Carl W. Cotman's research while affiliated with University of California, Irvine and other places

Publications (658)

Article
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Histone modifications are key contributors to the cognitive decline that occurs in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Our lab has previously shown that elevated H3K9me3 in aged mice is correlated with synaptic loss, cognitive impairment and a reduction in brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, the mechanism of H3K9me3 regulation remains poo...
Article
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Exercise improves cognition in the aging brain and is a key regulator of neuronal plasticity genes such as BDNF. However, the mechanism by which exercise modifies gene expression continues to be explored. The repressive histone modification H3K9me3 has been shown to impair cognition, reduce synaptic density and decrease BDNF in aged but not young m...
Article
EXERT, a multisite 18‐month RCT, is testing the effects of aerobic exercise vs. stretching on cognition and AD biomarkers in sedentary adults with MCI. In the first 12 months, participant exercise 2x/week under the supervision of YMCA trainers, and 2x/week on their own. In months 13‐18, participants continue to exercise 4x/week but without supervis...
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Introduction: Effective strategies to recruit older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) into nonpharmacological intervention trials are lacking. Methods: Recruitment for EXERT, a multisite randomized controlled 18-month trial examining the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive trajectory in adults with amnestic MCI, involved a diverse...
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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are metabolic byproducts that are necessary for physiological function but can be toxic at high levels. Levels of these oxidative stressors increase gradually throughout the lifespan, impairing mitochondrial function and damaging all parts of the body, particularly the central nervous system. Emerging evidence suggests...
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Subclinical glucose intolerance (pre‐Type 2 diabetes; pre‐T2D) likely influences cognitive decline in older adults. Disordered glucose metabolism may itself be a feature of early Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). While aerobic exercise may benefit episodic memory, the plasma lipidomic alterations associated with aerobic exerci...
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EXERT is a large multi‐site randomized controlled trial testing the effects of aerobic exercise vs. stretching (control) on cognition and biomarkers of brain health in sedentary adults with MCI. Here, we describe challenges and successes of strategies used to recruit the EXERT cohort. EXERT recruited sedentary adults 65‐89 years old who were willin...
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The discovery of TREM2 as a myeloid-specific Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk gene has accelerated research into the role of microglia in AD. While TREM2 mouse models have provided critical insight, the normal and disease-associated functions of TREM2 in human microglia remain unclear. To examine this question, we profile microglia differentiated from...
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Introduction: Use of cognitive composites as primary outcome measures is increasingly common in clinical trials of preclinical and prodromal Alzheimer's disease (AD). Composite outcomes can decrease intra-individual variability, resulting in improved sensitivity to detect longitudinal change and increased statistical power. We developed a novel co...
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MicroRNAs play a pivotal role in rapid, dynamic, and spatiotemporal modulation of synaptic functions. Among them, recent emerging evidence highlights that microRNA-181a (miR-181a) is particularly abundant in hippocampal neurons and controls the expression of key plasticity-related proteins at synapses. We have previously demonstrated that miR-181a...
Article
The beneficial effects of exercise on cognition are well established; however specific exercise parameters regarding the frequency and duration of physical activity that provide optimal cognitive health have not been well defined. Here, we explore the effects of the duration of exercise and sedentary periods on long-term object location memory (OLM...
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Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder, is currently conceptualized as a disease of synaptic failure. Synaptic impairments are robust within the AD brain and better correlate with dementia severity when compared with other pathological features of the disease. Nevertheless, the series of events that promote...
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Objective: A rare variant in TREM2 (p.R47H, rs75932628) has been consistently reported to increase the risk for Alzheimer disease (AD), while mixed evidence has been reported for association of the variant with other neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we investigated the frequency of the R47H variant in a diverse and well-characterized multicenter...
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The brain's structures and functions arise from a combination of developmental processes and interaction with environmental experiences, beginning in utero and continuing throughout the lifespan. Broadly, the process that we think of as "successful aging" likely has its foundation in early life and is continuously shaped as life experiences are pro...
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Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most devastating diseases that currently affects the aging population. Recent evidence indicates that DM is a risk factor for many brain disorders, due to its direct effects on cognition. New findings have shown that the microtubule‐associated protein tau is pathologically processed in DM; however, it remains un...
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Exercise has emerged as a powerful variable that can improve cognitive function and delay age-associated cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), however, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. To determine if protective mechanisms may occur at the transcriptional level, we used microarrays to investigate the relationship between p...
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In rodent hippocampus, the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) impairs memory and long-term potentiation (LTP), a major form of plasticity that depends on protein synthesis. A better understanding of the mechanisms by which IL-1β impairs LTP may help identify targets for preventing cognitive deterioration. We tested whether IL-1β inhibits...
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CNS inflammatory responses are linked to cognitive impairment in humans. Research in animal models supports this connection by showing that inflammatory cytokines suppress long-term potentiation (LTP), the best-known cellular correlate of memory. Cytokine-induced modulation of LTP has been previously studied in vivo or in brain slices, two experime...
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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that impairs memory and causes cognitive and psychiatric deficits. New evidences indicate that AD is conceptualized as a disease of synaptic failure, although the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these defects remain to be elucidated. Determining the timing and nature...
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Background: Brain inflammation including increases in inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β is widely believed to contribute to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease. Although IL-1β-induced impairments in long-term potentiation (LTP) in acute hippocampal slices and memory functions in vivo have been well documented, the neuron-specific molecul...
Article
Cytokines play crucial roles in the communication between brain cells including neurons and glia, as well as in the brain-periphery interactions. In the brain, cytokines modulate long-term potentiation (LTP), a cellular correlate of memory. Whether cytokines regulate LTP by direct effects on neurons or by indirect mechanisms mediated by non-neurona...
Article
The pattern separation task has recently emerged as a behavioral model of hippocampus function and has been used in several pharmaceutical trials. The canine is a useful model to evaluate a multitude of hippocampal-dependent cognitive tasks that parallel those in humans. Thus, this study was designed to evaluate the suitability of pattern separatio...
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Background Pro-inflammatory cytokines accumulate in the brain with age and Alzheimer’s disease and can impair neuron health and cognitive function. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a key neurotrophin that supports neuron health, function, and synaptic plasticity. The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) impairs BDNF signaling...
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Significance statement: Learning and memory depends on the ability of synapses to strengthen in response to activity. Long-term potentiation (LTP) is a rapid and persistent increase in synaptic transmission which is thought to be affected in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, direct evidence of LTP deficits in human AD brain has been elusive, prim...
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Background While exercise effects on the immune system have received increasing attention in recent years, it remains unclear to what extent gender and fluctuations in sex hormones during menstrual cycle influence immunological responses to exercise. Methods We investigated mRNA changes induced through exhaustive exercise (half-marathon; pre-exerci...
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Introduction: We have comprehensively described the expression profiles of mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA genes that encode subunits of the respiratory oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes (I-V) in the hippocampus from young controls, age matched, mild cognitively impaired (MCI), and AD subjects. Methods: Hippocampal tissues from 44 n...
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An increasing number of studies show that an altered epigenetic landscape may cause impairments in regulation of learning and memory-related genes within the aged hippocampus, eventually resulting in cognitive deficits in the aged brain. One such epigenetic repressive mark is trimethylation of H3K9 (H3K9me3), which is typically implicated in gene s...
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Background: Studies of physical exercise in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are few and results have been inconsistent. Objective: To assess the effects of a moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise program in patients with mild AD. Methods: In a randomized controlled trial, we recruited 200 patients with mild AD to a supervised exer...
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A growing body of research has focused on modifiable risk factors for prevention and attenuation of cognitive decline in aging. This has led to an unprecedented interest in the relationship between diet and cognitive function. Several preclinical and epidemiologic studies suggest that dietary intervention can be used to improve cognitive function b...
Research
In the aged brain, synaptic plasticity and memory show increased vulnerability to impairment by the inflammatory cytokine interleukin 1β (IL-1β). In this study, we evaluated the possibility that synapses may directly undergo maladaptive changes with age that augment sensitivity to IL-1β impairment. In hippocampal neuronal cultures, IL-1β increased...
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In the aged brain, synaptic plasticity and memory show increased vulnerability to impairment by the inflammatory cytokine interleukin 1β (IL-1β). In this study, we evaluated the possibility that synapses may directly undergo maladaptive changes with age that augment sensitivity to IL-1β impairment. In hippocampal neuronal cultures, IL-1β increased...
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The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway has multiple important physiological functions, including regulation of protein synthesis, cell growth, autophagy, and synaptic plasticity. Activation of mTOR is necessary for the many beneficial effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), including dendritic translation and memory formation...
Article
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) represents a cognitive state intermediate between normal aging and early Alzheimer's disease (AD). To investigate if the molecular signature of MCI parallels the clinical picture, we use microarrays to extensively profile gene expression in 4 cortical brain regions (entorhinal cortex, hippocampus, superior frontal gy...
Patent
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Provides quantitative data about a two or more dimensional image. Classifies and counts number of entities an image contains. Each entity comprises a structure, or some other type of identifiable portion having definable characteristics. The entities located within an image may have different shape, color, texture, etc., but still belong to the sam...
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Exercise has been shown to reduce age-related losses in cognitive function including learning and memory, but the mechanisms underlying this effect remain poorly understood. Memory formation occurs in stages that include an initial acquisition phase, an intermediate labile phase, and then a process of consolidation which leads to long-term memory f...
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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 subty...
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Alzheimer's is a crippling neurodegenerative disease that largely affects aged individuals. Decades of research have highlighted age-related changes in calcium homeostasis that occur before and throughout the duration of the disease, and the contributions of such dysregulation to Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. We report an age-related decrease i...
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Background: Exercise is hypothesized to improve cognition, physical performance, functional ability and quality of life, but evidence is scarce. Previous studies were of short duration, often underpowered and involving home-based light exercise programs in patients with undefined dementia. The aim of the ADEX ('Preserving Cognition, Quality of Lif...
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Aggregation of tau protein in the brain is associated with a class of neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies. FK506 binding protein 51 kDa (FKBP51, encoded by FKBP5) forms a mature chaperone complex with Hsp90 that prevents tau degradation. In this study, we have shown that tau levels are reduced throughout the brains of Fkbp5-/- mice. Rec...
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Amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides, starting with pyroglutamate at the third residue (pyroGlu-3 Aβ), are a major species deposited in the brain of Alzheimer disease (AD) patients. Recent studies suggest that this isoform shows higher toxicity and amyloidogenecity when compared to full-length Aβ peptides. Here, we report the first comprehensive and comparative...
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We demonstrate that exercise enables hippocampal-dependent learning in conditions that are normally subthreshold for encoding and memory formation, and depends on hippocampal induction of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) as a key mechanism. Using a weak training paradigm in an object location memory (OLM) task, we show that sedentary mice a...
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We previously found that BDNF-dependent retrograde trafficking is impaired in AD transgenic mouse neurons. Utilizing a novel microfluidic culture chamber, we demonstrate that Aβ oligomers compromise BDNF-mediated retrograde transport by impairing endosomal vesicle velocities, resulting in impaired downstream signaling driven by BDNF/TrkB, including...
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Evolving evidence suggests that brain inflammation and the buildup of proinflammatory cytokine increases the risk for cognitive decline and cognitive dysfunction. Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), acting via poorly understood mechanisms, appears to be a key cytokine in causing these deleterious effects along with a presumably related loss of long-term potent...
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Background The intricate interactions between the immune, endocrine and central nervous systems shape the innate immune response of the brain. We have previously shown that estradiol suppresses expression of immune genes in the frontal cortex of middle-aged ovariectomized rats, but not in young ones reflecting elevated expression of these genes in...
Article
Post-trial pharmacological activation of the noradrenergic system can facilitate memory consolidation. Because exercise activates the locus coeruleus and increases brain norepinephrine release, we hypothesized that post-trial exercise could function as a natural stimulus to enhance memory consolidation. We investigated this in amnestic mild cogniti...