Eliezer Masliah

University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States

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Publications (999)5565.18 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Lewy bodies (LBs) are intraneuronal inclusions consisting primarily of fibrillized human α-synuclein (hα-Syn) protein, which represent the major pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). Although doubling hα-Syn expression provokes LB pathology in humans, hα-Syn overexpression does not trigger the formation of fibrillar LB-like inclusions in mice. We hypothesized that interactions between exogenous hα-Syn and endogenous mouse synuclein homologs could be attenuating hα-Syn fibrillization in mice, and therefore, we systematically assessed hα-Syn aggregation propensity in neurons derived from α-Syn-KO, β-Syn-KO, γ-Syn-KO, and triple-KO mice lacking expression of all three synuclein homologs. Herein, we show that hα-Syn forms hyperphosphorylated (at S129) and ubiquitin-positive LB-like inclusions in primary neurons of α-Syn-KO, β-Syn-KO, and triple-KO mice, as well as in transgenic α-Syn-KO mouse brains in vivo. Importantly, correlative light and electron microscopy, immunogold labeling, and thioflavin-S binding established their fibrillar ultrastructure, and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching/photoconversion experiments showed that these inclusions grow in size and incorporate soluble proteins. We further investigated whether the presence of homologous α-Syn species would interfere with the seeding and spreading of α-Syn pathology. Our results are in line with increasing evidence demonstrating that the spreading of α-Syn pathology is most prominent when the injected preformed fibrils and host-expressed α-Syn monomers are from the same species. These findings provide insights that will help advance the development of neuronal and in vivo models for understanding mechanisms underlying hα-Syn intraneuronal fibrillization and its contribution to PD pathogenesis, and for screening pharmacologic and genetic modulators of α-Syn fibrillization in neurons.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative disorders with alpha-synuclein (α-syn) accumulation (synucleinopathies) include Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's disease dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy (MSA). Due to the involvement of toxic α-syn aggregates in the molecular origin of these disorders, developing effective therapies targeting α-syn is a priority as a disease-modifying alternative to current symptomatic treatments. Importantly, the clinical and pathological attributes of MSA make this disorder an excellent candidate as a synucleinopathy model for accelerated drug development. Recent therapeutic strategies targeting α-syn in in vivo and in vitro models of MSA, as well as in clinical trials, have been focused on the pathological mechanisms of α-syn synthesis, aggregation, clearance, and/or cell-to-cell propagation of its neurotoxic conformers. Here we summarize the most relevant approaches in this direction, with emphasis on their potential as general synucleinopathy modifiers, and enumerate research areas for potential improvement in MSA drug discovery. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
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    ABSTRACT: Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) infection of the brain produces cognitive and motor disorders. In addition, HIV positive individuals exhibit behavioral alterations, such as apathy, and a decrease in spontaneity or emotional responses, typically seen in anxiety disorders. Anxiety can lead to psychological stress, which has been shown to influence HIV disease progression. These considerations underscore the importance of determining if anxiety in HIV is purely psychosocial, or if by contrast, there are the molecular cascades associated directly with HIV infection that may mediate anxiety. The present study had two goals: 1) to determine if chronic exposure to viral proteins would induce anxiety-like behavior in an animal model and 2) to determine if this exposure results in anatomical abnormalities that could explain increased anxiety. We have used gp120 transgenic mice, which display behavior and molecular deficiencies similar to HIV positive subjects with cognitive and motor impairments. In comparison to wild type mice, 6 months old gp120 transgenic mice demonstrated an anxiety like behavior measured by open field, light/dark transition task, and prepulse inhibition tests. Moreover, gp120 transgenic mice have an increased number of spines in the amygdala, as well as higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and tissue plasminogen activator when compared to age-matched wild type. Our data support the hypothesis that HIV, through gp120, may cause structural changes in the amygdala that lead to maladaptive responses to anxiety.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Loss of synapses best correlates to cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease (AD) in which oligomeric neurotoxic species of amyloid-β appears to contribute synaptic pathology. Although a number of clinical pathologic studies have been performed with limited sample size, there are no systematic studies encompassing large samples. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis study. Methods: We identified 417 publications reporting postmortem synapse and synaptic marker loss from AD patients. Two meta-analyses were performed using a single database of subselected publications and calculating the standard mean differences. Results: Meta-analysis confirmed synaptic loss in selected brain regions is an early event in AD pathogenesis. The second meta-analysis of 57 synaptic markers revealed that presynaptic makers were affected more than postsynaptic markers. Discussion: The present meta-analysis study showed a consistent synaptic loss across brain regions and that molecular machinery including endosomal pathways, vesicular assembly mechanisms, glutamate receptors, and axonal transport are often affected.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association
  • Elvira Valera · Eliezer Masliah
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    ABSTRACT: The lack of effective therapies for neurodegenerative disorders is one of the most relevant challenges of this century, considering that, as the global population ages, the incidence of these type of diseases is quickly on the rise. Among these disorders, synucleinopathies, which are characterized by the abnormal accumulation and spreading of the synaptic protein alpha-synuclein in the brain, already constitute the second leading cause of parkinsonism and dementia in the elderly population. Disorders with alpha-synuclein accumulation include Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy. Numerous therapeutic alternatives for synucleinopathies are being tested in pre-clinical models and in the clinic, however only palliative treatments addressing the dopaminergic deficits are approved to date, and no disease-modifying options are available yet. In this manuscript we provide a brief overview of therapeutic approaches currently being explored for synucleinopathies, and suggest possible explanations to the clinical trials outcomes. Finally, we propose that a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of synucleinopathies, together with a combination of therapies tailored to each disease stage, may lead to better therapeutic outcomes in synucleinopathy patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Neurochemistry
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    ABSTRACT: α-Synuclein (α-syn) has been implicated in neurological disorders with parkinsonism including Parkinson's Disease (PD) and Dementia with Lewy Body (DLB). Recent studies have shown α-syn oligomers released from neurons can propagate from cell-to-cell in a prion-like fashion exacerbating neurodegeneration. In this report, we examined the role of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) pathway on the propagation of α-syn. α-syn; which is transported via the ESCRT pathway through multi-vesicular bodies for degradation, can also target the degradation of the ESCRT protein CHMP2B, thus generating a roadblock of endocytosed α-syn. Disruption of the ESCRT transport system also resulted in increased exocytosis of α-syn thus potentially increasing cell-to-cell propagation of synuclein. Conversely, delivery of a lentiviral vector over-expressing CHMP2B rescued the neurodegeneration in α-syn transgenic mice. Better understanding of the mechanisms of intracellular trafficking of α-syn might be important for understanding the pathogenesis and developing new treatments for synucleinopathies.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Human Molecular Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: HIV infection leads to age-related conditions in relatively young persons. HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are considered among the most prevalent of these conditions. To study the mechanisms underlying this disorder, researchers need an accurate method for measuring biological aging. Here, we apply a recently developed measure of biological aging, based on DNA methylation, to the study of biological aging in HIV+ brains. Retrospective analysis of tissue bank specimens and pre-mortem data was carried out. Fifty-eight HIV+ adults underwent a medical and neurocognitive evaluation within 1 year of death. DNA was obtained from occipital cortex and analyzed with the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation 450K platform. Biological age determined via the epigenetic clock was contrasted with chronological age to obtain a measure of age acceleration, which was then compared between those with HAND and neurocognitively normal individuals. The HAND and neurocognitively normal groups did not differ with regard to demographic, histologic, neuropathologic, or virologic variables. HAND was associated with accelerated aging relative to neurocognitively normal individuals, with average relative acceleration of 3.5 years. Age acceleration did not correlate with pre-mortem neurocognitive functioning or HAND severity. This is the first study to demonstrate that the epigenetic age of occipital cortex samples is associated with HAND status in HIV+ individuals pre-mortem. While these results suggest that the increased risk of a neurocognitive disorder due to HIV might be mediated by an epigenetic aging mechanism, future studies will be needed to validate the findings and dissect causal relationships and downstream effects.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of NeuroVirology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Deposition of α-synuclein and neuroinflammation are key pathological features of Parkinson's disease (PD). There is no cure for the disease; however, targeting the pathological features might be available to modulate the disease onset and progression. Hypoestoxide (HE) has been demonstrated as a NF-κB modulator, thereby acting as a potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer drug. Methods: In order to assess the effect of HE in a mouse model of PD, mThy1-α-syn transgenic mice received intraperitoneal (IP) injections of either vehicle or HE (5 mg/kg) daily for 4 weeks. Results: Treatment of HE decreased microgliosis, astrogliosis, and pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression in α-syn transgenic mice. HE administration also prevented the loss of dopaminergic neurons and ameliorated motor behavioral deficits in the α-syn transgenic mice, and α-synuclein pathology was significantly reduced by treatment of HE. In addition, increased levels of nuclear phosphorylated NF-κB in the frontal cortex of α-syn transgenic mice were significantly reduced by HE administration. Conclusions: These results support the therapeutic potential of HE for PD and other α-synuclein-related diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Neuroinflammation
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    ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG trinucleotide repeat expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene, which encodes a polyglutamine tract in the HTT protein. We found that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPAR-δ) interacts with HTT and that mutant HTT represses PPAR-δ-mediated transactivation. Increased PPAR-δ transactivation ameliorated mitochondrial dysfunction and improved cell survival of neurons from mouse models of HD. Expression of dominant-negative PPAR-δ in the central nervous system of mice was sufficient to induce motor dysfunction, neurodegeneration, mitochondrial abnormalities and transcriptional alterations that recapitulated HD-like phenotypes. Expression of dominant-negative PPAR-δ specifically in the striatum of medium spiny neurons in mice yielded HD-like motor phenotypes, accompanied by striatal neuron loss. In mouse models of HD, pharmacologic activation of PPAR-δ using the agonist KD3010 improved motor function, reduced neurodegeneration and increased survival. PPAR-δ activation also reduced HTT-induced neurotoxicity in vitro and in medium spiny-like neurons generated from stem cells derived from individuals with HD, indicating that PPAR-δ activation may be beneficial in HD and related disorders.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Nature medicine
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    ABSTRACT: The neuropathogenesis of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remains puzzling. We interrogated several levels of data (host genetic, histopathology, brain viral load, and neurocognitive) to identify histopathological changes most relevant to HAND. The design of the study is a clinicopathological study employing genetic association analyses. Data and brain tissue from 80 HIV-infected adults were used. Markers in monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin 1-alpha (IL1-α), macrophage inflammatory protein 1-alpha (MIP1-α), DRD3, DRD2, and apolipoprotein E (ApoE) were genotyped. Microtubule associated protein 2 (MAP2), synaptophysin (SYP), human leukocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), amyloid beta (A-Beta), and ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule-1 (Iba-1) immunoreactivity were quantified in the frontal cortex, putamen, and hippocampus. A composite score for each marker (mean of the three brain regions) was used. Neurocognitive functioning and other clinical variables were determined within 1 year of death. Brain HIV RNA viral load was available for a subset of cases. MAP2 and SYP proved most relevant to neurocognitive functioning. Immunoreactivity of these markers, as well as A-Beta and Iba-1, was correlated with brain HIV RNA viral load. Several genetic markers in combination with other factors predicted histopathology: HIV blood viral load, MIP1-α genotype, and DRD3 genotype predicted Iba-1 immunoreactivity; the duration of infection and IL1-α genotype predicted GFAP immunoreactivity; ApoE genotype and age at death predicted A-Beta immunoreactivity. These data indicate that HIV replication in the brain is the primary driving force leading to neuroinflammation and dysfunctional protein clearance, as reflected by A-Beta and Iba-1. Downstream to these changes are synaptodendritic degeneration, which is the immediate histopathological substrate of the neurocognitive impairment characteristic of HAND. These intermediate histopathological phenotypes are influenced by host genetic polymorphisms in genes encoding cytokines/chemokines, neuronal protein clearance pathways, and dopaminergic factors.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of NeuroVirology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Tauopathies are a group of neurodegenerative disorders with accumulation of three-repeat (3R) or four-repeat (4R) Tau. While 3R tau is found in Pick's disease and Alzheimer's disease (AD), 4R tau is more abundant in corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, and AD. We have previously shown that Cerebrolysin™ (CBL), a neuropeptide mixture with neurotrophic effects, ameliorates the pathology in amyloid precursor protein transgenic (tg) mouse model of AD and 4R tau, however it is unclear if CBL ameliorates the deficits and neuropathology in the mouse model of Pick's disease over expressing 3R tau. Results: Mice expressing 3R tau (L266V and G272V mutations) under the mThy-1 promoter were treated with CBL in two separate groups, the first was 3 months old (treated for 3 months, IP) and the second was 6 months old (treated for 3 months, IP) at the start of the treatment. We found that although the levels of total 3R tau were unchanged, CBL reduced the levels of hyper-phosphorylated tau in both groups of mice. This was accompanied by reduced neurodegenerative pathology in the neocortex and hippocampus in both groups and by improvements in the behavioral deficits in the nest-building test and water maze in the 3-6 month group. Conclusion: Taken together these results support the notion that CBL may be beneficial in other taupathy models by reducing the levels of aberrantly phosphorylated tau.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Maintaining DNA integrity is vital for all cells and organisms. Defective DNA repair may contribute to neurological disorders, including Alzheimers disease (AD). We found reduced levels of BRCA1, but not of other DNA repair factors, in the brains of AD patients and human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice. Amyloid-β oligomers reduced BRCA1 levels in primary neuronal cultures. In wild-type mice, knocking down neuronal BRCA1 in the dentate gyrus caused increased DNA double-strand breaks, neuronal shrinkage, synaptic plasticity impairments, and learning and memory deficits, but not apoptosis. Low levels of hAPP/Amyloid-β overexpression exacerbated these effects. Physiological neuronal activation increased BRCA1 levels, whereas stimulating predominantly extrasynaptic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors promoted the proteasomal degradation of BRCA1. We conclude that BRCA1 is regulated by neuronal activity, protects the neuronal genome, and critically supports neuronal integrity and cognitive functions. Pathological accumulation of Aβ depletes neuronal BRCA1, which may contribute to cognitive deficits in AD.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Nature Communications
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    ABSTRACT: Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is one of the most abundant protein transmitters in the central nervous system with roles in a variety of biological functions including: food intake, cardiovascular regulation, cognition, seizure activity, circadian rhythms and neurogenesis. Reduced NPY and NPY receptor expression is associated with numerous neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease (AD). To determine if replacement of NPY could ameliorate some of the neurodegenerative and behavioral pathology associated with AD, we generated a lentiviral vector expressing NPY fused to a brain transport peptide (apoB) for wide-spread CNS delivery in an APP-tg mouse model of AD. The recombinant NPY-apoB effectively reversed neurodegenerative pathology and behavioral deficits although it had no effect on accumulation of Aβ. The subgranular zone of the hippocampus showed a significant increase in proliferation of neural precursor cells (NPC) without further differentiation into neurons. The neuroprotective and neurogenic effects of NPY-apoB appeared to involve signaling via ERK and Akt through the NPYR1 and NPYR2 receptors. Thus, widespread CNS targeted delivery of NPY appears to be effective at reversing the neuronal and glial pathology associated with Aβ accumulation while also increasing NPC proliferation. Overall, increased delivery of NPY to the CNS for AD might be an effective therapy especially if combined with an anti-Aβ therapeutic.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Stress and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) have been implicated as mechanistically involved in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but agents that impact CRF signaling have not been carefully tested for therapeutic efficacy or long-term safety in animal models. Methods: To test whether antagonism of the type-1 corticotropin-releasing factor receptor (CRFR1) could be used as a disease-modifying treatment for AD, we used a preclinical prevention paradigm and treated 30-day-old AD transgenic mice with the small-molecule, CRFR1-selective antagonist, R121919, for 5 months, and examined AD pathologic and behavioral end points. Results: R121919 significantly prevented the onset of cognitive impairment in female mice and reduced cellular and synaptic deficits and beta amyloid and C-terminal fragment-β levels in both genders. We observed no tolerability or toxicity issues in mice treated with R121919. Discussion: CRFR1 antagonism presents a viable disease-modifying therapy for AD, recommending its advancement to early-phase human safety trials.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association
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    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a multisystem disorder, involving several monoaminergic neurotransmitter systems resulting in a broad range of motor and non-motor symptoms. Pathological hallmarks of PD are the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the accumulation of alpha-synuclein, however also being present in the serotonergic raphe nuclei early in the disease course. The dysfunction of the serotonergic system projecting to the hippocampus might contribute to early non-motor symptoms such as anxiety and depression. The adult hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG), a unique niche of the forebrain continuously generating new neurons, may particularly present enhanced susceptibility towards accumulating alpha-synuclein levels. The underlying molecular mechanisms in the context of neuronal maturation and survival of new-born neurons are yet not well understood. To characterize the effects of overexpression of human full-length alpha-synuclein on hippocampal cellular and synaptic plasticity, we used a recently generated BAC alpha-synuclein transgenic rat model showing important features of PD such as widespread and progressive alpha-synuclein aggregation pathology, dopamine loss and age-dependent motor decline. At the age of four months, thus prior to the occurrence of the motor phenotype, we observed a profoundly impaired dendritogenesis of neuroblasts in the hippocampal DG resulting in severely reduced survival of adult new-born neurons. Diminished neurogenesis concurred with a serotonergic deficit in the hippocampus as defined by reduced levels of serotonin (5-HT) 1B receptor, decreased 5-HT neurotransmitter levels, and a loss of serotonergic nerve terminals innervating the DG/CA3 subfield, while the number of serotonergic neurons in the raphe nuclei remained unchanged. Moreover, alpha-synuclein overexpression reduced proteins involved in vesicle release, in particular synapsin-1 and Rab3 interacting molecule (RIM3), in conjunction with an altered ultrastructural architecture of hippocampal synapses. Importantly, BAC alpha-synuclein rats showed an early anxiety-like phenotype consisting of reduced exploratory behavior and feeding. Taken together, these findings imply that accumulating alpha-synuclein severely affects hippocampal neurogenesis paralleled by impaired 5-HT neurotransmission prior to the onset of aggregation pathology and overt motor deficits in this transgenic rat model of PD.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Neurobiology of Disease
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) still occur in approximately 50% of HIV patients, and therapies to combat HAND progression are urgently needed. HIV proteins are released from infected cells and cause neuronal damage, possibly through mitochondrial abnormalities. Altered mitochondrial fission and fusion is implicated in several neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we hypothesized that mitochondrial fission/fusion may be dysregulated in neurons during HAND. We have identified decreased mitochondrial fission protein (dynamin 1-like; DNM1L) in frontal cortex tissues of HAND donors, along with enlarged and elongated mitochondria localized to the soma of damaged neurons. Similar pathology was observed in the brains of GFAP-gp120 tg mice. In vitro, recombinant gp120 decreased total and active DNM1L levels, reduced the level of Mitotracker staining, and increased extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) in primary neurons. DNM1L knockdown enhanced the effects of gp120 as measured by reduced Mitotracker signal in the treated cells. Interestingly, overexpression of DNM1L increased the level of Mitotracker staining in primary rat neurons and reduced neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in the GFAP-gp120-tg mice. These data suggest that mitochondrial biogenesis dynamics are shifted towards mitochondrial fusion in brains of HAND patients and this may be due to gp120-induced reduction in DNM1L activity. Promoting mitochondrial fission during HIV infection of the CNS may restore mitochondrial biogenesis and prevent neurodegeneration.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Neurobiology of Disease
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE: Mutations in known causal Alzheimer disease (AD) genes account for only 1% to 3%of patients and almost all are dominantly inherited. Recessive inheritance of complex phenotypes can be linked to long (>1-megabase [Mb]) runs of homozygosity (ROHs) detectable by single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between ROHs and AD in an African American population known to have a risk for AD up to 3 times higher than white individuals. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Case-control study of a large African American data set previously genotyped on different genome-wide SNP arrays conducted from December 2013 to January 2015. Global and locus-basedROHmeasurementswere analyzed using rawor imputed genotype data.We studied the rawgenotypes from 2 case-control subsets grouped based on SNP array: Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium data set (871 cases and 1620control individuals) and Chicago Health and Aging Project-Indianapolis Ibadan Dementia Study data set (279 cases and 1367 control individuals).We then examined the entire data set using imputed genotypes from 1917 cases and 3858 control individuals. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The ROHs larger than 1Mb, 2Mb, or 3Mb were investigated separately for global burden evaluation, consensus regions, and gene-based analyses. RESULTS: The African American cohort had a lowdegree of inbreeding (F × 0.006). In the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium data set, we detected a significantly higher proportion of cases with ROHs greater than 2Mb (P =.004) or greater than 3Mb (P =.02), aswell as a significant 114-kilobase consensus region on chr4q31.3 (empirical P value 2 =.04; ROHs >2 Mb). In the Chicago Health and Aging Project-Indianapolis Ibadan Dementia Study data set, we identified a significant 202-kilobase consensus region on Chr15q24.1 (empirical P value 2 =.02; ROHs >1 Mb) and a cluster of 13 significant genes on Chr3p21.31 (empirical P value 2 =.03; ROHs >3 Mb). Atotal of 43 of 49 nominally significant genescommonfor both data sets also mapped to Chr3p21.31. Analyses of imputed SNP data from the entire data set confirmed the association of AD with global ROH measurements (12.38 ROHs >1Mb in cases vs 12.11 in controls; 2.986Mb average size of ROHs >2Mb in cases vs 2.889Mb in controls; and 22%of cases with ROHs >3Mb vs 19% of controls) and a gene-cluster on Chr3p21.31 (empirical P value 2 =.006-.04; ROHs >3 Mb). Also, we detected a significant association between AD and CLDN17 (empirical P value 2 =.01; ROHs >1 Mb), encoding a protein from the Claudin family, members of whichwere previously suggested as ADbiomarkers. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: To our knowledge, we discovered the first evidence of increased burden of ROHs among patients with AD from an outbred African American population, which could reflect either the cumulative effect of multiple ROHs to AD or the contribution of specific loci harboring recessive mutations and risk haplotypes in a subset of patients. Sequencing is required to uncover AD variants in these individuals.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015
  • Elvira Valera · Brian Spencer · Eliezer Masliah
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    ABSTRACT: Disease-modifying alternatives are sorely needed for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, a group of diseases that afflict approximately 50 million Americans annually. Immunotherapy is one of the most developed approaches in this direction. Vaccination against amyloid-β, α-synuclein, or tau has been extensively explored, specially as the discovery that these proteins may propagate cell-to-cell and be accessible to antibodies when embedded into the plasma membrane or in the extracellular space. Likewise, the use of passive immunization approaches with specific antibodies against abnormal conformations of these proteins has also yielded promising results. The clinical development of immunotherapies for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and other neurodegenerative disorders is a field in constant evolution. Results to date suggest that immunotherapy is a promising therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative diseases that progress with the accumulation and prion-like propagation of toxic protein aggregates. Here we provide an overview of the most novel and relevant immunotherapeutic advances targeting amyloid-β in Alzheimer's disease, α-synuclein in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, and tau in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Impaired autophagy has been implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease (PD), and might be responsible for deposition of aggregated proteins in neurons. However, little is known about how neuronal autophagy and clearance of aggregated proteins are regulated. Here, we show a role for Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), a pathogen-recognizing receptor in innate immunity, in regulation of neuronal autophagy and clearance of α-synuclein, a protein aggregated in synucleinopathies, including in PD. Activation of TLR2 resulted in the accumulation of α-synuclein aggregates in neurons as a result of inhibition of autophagic activity through regulation of the AKT/mTOR pathway. In contrast, inactivation of TLR2 resulted in autophagy activation and increased clearance of neuronal α-synuclein, and hence reduced neurodegeneration, in transgenic mice and in in vitro models. These results uncover roles of TLR2 in regulating neuronal autophagy and suggest that the TLR2 pathway may be targeted for autophagy activation strategies in treating neurodegenerative disorders.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Cell Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) into insoluble aggregates occurs in several related disorders collectively referred to as synucleinopathies. To date, studies have used neural stem cells (NSCs) to examine questions about α-syn propagation, but have overlooked the therapeutic potential of NSC transplantation to modulate cognition in disorders such as dementia with Lewy bodies or Parkinson's disease dementia. Here, we show that striatal transplantation of NSCs into aged α-syn transgenic mice significantly improves performance in multiple cognitive and motor domains. This recovery is associated with NSC expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which restores depleted levels and modulates dopaminergic and glutamatergic systems. Most importantly, transplantation of BDNF-depleted NSCs fails to improve behavior, whereas AAV-mediated BDNF delivery mimics the benefits of NSC transplantation, supporting a critical role for this neurotrophin in functional improvement. Thus, NSC transplantation could offer a promising approach to treat the understudied yet devastating cognitive components of many synucleinopathies.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Stem Cell Reports

Publication Stats

63k Citations
5,565.18 Total Impact Points


  • 1989-2016
    • University of California, San Diego
      • • Department of Neurosciences
      • • Department of Medicine
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 2014
    • Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla
      • Laboratorio de Neuropsiquiatría
      Ejido Puebla, Baja California, Mexico
  • 2013
    • University of New South Wales
      Kensington, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2004-2012
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • Department of Pathology
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
    • University of California, San Francisco
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 2009
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioural Sciences
      Los Ángeles, California, United States
  • 2008
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      New York, New York, United States
    • Drexel University
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2006
    • University of California, Santa Barbara
      Santa Barbara, California, United States
  • 2005
    • University of Florence
      Florens, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2002
    • National University (California)
      San Diego, California, United States
    • The Ottawa Hospital
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 1994-2002
    • The Scripps Research Institute
      • Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine
      لا هویا, California, United States
    • Brown University
      Providence, Rhode Island, United States
  • 1993-2002
    • The University of Tokyo
      • Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
      白山, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 1990-2002
    • Kyoto University
      • • Institute for Chemical Research
      • • Department of Neurology
      Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, Japan
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1997-2001
    • Naval Medical Center San Diego
      • Department of Pathology
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 1998-2000
    • University of San Diego
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 1999
    • Duke University Medical Center
      • Division of Medical Oncology
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 1996
    • Whittier College
      • Chemistry
      Whittier, California, United States
  • 1995
    • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
      • MTA Institute of Experimental Medicine
      Budapeŝto, Budapest, Hungary
  • 1992
    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
      New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States
  • 1991
    • Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
      Newark, New Jersey, United States