenomics. We present a computational biology method where only the transcriptome needs to be measured and is used to derive a set of parameters for deterministic kinetic models of metabolic pathways. The technology is called Transcriptome-To-Metabolome™ (TTM™) biosimulations, currently under commercial development, but available for non-commercial use by researchers. The simulated results on metabolites of 30 primary and secondary metabolic pathways in rice (Oryza sativa) were used as the biomarkers to predict whether the transcriptome was from a plant that had been under drought conditions. The rice transcriptomes were accessed from public archives and each individual plant was simulated. This unique quality of the TTM™ technology allows standard analyses on biomarker assessments, i.e. sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, accuracy, receiver operator characteristics (ROC) curve and area under the ROC curve (AUC). Two validation methods were also used, the holdout and 10-fold cross validations. Initially 17 metabolites were identified as candidate biomarkers based on either statistical significance on binary phenotype when compared with control samples or recognition from the literature. The top three biomarkers based on AUC were gibberellic acid 12 (0.89), trehalose (0.80) and sn1-palmitate-sn2-oleic-phosphatidylglycerol (0.70). Neither heat map analyses of transcriptomes nor all 300 metabolites clustered the stressed and control groups effectively. The TTM™ technology allows the emergent properties of the integrated system to generate unique and useful ‘Omics’ information.
... Phelix et. al [3,4] had validated this Transcriptome-To-Metabolome™ (TTM™) Biosimulation Method that uses gene expression levels to determine parameters in deterministic kinetic models of biochemical and transport pathways. The purpose of this brief report is to demonstrate the utility of this patentpending Method as a tool that bridges the translational gap between novel drug target discovery and clinical implementation. ...
Precision medicine requires the right drug at the right dose for the right patient at the right time. This study used a computational biology model of 30 metabolic and transport pathways and multiple compartments to simulate oral dosing of pioglitazone that is currently in clinical trials to delay onset of Alzheimer's disease. The Transcriptome-To-Metabolome™ Method was used to simulate individual human subjects by using their gene expression profiles to determine parameters for the kinetic biosimulation. The in silico plasma profiles for multiple doses matched those for in vivo results from literature. Individual ED50 values were determined on each subject for the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier bound by pioglitazone as the target. This approach will allow determination of effective dosing for individual subjects in clinical trials and patients for treatments.
... It is noteworthy that, while physiological cholesterol synthesis rates and levels in the healthy brain decline more than 40% with age, reflecting the different needs and roles for brain cholesterol at different stages of life, this phenotype is reversed in late-onset AD ( Thelen et al., 2006). Furthermore, there is a strong correlation between levels of brain cholesterol and disease severity in the AD brain (Phelix et al., 2011). ...
According to the amyloid cascade hypothesis, accumulation of the amyloid peptide Aβ, derived by proteolytic processing from the amyloid precursor protein (APP), is the key pathogenic trigger in Alzheimer's disease (AD). This view has led researchers for more than two decades and continues to be the most influential model of neurodegeneration. Nevertheless, close scrutiny of the current evidence does not support a central pathogenic role for Aβ in late-onset AD. Furthermore, the amyloid cascade hypothesis lacks a theoretical foundation from which the physiological generation of Aβ can be understood, and therapeutic approaches based on its premises have failed. We present an alternative model of neurodegeneration, in which sustained cholesterol-associated neuronal distress is the most likely pathogenic trigger in late-onset AD, directly causing oxidative stress, inflammation and tau hyperphosphorylation. In this scenario, Aβ generation is part of an APP-driven adaptive response to the initial cholesterol distress, and its accumulation is neither central to, nor a requirement for, the initiation of the disease. Our model provides a theoretical framework that places APP as a regulator of cholesterol homeostasis, accounts for the generation of Aβ in both healthy and demented brains, and provides suitable targets for therapeutic intervention.
We validated a model of the TGF-β signaling pathway using reactions from Reactome. Using a patentpending technique, gene expression profiles from individual patients are used to determine model parameters. Gene expression profiles from 45 women, normal, or benign tumor and malignant breast cancer were used as training and validating sets for assessing clinical sensitivity and specificity. Biomarkers were identified from the biosimulation results using sensitivity analyses and derivative properties from the model. A membrane signaling marker had sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 60%; while a nuclear transcription factor marker had sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 90% to predict malignancy. Use of Fagan's nomogram increased probability from 7.5% for positive mammogram to 39% with positive results of the biosimulation for the nuclear marker. Our technology will allow researchers to identify and develop biomarkers and assist clinicians in diagnostic and treatment decision making.
The triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) functions at a metabolic cross-road ensuring the rapid equilibration of the triosephosphates produced by aldolase in glycolysis, which is interconnected to lipid metabolism, to glycerol-3-phosphate shuttle and to the pentose phosphate pathway. The enzyme is a stable homodimer, which is catalytically active only in its dimeric form. TPI deficiency is an autosomal recessive multisystem genetic disease coupled with hemolytic anemia and neurological disorder frequently leading to death in early childhood. Various genetic mutations of this enzyme have been identified; the mutations result in decrease in the catalytic activity and/or the dissociation of the dimers into inactive monomers. The impairment of TPI activity apparently does not affect the energy metabolism at system level; however, it results in accumulation of dihydroxyacetone phosphate followed by its chemical conversion into the toxic methylglyoxal, leading to the formation of advanced glycation end products. By now, the research on this disease seems to enter a progressive stage by adapting new model systems such as Drosophila, yeast strains and TPI-deficient mouse, which have complemented the results obtained by prediction and experiments with recombinant proteins or erythrocytes, and added novel data concerning the complexity of the intracellular behavior of mutant TPIs. This paper reviews the recent studies on the structural and catalytic changes caused by mutation and/or nitrotyrosination of the isomerase leading to the formation of an aggregation-prone protein, a characteristic of conformational disorders.
Functional brain variability has been scarcely investigated in cognitively healthy elderly subjects, and it is currently debated whether previous findings of regional metabolic variability are artifacts associated with brain atrophy. The primary purpose of this study was to test whether there is regional cerebral age-related hypometabolism specifically in later stages of life.
MR imaging and FDG-PET data were acquired from 55 cognitively healthy elderly subjects, and voxel-based linear correlations between age and GM volume or regional cerebral metabolism were conducted by using SPM5 in images with and without correction for PVE. To investigate sex-specific differences in the pattern of brain aging, we repeated the above voxelwise calculations after dividing our sample by sex.
Our analysis revealed 2 large clusters of age-related metabolic decrease in the overall sample, 1 in the left orbitofrontal cortex and the other in the right temporolimbic region, encompassing the hippocampus, the parahippocampal gyrus, and the amygdala. The division of our sample by sex revealed significant sex-specific age-related metabolic decrease in the left temporolimbic region of men and in the left dorsolateral frontal cortex of women. When we applied atrophy correction to our PET data, none of the above-mentioned correlations remained significant.
Our findings suggest that age-related functional brain variability in cognitively healthy elderly individuals is largely secondary to the degree of regional brain atrophy, and the findings provide support to the notion that appropriate PVE correction is a key tool in neuroimaging investigations.
It is suggested that NAD(+) availability strongly affects cellular aging and organism lifespan: low NAD(+) availability increases intracellular levels of glycolytic triose phosphates (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate and dihydroxyacetone-phosphate) which, if not further metabolized, decompose spontaneously into methylglyoxal (MG), a glycating agent and source of protein and mitochondrial dysfunction and reactive oxygen species (ROS). MG-damaged proteins and other aberrant polypeptides can induce ROS generation, promote mitochondrial dysfunction and inhibit proteasomal activity. Upregulation of mitogenesis and mitochondrial activity by increased aerobic exercise, or dietary manipulation, helps to maintain NAD(+)availability and thereby decreases MG-induced proteotoxicity. These proposals can explain the apparent paradox whereby aging is seemingly caused by increased ROS-mediated macromolecular damage but is ameliorated by increased aerobic activity. It is also suggested that increasing mitochondrial activity decreases ROS generation, while excess numbers of inactive mitochondria are deleterious due to increased ROS generation. The muscle- and brain-associated dipeptide, carnosine, is an intracellular buffer which can delay senescence in cultured human fibroblasts and delay aging in senescence-accelerated mice. Carnosine's ability to react with MG and possibly other deleterious carbonyl compounds, and scavenge various ROS, may account for its protective ability towards ischemia and ageing.
Age-dependent metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a well established risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but it also confers major risk for impaired cognition in normal aging or Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, little is known about the specific pathways mediating MetS-brain interactions. Here, we performed the first studies quantitatively linking MetS variables to aging changes in brain genome-wide expression and mitochondrial function. In six young adult and six aging female rhesus monkeys, we analyzed gene expression in two major hippocampal subdivisions critical for memory/cognitive function [hippocampus proper, or cornu ammonis (CA), and dentate gyrus (DG)]. Genes that changed with aging [aging-related genes (ARGs)] were identified in each region. Serum variables reflecting insulin resistance and dyslipidemia were used to construct a quantitative MetS index (MSI). This MSI increased with age and correlated negatively with hippocampal mitochondrial function (state III oxidation). More than 2000 ARGs were identified in CA and/or DG, in approximately equal numbers, but substantially more ARGs in CA than in DG were correlated selectively with the MSI. Pathways represented by MSI-correlated ARGs were determined from the Gene Ontology Database and literature. In particular, upregulated CA ARGs representing glucocorticoid receptor (GR), chromatin assembly/histone acetyltransferase, and inflammatory/immune pathways were closely associated with the MSI. These results suggest a novel model in which MetS is associated with upregulation of hippocampal GR-dependent transcription and epigenetic coactivators, contributing to decreased mitochondrial function and brain energetic dysregulation. In turn, these MSI-associated neuroenergetic changes may promote inflammation, neuronal vulnerability, and risk of cognitive impairment/AD.
Advances in lipidomics technology have facilitated the precise detection, identification and profiling of lipid species within tissues. Mass spectrometry allows for identification of lipids as a function of the total number of carbons and double bonds in their acyl chains. Such detailed descriptions of lipid composition can provide a basis for further investigation of cell signaling and metabolic pathways, both physiological and pathological. Here, we applied phospholipid profiling to mouse models relevant to Parkinson's disease, using mice that were transgenic for human alpha-synuclein (alphaSyn) or deleted of endogenous alphaSyn. Proposed functions of alphaSyn include phospholipid binding, regulation of membrane composition, and regulation of vesicular pools. We investigated whether alphaSyn gene dosage interacts with differences in phospholipid composition across brain regions or with age-related changes in brain phospholipid composition. The most dramatic phospholipid changes were observed in alphaSyn wild-type animals as a function of age and gender. alphaSyn genotype-specific changes were also observed in aged, but not young, mice. Our results provide a detailed and systematic characterization of brain phospholipid composition in mice and identify age-related changes relevant both to Parkinson's disease and to normal aging.
We tested the hypotheses that human brain glycogen is mobilized during hypoglycemia and its content increases above normal levels ("supercompensates") after hypoglycemia.
We utilized in vivo (13)C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in conjunction with intravenous infusions of [(13)C]glucose in healthy volunteers to measure brain glycogen metabolism during and after euglycemic and hypoglycemic clamps.
After an overnight intravenous infusion of 99% enriched [1-(13)C]glucose to prelabel glycogen, the rate of label wash-out from [1-(13)C]glycogen was higher (0.12 +/- 0.05 vs. 0.03 +/- 0.06 micromol x g(-1) x h(-1), means +/- SD, P < 0.02, n = 5) during a 2-h hyperinsulinemic-hypoglycemic clamp (glucose concentration 57.2 +/- 9.7 mg/dl) than during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (95.3 +/- 3.3 mg/dl), indicating mobilization of glucose units from glycogen during moderate hypoglycemia. Five additional healthy volunteers received intravenous 25-50% enriched [1-(13)C]glucose over 22-54 h after undergoing hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic (glucose concentration 92.4 +/- 2.3 mg/dl) and hyperinsulinemic-hypoglycemic (52.9 +/- 4.8 mg/dl) clamps separated by at least 1 month. Levels of newly synthesized glycogen measured from 4 to 80 h were higher after hypoglycemia than after euglycemia (P <or= 0.01 for each subject), indicating increased brain glycogen synthesis after moderate hypoglycemia.
These data indicate that brain glycogen supports energy metabolism when glucose supply from the blood is inadequate and that its levels rebound to levels higher than normal after a single episode of moderate hypoglycemia in humans.
Gene expression profiles were assessed in the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, superior-frontal gyrus, and postcentral gyrus across the lifespan of 55 cognitively intact individuals aged 20–99 years. Perspectives on global gene changes that are associated with brain aging emerged, revealing two overarching concepts. First, different regions of the forebrain exhibited substantially different gene profile changes with age. For example, comparing equally powered groups, 5,029 probe sets were significantly altered with age in the superior-frontal gyrus, compared with 1,110 in the entorhinal cortex. Prominent change occurred in the sixth to seventh decades across cortical regions, suggesting that this period is a critical transition point in brain aging, particularly in males. Second, clear gender differences in brain aging were evident, suggesting that the brain undergoes sexually dimorphic changes in gene expression not only in development but also in later life. Globally across all brain regions, males showed more gene change than females. Further, Gene Ontology analysis revealed that different categories of genes were predominantly affected in males vs. females. Notably, the male brain was characterized by global decreased catabolic and anabolic capacity with aging, with down-regulated genes heavily enriched in energy production and protein synthesis/transport categories. Increased immune activation was a prominent feature of aging in both sexes, with proportionally greater activation in the female brain. These data open opportunities to explore age-dependent changes in gene expression that set the balance between neurodegeneration and compensatory mechanisms in the brain and suggest that this balance is set differently in males and females, an intriguing idea.
• entorhinal cortex
• sex differences
• superior frontal gyrus
Aspects of metabolic control theory and experiments from metabolic biochemistry are reviewed in order to deduce the circumstances
in which experimental studies involving metabolomics have the greatest chance of success. It is concluded that metabolic changes
effected mainly through a single enzyme are those most likely to lead to large changes in metabolite concentrations. Metabolic
changes brought about through signal transduction mechanisms will tend to result in relatively much smaller adjustments in
metabolite concentrations, whilst allowing significant changes in metabolic rates.
The pathogenesis of incipient Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been resistant to analysis because of the complexity of AD and the overlap of its early-stage markers with normal aging. Gene microarrays provide new tools for addressing complexity because they allow overviews of the simultaneous activity of multiple cellular pathways. However, microarray data interpretation is often hindered by low statistical power, high false positives or false negatives, and by uncertain relevance to functional endpoints. Here, we analyzed hippocampal gene expression of nine control and 22 AD subjects of varying severity on 31 separate microarrays. We then tested the correlation of each gene's expression with MiniMental Status Examination (MMSE) and neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) scores across all 31 subjects regardless of diagnosis. These well powered tests revealed a major transcriptional response comprising thousands of genes significantly correlated with AD markers. Several hundred of these genes were also correlated with AD markers across only control and incipient AD subjects (MMSE > 20). Biological process categories associated with incipient AD-correlated genes were identified statistically (ease program) and revealed up-regulation of many transcription factor/signaling genes regulating proliferation and differentiation, including tumor suppressors, oligodendrocyte growth factors, and protein kinase A modulators. In addition, up-regulation of adhesion, apoptosis, lipid metabolism, and initial inflammation processes occurred, and down-regulation of protein folding/metabolism/transport and some energy metabolism and signaling pathways took place. These findings suggest a new model of AD pathogenesis in which a genomically orchestrated up-regulation of tumor suppressor-mediated differentiation and involution processes induces the spread of pathology along myelinated axons.
The adult brain relies on glucose for its energy needs and stores it in the form of glycogen, primarily in astrocytes. Animal and culture studies indicate that brain glycogen may support neuronal function when the glucose supply from the blood is inadequate and/or during neuronal activation. However, the concentration of glycogen and rates of its metabolism in the human brain are unknown. We used in vivo localized 13C-NMR spectroscopy to measure glycogen content and turnover in the human brain. Nine healthy volunteers received intravenous infusions of [1-(13)C]glucose for durations ranging from 6 to 50 h, and brain glycogen labeling and washout were measured in the occipital lobe for up to 84 h. The labeling kinetics suggest that turnover is the main mechanism of label incorporation into brain glycogen. Upon fitting a model of glycogen metabolism to the time courses of newly synthesized glycogen, human brain glycogen content was estimated at approximately 3.5 micromol/g, i.e., three- to fourfold higher than free glucose at euglycemia. Turnover of bulk brain glycogen occurred at a rate of 0.16 micromol.g-1.h-1, implying that complete turnover requires 3-5 days. Twenty minutes of visual stimulation (n=5) did not result in detectable glycogen utilization in the visual cortex, as judged from similar [13C]glycogen levels before and after stimulation. We conclude that the brain stores a substantial amount of glycogen relative to free glucose and metabolizes this store very slowly under normal physiology.
Although expression of some genes is known to change during neuronal activity or plasticity, the overall relationship of gene expression changes to memory or memory disorders is not well understood. Here, we combined extensive statistical microarray analyses with behavioral testing to comprehensively identify genes and pathways associated with aging and cognitive dysfunction. Aged rats were separated into cognitively unimpaired (AU) or impaired (AI) groups based on their Morris water maze performance relative to young-adult (Y) animals. Hippocampal gene expression was assessed in Y, AU, and AI on the fifth (last) day of maze training (5T) or 21 d posttraining (21PT) and in nontrained animals (eight groups total, one array per animal; n = 78 arrays). ANOVA and linear contrasts identified genes that differed from Y generally with aging (differed in both AU and AI) or selectively, with cognitive status (differed only in AI or AU). Altered pathways/processes were identified by overrepresentation analyses of changed genes. With general aging, there was downregulation of axonal growth, cytoskeletal assembly/transport, signaling, and lipogenic/uptake pathways, concomitant with upregulation in immune/inflammatory, lysosomal, lipid/protein degradation, cholesterol transport, transforming growth factor, and cAMP signaling pathways, primarily independent of training condition. Selectively, in AI, there was downregulation at 5T of immediate-early gene, Wnt (wingless integration site), insulin, and G-protein signaling, lipogenesis, and glucose utilization pathways, whereas Notch2 (oligodendrocyte development) and myelination pathways were upregulated, particularly at 21PT. In AU, receptor/signal transduction genes were upregulated, perhaps as compensatory responses. Immunohistochemistry confirmed and extended selected microarray results. Together, the findings suggest a new model, in which deficient neuroenergetics leads to downregulated neuronal signaling and increased glial activation, resulting in aging-related cognitive dysfunction.
Genome wide association studies revealed genetic evidence for involvement of cholesterol metabolism in the etiology of Alzheimers disease (AD). The present study used gene expression profiles on human Cornu Ammonis 1(CA1) for subjects with severe AD and an age-matched group to determine the enzyme reaction rate constants for 16 core metabolic pathways including cholesterol biosynthesis, isoprenoid production, and cholesterol catabolism for removal from brain. The core metabolic model was used to simulate a young hippocampus (20-39yo) to compare with age-matched control group for our AD study (mean= 85.3y). In the aged human brain, the flux through the rate limiting step in the simulation for aged human hippocampus was lower by 9.5%, the cholesterol level was 52.3% lower in the simulation and 33.6% lower in the aged human brain, validating the in silico method. Data was also used to evaluate sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 and 2 (SREBP1 & SREBP2) showing the levels were increased significantly in the severe AD samples versus age-matched control. We predicted that the core metabolism simulation of severe AD versus age-matched control would show corresponding results and they do. The sensitivities analyses for incipient and severe AD demonstrated how they differ: Most reactions are insensitive for severe AD and two sensitive peaks are obvious, cholesterol and ubiquinone levels are most sensitive to cholesterol 24-hydroxylase, CYP46a1. These findings are consistent with statins being ineffective in clinical trials for treatment of AD, post-diagnosis.
J. Neurochem. (2012) 120, 419–429.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a prominent feature of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain. Our prior studies demonstrated reduced mitochondrial number in susceptible hippocampal neurons in the brain from AD patients and in M17 cells over-expressing familial AD-causing amyloid precursor protein (APP) mutant (APPswe). In the current study, we investigated whether alterations in mitochondrial biogenesis contribute to mitochondrial abnormalities in AD. Mitochondrial biogenesis is regulated by the peroxisome proliferator activator receptor gamma-coactivator 1α (PGC-1α)-nuclear respiratory factor (NRF)-mitochondrial transcription factor A pathway. Expression levels of PGC-1α, NRF 1, NRF 2, and mitochondrial transcription factor A were significantly decreased in both AD hippocampal tissues and APPswe M17 cells, suggesting a reduced mitochondrial biogenesis. Indeed, APPswe M17 cells demonstrated decreased mitochondrial DNA/nuclear DNA ratio, correlated with reduced ATP content, and decreased cytochrome C oxidase activity. Importantly, over-expression of PGC-1α could completely rescue while knockdown of PGC-1α could exacerbate impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial deficits in APPswe M17 cells, suggesting reduced mitochondrial biogenesis is likely involved in APPswe-induced mitochondrial deficits. We further demonstrated that reduced expression of p-CREB and PGC-1α in APPswe M17 cells could be rescued by cAMP in a dose-dependent manner, which could be inhibited by PKA inhibitor H89, suggesting that the PKA/CREB pathway plays a critical role in the regulation of PGC-1α expression in APPswe M17 cells. Overall, this study demonstrated that impaired mitochondrial biogenesis likely contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction in AD.
Age-related cognitive decline is likely promoted by accumulated brain injury due to chronic conditions of aging, including neurodegenerative and vascular disease. Because common neuronal mechanisms may mediate the adaptation to diverse cerebral insults, we hypothesized that susceptibility for age-related cognitive decline may be due in part to a shared genetic network. We have therefore performed a genome-wide association study using a quantitative measure of global cognitive decline slope, based on repeated measures of 17 cognitive tests in 749 subjects from the Religious Orders Study. Top results were evaluated in 3 independent replication cohorts, consisting of 2279 additional subjects with repeated cognitive testing. As expected, we find that the Alzheimer's disease (AD) susceptibility locus, APOE, is strongly associated with rate of cognitive decline (P(DISC) = 5.6 × 10(-9); P(JOINT)= 3.7 × 10(-27)). We additionally discover a variant, rs10808746, which shows consistent effects in the replication cohorts and modestly improved evidence of association in the joint analysis (P(DISC) = 6.7 × 10(-5); P(REP) = 9.4 × 10(-3); P(JOINT) = 2.3 × 10(-5)). This variant influences the expression of 2 adjacent genes, PDE7A and MTFR1, which are potential regulators of inflammation and oxidative injury, respectively. Using aggregate measures of genetic risk, we find that known susceptibility loci for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory diseases are not significantly associated with cognitive decline in our cohort. Our results suggest that intermediate phenotypes, when coupled with larger sample sizes, may be a useful tool to dissect susceptibility loci for age-related cognitive decline and uncover shared molecular pathways with a role in neuronal injury.
A central issue in the field of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is to separate the cause from the consequence among many observed pathological features, which may be resolved by studying the time evolution of these features at distinctive stages. In this work, comprehensive analyses on transcriptome studies of human postmortem brain tissues from AD patients at distinctive stages revealed stepwise breakdown of the cellular machinery during the progression of AD. At the early stage of AD, the accumulation of amyloid-β oligomers and amyloid plaques leads to the down-regulation of biosynthesis and energy metabolism. At the intermediate stage, the progression of the disease leads to enhanced signal transduction, while the late stage is characterized by elevated apoptosis. The down-regulation of energy metabolism in AD has been considered by many as a consequence of mitochondrion damage due to oxidative stress. However, the non-existence of enhanced response to oxidative stress and the revelation of intriguing down-regulation patterns of the electron-transport chain at different stages suggest otherwise. In contrast to the damage-themed hypothesis, we propose that the down-regulation of energy metabolism in AD is a protective response of the neurons to the reduced level of nutrient and oxygen supply in the microenvironment. The elevated apoptosis at the late stage of AD is triggered by the conflict between the low level of energy metabolism and high level of regulatory and repair burden. This new hypothesis has significant implication for pharmaceutical intervention of Alzheimer's disease.
We have previously demonstrated that mitochondrial bioenergetic deficits precede Alzheimer's pathology in the female triple transgenic Alzheimer's (3xTgAD) mouse model. Herein, we sought to determine the impact of reproductive senescence on mitochondrial function in the normal non-transgenic (nonTg) and 3xTgAD female mouse model of AD.
Both nonTg and 3xTgAD female mice at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of age were sacrificed and mitochondrial bioenergetic profile as well as oxidative stress markers were analyzed.
In both nonTg and 3xTgAD mice, reproductive senescence paralleled a significant decline in PDH, and Complex IV cytochrome c oxidase activity and mitochondrial respiration. During the reproductive senescence transition, both nonTg and 3xTgAD mice exhibited greater individual variability in bioenergetic parameters suggestive of divergent bioenergetic phenotypes. Following transition through reproductive senescence, enzymes required for long-chain fatty acid (HADHA) and ketone body (SCOT) metabolism were significantly increased and variability in cytochrome c oxidase (Complex IV) collapsed to cluster at a approximately 40% decline in both the nonTg and 3xTgAD brain which was indicative of alternative fuel generation with concomitant decline in ATP generation.
These data indicate that reproductive senescence in the normal nonTg female brain parallels the shift to ketogenic/fatty acid substrate phenotype with concomitant decline in mitochondrial function and exacerbation of bioenergetic deficits in the 3xTgAD brain.
These findings provide a plausible mechanism for increased life-time risk of AD in postmenopausal women and suggest an optimal window of opportunity to prevent or delay decline in bioenergetics during reproductive senescence.
A number of soluble and membrane associated enzymes of glycolysis, pentose phosphate pathway and other related enzymes were measured in three different brain regions during aging. Enzymes utilizing and synthesizing peroxides were also included. Increasing levels of peroxidative products are known to accumulate in the brain with age. The membrane associated enzymes were found to be the primary focus of damage. Phosphofructokinase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase exhibited an unusual pattern when measured in whole homogenates. A progressive decrease in the synaptosomal bound hexokinase was found with increasing age. The synaptosomal phosphofructokinase (PFK) also showed a significant decrease with aging. Significant decrease in the incorporation of myoinositol into phospholipids and a loss of activity of membrane bound adenylate cyclase with age indicated that changes must be occurring in the structure of the brain and the loss of cerebral competence in the senescent brain may arise from peroxidative damage to membranes.
The amyloid hypothesis (AH) of Alzheimer's disease (AD) posits that the fundamental cause of AD is the accumulation of the peptide amyloid beta (Aβ) in the brain. This hypothesis has been supported by observations that genetic defects in amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin increase Aβ production and cause familial AD (FAD). The AH is widely accepted but does not account for important phenomena including recent failures of clinical trials to impact dementia in humans even after successfully reducing Aβ deposits. Herein, the AH is viewed from the broader overarching perspective of the myelin model of the human brain that focuses on functioning brain circuits and encompasses white matter and myelin in addition to neurons and synapses. The model proposes that the recently evolved and extensive myelination of the human brain underlies both our unique abilities and susceptibility to highly prevalent age-related neuropsychiatric disorders such as late onset AD (LOAD). It regards oligodendrocytes and the myelin they produce as being both critical for circuit function and uniquely vulnerable to damage. This perspective reframes key observations such as axonal transport disruptions, formation of axonal swellings/sphenoids and neuritic plaques, and proteinaceous deposits such as Aβ and tau as by-products of homeostatic myelin repair processes. It delineates empirically testable mechanisms of action for genes underlying FAD and LOAD and provides "upstream" treatment targets. Such interventions could potentially treat multiple degenerative brain disorders by mitigating the effects of aging and associated changes in iron, cholesterol, and free radicals on oligodendrocytes and their myelin.
Epidemiological studies suggest that higher midlife serum total cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Using fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) in the study of cognitively normal late middle-aged people, we demonstrated an association between apolipoprotein E (APOE) epsilon4 gene dose, the major genetic risk factor for late-onset AD, and lower measurements of the cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (CMRgl) in AD-affected brain regions, we proposed using PET as a pre-symptomatic endophenotype to evaluate other putative AD risk modifiers, and we then used it to support an aggregate cholesterol-related genetic risk score in the risk of AD. In the present study, we used PET to investigate the association between serum total cholesterol levels and cerebral metabolic rate for glucose metabolism (CMRgl) in 117 cognitively normal late middle-aged APOE epsilon4 homozygotes, heterozygotes and non-carriers. Higher serum total cholesterol levels were associated with lower CMRgl bilaterally in precuneus, parietotemporal and prefrontal regions previously found to be preferentially affected by AD, and in additional frontal regions previously found to be preferentially affected by normal aging. The associations were greater in APOE epsilon4 carriers than non-carriers in some of the AD-affected brain regions. We postulate that higher midlife serum total cholesterol levels accelerate brain processes associated with normal aging and conspire with other risk factors in the predisposition to AD. We propose using PET in proof-of-concept randomized controlled trials to rapidly evaluate the effects of midlife cholesterol-lowering treatments on the brain changes associated with normal aging and AD.
The metabolic changes in hippocampus, temporal cortex and prefrontal cortex in SD rats along with aging were explored using a metabonomic approach, which based on high resolution "magic angle spinning"(1)H NMR spectroscopy. The metabolite profiles were analyzed by partial least squares-discriminant analysis, and the results showed that the metabolites of the above three brain regions in old rats were dramatically different from that in the adult and young rats. The old rats showed increased myo-inositol and lactate in all of the three brain regions, and decreased N-acetylaspartate in temporal and frontal cortex, Glutamate-GABA level became imbalance in temporal cortex of old rats. In addition, compared with the adult female rats, male rats had higher levels of N-acetylaspartate, taurine, and creatine in temporal or frontal cortex. The age-related metabolic changes may indicate the early functional alterations of neural cells in these brain regions, especially the temporal cortex. The gender-related metabolic changes suggest the significance of the hormonal regulation in brain metabolism. Our work highlights the potential of metabolic profiling to enhance our understanding of biological mechanisms of brain aging.
Declining cognitive performance is associated with increasing age, even in the absence of overt pathological processes. We and others have reported that declining cognitive performance is associated with age-related changes in brain glucose utilization, long-term potentiation and paired-pulse facilitation, protein expression, neurotransmitter levels, and trophic factors. However, it is unclear whether these changes are causes or symptoms of the underlying alterations in dendritic and synaptic morphology that occur with age. In this study, we examined the hippocampal proteome for age- and cognition-associated changes in behaviorally stratified young and old rats, using two-dimensional in-gel electrophoresis and MS/MS. Comparison of old cognitively intact with old cognitively impaired animals revealed additional changes that would not have been detected otherwise. Interestingly, not all age-related changes in protein expression were associated with cognitive decline, and distinct differences in protein expression were found when comparing old cognitively intact with old cognitively impaired rats. A large number of protein changes with age were related to the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis pathway. In total, the proteomic changes suggest that age-related alterations act synergistically with other perturbations to result in cognitive decline. This study also demonstrates the importance of examining behaviorally-defined animals in proteomic studies, as comparison of young to old animals regardless of behavioral performance would have failed to detect many cognitive impairment-specific protein expression changes evident when behavioral stratification data were used.
Brain ischemia was produced by bilateral ligation of the common carotid arteries of spontaneously hypertensive rats. The concentrations of fructose 2,6-bisphosphate and other glycolytic intermediates as well as of pyridine and adenine nucleotides were measured in frozen brain samples. In contrast to the decrease reported in hepatocytes under anoxic conditions, the fructose 2,6-bisphosphate content was increased by 20-30% during the early stages of ischemia. Elevation in fructose 1,6-bisphosphate level and lactate formation followed the rise in fructose 2,6-bisphosphate content, a finding suggesting that this compound plays a key role in the compensatory acceleration of glycolysis under ischemic conditions in vivo.
We describe light- and electron-microscopically a new type of intracytoplasmatic inclusions within cell processes of the cerebral cortex and the underlying white matter. These structures measure 5-50 micron in diameter and consist almost exclusively of densely packed alpha- or beta-glycogen granules, which never occur together in any single structure. Within their periphery, electron-dense amorphous spots and cell organelles, especially mitochondria, were seen. No membrane-bound glycogen was observed. We propose to call them granular glycogen bodies. They occur in 4 of 7 examined postmortem specimens of the cerebral cortex of people older than 60 years of age. They were not found in 4 younger controls aged 26-48. Their appearance may reflect a distinct turnover disorder of carbohydrate metabolism, which becomes manifest under diverse pathologic conditions and in the normal aging process.
Brain energy state and glycolytic metabolites were measured in young (6 month) and aged (28 month) male rats under normoxic (70% nitrous oxide, 30% oxygen) or hypoxic (PaO2 = 25 mm Hg) test conditions. Hypoxic ischemia was induced in one cerebral hemisphere by ligation of one carotid artery. Under normoxic test conditions brain energy metabolite concentrations were similar between young and aged rats. Brain tissue glucose, glycogen, glucose-6-phosphate and critic acid cycle intermediate concentrations were decreased in aged rats during normoxia while fructose-6-phosphate and pyruvate were increased. Decreases in brain energy state and increases in lactate/pyruvate ratios were significant in both young and aged rats during hypoxia and were greater in aged animals in hypoxic-ischemic tissues. These results indicate that brain energy state is normal in aged rats under normoxic conditions but that hypoxic-ischemia produces a greater degree of brain energy failure compared to younger animals.
Histochemical investigations were made upon activities of succinic dehydro-genase, lactic dehydrogenase, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide diaphorase, cytochrome oxidase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and contents of copper and of nucleic acids in the diencephalon of rats in reference to aging. 1) In the diencephalon of senescent rats, a slight decrease of activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and a slight increase in the activities of both succinic dehydrogenase and cytochrome oxidase in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei were found. 2) A deposition of copper was increased with aging in the stratum periventriculare hypothalami, fimbria hippocampi and habenular nucleus. 3) A decrease of cytoplasmic RNA content of the diencephalon and an increase of RNA in the supraoptic nucleus as well as paraventricular nucleus were found with advancing age.
The greatest advantage of histochemistry as applied to the study of ageing, is that focal alterations and changes in heterogenity at the tissue and cellular levels can be analysed by light and electron microscopy. The major disadvantage of this technique, however, has been that in the past results have not been easy to quantify except by insensitive and rather subjective means. Sensitivity can be increased by applying histochemistry at the electron microscope level but amounts of reaction product are difficult to quantify accurately by eye using either a light microscope or electron microscope. This contrasts, of course with biochemical determinations carried out on homogenates where highly accurate measurements of enzyme activity can be made to within picogram amounts. However, when as in ageing, a number of crucial alterations are focal or heterogeneous in nature, it is not helpful to be limited to whole-organ homogenates, or even cell fractions, since the value obtained will be an average for the wide range of cell types and sub-types present. The ideal situation would be to develop techniques to allow such accurate and highly sensitive determination of reaction but within single cells. Some considerable progress has already been made towards this aim and such quantitative histochemical techniques are beginning to be applied to the study of enzyme and nucleic acid alterations in ageing (Campbell & Stoward, 1981; Middleton & Gahan, 1982). Although it is still in its developmental stages, this type of quantitative measurement at the cellular level will provide the means of analysing heterogeneity at the light microscope level in the future. Similar analysis of heterogeneity at the subcellular level awaits the development of techniques for the morphometric analysis of reaction product at the electron microscope level. With respect to the results already obtained by applying histochemistry to the study of ageing in mammals, the same conclusions can be drawn as after the analysis of biochemical results; there is no simple, general pattern of alteration with age. On the contrary, changes tend to be organ, tissue or cell-type specific. In some cases, clear pathological changes are seen associated with senescence and these are predictably accompanied by histochemical alterations at these foci, for instance in the senile plaques of the brain, intimal cushions of the arteries and cataracts of the lens. In other organs characteristic focal changes are seen which correlate with a loss of function, such as in the periportal regions of liver lobules, in type II skeletal muscle fibres and in parietal cells of gastric glands. In other cases an increase in the heterogeneity of expression of enzyme activity is seen within a single cell type within an organ, such as in hepatocytes and suggests a possible increase in phenotypic instability with age. To date, the range of cellular constituents that has been studied histochemically during ageing has been relatively narrow and although some organs have been studied extensively, others have been neglected. It is to be hoped that, with the number of reliable histochemical techniques now available, in the future whole enzymes chains or at least the important rate-limiting steps within these chains, may be studied with respect to ageing, which may provide more insight into alteration in any particular cellular function. Indeed, several lines of approach are waiting to be fully exploited. One is to concentrate, on a particular cellular organelle and study it in detail to determine whether subtle changes in substrate utilization are crucial, for instance with respect to phosphatase actions at the plasma membrane or oxidative enzymes in the mitochondria. Another approach, of particular current interest, would be to expand on techniques for the study of enzymes linked with the production and removal of free radicals, such as cytochrome P450 and superoxide dismutase. An imbalance in this system could exert detrimental effects on key molecular structures, cause lipid peroxidation, cross-link proteins, split polypeptides and cause changes in DNA. Finally, in the light of biochemical evidence of decline and delay in the responsiveness of some enzymes to hormones, histochemical techniques could be applied effectively to determine whether there is a cellular component to this type of alteration. If so, histochemistry is the technique of choice to determine whether this is a homogeneous effect or whether alterations in the responsiveness of certain key cell populations are responsible for the age-associated decline in the ability of an organism to adapt to stress and changes in the environment.
The activities of glycolytic enzymes were determined in human autoptic temporal lobes from patients with different forms of dementia. For some enzymes (hexokinase, phosphofructokinase and phosphoglycerate mutase) the effect seen in dementia can be regarded as an intensification of the normal ageing affect. For other enzymes (aldolase, phosphoglucose isomerase, triosephosphate isomerase and lactate dehydrogenase) no changes in enzyme activities corresponding to those found in dementia are observed in the normal ageing process. These effects are most pronounced in the non-vascular Alzheimer cases. With the exception of triosephosphate isomerase and lactate dehydrogenase, enzyme activity is also reduced in bronchopneumonia. The effects of dementia and bronchopneumonia on the activities of glycolytic enzymes in human autoptic brain tissue are often difficult to distinguish.
The incorporation of cytidine-containing precursors (CDP-Cho and CDP-Etn) into the main phospholipid classes of cellular fractions enriched in neurons and glial cells from whole rat brains of different ages was examined. The rate of synthesis of choline phosphoglycerides in neuronal homogenates significantly decreased with age up to 18 months; after this time no additional decrease was found. The decrease of CDP-Etn incorporation in neurons was found to be less significantly affected by age up to 18 months, but the enzymic activity decreased after 18 months of age. No changes were found in the corresponding glial activity at any age. Biochemical phenomena that occur in 18-month-old rat brain (aged animals) were compared with phenomena occurring in 2-month-old rat brain (adult animals). No significant variations of lipid composition were found in neurons from either 18-month-old or 2-month-old rat brain. These results, together with some kinetic parameters, suggest that ethanolamine and choline phosphotransferases are affected differently by aging.
Measurements have been made of the activity of the enzymes of the glycolytic, pentose phosphate and lipogenic pathways and of some marker enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid cycle in brains of rats aged between 20 days and 24 months. In general, the activity of the most enzymes measured was unchanged by aging but exceptions to this were increases of hexokinase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and 'malic enzyme' and decreases of ATP-citrate lyase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthetase. An exceptionally large (2-fold) increase in the activity of cytosolic glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase was noted. These changes are considered in relation to the overall metabolic activity of the brain.
Localization of mRNA encoding for the enzyme hexokinase and its regulation in aged animals was carried out in rat brain using the in situ hybridization technique. The highest levels of the hybridization signal were observed in the olfactory bulb, piriform cortex, tenia tecta, hippocampus and granular cells of the cerebellum. Other brain areas and nuclei including cerebral cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, substantia nigra, subiculum, choroid plexus and superior colliculus displayed moderate to low density of transcripts. Correlation between relative hexokinase content and levels of its mRNA was found only for some brain regions such as caudate-putamen, geniculate nucleus, ventral and lateral thalamic nuclei, superior colliculus and granular cells of the cerebellum. In the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of old animals the expression of hexokinase was significantly increased at 18 and 24 months of age. From the present data we conclude that although hexokinase is an ubiquitous enzyme, sites of synthesis display a discrete and uneven localization in rat CNS and expression, in the aging brain, might be regulated to compensate for reduced oxidative phosphorylation in the brain tissue.
Although the abnormal gene products responsible for several hereditary neurodegenerative disorders caused by repeat CAG trinucleotides have been identified, the mechanism by which the proteins containing the expanded polyglutamine domains cause cell death is unknown. The observation that several of the mutant proteins interact in vitro with the key glycolytic enzyme glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) suggests that interaction between the different gene products and GAPDH might damage brain neurons.
To measure the activity of GAPDH in postmortem brain of patients with CAG repeat disorders.
Activity of GAPDH was measured in morphologically affected and unaffected brain areas of patients with 4 different CAG repeat disorders (Huntington disease, spinocerebellar ataxia 1 [SCA1], SCA2, and SCA3-Machado-Joseph disease), in brains of patients with Friedreich ataxia (a GAA repeat disorder) and Alzheimer disease, and in brains of matched control subjects.
Brain GAPDH activity was normal in all groups with the exception of a slight but statistically significant region-specific reduction in the patients with Huntington disease (caudate nucleus, -12%) and Alzheimer disease (temporal cortex, -19%).
The presence of the polyglutamine-containing proteins in CAG repeat disorders does not result in substantial irreversible inactivation or in increased activity of GAPDH in human brain.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are known to accumulate in long-lived tissue proteins during normal ageing. In this study, we examined the expression of AGEs in human hippocampus using immunohistochemistry and determined its utility for estimating the age of cadavers of unknown age.
Hippocampus tissues were obtained at autopsy from 31 individuals, including 10 fire victims, aged 0--96 years within 3 days postmortem. Immunostaining using anti-AGE antibody demonstrated that the perikarya of pyramidal neurones in the hippocampus was immunoreactive for the anti-AGE antibody, and the immunoreactivity was increased with age. Quantitative analysis of the AGE-immunoreactivity in the pyramidal neurones of the CA4 region revealed a significant correlation between the AGE-immunoreactivity and the age in nonfire death cases with a correlation coefficient of 0.91 (P < 0.01). The significant correlation could be obtained even in fire death cases affected by the unusual environmental condition.
These results suggest that the immunohistochemical analysis of AGEs in human hippocampus may be useful for the age estimation of cadavers with unknown age.
Alzheimer's disease is associated with markedly impaired cerebral glucose metabolism as detected by reduced cortical desoxyglucose utilization, by altered activities of key glycolytic enzymes or by reduced densities of cortical glucose transporter subtypes. To determine whether formation and/or deposition of beta-amyloid plays a role in the pathology of glucose metabolism, transgenic Tg2576 mice that overexpress the Swedish mutation of the human amyloid precursor protein and demonstrate a progressive, age-related cortical and hippocampal deposition of beta-amyloid plaques, were used to study expression and activity of key enzymes of brain glycolysis (phosphofructokinase, PFK) and glyconeogenesis (fructose1,6-bisphosphatase; FbPase). Quantitative RT-PCR revealed high expression levels of both C- and M-type PFK mRNA in non-transgenic mouse cerebral cortex, whilst there was little expression of the L-type. In 24-month-old transgenic Tg2576 mouse cortex, but not in 7-, 13-, and 17-month-old mice, the copy number of PFK-C mRNA was significantly reduced in comparison to non-transgenic littermates, while the mRNA level of the other PFK isoforms and FbPase did not differ between transgenic and non-transgenic tissue samples. In situ hybridization in brain sections from aged Tg2576 mice revealed reduced PFK-C mRNA expression in beta-amyloid plaque-associated neurons and upregulation in reactive astrocytes surrounding beta-amyloid deposits. The decreased PFK-C protein level detected by Western analysis in cerebral cortical tissue from 24-month-old transgenic Tg2576 mice was accompanied by reduced enzyme activity of PFK in comparison to non-transgenic littermates. Our data demonstrate that impairment of cerebral cortical glucose metabolism occurs only due to the long-lasting high beta-amyloid burden. This results from a reduction in glycolytic activity in beta-amyloid plaque-associated neurons and a concomitant upregulation in reactive, plaque-surrounding astrocytes.
The concentration and metabolism of the primary carbohydrate store in the brain, glycogen, is unknown in the conscious human brain. This study reports the first direct detection and measurement of glycogen metabolism in the human brain, which was achieved using localized 13C NMR spectroscopy. To enhance the NMR signal, the isotopic enrichment of the glucosyl moieties was increased by administration of 80 g of 99% enriched [1-13C]glucose in four subjects. 3 h after the start of the label administration, the 13C NMR signal of brain glycogen C1 was detected (0.36+/-0.07 micromol/g, mean+/-S.D., n=4). Based on the rate of 13C label incorporation into glycogen and the isotopic enrichment of plasma glucose, the flux through glycogen synthase was estimated at 0.17+/-0.05 micromol/(gh). This study establishes that brain glycogen can be measured in humans and indicates that its metabolism is very slow in the conscious human. The noninvasive detection of human brain glycogen opens the prospect of understanding the role and function of this important energy reserve under various physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
A review of available information on over-all cerebral blood flow and oxygen consumption in man obtained by means of the nitrous oxide technique reveals a distinct correlation of these functions with age.There is a rapid fall in the circulation and oxygen utilization of the brain from childhood through adolescence followed by a more gradual but progressive reduction throughout the remaining age span.The factors responsible for these changes and whether one or the other is primary appear to be suitable subjects for continued investigation.
Methylglyoxal (MG) is one of the most powerful glycating agents of proteins and other important cellular components and has been shown to be toxic to cultured cells. Under hyperglycaemic conditions, an increase in the concentration of MG has been observed in human body fluids and tissues that seems to be responsible for diabetic complications. Recent data suggest that diabetes may cause impairment of cognitive processes, according to a mechanism involving both oxidative stress and advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation. In this work, we explored the molecular mechanism underlying MG toxicity in neural cells, by investigating the effect of MG on both the interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), as the major inducer of the acute phase response, and the nervous growth factor (NGF) expression. Experiments were performed on cultured neural cells from rat hippocampus, being this brain region mostly involved in cognitive processes and, therefore, possible target of diabetes-mediated impairment of cognitive abilities. Results show that MG treatment causes in hippocampal neural cells extensive, oxidative stress-mediated cell death, in consequence of a strong catalase enzymatic activity and protein inhibition. MG also causes a very significant increase in both transcript and protein expression of the NGF as well as of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1beta. MG co-treatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) completely abrogates the observed effects. Taken together, these data demonstrate that hippocampal neurons are strongly susceptible to MG-mediated oxidative stress.
Plasmalogens (Pls) are phospholipids containing a vinyl-ether bond at the sn-1 position of the glycerol backbone. They represent between 1/2 and 2/3 of the ethanolamine phospholipids in the brain. During aging, the Pls content in human brain falls down. However, the role of Pls metabolism-related enzymes in the regulation of Pls levels remains to be determined. Dihydroxyacetone phosphate acyltransferase (DHAP-AT) is the enzyme involved in the first step of Pls biosynthesis. In the brain, a phospholipase A2, which selectively acts on Pls, has been isolated (Pls-PLA2s). In this work, we aimed to evaluate the impact of DHAP-AT (a key enzyme of Pls biosynthesis) and Pls-PLA2 (a specific Pls degradation enzyme) on the evolution of Pls content in the rat brain during aging. The influence of n-3 fatty acid intake was also evaluated. Littermates from two generations of n-3 deficient rats were fed an equilibrated diet containing either alpha-LNA alone or with two doses of DHA. After weaning, 3, 9 or 21 months of diet, rats were sacrificed. Enzymatic assays were performed, Pls levels were assessed and the sn-2 position of ethanolamine Pls was analyzed. DHAP-AT activity significantly increased between weaning and 3 months with a concomitant increase of brain Pls, which reached maximal levels after 9 months. Then, Pls levels and DHAP-AT activity significantly decreased while Pls-PLA2s activity significantly increased. Dietary n-3 fatty acids had no effect on DHAP-AT activity and on Pls levels. In conclusion, the increase of brain Pls content in the first part of the life may be related to the high increase of DHAP-AT activity, probably stimulated by DHA. In aged animals, the decrease of Pls levels may mainly be caused to an increase of their degradation by Pls-PLA2. Dietary DHA may not oppose the physiologic aging.
This longitudinal study used FDG-PET imaging to predict and monitor cognitive decline from normal aging.
Seventy-seven 50-80-year-old normal (NL) elderly received longitudinal clinical examinations over 6-14 years (561 person-years, mean per person 7.2 years). All subjects had a baseline FDG-PET scan and 55 subjects received follow-up PET exams. Glucose metabolic rates (MRglc) in the hippocampus and cortical regions were examined as predictors and correlates of clinical decline.
Eleven NL subjects developed dementia, including six with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and 19 declined to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), on average 8 years after the baseline exam. The baseline hippocampal MRglc predicted decline from NL to AD (81% accuracy), including two post-mortem confirmed cases, from NL to other dementias (77% accuracy), and from NL to MCI (71% accuracy). Greater rates of hippocampal and cortical MRglc reductions were found in the declining as compared to the non-declining NL.
Hippocampal MRglc reductions using FDG-PET during normal aging predict cognitive decline years in advance of the clinical diagnosis. Future studies are needed to increase preclinical specificity in differentiating dementing disorders.
The vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) sequesters monoamines into synaptic vesicles in preparation for neurotransmission. Samples of cerebellum, cortex, hippocampus, substantia nigra and striatum from VMAT2-deficient mice were compared to age-matched control mice. Multivariate statistical analyses of (1)H NMR spectral profiles separated VMAT2-deficient mice from controls for all five brain regions. Although the data show that metabolic alterations are region- and age-specific, in general, analyses indicated decreases in the concentrations of taurine and creatine/phosphocreatine and increases in glutamate and N-acetyl aspartate in VMAT2-deficient mouse brain tissues. This study demonstrates the efficacy of metabolomics as a functional genomics phenotyping tool for mouse models of neurological disorders, and indicates that mild reductions in the expression of VMAT2 affect normal brain metabolism.
We used comparative proteomic techniques to identify aging-related brain proteins in normal mice from neonate to old age. By 2-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE), matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) and peptide mass fingerprint (PMF) analysis, 39 proteins were identified, among which 6 stayed unchanged since 3 months, 6 increased and 27 decreased in various manners during aging. They are mainly involved in processes usually with destructive changes during aging, such as metabolism, transport, signaling, stress response and apoptosis. The 27 proteins' decrease may be responsible for brain aging. In particular, decrease of proteasome alpha subunits 3/6, ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal esterase L3, valosin-containing protein and calreticulin may be responsible for the declination of protein quality control; glutamate dehydrogenase 1, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and ubiquinol cytochrome c reductase core protein 2 for the shortage of energy and reducing agent; ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2N and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2/B1 for the increase of DNA damage and transcription detuning; calbindin 1 and amphiphysin for the disturbance of synaptic transport and ion signals. The six proteins' increase may be involved in anti-aging processes. In particular, transketolase, mitochondrial creatine kinase 1 and ribosomal protein L37 may help to enhance energy metabolism; triosephosphate isomerase 1 may help to resist oxidative stress. Moreover, most of these proteins were found for the first time to be involved in the natural senescence of brain, which would provide new clues about the mechanism of brain aging.