John R Cirrito

Washington University in St. Louis, San Luis, Missouri, United States

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Publications (86)837.57 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Physical activity has long been hypothesized to influence the risk and pathology of Alzheimer's disease. However, the amount of physical activity necessary for these benefits is unclear. We examined the effects of three months of low and high intensity exercise training on soluble Aβ40 and Aβ42 levels in extracellular enriched fractions from the cortex and hippocampus of young Tg2576 mice. Low (LOW) and high (HI) intensity exercise training animals ran at speeds of 15m/min on a level treadmill and 32m/min at a 10% grade, respectively for 60min per day, five days per week, from three to six months of age. Sedentary mice (SED) were placed on a level, non-moving, treadmill for the same duration. Soleus muscle citrate synthase activity increased by 39% in the LOW group relative to SED, and by 71% in the HI group relative to LOW, indicating an exercise training effect in these mice. Soluble Aβ40 concentrations decreased significantly in an exercise training dose-dependent manner in the cortex. In the hippocampus, concentrations were decreased significantly in the HI group relative to LOW and SED. Soluble Aβ42 levels also decreased significantly in an exercise training dose-dependent manner in both the cortex and hippocampus. Five proteins involved in Aβ clearance (neprilysin, IDE, MMP9, LRP1 and HSP70) were elevated by exercise training with its intensity playing a role in each case. Our data demonstrate that exercise training reduces extracellular soluble Aβ in the brains of Tg2576 mice in a dose-dependent manner through an up-regulation of Aβ clearance.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Neurobiology of Disease
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    ABSTRACT: Dysregulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) metabolism is critical for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. Mounting evidence suggests that apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is involved in Aβ metabolism. ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) is a key regulator of ApoE lipidation, which affects Aβ levels. Therefore, identifying regulatory mechanisms of ABCA1 expression in the brain may provide new therapeutic targets for AD. Here, we demonstrate that microRNA-33 (miR-33) regulates ABCA1 and Aβ levels in the brain. Overexpression of miR-33 impaired cellular cholesterol efflux and dramatically increased extracellular Aβ levels by promoting Aβ secretion and impairing Aβ clearance in neural cells. In contrast, genetic deletion of mir-33 in mice dramatically increased ABCA1 levels and ApoE lipidation, but it decreased endogenous Aβ levels in cortex. Most importantly, pharmacological inhibition of miR-33 via antisense oligonucleotide specifically in the brain markedly decreased Aβ levels in cortex of APP/PS1 mice, representing a potential therapeutic strategy for AD.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Prominent cerebral amyloid angiopathy is often observed in the brains of elderly individuals and is almost universally found in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy is characterized by accumulation of the shorter amyloid-β isoform(s) (predominantly amyloid-β40) in the walls of leptomeningeal and cortical arterioles and is likely a contributory factor to vascular dysfunction leading to stroke and dementia in the elderly. We used transgenic mice with prominent cerebral amyloid angiopathy to investigate the ability of ponezumab, an anti-amyloid-β40 selective antibody, to attenuate amyloid-β accrual in cerebral vessels and to acutely restore vascular reactivity. Chronic administration of ponezumab to transgenic mice led to a significant reduction in amyloid and amyloid-β accumulation both in leptomeningeal and brain vessels when measured by intravital multiphoton imaging and immunohistochemistry. By enriching for cerebral vascular elements, we also measured a significant reduction in the levels of soluble amyloid-β biochemically. We hypothesized that the reduction in vascular amyloid-β40 after ponezumab administration may reflect the ability of ponezumab to mobilize an interstitial fluid pool of amyloid-β40 in brain. Acutely, ponezumab triggered a significant and transient increase in interstitial fluid amyloid-β40 levels in old plaque-bearing transgenic mice but not in young animals. We also measured a beneficial effect on vascular reactivity following acute administration of ponezumab, even in vessels where there was a severe cerebral amyloid angiopathy burden. Taken together, the beneficial effects ponezumab administration has on reducing the rate of cerebral amyloid angiopathy deposition and restoring cerebral vascular health favours a mechanism that involves rapid removal and/or neutralization of amyloid-β species that may otherwise be detrimental to normal vessel function.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Brain
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    ABSTRACT: In AD, an imbalance between Aβ production and removal drives elevated brain Aβ levels and eventual amyloid plaque deposition. APP undergoes nonamyloidogenic processing via α-cleavage at the plasma membrane, amyloidogenic β- and γ-cleavage within endosomes to generate Aβ, or lysosomal degradation in neurons. Considering multiple reports implicating impaired lysosome function as a driver of increased amyloidogenic processing of APP, we explored the efficacy of targeting transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of lysosomal pathways, to reduce Aβ levels. CMV promoter-driven TFEB, transduced via stereotactic hippocampal injections of adenoassociated virus particles in APP/PS1 mice, localized primarily to neuronal nuclei and upregulated lysosome biogenesis. This resulted in reduction of APP protein, the α and β C-terminal APP fragments (CTFs), and in the steady-state Aβ levels in the brain interstitial fluid. In aged mice, total Aβ levels and amyloid plaque load were selectively reduced in the TFEB-transduced hippocampi. TFEB transfection in N2a cells stably expressing APP695, stimulated lysosome biogenesis, reduced steady-state levels of APP and α- and β-CTFs, and attenuated Aβ generation by accelerating flux through the endosome-lysosome pathway. Cycloheximide chase assays revealed a shortening of APP half-life with exogenous TFEB expression, which was prevented by concomitant inhibition of lysosomal acidification. These data indicate that TFEB enhances flux through lysosomal degradative pathways to induce APP degradation and reduce Aβ generation. Activation of TFEB in neurons is an effective strategy to attenuate Aβ generation and attenuate amyloid plaque deposition in AD.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: 412 Objectives Alzheimer's disease (AD) diagnosis at prodromal stages continues to be a challenging undertaking, and an unmet goal. Development of sophisticated neuroimaging techniques could have a profound impact on improving early diagnosis, monitoring disease progression, and assessing therapeutic response. While several PET tracers are under development, Avid45, GE-067 and AZD4694 have been recently approved by FDA for Aβ imaging. These agents show high levels of nonspecific white matter retention, low biological half lives and are unable to detect diffuse Aβ plaques, a preclinical manifestation of the disease. To supplement an existing armamentarium of FDA approved agents, we have discovered a small organic molecule that shows characteristics of translatable imaging agents to enable molecular imaging of AD. Methods The multiphoton imaging, binding assays with fibrils and AD homogenates, biodistribution, PET imaging in mice, immunohistochemistry in mice and humans have been performed using literature procedures. Results The novel heterocyclic agent shows a concentration dependent and saturable binding with AD homogenates (Kd=1.70±0.05nM). The F-18 counterpart demonstrates high first pass extraction into brains (8.86 % ID/g; 2
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jun 2015
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    ABSTRACT: In vivo experimental evidence indicates that acute neuronal activation increases Aβ release from presynaptic terminals, whereas long-term effects of chronic synaptic activation on Aβ pathology remain unclear. To address this issue, we adopted optogenetics and transduced stabilized step-function opsin, a channelrhodopsin engineered to elicit a long-lasting neuronal hyperexcitability, into the hippocampal perforant pathway of APP transgenic mice. In vivo microdialysis revealed a ∼24% increase in the hippocampal interstitial fluid Aβ42 levels immediately after acute light activation. Five months of chronic optogenetic stimulation increased Aβ burden specifically in the projection area of the perforant pathway (i.e., outer molecular layer of the dentate gyrus) of the stimulated side by ∼2.5-fold compared with that in the contralateral side. Epileptic seizures were observed during the course of chronic stimulation, which might have partly contributed to the Aβ pathology. These findings implicate functional abnormalities of specific neuronal circuitry in Aβ pathology and Alzheimer disease. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Cell Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is a microglial surface receptor that triggers intracellular protein tyrosine phosphorylation. Recent genome-wide association studies have shown that a rare R47H mutation of TREM2 correlates with a substantial increase in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). To address the basis for this genetic association, we studied TREM2 deficiency in the 5XFAD mouse model of AD. We found that TREM2 deficiency and haploinsufficiency augment β-amyloid (Aβ) accumulation due to a dysfunctional response of microglia, which fail to cluster around Aβ plaques and become apoptotic. We further demonstrate that TREM2 senses a broad array of anionic and zwitterionic lipids known to associate with fibrillar Aβ in lipid membranes and to be exposed on the surface of damaged neurons. Remarkably, the R47H mutation impairs TREM2 detection of lipid ligands. Thus, TREM2 detects damage-associated lipid patterns associated with neurodegeneration, sustaining the microglial response to Aβ accumulation. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Cell
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    ABSTRACT: Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is characterized by deposition of amyloid β peptide (Aβ) within walls of cerebral arteries and is an important cause of intracerebral hemorrhage, ischemic stroke, and cognitive dysfunction in elderly patients with and without Alzheimer's Disease (AD). NADPH oxidase-derived oxidative stress plays a key role in soluble Aβ-induced vessel dysfunction, but the mechanisms by which insoluble Aβ in the form of CAA causes cerebrovascular (CV) dysfunction are not clear. Here, we demonstrate evidence that reactive oxygen species (ROS) and, in particular, NADPH oxidase-derived ROS are a key mediator of CAA-induced CV deficits. First, the NADPH oxidase inhibitor, apocynin, and the nonspecific ROS scavenger, tempol, are shown to reduce oxidative stress and improve CV reactivity in aged Tg2576 mice. Second, the observed improvement in CV function is attributed both to a reduction in CAA formation and a decrease in CAA-induced vasomotor impairment. Third, anti-ROS therapy attenuates CAA-related microhemorrhage. A potential mechanism by which ROS contribute to CAA pathogenesis is also identified because apocynin substantially reduces expression levels of ApoE-a factor known to promote CAA formation. In total, these data indicate that ROS are a key contributor to CAA formation, CAA-induced vessel dysfunction, and CAA-related microhemorrhage. Thus, ROS and, in particular, NADPH oxidase-derived ROS are a promising therapeutic target for patients with CAA and AD.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Experimental Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Age-related aggregation of amyloid-β (Aβ) is an upstream pathological event in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis, and it disrupts the sleep-wake cycle. The amount of sleep declines with aging and to a greater extent in AD. Poor sleep quality and insufficient amounts of sleep have been noted in humans with preclinical evidence of AD. However, how the amount and quality of sleep affects Aβ aggregation is not yet well understood. Orexins (hypocretins) initiate and maintain wakefulness, and loss of orexin-producing neurons causes narcolepsy. We tried to determine whether orexin release or secondary changes in sleep via orexin modulation affect Aβ pathology. Amyloid precursor protein (APP)/Presenilin 1 (PS1) transgenic mice, in which the orexin gene is knocked out, showed a marked decrease in the amount of Aβ pathology in the brain with an increase in sleep time. Focal overexpression of orexin in the hippocampus in APP/PS1 mice did not alter the total amount of sleep/wakefulness and the amount of Aβ pathology. In contrast, sleep deprivation or increasing wakefulness by rescue of orexinergic neurons in APP/PS1 mice lacking orexin increased the amount of Aβ pathology in the brain. Collectively, modulation of orexin and its effects on sleep appear to modulate Aβ pathology in the brain. © 2014 Roh et al.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Experimental Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Background Brain lipoprotein metabolism is dependent on lipoprotein particles that resemble plasma high‐density lipoproteins but that contain apolipoprotein (apo) E rather than apoA‐I as their primary protein component. Astrocytes and microglia secrete apoE but not apoA‐I; however, apoA‐I is detectable in both cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue lysates. The route by which plasma apoA‐I enters the central nervous system is unknown. Methods and Results Steady‐state levels of murine apoA‐I in cerebrospinal fluid and interstitial fluid are 0.664 and 0.120 μg/mL, respectively, whereas brain tissue apoA‐I is ≈10% to 15% of its levels in liver. Recombinant, fluorescently tagged human apoA‐I injected intravenously into mice localizes to the choroid plexus within 30 minutes and accumulates in a saturable, dose‐dependent manner in the brain. Recombinant, fluorescently tagged human apoA‐I accumulates in the brain for 2 hours, after which it is eliminated with a half‐life of 10.3 hours. In vitro, human apoA‐I is specifically bound, internalized, and transported across confluent monolayers of primary human choroid plexus epithelial cells and brain microvascular endothelial cells. Conclusions Following intravenous injection, recombinant human apoA‐I rapidly localizes predominantly to the choroid plexus. Because apoA‐I mRNA is undetectable in murine brain, our results suggest that plasma apoA‐I, which is secreted from the liver and intestine, gains access to the central nervous system primarily by crossing the blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier via specific cellular mediated transport, although transport across the blood–brain barrier may also contribute to a lesser extent.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of the American Heart Association
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    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014
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    ABSTRACT: In sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD), impaired Aβ removal contributes to elevated extracellular Aβ levels that drive amyloid plaque pathogenesis. Extracellular proteolysis, export across the blood-brain barrier, and cellular uptake facilitate physiologic Aβ clearance. Astrocytes can take up and degrade Aβ, but it remains unclear whether this function is insufficient in AD or can be enhanced to accelerate Aβ removal. Additionally, age-related dysfunction of lysosomes, the major degradative organelles wherein Aβ localizes after uptake, has been implicated in amyloid plaque pathogenesis. We tested the hypothesis that enhancing lysosomal function in astrocytes with transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of lysosome biogenesis, would promote Aβ uptake and catabolism and attenuate plaque pathogenesis. Exogenous TFEB localized to the nucleus with transcriptional induction of lysosomal biogenesis and function in vitro. This resulted in significantly accelerated uptake of exogenously applied Aβ42, with increased localization to and degradation within lysosomes in C17.2 cells and primary astrocytes, indicating that TFEB is sufficient to coordinately enhance uptake, trafficking, and degradation of Aβ. Stereotactic injection of adeno-associated viral particles carrying TFEB driven by a glial fibrillary acidic protein promoter was used to achieve astrocyte-specific expression in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 transgenic mice. Exogenous TFEB localized to astrocyte nuclei and enhanced lysosome function, resulting in reduced Aβ levels and shortened half-life in the brain interstitial fluid and reduced amyloid plaque load in the hippocampus compared with control virus-injected mice. Therefore, activation of TFEB in astrocytes is an effective strategy to restore adequate Aβ removal and counter amyloid plaque pathogenesis in AD.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Emerging paradigms mandate discovery of imaging agents for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prior to appearance of clinical symptoms. To accomplish this objective, a novel heterocyclic molecule (4) was synthesized and validated as Aβ targeted probe. The agent shows labeling of numerous diffuse Aβ plaques in confirmed AD human brain tissues and traverses the blood–brain barrier to enable labeling of parenchymal Aβ plaques in live mice (APP±/PS1±) brains.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Organic Letters
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    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Alzheimer's and Dementia
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    ABSTRACT: An unresolved debate in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is whether amyloid plaques are pathogenic, causing overt physical disruption of neural circuits, or protective, sequestering soluble forms of amyloid-β (Aβ) that initiate synaptic damage and cognitive decline. Few animal models of AD have been capable of isolating the relative contribution made by soluble and insoluble forms of Aβ to the behavioral symptoms and biochemical consequences of the disease. Here we use a controllable transgenic mouse model expressing a mutant form of amyloid precursor protein (APP) to distinguish the impact of soluble Aβ from that of deposited amyloid on cognitive function and synaptic structure. Rapid inhibition of transgenic APP modulated the production of Aβ without affecting pre-existing amyloid deposits and restored cognitive performance to the level of healthy controls in Morris water maze, radial arm water maze, and fear conditioning. Selective reduction of Aβ with a γ-secretase inhibitor provided similar improvement, suggesting that transgene suppression restored cognition, at least in part by lowering Aβ. Cognitive improvement coincided with reduced levels of synaptotoxic Aβ oligomers, greater synaptic density surrounding amyloid plaques, and increased expression of presynaptic and postsynaptic markers. Together these findings indicate that transient Aβ species underlie much of the cognitive and synaptic deficits observed in this model and demonstrate that significant functional and structural recovery can be attained without removing deposited amyloid.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Serotonin signaling suppresses generation of amyloid-β (Aβ) in vitro and in animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We show that in an aged transgenic AD mouse model (APP/PS1 plaque-bearing mice), the antidepressant citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, decreased Aβ in brain interstitial fluid in a dose-dependent manner. Growth of individual amyloid plaques was assessed in plaque-bearing mice that were chronically administered citalopram. Citalopram arrested the growth of preexisting plaques and reduced the appearance of new plaques by 78%. In healthy human volunteers, citalopram's effects on Aβ production and Aβ concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were measured prospectively using stable isotope labeling kinetics, with CSF sampling during acute dosing of citalopram. Aβ production in CSF was slowed by 37% in the citalopram group compared to placebo. This change was associated with a 38% decrease in total CSF Aβ concentrations in the drug-treated group. The ability to safely decrease Aβ concentrations is potentially important as a preventive strategy for AD. This study demonstrates key target engagement for future AD prevention trials.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Science translational medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with an elevated risk for seizures that may be fundamentally connected to cognitive dysfunction. Supporting this link, many mouse models for AD exhibit abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG) activity in addition to the expected neuropathology and cognitive deficits. Here, we used a controllable transgenic system to investigate how network changes develop and are maintained in a model characterized by amyloid β (Aβ) overproduction and progressive amyloid pathology. EEG recordings in tet-off mice overexpressing amyloid precursor protein (APP) from birth display frequent sharp wave discharges (SWDs). Unexpectedly, we found that withholding APP overexpression until adulthood substantially delayed the appearance of epileptiform activity. Together, these findings suggest that juvenile APP overexpression altered cortical development to favor synchronized firing. Regardless of the age at which EEG abnormalities appeared, the phenotype was dependent on continued APP overexpression and abated over several weeks once transgene expression was suppressed. Abnormal EEG discharges were independent of plaque load and could be extinguished without altering deposited amyloid. Selective reduction of Aβ with a γ-secretase inhibitor has no effect on the frequency of SWDs, indicating that another APP fragment or the full-length protein was likely responsible for maintaining EEG abnormalities. Moreover, transgene suppression normalized the ratio of excitatory to inhibitory innervation in the cortex, whereas secretase inhibition did not. Our results suggest that APP overexpression, and not Aβ overproduction, is responsible for EEG abnormalities in our transgenic mice and can be rescued independently of pathology.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Tau is primarily a cytoplasmic protein that stabilizes microtubules. However, it is also found in the extracellular space of the brain at appreciable concentrations. Although its presence there may be relevant to the intercellular spread of tau pathology, the cellular mechanisms regulating tau release into the extracellular space are not well understood. To test this in the context of neuronal networks in vivo, we used in vivo microdialysis. Increasing neuronal activity rapidly increased the steady-state levels of extracellular tau in vivo. Importantly, presynaptic glutamate release is sufficient to drive tau release. Although tau release occurred within hours in response to neuronal activity, the elimination rate of tau from the extracellular compartment and the brain is slow (half-life of ∼11 d). The in vivo results provide one mechanism underlying neuronal tau release and may link trans-synaptic spread of tau pathology with synaptic activity itself.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Journal of Experimental Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent form of dementia in the elderly population. Accumulation, aggregation, and deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides generated through proteolytic cleavage of amyloid precursor protein (APP) are likely initiating events in the pathogenesis of AD. While Aβ production is accelerated in familial AD, increasing evidence indicates that impaired clearance of Aβ is responsible for late-onset AD. Because Aβ is mainly generated in neurons, these cells are predicted to have the highest risk of encountering Aβ among all cell types in the brain. However, it is still unclear whether they are also involved in Aβ clearance. Here we show that receptor-mediated endocytosis in neurons by the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) plays a critical role in brain Aβ clearance. LRP1 is known to be an endocytic receptor for multiple ligands including Aβ. Conditional knock-out of Lrp1 in mouse forebrain neurons leads to increased brain Aβ levels and exacerbated amyloid plaque deposition selectively in the cortex of amyloid model APP/PS1 mice without affecting Aβ production. In vivo microdialysis studies demonstrated that Aβ clearance in brain interstitial fluid is impaired in neuronal Lrp1 knock-out mice. Because the neuronal LRP1-deletion did not affect the mRNA levels of major Aβ degrading enzymes, neprilysin and insulin-degrading enzyme, the disturbed Aβ clearance is likely due to the suppression of LRP1-mediated neuronal Aβ uptake and degradation. Together, our results demonstrate that LRP1 plays an important role in receptor-mediated clearance of Aβ and indicate that neurons not only produce but also clear Aβ.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Publication Stats

5k Citations
837.57 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001-2015
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • • Hope Center for Neurological Disorders
      • • Department of Neurology
      • • Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC)
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      San Luis, Missouri, United States
  • 2014
    • University of Tsukuba
      Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan