[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathological accumulation of abnormally phosphorylated tau protein in astrocytes is a frequent, but poorly characterized feature of the aging brain. Its etiology is uncertain, but its presence is sufficiently ubiquitous to merit further characterization and classification, which may stimulate clinicopathological studies and research into its pathobiology. This paper aims to harmonize evaluation and nomenclature of aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG), a term that refers to a morphological spectrum of astroglial pathology detected by tau immunohistochemistry, especially with phosphorylation-dependent and 4R isoform-specific antibodies. ARTAG occurs mainly, but not exclusively, in individuals over 60 years of age. Tau-immunoreactive astrocytes in ARTAG include thorn-shaped astrocytes at the glia limitans and in white matter, as well as solitary or clustered astrocytes with perinuclear cytoplasmic tau immunoreactivity that extends into the astroglial processes as fine fibrillar or granular immunopositivity, typically in gray matter. Various forms of ARTAG may coexist in the same brain and might reflect different pathogenic processes. Based on morphology and anatomical distribution, ARTAG can be distinguished from primary tauopathies, but may be concurrent with primary tauopathies or other disorders. We recommend four steps for evaluation of ARTAG: (1) identification of five types based on the location of either morphologies of tau astrogliopathy: subpial, subependymal, perivascular, white matter, gray matter; (2) documentation of the regional involvement: medial temporal lobe, lobar (frontal, parietal, occipital, lateral temporal), subcortical, brainstem; (3) documentation of the severity of tau astrogliopathy; and (4) description of subregional involvement. Some types of ARTAG may underlie neurological symptoms; however, the clinical significance of ARTAG is currently uncertain and awaits further studies. The goal of this proposal is to raise awareness of astroglial tau pathology in the aged brain, facilitating communication among neuropathologists and researchers, and informing interpretation of clinical biomarkers and imaging studies that focus on tau-related indicators.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Acta Neuropathologica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and purpose:
Intracranial artery dolichoectasia (IADE) and coronary artery ectasia have been associated with stroke and myocardial infarction, respectively. Only rarely have cases of coexisting IADE and coronary artery ectasia been reported. We investigated this association in a large consecutive autopsy series.
Sixteen stroke patients with IADE were identified among 381 stroke patients and were matched with 16 stroke patients without IADE. The heart and coronary arteries from all patients were examined after a prespecified protocol.
Coronary artery ectasia was observed in 8 of the stroke patients with IADE, and in none of the stroke patients without IADE (P=0.008). The diameters of basilar and right coronary arteries were positively correlated (IADE patients, r=0.51; P=0.003 and coronary artery ectasia patients, P=0.006).
This autopsy study examining the association of coronary artery ectasia and IADE in stroke patients suggests a common pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The impact of neuropathological lesions on the clinical symptoms and progression of Lewy body disease (LBD) remains unclear. To address this issue, we describe two illustrative cases of autopsy-proven LBD that presented atypical phenotypes of progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome and semantic dementia. Postmortem examination revealed diffuse LBD with massive brainstem involvement in case 1, whereas Lewy bodies predominated in the amygdala and neocortex in case 2. Alzheimer's disease pathology was present in both cases, and TDP-43 inclusions were noted in case 2. These cases illustrate two contrasted clinical presentations and highlight the heterogeneity within the underlying proteinopathies of neurodegenerative diseases.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Odor impairment and its relationship with TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) pathology in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have not been fully elucidated. We performed the odor stick identification test for Japanese (OSIT-J) in 18 ALS patients and in 18 controls. The score was significantly decreased (6.6 ± 2.7) in the patients versus the controls (9.2 ± 2.4) (U = 77.0, p = 0.007). This decrement of the OSIT-J score paralleled the cognitive decline. We then studied samples from a series of 42 postmortem ALS cases. Quantitative analyses demonstrated that TDP-43-positive inclusions were most frequent in the hippocampus and least abundant in the olfactory bulb and were of intermediate density in the primary olfactory cortex. This centrifugal gradient suggests that TDP-43 pathology starts in the hippocampus, spreads into the primary olfactory center, and finally reaches the olfactory bulb. TDP-43, tau, and α-synuclein accumulations appeared to be independent. These observations suggest that impaired odor discrimination in ALS patients may be related to TDP-43-positive lesions affecting predominantly secondary olfactory centers (especially the hippocampus) in contrast to decreased odor sensitivity in Parkinson disease in which α-synuclein pathology mainly involves the peripheral region (i.e., olfactory bulb). We suggest that detectable odor impairments in ALS patients are useful for predicting the presence of TDP-43 pathology in the extramotor system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research utilizing human tissue and its removal at post-mortem has given rise to many controversies in the media and posed many dilemmas in the fields of law and ethics. The law often lacks clear instructions and unambiguous guidelines. The absence of a harmonized international legislation with regard to post-mortem medical procedures and donation of tissue and organs contributes to the complexity of the issue. Therefore, within the BrainNet Europe (BNE) consortium, a consortium of 19 European brain banks, we drafted an ethical Code of Conduct for brain banking that covers basic legal rules and bioethical principles involved in brain banking. Sources include laws, regulations and guidelines (Declarations, Conventions, Recommendations, Guidelines and Directives) issued by international key organizations, such as the Council of Europe, European Commission, World Medical Association and World Health Organization. The Code of Conduct addresses fundamental topics as the rights of the persons donating their tissue, the obligations of the brain bank with regard to respect and observance of such rights, informed consent, confidentiality, protection of personal data, collections of human biological material and their management, and transparency and accountability within the organization of a brain bank. The Code of Conduct for brain banking is being adopted by the BNE network prior to being enshrined in official legislation for brain banking in Europe and beyond.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00702-014-1353-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Neural Transmission
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Olig2 is a key determinant for the specification of neural precursor cells into oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. However, the functional role of Olig2 in oligodendrocyte migration and differentiation remains elusive both during developmental myelination and under demyelinating conditions of the adult central nervous system. To decipher Olig2 functions, we generated transgenic mice (TetOlig2:Sox10(rtTA/+)) overexpressing Olig2 in Sox10(+) oligodendroglial cells in a doxycycline inducible manner. We show that Olig2 overexpression increases the generation of differentiated oligodendrocytes, leading to precocious myelination of the central nervous system. Unexpectedly, we found that gain of Olig2 function in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells enhances their migration rate. To determine whether Olig2 overexpression in adult oligodendrocyte progenitor cells promotes oligodendrocyte regeneration for myelin repair, we induced lysophosphatidylcholine demyelination in the corpus callosum of TetOlig2:Sox10(rtTA/+) and control mice. We found that Olig2 overexpression enhanced oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation and remyelination. To assess the relevance of these findings in demyelinating diseases, we also examined OLIG2 expression in multiple sclerosis lesions. We demonstrate that OLIG2 displays a differential expression pattern in multiple sclerosis lesions that correlates with lesion activity. Strikingly, OLIG2 was predominantly detected in NOGO-A(+) (now known as RTN4-A) maturing oligodendrocytes, which prevailed in active lesion borders, rather than chronic silent and shadow plaques. Taken together, our data provide proof of principle indicating that OLIG2 overexpression in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells might be a possible therapeutic mechanism for enhancing myelin repair.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The BrainNet Europe consortium assessed the reproducibility in the assignment of the type of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP) 43 following current recommendations. The agreement rates were influenced by the immunohistochemical (IHC) method and by the classification strategy followed. p62-IHC staining yielded good uniform quality of stains, but the most reliable results were obtained implementing specific Abs directed against the hallmark protein TDP43. Both assessment of the type and the extent of lesions were influenced by the Abs and by the quality of stain. Assessment of the extent of the lesions yielded poor results repeatedly; thus, the extent of pathology should not be used in diagnostic consensus criteria. Whilst 31 neuropathologists typed 30 FTLD-TDP cases, inter-rater agreement ranged from 19 to 100 per cent, being highest when applying phosphorylated TDP43/IHC. The agreement was highest when designating Type C or Type A/B. In contrast, there was a poor agreement when attempting to separate Type A or Type B FTLD-TDP. In conclusion, we can expect that neuropathologist, independent of his/her familiarity with FTLD-TDP pathology, can identify a TDP43-positive FTLD case. The goal should be to state a Type (A, B, C, D) or a mixture of Types (A/B, A/C or B/C). Neuropathologists, other clinicians and researchers should be aware of the pitfalls whilst doing so. Agreement can be reached in an inter-laboratory setting regarding Type C cases with thick and long neurites, whereas the differentiation between Types A and B may be more troublesome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system are characterized by pathogenetic cellular and molecular changes in specific areas of the brain that lead to the dysfunction and/or loss of explicit neuronal populations. Despite exhibiting different clinical profiles and selective neuronal loss, common features such as abnormal protein deposition, dysfunctional cellular transport, mitochondrial deficits, glutamate excitotoxicity, iron accumulation and inflammation are observed in many neurodegenerative disorders, suggesting converging pathways of neurodegeneration. We have generated comparative genome-wide gene expression data, using the Illumina HumanRef 8 Beadchip, for Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia using an extensive cohort (n = 113) of well-characterized post-mortem brain tissues. The analysis of whole-genome expression patterns across these major disorders offers an outstanding opportunity not only to look into exclusive disease-specific changes, but more importantly to look for potential common molecular pathogenic mechanisms. Surprisingly, no dysregulated gene that passed our selection criteria was found in common across all six diseases. However, 61 dysregulated genes were shared when comparing five and four diseases. The few genes highlighted by our direct gene comparison analysis hint toward common neuronal homeostatic, survival and synaptic plasticity pathways. In addition, we report changes to several inflammation-related genes in all diseases. This work is supportive of a general role of the innate immune system in the pathogenesis and/or response to neurodegeneration.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Journal of Neural Transmission
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
The aim of this study was to establish the frequency of ATXN2 polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in large cohorts of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and to evaluate whether ATXN2 could act as a modifier gene in patients carrying the C9orf72 expansion.
We screened a large cohort of French patients (1,144 ALS, 203 FTD, 168 FTD-ALS, and 109 PSP) for ATXN2 CAG repeat length. We included in our cohort 322 carriers of the C9orf72 expansion (202 ALS, 63 FTD, and 57 FTD-ALS).
We found a significant association with intermediate repeat size (≥29 CAG) in patients with ALS (both familial and sporadic) and, for the first time, in patients with familial FTD-ALS. Of interest, we found the co-occurrence of pathogenic C9orf72 expansion in 23.2% of ATXN2 intermediate-repeat carriers, all in the FTD-ALS and familial ALS subgroups. In the cohort of C9orf72 carriers, 3.1% of patients also carried an intermediate ATXN2 repeat length. ATXN2 repeat lengths in patients with PSP and FTD were found to be similar to the controls.
ATXN2 intermediary repeat length is a strong risk factor for ALS and FTD-ALS. Furthermore, we propose that ATXN2 polyQ expansions could act as a strong modifier of the FTD phenotype in the presence of a C9orf72 repeat expansion, leading to the development of clinical signs featuring both FTD and ALS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Although thrombosis is considered the cardinal feature of the antiphospholipid syndrome, chronic vascular lesions are common, particularly in patients with life-threatening complications. In patients who require transplantation, vascular lesions often recur. The molecular pathways involved in the vasculopathy of the antiphospholipid syndrome are unknown, and adequate therapies are lacking.
We used double immunostaining to evaluate pathway activation in the mammalian target of rapamycin complex (mTORC) and the nature of cell proliferation in the vessels of patients with primary or secondary antiphospholipid syndrome nephropathy. We also evaluated autopsy specimens from persons who had catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome. The molecular pathways through which antiphospholipid antibodies modulate the mTORC pathway were evaluated in vitro, and potential pharmacologic inhibitors were also tested in vitro. Finally, we studied the effect of sirolimus in kidney-transplant recipients with the antiphospholipid syndrome.
The vascular endothelium of proliferating intrarenal vessels from patients with antiphospholipid syndrome nephropathy showed indications of activation of the mTORC pathway. In cultured vascular endothelial cells, IgG antibodies from patients with the antiphospholipid syndrome stimulated mTORC through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT pathway. Patients with antiphospholipid syndrome nephropathy who required transplantation and were receiving sirolimus had no recurrence of vascular lesions and had decreased vascular proliferation on biopsy as compared with patients with antiphospholipid antibodies who were not receiving sirolimus. Among 10 patients treated with sirolimus, 7 (70%) had a functioning renal allograft 144 months after transplantation versus 3 of 27 untreated patients (11%). Activation of mTORC was also found in the vessels of autopsy specimens from patients with catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome.
Our results suggest that the mTORC pathway is involved in the vascular lesions associated with the antiphospholipid syndrome. (Funded by INSERM and others.).
No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · New England Journal of Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is still no treatment for polyglutamine disorders, but clearance of mutant proteins might represent a potential therapeutic strategy. Autophagy, the major pathway for organelle and protein turnover, has been implicated in these diseases. To determine whether the autophagy/lysosome system contributes to the pathogenesis of spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7), caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract in the ataxin-7 protein, we looked for biochemical, histological and transcriptomic abnormalities in components of the autophagy/lysosome pathway in a knock-in mouse model of the disease, postmortem brain and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients. In the mouse model, mutant ataxin-7 accumulated in inclusions immunoreactive for the autophagy-associated proteins mTOR, beclin-1, p62 and ubiquitin. Atypical accumulations of the autophagosome/lysosome markers LC3, LAMP-1, LAMP2 and cathepsin-D were also found in the cerebellum of the SCA7 knock-in mice. In patients, abnormal accumulations of autophagy markers were detected in the cerebellum and cerebral cortex of patients, but not in the striatum that is spared in SCA7, suggesting that autophagy might be impaired by the selective accumulation of mutant ataxin-7. In vitro studies demonstrated that the autophagic flux was impaired in cells overexpressing full-length mutant ataxin-7. Interestingly, the expression of the early autophagy-associated gene ATG12 was increased in PBMC from SCA7 patients in correlation with disease severity. These results provide evidence that the autophagy/lysosome pathway is impaired in neurons undergoing degeneration in SCA7. Autophagy/lysosome-associated molecules might, therefore, be useful markers for monitoring the effects of potential therapeutic approaches using modulators of autophagy in SCA7 and other autophagy/lysosome-associated neurodegenerative disorders.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Acta Neuropathologica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) have recently been linked to frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and may be the most common genetic cause of both neurodegenerative diseases. Genetic variants at TMEM106B influence risk for the most common neuropathological subtype of FTLD, characterized by inclusions of TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (FTLD-TDP). Previous reports have shown that TMEM106B is a genetic modifier of FTLD-TDP caused by progranulin (GRN) mutations, with the major (risk) allele of rs1990622 associating with earlier age at onset of disease. Here, we report that rs1990622 genotype affects age at death in a single-site discovery cohort of FTLD patients with C9orf72 expansions (n = 14), with the major allele correlated with later age at death (p = 0.024). We replicate this modifier effect in a 30-site international neuropathological cohort of FTLD-TDP patients with C9orf72 expansions (n = 75), again finding that the major allele associates with later age at death (p = 0.016), as well as later age at onset (p = 0.019). In contrast, TMEM106B genotype does not affect age at onset or death in 241 FTLD-TDP cases negative for GRN mutations or C9orf72 expansions. Thus, TMEM106B is a genetic modifier of FTLD with C9orf72 expansions. Intriguingly, the genotype that confers increased risk for developing FTLD-TDP (major, or T, allele of rs1990622) is associated with later age at onset and death in C9orf72 expansion carriers, providing an example of sign epistasis in human neurodegenerative disease.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Acta Neuropathologica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a fatal, untreatable prion encephalopathy. Previous studies showed that doxycycline is effective in in-vitro and in-vivo models of disease, and patients with CJD who received compassionate treatment with doxycycline showed increased survival time compared with historical series. We therefore did a randomised, double-blind study of doxycycline versus placebo in CJD.
We recruited patients older than 18 years old who had a diagnosis of definite or probable sporadic CJD or genetic forms of the disease via Italian reference centres and the French national referral system. Patients were randomly assigned (ratio 1:1) to receive oral doxycycline (100 mg daily) or placebo under double-blind conditions from the day of randomisation to death. Centralised randomisation was done independently of enrolment or evaluation of patients using a minimisation method in Italy and a simple randomisation in France. Participants, caregivers, and clinicians were masked to group assignment. The primary efficacy variable was the survival time from randomisation. Interim analyses were planned to detect a significant effect of treatment as early as possible. This trial is registered with EudraCT, 2006-001858-27 for the Italian study and 2007-005553-34 for the French study.
From April 12, 2007, to Aug 19, 2010, in Italy, and from Jan 30, 2009, to Jan 10, 2012, in France, 121 patients with CJD were enrolled in the study, 62 of whom were randomly assigned to the treatment group and 59 to the placebo group. The first interim analysis showed absence of superiority of doxycycline compared with placebo, and the trial was stopped for futility. Efficacy analyses did not show significant differences between patients treated with doxycycline and placebo with regard to survival times (HR 1·1, 95% CI 0·8-1·7, p=0·50). Serious adverse events were judged not to be related to treatment, whereas a relation was deemed probable or possible for five non-serious adverse events that occurred in each treatment group.
Doxycycline at a dose of 100 mg per day was well tolerated but did not significantly affect the course of CJD, at variance with the results of previous observational studies. Our experience could be useful in the design of large multinational controlled trials of potential anti-prion molecules in this rare disease.
Agenzia Italiana Farmaco, Italian Ministry of Health, AIEnP, and French Ministry of Health.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · The Lancet Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously demonstrated that Sox17 expression is prominent at developmental stages corresponding to oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) cycle exit and onset of differentiation, and that Sox17 promotes initiation of OPC differentiation. In this study, we examined Sox17 expression and regulation under pathological conditions, particularly in two animal models of demyelination/remyelination and in post-mortem multiple sclerosis (MS) brain lesions. We found that the number of Sox17 expressing cells was significantly increased in lysolecithin (LPC)-induced lesions of the mouse spinal cord between 7 and 30 days post-injection, as compared with controls. Sox17 immunoreactivity was predominantly detected in Olig2(+) and CC1(+) oligodendrocytes and rarely in NG2(+) OPCs. The highest density of Sox17(+) oligodendrocytes was observed at 2 weeks after LPC injection, coinciding with OPC differentiation. Consistent with these findings, in cuprizone-treated mice, Sox17 expression was highest in newly generated and in maturing CC1(+) oligodendrocytes, but low in NG2(+) OPCs during the demyelination and remyelination phases. In MS tissue, Sox17 was primarily detected in actively demyelinating lesions and periplaque white matter. Sox17 immunoreactivity was co-localized with NOGO-A+ post-mitotic oligodendrocytes both in active MS lesions and periplaque white matter. Taken together, our data: (i) demonstrate that Sox17 expression is highest in newly generated oligodendrocytes under pathological conditions and could be used as a marker of oligodendrocyte regeneration, and (ii) are suggestive of Sox17 playing a critical role in oligodendrocyte differentiation and lesion repair. GLIA 2013.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a heterogeneous group including both sporadic and familial diseases, characterized by a macroscopic alteration. It may correspond to various cognitive syndromes: behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), progressive nonfluent aphasia, and semantic dementia. The neuropathologic classification is now based on identification of the protein that accumulates in neurons and glia: Tau, TAR DNA Binding Protein 43 (TDP-43), and FUsed in Sarcoma (FUS). The disorders in which the corresponding proteins accumulate have been named FTLD-Tau, FTLD-TDP, and FTLD-FUS. FTLD-Tau includes sporadic cases (e.g. Pick's disease) and Tau mutations. FTLD-TDP are subdivided within four types (A, B, C, D) according to the shape and distribution of TDP-43 positive lesions within the associative frontal cortex. The FTLD-FUS group includes atypical FTLD with ubiquitinated lesions (FTLD-U), Neuronal Intermediate Filament Inclusion Disease (NIFID) and Basophilic Inclusion Body Disease (BIBD).
No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Revue Neurologique