[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), changes in gene expression occur at many stages of disease progression. Early changes may be causal, possibly contributing to initial pathology, whereas later changes may be consequential, due to synaptic and neuronal damage. Eventually, amyloid and/or tau deposition and gliosis are thought to result in altered expression of genes including those of the immune system. Although these latter changes have often been thought of as secondary, and therefore of little note, recent analyses have suggested that genetic variability in immune processes, particularly with respect to microglial responses, is important in determining the risk of individuals presenting with the disease. Although mutations in amyloid precursor protein (APP) or presenilin 1 (PSEN1) or PSEN2 that lead to raised levels of a range of amyloidβ (Aβ) peptides are sufficient to result in Alzheimer’s disease in humans, phosphorylation of microtubule-associated protein tau (tau) and the development of tangles is an essential step in the course of the disease. The relative contribution of these two elements to different aspects of the disease is still a matter of controversy.
Article featured on Alzforum.org: http://www.alzforum.org/news/research-news/network-analysis-points-distinct-effects-amyloid-tau
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The highly complex structure of the human brain is strongly shaped by genetic influences1. Subcortical brain regions form circuits with cortical areas to coordinate movement2, learning, memory3 and motivation4, and altered circuits can lead to abnormal behaviour and disease2. To investigate how common genetic variants affect the structure of these brain regions, here we conduct genome-wide association studies of the volumes of seven subcortical regions and the intracranial volume derived from magnetic resonance images of 30,717 individuals from 50 cohorts. We identify five novel genetic variants influencing the volumes of the putamen and caudate nucleus. We also find stronger evidence for three loci with previously established influences on hippocampal volume5 and intracranial volume6. These variants show specific volumetric effects on brain structures rather than global effects across structures. The strongest effects were found for the putamen, where a novel intergenic locus with replicable influence on volume (rs945270; P = 1.08 × 10−33; 0.52% variance explained) showed evidence of altering the expression of the KTN1 gene in both brain and blood tissue. Variants influencing putamen volume clustered near developmental genes that regulate apoptosis, axon guidance and vesicle transport. Identification of these genetic variants provides insight into the causes of variability in human brain development, and may help to determine mechanisms of neuropsychiatric dysfunction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:
Late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) is heritable with 20 genes showing genome-wide association in the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP). To identify the biology underlying the disease, we extended these genetic data in a pathway analysis.
The ALIGATOR and GSEA algorithms were used in the IGAP data to identify associated functional pathways and correlated gene expression networks in human brain.
ALIGATOR identified an excess of curated biological pathways showing enrichment of association. Enriched areas of biology included the immune response (P = 3.27 × 10-12 after multiple testing correction for pathways), regulation of endocytosis (P = 1.31 × 10-11), cholesterol transport (P = 2.96 × 10-9), and proteasome-ubiquitin activity (P = 1.34 × 10-6). Correlated gene expression analysis identified four significant network modules, all related to the immune response (corrected P = .002-.05).
The immune response, regulation of endocytosis, cholesterol transport, and protein ubiquitination represent prime targets for AD therapeutics.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Alzheimer's and Dementia
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal devastating neurodegenerative disorder which predominantly affects the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. The death of the motor neurons in ALS causes subsequent muscle atrophy, paralysis and eventual death. Clinical and biological evidence now demonstrates that ALS has many similarities to prion disease in terms of disease onset, phenotype variability and progressive spread. The pathognomonic ubiquitinated inclusions deposited in the neurons and glial cells in brains and spinal cords of patients with ALS and FTLD-U contain aggregated TDP-43 protein, and evidence now suggests that TDP-43 has cellular prion-like properties. The cellular mechanisms of prion protein misfolding and aggregation are thought to be responsible for the characteristics of prion disease. Therefore, there is a strong mechanistic basis for a prion-like behaviour of the TDP-43 protein being responsible for some characteristics of ALS. In this review, we compare the prion-like mechanisms of TDP-43 to the clinical and biological nature of ALS in order to investigate how this protein could be responsible for some of the characteristic properties of the disease.
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No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction
Early onset isolated dystonia (DYT1) is linked to a three base pair deletion (ΔGAG) mutation in the TOR1A gene. Clinical manifestation includes intermittent muscle contraction leading to twisting movements or abnormal postures. Neuropathological studies on DYT1 cases are limited, most showing no significant abnormalities. In one study, brainstem intraneuronal inclusions immunoreactive for ubiquitin, torsinA and lamin A/C were described. Using the largest series reported to date comprising 7 DYT1 cases, we aimed to identify consistent neuropathological features in the disease and determine whether we would find the same intraneuronal inclusions as previously reported.
The pathological changes of brainstem inclusions reported in DYT1 dystonia were not replicated in our case series. Other anatomical regions implicated in dystonia showed no disease-specific pathological intracellular inclusions or evidence of more than mild neuronal loss.
Our findings suggest that the intracellular inclusions described previously in DYT1 dystonia may not be a hallmark feature of the disorder. In isolated dystonia, DYT1 in particular, biochemical changes may be more relevant than the morphological changes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40478-014-0159-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The analyses of genetic factors contributing to Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias have evolved at the same pace as genetic and genomic technologies are developed and improved. The identification of the first genes involved in AD arose from family-based studies, but risk factors have mainly been identified by studies comparing groups of patients with groups of controls. The best outcomes have been heavily associated with the capacity of interrogating genetic variability at the genome level without any particular a priori hypothesis. In this review we assess the role of genetic family studies in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias within the current status of dementias' and, particularly, AD's genetic architecture.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) represents 1%–2% of the Alzheimer's disease (AD) cases, and it is generally characterized by a positive family history and a rapidly progressive symptomatology. Rare coding and fully penetrant variants in amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin 1 (PSEN1), and presenilin 2 (PSEN2) are the only causative mutations reported for autosomal dominant AD. Thus, in this study we used exome sequencing data to rapidly screen rare coding variability in APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2, in a British cohort composed of 47 unrelated EOAD cases and 179 elderly controls, neuropathologically proven. We report 2 novel and likely pathogenic variants in PSEN1 (p.L166V and p.S230R). A comprehensive catalog of rare pathogenic variants in the AD Mendelian genes is pivotal for a premortem diagnosis of autosomal dominant EOAD and for the differential diagnosis with other early onset dementias such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Neurobiology of Aging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because APOE locus variants contribute to risk of late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) and to differences in age at onset (AAO), it is important to know whether other established LOAD risk loci also affect AAO in affected participants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GTP cyclohydrolase 1, encoded by the GCH1 gene, is an essential enzyme for dopamine production in nigrostriatal cells. Loss-of-function mutations in GCH1 result in severe reduction of dopamine synthesis in nigrostriatal cells and are the most common cause of DOPA-responsive dystonia, a rare disease that classically presents in childhood with generalized dystonia and a dramatic long-lasting response to levodopa. We describe clinical, genetic and nigrostriatal dopaminergic imaging ([123I]N-omega-fluoropropyl-2beta-carbomethoxy-3beta-(4-iodophenyl) tropane single photon computed tomography) findings of four unrelated pedigrees with DOPA-responsive dystonia in which pathogenic GCH1 variants were identified in family members with adult-onset parkinsonism. Dopamine transporter imaging was abnormal in all parkinsonian patients, indicating Parkinson's disease-like nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation. We subsequently explored the possibility that pathogenic GCH1 variants could contribute to the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, even in the absence of a family history for DOPA-responsive dystonia. The frequency of GCH1 variants was evaluated in whole-exome sequencing data of 1318 cases with Parkinson's disease and 5935 control subjects. Combining cases and controls, we identified a total of 11 different heterozygous GCH1 variants, all at low frequency. This list includes four pathogenic variants previously associated with DOPA-responsive dystonia (Q110X, V204I, K224R and M230I) and seven of undetermined clinical relevance (Q110E, T112A, A120S, D134G, I154V, R198Q and G217V). The frequency of GCH1 variants was significantly higher (Fisher's exact test P-value 0.0001) in cases (10/1318 = 0.75%) than in controls (6/5935 = 0.1%; odds ratio 7.5; 95% confidence interval 2.4-25.3). Our results show that rare GCH1 variants are associated with an increased risk for Parkinson's disease. These findings expand the clinical and biological relevance of GTP cycloydrolase 1 deficiency, suggesting that it not only leads to biochemical striatal dopamine depletion and DOPA-responsive dystonia, but also predisposes to nigrostriatal cell loss. Further insight into GCH1-associated pathogenetic mechanisms will shed light on the role of dopamine metabolism in nigral degeneration and Parkinson's disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias are a major public health challenge and present a therapeutic imperative for which we need additional insight into molecular pathogenesis. We performed a genome-wide association study and analysis of known genetic risk loci for AD dementia using neuropathologic data from 4,914 brain autopsies. Neuropathologic data were used to define clinico-pathologic AD dementia or controls, assess core neuropathologic features of AD (neuritic plaques, NPs; neurofibrillary tangles, NFTs), and evaluate commonly co-morbid neuropathologic changes: cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), Lewy body disease (LBD), hippocampal sclerosis of the elderly (HS), and vascular brain injury (VBI). Genome-wide significance was observed for clinico-pathologic AD dementia, NPs, NFTs, CAA, and LBD with a number of variants in and around the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE). GalNAc transferase 7 (GALNT7), ATP-Binding Cassette, Sub-Family G (WHITE), Member 1 (ABCG1), and an intergenic region on chromosome 9 were associated with NP score; and Potassium Large Conductance Calcium-Activated Channel, Subfamily M, Beta Member 2 (KCNMB2) was strongly associated with HS. Twelve of the 21 non-APOE genetic risk loci for clinically-defined AD dementia were confirmed in our clinico-pathologic sample: CR1, BIN1, CLU, MS4A6A, PICALM, ABCA7, CD33, PTK2B, SORL1, MEF2C, ZCWPW1, and CASS4 with 9 of these 12 loci showing larger odds ratio in the clinico-pathologic sample. Correlation of effect sizes for risk of AD dementia with effect size for NFTs or NPs showed positive correlation, while those for risk of VBI showed a moderate negative correlation. The other co-morbid neuropathologic features showed only nominal association with the known AD loci. Our results discovered new genetic associations with specific neuropathologic features and aligned known genetic risk for AD dementia with specific neuropathologic changes in the largest brain autopsy study of AD and related dementias.