Mathias Jucker

Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (190)1453.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Immune cells of myeloid lineage are encountered in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, where they cluster around amyloid-β plaques. However, assigning functional roles to myeloid cell subtypes has been problematic, and the potential for peripheral myeloid cells to alleviate AD pathology remains unclear. Therefore, we asked whether replacement of brain-resident myeloid cells with peripheral monocytes alters amyloid deposition in two mouse models of cerebral β-amyloidosis (APP23 and APPPS1). Interestingly, early after repopulation, infiltrating monocytes neither clustered around plaques nor showed Trem2 expression. However, with increasing time in the brain, infiltrating monocytes became plaque associated and also Trem2 positive. Strikingly, however, monocyte repopulation for up to 6 mo did not modify amyloid load in either model, independent of the stage of pathology at the time of repopulation. Our results argue against a long-term role of peripheral monocytes that is sufficiently distinct from microglial function to modify cerebral β-amyloidosis. Therefore, myeloid replacement by itself is not likely to be effective as a therapeutic approach for AD.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Experimental Medicine
  • Mathias Jucker · Lary C Walker

    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Nature
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    ABSTRACT: Cerebral β-amyloidosis is induced by inoculation of Aβ seeds into APP transgenic mice, but not into App(-/-) (APP null) mice. We found that brain extracts from APP null mice that had been inoculated with Aβ seeds up to 6 months previously still induced β-amyloidosis in APP transgenic hosts following secondary transmission. Thus, Aβ seeds can persist in the brain for months, and they regain propagative and pathogenic activity in the presence of host Aβ.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Nature Neuroscience
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    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2015
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the associations of cerebral amyloidosis with concurrent cognitive performance and with longitudinal cognitive decline in asymptomatic and symptomatic stages of autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease (ADAD). Two hundred sixty-three participants enrolled in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network observational study underwent neuropsychological evaluation as well as PET scans with Pittsburgh compound B. One hundred twenty-one participants completed at least 1 follow-up neuropsychological evaluation. Four composite cognitive measures representing global cognition, episodic memory, language, and working memory were generated using z scores from a battery of 13 standard neuropsychological tests. General linear mixed-effects models were used to investigate the relationship between baseline cerebral amyloidosis and baseline cognitive performance and whether baseline cerebral amyloidosis predicts cognitive change over time (mean follow-up 2.32 years ± 0.92, range 0.89-4.19) after controlling for estimated years from expected symptom onset, APOE ε4 allelic status, and education. In asymptomatic mutation carriers, amyloid burden was not associated with baseline cognitive functioning but was significantly predictive of longitudinal decline in episodic memory. In symptomatic mutation carriers, cerebral amyloidosis was correlated with worse baseline performance in multiple cognitive composites and predicted greater decline over time in global cognition, working memory, and Mini-Mental State Examination. Cerebral amyloidosis predicts longitudinal episodic memory decline in presymptomatic ADAD and multidomain cognitive decline in symptomatic ADAD. These findings imply that amyloidosis in the brain is an indicator of early cognitive decline and provides a useful outcome measure for early assessment and prevention treatment trials. © 2015 American Academy of Neurology.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Neurology
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer´s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder. AD neuropathology is characterized by intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular β-amyloid deposits in the brain. To elucidate the complexity of AD pathogenesis a variety of transgenic mouse models have been generated. An ideal imaging system for monitoring β-amyloid plaque deposition in the brain of these animals should allow 3D-reconstructions of β-amyloid plaques via a single scan of an uncropped brain. Ultramicroscopy makes this possible by replacing mechanical slicing in standard histology by optical sectioning. It allows a time efficient analysis of the amyloid plaque distribution in the entire mouse brain with 3D cellular resolution. We herein labeled β-amyloid deposits in a transgenic mouse model of cerebral β-amyloidosis (APPPS1 transgenic mice) with two intraperitoneal injections of the amyloid-binding fluorescent dye methoxy-X04. Upon postmortem analysis the total number of β-amyloid plaques, the β-amyloid load (volume percent) and the amyloid plaque size distributions were measured in the frontal cortex of two age groups (2.5 versus 7-8.5 month old mice). Applying ultramicroscopy we found in a proof-of-principle study that the number of β-amyloid plaques increases with age. In our experiments we further observed an increase of large plaques in the older age group of mice. We demonstrate that ultramicroscopy is a fast, and accurate analysis technique for studying β-amyloid lesions in transgenic mice allowing the 3D staging of β-amyloid plaque development. This in turn is the basis to study neural network degeneration upon cerebral β-amyloidosis and to assess Aβ -targeting therapeutics.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: The accumulation of protein aggregates is associated with many devastating neurodegenerative diseases and the existence of distinct aggregated morphotypes has been suggested to explain the heterogeneous phenotype reported for these diseases. Thus, the development of molecular probes able to distinguish such morphotypes is essential. We report an anionic tetrameric oligothiophene compound that can be utilized for spectral assignment of different morphotypes of β-amyloid or tau aggregates present in transgenic mice at distinct ages. The ability of the ligand to spectrally distinguish between the aggregated morphotypes was reduced when the spacing between the anionic substituents along the conjugated thiophene backbone was altered, which verified that specific molecular interactions between the ligand and the protein aggregate are necessary to detect aggregate polymorphism. Our findings provide the structural and functional basis for the development of new fluorescent ligands that can distinguish between different morphotypes of protein aggregates. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Chemistry - A European Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormalities in brains of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients are thought to start long before the first clinical symptoms emerge. The identification of affected individuals at this 'preclinical AD' stage relies on biomarkers such as decreased levels of the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and positive amyloid positron emission tomography scans. However, there is little information on the longitudinal dynamics of CSF biomarkers, especially in the earliest disease stages when therapeutic interventions are likely most effective. To this end, we have studied CSF Aβ changes in three Aβ precursor protein transgenic mouse models, focusing our analysis on the initial Aβ deposition, which differs significantly among the models studied. Remarkably, while we confirmed the CSF Aβ decrease during the extended course of brain Aβ deposition, a 20-30% increase in CSF Aβ40 and Aβ42 was found around the time of the first Aβ plaque appearance in all models. The biphasic nature of this observed biomarker changes stresses the need for longitudinal biomarker studies in the clinical setting and the search for new 'preclinical AD' biomarkers at even earlier disease stages, by using both mice and human samples. Ultimately, our findings may open new perspectives in identifying subjects at risk for AD significantly earlier, and in improving the stratification of patients for preventive treatment strategies. © 2015 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · EMBO Molecular Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: We examined the diagnostic value of subjective memory complaints (SMCs) assessed with a single item in a large cross-sectional cohort consisting of families with autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease (ADAD) participating in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN). Methods: The baseline sample of 183 mutation carriers (MCs) and 117 noncarriers (NCs) was divided according to Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale into preclinical (CDR 0; MCs: n = 107; NCs: n = 109), early symptomatic (CDR 0.5; MCs: n = 48; NCs: n = 8), and dementia stage (CDR ≥ 1; MCs: n = 28; NCs: n = 0). These groups were subdivided by the presence or absence of SMCs. Results: At CDR 0, SMCs were present in 12.1% of MCs and 9.2% of NCs (P = 0.6). At CDR 0.5, SMCs were present in 66.7% of MCs and 62.5% of NCs (P = 1.0). At CDR ≥ 1, SMCs were present in 96.4% of MCs. SMCs in MCs were significantly associated with CDR, logical memory scores, Geriatric Depression Scale, education, and estimated years to onset. Conclusions: The present study shows that SMCs assessed by a single-item scale have no diagnostic value to identify preclinical ADAD in asymptomatic individuals. These results demonstrate the need of further improvement of SMC measures that should be examined in large clinical trials.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · BioMed Research International
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations within the LRRK2 gene have been identified in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and have been implicated in the dysfunction of several cellular pathways. Here, we explore how pathogenic mutations and the inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity affect cytoskeleton dynamics in mouse and human cell systems. We generated and characterized a novel transgenic mouse model expressing physiological levels of human wild type and G2019S-mutant LRRK2. No neuronal loss or neurodegeneration was detected in midbrain dopamine neurons at the age of 12 months. Postnatal hippocampal neurons derived from transgenic mice showed no alterations in the seven parameters examined concerning neurite outgrowth sampled automatically on several hundred neurons using high content imaging. Treatment with the kinase inhibitor LRRK2-IN-1 resulted in no significant changes in the neurite outgrowth. In human fibroblasts we analyzed whether pathogenic LRRK2 mutations change cytoskeleton functions such as cell adhesion. To this end we compared the adhesion characteristics of human skin fibroblasts derived from six PD patients carrying one of three different pathogenic LRRK2 mutations and from four age-matched control individuals. The mutant LRRK2 variants as well as the inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity did not reveal any significant cell adhesion differences in cultured fibroblasts. In summary, our results in both human and mouse cell systems suggest that neither the expression of wild type or mutant LRRK2, nor the inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity affect neurite complexity and cellular adhesion.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    Lary C Walker · Mathias Jucker
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    ABSTRACT: The prion paradigm has emerged as a unifying molecular principle for the pathogenesis of many age-related neurodegenerative diseases. This paradigm holds that a fundamental cause of specific disorders is the misfolding and seeded aggregation of certain proteins. The concept arose from the discovery that devastating brain diseases called spongiform encephalopathies are transmissible to new hosts by agents consisting solely of a misfolded protein, now known as the prion protein. Accordingly, "prion" was defined as a "proteinaceous infectious particle." As the concept has expanded to include other diseases, many of which are not infectious by any conventional definition, the designation of prions as infectious agents has become problematic. We propose to define prions as "proteinaceous nucleating particles" to highlight the molecular action of the agents, lessen unwarranted apprehension about the transmissibility of noninfectious proteopathies, and promote the wider acceptance of this revolutionary paradigm by the biomedical community. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Neuroscience Volume 38 is July 08, 2015. Please see for revised estimates.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Annual Review of Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Endogenous murine amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) is expressed in most Aβ precursor protein (APP) transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease but its contribution to β-amyloidosis remains unclear. We demonstrate ∼35% increased cerebral Aβ load in APP23 transgenic mice compared with age-matched APP23 mice on an App-null background. No such difference was found for the much faster Aβ-depositing APPPS1 transgenic mouse model between animals with or without the murine App gene. Nevertheless, both APP23 and APPPS1 mice codeposited murine Aβ, and immunoelectron microscopy revealed a tight association of murine Aβ with human Aβ fibrils. Deposition of murine Aβ was considerably less efficient compared with the deposition of human Aβ indicating a lower amyloidogenic potential of murine Aβ in vivo. The amyloid dyes Pittsburgh Compound-B and pentamer formyl thiophene acetic acid did not differentiate between amyloid deposits consisting of human Aβ and deposits of mixed human-murine Aβ. Our data demonstrate a differential effect of murine Aβ on human Aβ deposition in different APP transgenic mice. The mechanistically complex interaction of human and mouse Aβ may affect pathogenesis of the models and should be considered when models are used for translational preclinical studies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Neurobiology of aging
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer Disease AD is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, which is characterized by a variety of neuropathological abnormalities, such as the extracellular deposition of aggregated amyloid-­‐beta peptide (Aβ) in the brain parenchyma. In brains of transgenic APPPS1 mice these β-­‐amyloid deposits can be visualized and quantified by ultramicroscopy (UM) after staining by systemic dye loading and chemical clearing. We measured the total number of amyloid plaques, the amyloid load (volume percent) and the amyloid plaque size distributions in a defined volume in the frontal cortex of two age groups (2.5 versus 7.-­‐8.5 mo). We demonstrate that UM is an easy, relative quick and direct method for counting uncropped β-amyloid deposits in 3D. Axons of motor and sensory neurons span long distances towards their targets. Tracing of these long nerves is a difficult task, as they are orientated in 3D, frequently split and generally do not take the shortest path to their target. In a neurodevelopmental project we applied UM to analyze axon guidance by growth factors as RET/GDNF. For this we visualized the topographic projections of motorneuron axons in the hind limb of mouse embryos.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Mar 2015
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    ABSTRACT: An important early event in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the aberrant polymerization and extracellular accumulation of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ). In young transgenic mice expressing the human Aβ-precursor protein (APP), deposits of Aβ can be induced by the inoculation of minute amounts of brain extract containing Aβ aggregates ("Aβ seeds"), indicative of a prion-like seeding phenomenon. Moreover, focal intracerebral injection of Aβ seeds can induce deposits not only in the immediate vicinity of the injection site, but, with time, also in distal regions of the brain. However, it remains uncertain whether the spatial progression of Aβ deposits occurs via nonsystematic diffusion from the injection site to proximal regions or via directed transit along neuroanatomical pathways. To address this question, we analyzed the spatiotemporal emergence of Aβ deposits in two different APP-transgenic mouse models that had been previously inoculated with Aβ seeds into the hippocampal formation. The results revealed a specific, neuroanatomically constrained pattern of induced Aβ deposits in structures corresponding to the limbic connectome, supporting the hypothesis that neuronal pathways act as conduits for the movement of proteopathic agents among brain regions, thereby facilitating the progression of disease. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Brain Pathology
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The dynamics of β-amyloid deposition and related second-order physiological effects, such as regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), are key factors for a deeper understanding of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We present longitudinal in vivo data on the dynamics of β-amyloid deposition and the decline of rCBF in two different amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mouse models of AD. Using a multiparametric positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging approach, we demonstrate that in the presence of cerebral β-amyloid angiopathy (CAA), β-amyloid deposition is accompanied by a decline of rCBF. Loss of perfusion correlates with the growth of β-amyloid plaque burden but is not related to the number of CAA-induced microhemorrhages. However, in a mouse model of parenchymal β-amyloidosis and negligible CAA, rCBF is unchanged. Because synaptically driven spontaneous network activity is similar in both transgenic mouse strains, we conclude that the disease-related decline of rCBF is caused by CAA.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Nature Medicine
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    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Acta Neuropathologica
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    ABSTRACT: The soluble fraction of brain samples from patients with Alzheimer's disease contains highly biologically active amyloid-β seeds. In this study, we sought to assess the potency of soluble amyloid-β seeds derived from the brain and cerebrospinal fluid. Soluble Alzheimer's disease brain extracts were serially diluted and then injected into the hippocampus of young, APP transgenic mice. Eight months later, seeded amyloid-β deposition was evident even when the hippocampus received subattomole amounts of brain-derived amyloid-β. In contrast, cerebrospinal fluid from patients with Alzheimer's disease, which contained more than 10-fold higher levels of amyloid-β peptide than the most concentrated soluble brain extracts, did not induce detectable seeding activity in vivo. Similarly, cerebrospinal fluid from aged APP-transgenic donor mice failed to induce cerebral amyloid-β deposition. In comparison to the soluble brain fraction, cerebrospinal fluid largely lacked N-terminally truncated amyloid-β species and exhibited smaller amyloid-β-positive particles, features that may contribute to the lack of in vivo seeding by cerebrospinal fluid. Interestingly, the same cerebrospinal fluid showed at least some seeding activity in an in vitro assay. The present results indicate that the biological seeding activity of soluble amyloid-β species is orders of magnitude greater in brain extracts than in the cerebrospinal fluid.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Brain
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    ABSTRACT: Cerebral β-amyloidosis can be exogenously induced by the intracerebral injection of brain extracts containing aggregated β-amyloid (Aβ) into young, pre-depositing Aβ precursor protein- (APP) transgenic mice. Previous work has shown that the induction involves a prion-like seeding mechanism in which the seeding agent is aggregated Aβ itself. Here we report that the β-amyloid-inducing activity of Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain tissue or aged APP-transgenic mouse brain tissue is preserved, albeit with reduced efficacy, after formaldehyde fixation. Moreover, spectral analysis with amyloid conformation-sensitive luminescent conjugated oligothiophene dyes reveals that the strain-like properties of aggregated Aβ are maintained in fixed tissues. The resistance of Aβ seeds to inactivation and structural modification by formaldehyde underscores their remarkable durability, which in turn may contribute to their persistence and spread within the body. The present findings can be exploited to establish the relationship between the molecular structure of Aβ aggregates and the variable clinical features and disease progression of AD even in archived, formalin-fixed autopsy material.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Acta Neuropathologica
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    ABSTRACT: Deposition of aggregated amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide in brain is an early event and hallmark pathology of Alzheimer's disease and cerebral Aβ angiopathy. Experimental evidence supports the concept that Aβ multimers can act as seeds and structurally corrupt other Aβ peptides by a self-propagating mechanism. Here we compare the induction of cerebral β-amyloidosis by intraperitoneal applications of Aβ-containing brain extracts in three Aβ-precursor protein (APP) transgenic mouse lines that differ in levels of transgene expression in brain and periphery (APP23 mice, APP23 mice lacking murine APP, and R1.40 mice). Results revealed that beta-amyloidosis induction, which could be blocked with an anti-Aβ antibody, was dependent on the amount of inoculated brain extract and on the level of APP/Aβ expression in the brain but not in the periphery. The induced Aβ deposits in brain occurred in a characteristic pattern consistent with the entry of Aβ seeds at multiple brain locations. Intraperitoneally injected Aβ could be detected in blood monocytes and some peripheral tissues (liver, spleen) up to 30 d after the injection but escaped histological and biochemical detection thereafter. These results suggest that intraperitoneally inoculated Aβ seeds are transported from the periphery to the brain in which corruptive templating of host Aβ occurs at multiple sites, most efficiently in regions with high availability of soluble Aβ.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Publication Stats

12k Citations
1,453.60 Total Impact Points


  • 2005-2015
    • Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    • University of Tuebingen
      • Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2014
    • Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2013
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      San Luis, Missouri, United States
  • 2012
    • Linköping University
      Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden
  • 2011
    • Emory University
      • Department of Neurology
      Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 1989-2009
    • University of Basel
      • Institute of Geology and Paleontology
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
  • 2008
    • Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2004
    • Novartis
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
  • 2002
    • Universitätsspital Basel
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
    • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
      Manhattan, New York, United States
  • 1999
    • University of Zurich
      Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 1991-1998
    • National Institute on Aging
      • • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (LCMB)
      • • Molecular Immunology Unit
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 1996
    • Hamilton College
      • Department of Biology
      Clinton, New York, United States
  • 1993
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Biology
      베서스다, Maryland, United States
  • 1992
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 1990
    • Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire
      Strasburg, Alsace, France