Targeting autophagy for disease therapy.
Nat Biotechnol. 2013 Apr;31(4):322-3
Authors: Lucin KM, Wyss-Coray T
PMID: 23563430 [PubMed - in process]
A small molecule p75(NTR) ligand prevents cognitive deficits and neurite degeneration in an Alzheimer's mouse model.
Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Mar 29;
Authors: Knowles JK, Simmons DA, Nguyen TV, Vander Griend L, Xie Y, Zhang H, Yang T, Pollak J, Chang T, Arancio O, Buckwalter MS, Wyss-Coray T, Massa SM, Longo FM
The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)) is associated with multiple mechanisms linked to Alzheimer's disease (AD); hence, modulating its function might confer therapeutic effects. In previous in vitro work, we developed small molecule p75(NTR) ligands that inhibited amyloid-β-induced degenerative signaling and prevented neurite degeneration. In the present study, a prototype p75(NTR) ligand, LM11A-31, was administered orally to the Thy-1 hAPP(Lond/Swe) (APP(L/S)) AD mouse model. LM11A-31 reached brain concentrations known to inhibit degenerative signaling without toxicity or induction of hyperalgesia. It prevented deficits in novel object recognition after 2.5 months and, in a separate cohort, deficits in Y-maze performance after 3 months of treatment. Stereology studies found that the number and size of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons, which are normal in APP(L/S) mice, were unaffected. Neuritic dystrophy, however, was readily apparent in the basal forebrain, hippocampus and cortex, and was significantly reduced by LM11A-31, with no effect on amyloid levels. These studies reveal that p75(NTR) is an important and tractable in vivo drug target for AD, with LM11A-31 representing a novel class of therapeutic candidates.
PMID: 23545424 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
TDP-43 frontotemporal lobar degeneration and autoimmune disease.
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Mar 30;
Authors: Miller ZA, Rankin KP, Graff-Radford NR, Takada LT, Sturm VE, Cleveland CM, Criswell LA, Jaeger PA, Stan T, Heggeli KA, Hsu SC, Karydas A, Khan BK, Grinberg LT, Gorno-Tempini ML, Boxer AL, Rosen HJ, Kramer JH, Coppola G, Geschwind DH, Rademakers R, Seeley WW, Wyss-Coray T, Miller BL
BACKGROUND: The aetiology and pathogenesis of non-genetic forms of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is unknown and even with the genetic forms of FTD, pathogenesis remains elusive. Given the association between systemic inflammation and other neurodegenerative processes, links between autoimmunity and FTD need to be explored. OBJECTIVE: To describe the prevalence of systemic autoimmune disease in semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), a clinical cohort, and in progranulin (PGRN) mutation carriers compared with neurologically healthy normal controls (NC) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) as dementia controls. DESIGN: Case control. SETTING: Academic medical centres. PARTICIPANTS: 129 svPPA, 39 PGRN, 186 NC and 158 AD patients underwent chart review for autoimmune conditions. A large subset of svPPA, PGRN and NC cohorts underwent serum analysis for tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α) levels. OUTCOME MEASURES: χ(2) Comparison of autoimmune prevalence and follow-up logistic regression. RESULTS: There was a significantly increased risk of autoimmune disorders clustered around inflammatory arthritides, cutaneous disorders and gastrointestinal conditions in the svPPA and PGRN cohorts. Elevated TNF-α levels were observed in svPPA and PGRN compared with NC. CONCLUSIONS: svPPA and PGRN are associated with increased prevalence of specific and related autoimmune diseases compared with NC and AD. These findings suggest a unique pattern of systemic inflammation in svPPA and PGRN and open new research avenues for understanding and treating disorders associated with underlying transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 aggregation.
PMID: 23543794 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Changes of the Enteric Nervous System in Amyloid-β Protein Precursor Transgenic Mice Correlate with Disease Progression.
J Alzheimers Dis. 2013 Mar 26;
Authors: Semar S, Klotz M, Letiembre M, Van Ginneken C, Braun A, Jost V, Bischof M, Lammers WJ, Liu Y, Fassbender K, Wyss-Coray T, Kirchhoff F, Schäfer KH
In Alzheimer's disease (AD), fatal neuronal cell loss occurs long before relevant evidence can lead to a reliable diagnosis. If characteristic pathological alterations take place in the enteric nervous system (ENS), it could be one of the most promising targets for an early diagnosis, using submucosal biopsies from the gut. We therefore investigated time- and spatial-dependent changes in an amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) overexpressing transgenic mouse model to examine early changes within the ENS. Wholemount preparations and paraffin sections were analyzed for the expression of neuronal, glial, and innate immunity markers. Isolated myenteric networks were screened for differences in overall protein expression, and a motility analysis delivered functional data. The level of AβPP in the gut was significantly higher in the AD mouse model than in wild-type mice and also higher in the gut than in the brain at all ages investigated. The transcriptional level of Nestin, GFAP, and TLR4 increased with age with a peak at 3 months. At the protein level, human amyloid-β was located in myenteric neurons. Myenteric networks showed a reduction of the neuronal density in AβPP compared to wild-type mice, which was functionally relevant as revealed by motility analysis. The ENS undergoes significant changes during the early onset of AβPP expression in AD mouse models that appear before those seen in the brain as demonstrated in this study. Thus, there is a chance of determining similar alterations in the human gut of AD patients, which could be used to develop early diagnostic approaches.
PMID: 23531500 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
The role of inflammation in age-related disease.
Aging (Albany NY). 2013 Jan;5(1):84-93
Authors: Howcroft TK, Campisi J, Louis GB, Smith MT, Wise B, Wyss-Coray T, Augustine AD, McElhaney JE, Kohanski R, Sierra F
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) sponsored workshop, The Role of Inflammation inAge-Related Disease, was held September 6th-7th, 2012 in Bethesda, MD. It is now recognized that a mild pro-inflammatory state is correlated with the major degenerative diseases of the elderly. The focus of the workshop was to better understand the origins and consequences of this low level chronic inflammation in order to design appropriate interventional studies aimed at improving healthspan. Four sessions explored the intrinsic, environmental exposures and immune pathways by which chronic inflammation are generated, sustained, and lead to age-associated diseases. At the conclusion of the workshop recommendations to accelerate progress toward understanding the mechanistic bases of chronic disease were identified.
PMID: 23474627 [PubMed - in process]
Colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) signaling in injured neurons facilitates protection and survival.
J Exp Med. 2013 Jan 14;210(1):157-72
Authors: Luo J, Elwood F, Britschgi M, Villeda S, Zhang H, Ding Z, Zhu L, Alabsi H, Getachew R, Narasimhan R, Wabl R, Fainberg N, James ML, Wong G, Relton J, Gambhir SS, Pollard JW, Wyss-Coray T
Colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) and interleukin-34 (IL-34) are functional ligands of the CSF1 receptor (CSF1R) and thus are key regulators of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. We discovered that systemic administration of human recombinant CSF1 ameliorates memory deficits in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. CSF1 and IL-34 strongly reduced excitotoxin-induced neuronal cell loss and gliosis in wild-type mice when administered systemically before or up to 6 h after injury. These effects were accompanied by maintenance of cAMP responsive element-binding protein (CREB) signaling in neurons rather than in microglia. Using lineage-tracing experiments, we discovered that a small number of neurons in the hippocampus and cortex express CSF1R under physiological conditions and that kainic acid-induced excitotoxic injury results in a profound increase in neuronal receptor expression. Selective deletion of CSF1R in forebrain neurons in mice exacerbated excitotoxin-induced death and neurodegeneration. We conclude that CSF1 and IL-34 provide powerful neuroprotective and survival signals in brain injury and neurodegeneration involving CSF1R expression on neurons.
PMID: 23296467 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
The circulatory systemic environment as a modulator of neurogenesis and brain aging.
Autoimmun Rev. 2012 Nov 29;
Authors: Villeda SA, Wyss-Coray T
The ability of the adult brain to generate newly born neurons dramatically declines during aging, and has even been proposed to contribute, in part, to age-related cognitive impairments. While intrinsic molecular mechanisms underlying decreased neurogenesis during aging have begun to be elucidated, relatively little is still known as to the contribution of the systemic environment. Interestingly, immune signaling has quickly emerged as a key negative regulator of adult neurogenesis, and has more recently been functionally linked to the aging circulatory systemic environment. In this review we examine the role of the aging systemic environment in regulating adult neurogenesis and cognitive function. We discuss recent work from our group using the aging model of heterochronic parabiosis - in which the circulatory system of two animals is connected - to highlight the contribution of circulatory immune factors to age-related impairments in adult neurogenesis and associated cognitive processes. Finally, we propose the possibility of combating brain aging by tapping into the 'rejuvenating' potential inherent in a young circulatory systemic environment.
PMID: 23201925 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Neural progenitor cells regulate microglia functions and activity.
Nat Neurosci. 2012 Nov;15(11):1485-7
Authors: Mosher KI, Andres RH, Fukuhara T, Bieri G, Hasegawa-Moriyama M, He Y, Guzman R, Wyss-Coray T
We found mouse neural progenitor cells (NPCs) to have a secretory protein profile distinct from other brain cells and to modulate microglial activation, proliferation and phagocytosis. NPC-derived vascular endothelial growth factor was necessary and sufficient to exert at least some of these effects in mice. Thus, neural precursor cells may not only be shaped by microglia, but also regulate microglia functions and activity.
PMID: 23086334 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Deficiency of terminal complement pathway inhibitor promotes neuronal tau pathology and degeneration in mice.
J Neuroinflammation. 2012;9:220
Authors: Britschgi M, Takeda-Uchimura Y, Rockenstein E, Johns H, Masliah E, Wyss-Coray T
BACKGROUND: The neuronal microtubule-associated protein tau becomes hyperphosphorylated and forms aggregates in tauopathies but the processes leading to this pathological hallmark are not understood. Because tauopathies are accompanied by neuroinflammation and the complement cascade forms a key innate immune pathway, we asked whether the complement system has a role in the development of tau pathology.
FINDINGS: We tested this hypothesis in two mouse models, which expressed either a central inhibitor of complement or lacked an inhibitor of the terminal complement pathway. Complement receptor-related gene/protein y is the natural inhibitor of the central complement component C3 in rodents. Expressing a soluble variant (sCrry) reduced the number of phospho-tau (AT8 epitope) positive neurons in the brain stem, cerebellum, cortex, and hippocampus of aged P301L mutant tau/sCrry double-transgenic mice compared with tau single-transgenic littermates (JNPL3 line). CD59a is the major inhibitor of formation of the membrane attack complex in mice. Intrahippocampal injection of adeno-associated virus encoding mutant human P301L tau into Cd59a-/- mice resulted in increased numbers of AT8-positive cells compared with wild-type controls. This was accompanied by neuronal and synaptic loss and reduced dendritic integrity.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data in two independent mouse models with genetic changes in key regulators of the complement system support the hypothesis that the terminal pathway has an active role in the development of tau pathology. We propose that inhibition of the terminal pathway may be beneficial in tauopathies.
PMID: 22989354 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Thy1-hAPP(Lond/Swe+) mouse model of Alzheimer's disease displays broad behavioral deficits in sensorimotor, cognitive and social function.
Brain Behav. 2012 Mar;2(2):142-54
Authors: Faizi M, Bader PL, Saw N, Nguyen TV, Beraki S, Wyss-Coray T, Longo FM, Shamloo M
Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is an age-dependent progressive neurodegenerative disorder. β-amyloid, a metabolic product of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), plays an important role in the pathogenesis of AD. The Thy1-hAPP(Lond/Swe+) (line 41) transgenic mouse overexpresses human APP751 and contains the London (V717I) and Swedish (K670M/N671L) mutations. Here, we used a battery of behavioral tests to evaluate general activity, cognition, and social behavior in six-month-old male Thy1-hAPP(Lond/Swe+) mice. We found hyperactivity in a novel environment as well as significant deficits in spontaneous alternation behavior. In fear conditioning (FC), Thy1-hAPP(Lond/Swe+) mice did not display deficits in acquisition or in memory retrieval in novel context of tone-cued FC, but they showed significant memory retrieval impairment during contextual testing in an identical environment. Surprisingly, in a standard hidden platform water maze, no significant deficit was detected in mutant mice. However, a delayed-matching-to-place paradigm revealed a significant deficit in Thy1-hAPP(Lond/Swe+) mice. Lastly, in the social novelty session of a three-chamber test, Thy1-hAPP(Lond/Swe+) mice exhibited a significantly decreased interest in a novel versus a familiar stranger compared to control mice. This could possibly be explained by decreased social memory or discrimination and may parallel disturbances in social functioning in human AD patients. In conclusion, the Thy1-hAPP(Lond/Swe+) mouse model of AD displayed a behavioral phenotype that resembles, in part, the cognitive and psychiatric symptoms experienced in AD patients.
PMID: 22574282 [PubMed]
The immunology of neurodegeneration.
J Clin Invest. 2012 Apr 2;122(4):1156-63
Authors: Czirr E, Wyss-Coray T
While immune responses in neurodegeneration were regarded as little more than a curiosity a decade ago, they are now increasingly moving toward center stage. Factors driving this movement include the recognition that most of the relevant immune molecules are produced within the brain, that microglia are proficient immune cells shaping neuronal circuitry and fate, and that systemic immune responses affect brain function. We will review this complex field from the perspective of neurons, extra-neuronal brain cells, and the systemic environment and highlight the possibility that cell intrinsic innate immune molecules in neurons may function in neurodegenerative processes.
PMID: 22466657 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
The 1st International standard for transforming growth factor-β3 (TGF-β3).
J Immunol Methods. 2012 Jun 29;380(1-2):1-9
Authors: Wadhwa M, Dilger P, Hamill M, Bending D, Gibbs S, Wu G, Read J, Wyss-Coray T, Zhang H, Little J, Getliffe KM, Kai G, Wang W, Bender D, Bird C, Heath AB, Cooke A, Thorpe R
One candidate preparation of human sequence recombinant transforming growth factor-β3 (TGF-β3) was formulated and lyophilized at NIBSC prior to evaluation in a collaborative study for its suitability to serve as an international standard. The preparation was tested by 8 laboratories using in vitro bioassays and immunoassays. The candidate preparation 09/234 was judged suitable to serve as an international standard based on the data obtained for biological activity and stability. On the basis of the results reported here, the preparation coded 09/234 was established by the WHO Expert Committee on Biological Standardisation (ECBS) as the WHO 1st IS for human TGF-β3 with an assigned value for TGF-β3 activity of 19,000 IU/ampoule.
PMID: 22464938 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Heparan sulfate subdomains that are degraded by Sulf accumulate in cerebral amyloid ß plaques of Alzheimer's disease: evidence from mouse models and patients.
Am J Pathol. 2012 May;180(5):2056-67
Authors: Hosono-Fukao T, Ohtake-Niimi S, Hoshino H, Britschgi M, Akatsu H, Hossain MM, Nishitsuji K, van Kuppevelt TH, Kimata K, Michikawa M, Wyss-Coray T, Uchimura K
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by extracellular cerebral accumulation of amyloid β peptide (Aβ). Heparan sulfate (HS) is a glycosaminoglycan that is abundant in the extracellular space. The state of sulfation within the HS chain influences its ability to interact with a variety of proteins. Highly sulfated domains within HS are crucial for Aβ aggregation in vitro. Here, we investigated the expression of the sulfated domains and HS disaccharide composition in the brains of Tg2576, J20, and T41 transgenic AD mouse models, and patients with AD. RB4CD12, a phage display antibody, recognizes highly sulfated domains of HS. The RB4CD12 epitope is abundant in the basement membrane of brain vessels under physiological conditions. In the cortex and hippocampus of the mice and patients with AD, RB4CD12 strongly stained both diffuse and neuritic amyloid plaques. Interestingly, RB4CD12 also stained the intracellular granules of certain hippocampal neurons in AD brains. Disaccharide compositions in vessel-enriched and nonvasculature fractions of Tg2576 mice and AD patients were found to be comparable to those of non-transgenic and non-demented controls, respectively. The RB4CD12 epitope in amyloid plaques was substantially degraded ex vivo by Sulf-1 and Sulf-2, extracellular HS endosulfatases. These results indicate that formation of highly sulfated HS domains may be upregulated in conjunction with AD pathogenesis, and that these domains can be enzymatically remodeled in AD brains.
PMID: 22429964 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Inflammation in Alzheimer disease-a brief review of the basic science and clinical literature.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2012 Jan;2(1):a006346
Authors: Wyss-Coray T, Rogers J
Biochemical and neuropathological studies of brains from individuals with Alzheimer disease (AD) provide clear evidence for an activation of inflammatory pathways, and long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs is linked with reduced risk to develop the disease. As cause and effect relationships between inflammation and AD are being worked out, there is a realization that some components of this complex molecular and cellular machinery are most likely promoting pathological processes leading to AD, whereas other components serve to do the opposite. The challenge will be to find ways of fine tuning inflammation to delay, prevent, or treat AD.
PMID: 22315714 [PubMed - in process]
Autophagy in dementias.
Brain Pathol. 2012 Jan;22(1):99-109
Authors: Kragh CL, Ubhi K, Wyss-Coray T, Wyss-Corey T, Masliah E
Dementias are a varied group of disorders typically associated with memory loss, impaired judgment and/or language and by symptoms affecting other cognitive and social abilities to a degree that interferes with daily functioning. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of a progressive dementia, followed by dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (VaD) and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). The pathogenesis of this group of disorders has been linked to the abnormal accumulation of proteins in the brains of affected individuals, which in turn has been related to deficits in protein clearance. Autophagy is a key cellular protein clearance pathway with proteolytic cleavage and degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway representing another important clearance mechanism. Alterations in the levels of autophagy and the proteins associated with the autophagocytic pathway have been reported in various types of dementias. This review will examine recent literature across these disorders and highlight a common theme of altered autophagy across the spectrum of the dementias.
PMID: 22150925 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Identification of a central role for complement in osteoarthritis.
Nat Med. 2011 Dec;17(12):1674-9
Authors: Wang Q, Rozelle AL, Lepus CM, Scanzello CR, Song JJ, Larsen DM, Crish JF, Bebek G, Ritter SY, Lindstrom TM, Hwang I, Wong HH, Punzi L, Encarnacion A, Shamloo M, Goodman SB, Wyss-Coray T, Goldring SR, Banda NK, Thurman JM, Gobezie R, Crow MK, Holers VM, Lee DM, Robinson WH
Osteoarthritis, characterized by the breakdown of articular cartilage in synovial joints, has long been viewed as the result of 'wear and tear'. Although low-grade inflammation is detected in osteoarthritis, its role is unclear. Here we identify a central role for the inflammatory complement system in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis. Through proteomic and transcriptomic analyses of synovial fluids and membranes from individuals with osteoarthritis, we find that expression and activation of complement is abnormally high in human osteoarthritic joints. Using mice genetically deficient in complement component 5 (C5), C6 or the complement regulatory protein CD59a, we show that complement, specifically, the membrane attack complex (MAC)-mediated arm of complement, is crucial to the development of arthritis in three different mouse models of osteoarthritis. Pharmacological modulation of complement in wild-type mice confirmed the results obtained with genetically deficient mice. Expression of inflammatory and degradative molecules was lower in chondrocytes from destabilized joints from C5-deficient mice than C5-sufficient mice, and MAC induced production of these molecules in cultured chondrocytes. Further, MAC colocalized with matrix metalloprotease 13 (MMP13) and with activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) around chondrocytes in human osteoarthritic cartilage. Our findings indicate that dysregulation of complement in synovial joints has a key role in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis.
PMID: 22057346 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
The ageing systemic milieu negatively regulates neurogenesis and cognitive function.
Nature. 2011 Sep 1;477(7362):90-4
Authors: Villeda SA, Luo J, Mosher KI, Zou B, Britschgi M, Bieri G, Stan TM, Fainberg N, Ding Z, Eggel A, Lucin KM, Czirr E, Park JS, Couillard-Després S, Aigner L, Li G, Peskind ER, Kaye JA, Quinn JF, Galasko DR, Xie XS, Rando TA, Wyss-Coray T
In the central nervous system, ageing results in a precipitous decline in adult neural stem/progenitor cells and neurogenesis, with concomitant impairments in cognitive functions. Interestingly, such impairments can be ameliorated through systemic perturbations such as exercise. Here, using heterochronic parabiosis we show that blood-borne factors present in the systemic milieu can inhibit or promote adult neurogenesis in an age-dependent fashion in mice. Accordingly, exposing a young mouse to an old systemic environment or to plasma from old mice decreased synaptic plasticity, and impaired contextual fear conditioning and spatial learning and memory. We identify chemokines--including CCL11 (also known as eotaxin)--the plasma levels of which correlate with reduced neurogenesis in heterochronic parabionts and aged mice, and the levels of which are increased in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid of healthy ageing humans. Lastly, increasing peripheral CCL11 chemokine levels in vivo in young mice decreased adult neurogenesis and impaired learning and memory. Together our data indicate that the decline in neurogenesis and cognitive impairments observed during ageing can be in part attributed to changes in blood-borne factors.
PMID: 21886162 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Modeling of pathological traits in Alzheimer's disease based on systemic extracellular signaling proteome.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2011 Oct;10(10):M111.008862
Authors: Britschgi M, Rufibach K, Huang SL, Clark CM, Kaye JA, Li G, Peskind ER, Quinn JF, Galasko DR, Wyss-Coray T
The study of chronic brain diseases including Alzheimer's disease in patients is typically limited to brain imaging or psychometric testing. Given the epidemic rise and insufficient knowledge about pathological pathways in sporadic Alzheimer's disease, new tools are required to identify the molecular changes underlying this disease. We hypothesize that levels of specific secreted cellular signaling proteins in cerebrospinal fluid or plasma correlate with pathological changes in the Alzheimer's disease brain and can thus be used to discover signaling pathways altered in the disease. Here we measured 91 proteins of this subset of the cellular communication proteome in plasma or cerebrospinal fluid in patients with Alzheimer's disease and cognitively normal controls to mathematically model disease-specific molecular traits. We found small numbers of signaling proteins that were able to model key pathological markers of Alzheimer's disease, including levels of cerebrospinal fluid β-amyloid and tau, and classify disease in independent samples. Several of these factors had previously been implicated in Alzheimer's disease supporting the validity of our approach. Our study also points to proteins which were previously unknown to be associated with Alzheimer's disease thereby implicating novel signaling pathways in this disorder.
PMID: 21742799 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Mild cognitive impairment: baseline and longitudinal structural MR imaging measures improve predictive prognosis.
Radiology. 2011 Jun;259(3):834-43
Authors: McEvoy LK, Holland D, Hagler DJ, Fennema-Notestine C, Brewer JB, Dale AM, Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
PURPOSE: To assess whether single-time-point and longitudinal volumetric magnetic resonance (MR) imaging measures provide predictive prognostic information in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was conducted with institutional review board approval and in compliance with HIPAA regulations. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants or the participants' legal guardians. Cross-validated discriminant analyses of MR imaging measures were performed to differentiate 164 Alzheimer disease (AD) cases from 203 healthy control cases. Separate analyses were performed by using data from MR images obtained at one time point or by combining single-time-point measures with 1-year change measures. Resulting discriminant functions were applied to 317 MCI cases to derive individual patient risk scores. Risk of conversion to AD was estimated as a continuous function of risk score percentile. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were computed for risk score quartiles. Odds ratios (ORs) for the conversion to AD were computed between the highest and lowest quartile scores.
RESULTS: Individualized risk estimates from baseline MR examinations indicated that the 1-year risk of conversion to AD ranged from 3% to 40% (average group risk, 17%; OR, 7.2 for highest vs lowest score quartiles). Including measures of 1-year change in global and regional volumes significantly improved risk estimates (P = 001), with the risk of conversion to AD in the subsequent year ranging from 3% to 69% (average group risk, 27%; OR, 12.0 for highest vs lowest score quartiles).
CONCLUSION: Relative to the risk of conversion to AD conferred by the clinical diagnosis of MCI alone, MR imaging measures yield substantially more informative patient-specific risk estimates. Such predictive prognostic information will be critical if disease-modifying therapies become available.
SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL: http://radiology.rsna.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1148/radiol.11101975/-/DC1.
Spatial patterns of brain amyloid-beta burden and atrophy rate associations in mild cognitive impairment.
Brain. 2011 Apr;134(Pt 4):1077-88
Authors: Tosun D, Schuff N, Mathis CA, Jagust W, Weiner MW, Alzheimer's Disease NeuroImaging Initiative
Amyloid-β accumulation in the brain is thought to be one of the earliest events in Alzheimer's disease, possibly leading to synaptic dysfunction, neurodegeneration and cognitive/functional decline. The earliest detectable changes seen with neuroimaging appear to be amyloid-β accumulation detected by (11)C-labelled Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography imaging. However, some individuals tolerate high brain amyloid-β loads without developing symptoms, while others progressively decline, suggesting that events in the brain downstream from amyloid-β deposition, such as regional brain atrophy rates, play an important role. The main purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between the regional distributions of increased amyloid-β and the regional distribution of increased brain atrophy rates in patients with mild cognitive impairment. To simultaneously capture the spatial distributions of amyloid-β and brain atrophy rates, we employed the statistical concept of parallel independent component analysis, an effective method for joint analysis of multimodal imaging data. Parallel independent component analysis identified significant relationships between two patterns of amyloid-β deposition and atrophy rates: (i) increased amyloid-β burden in the left precuneus/cuneus and medial-temporal regions was associated with increased brain atrophy rates in the left medial-temporal and parietal regions; and (ii) in contrast, increased amyloid-β burden in bilateral precuneus/cuneus and parietal regions was associated with increased brain atrophy rates in the right medial temporal regions. The spatial distribution of increased amyloid-β and the associated spatial distribution of increased brain atrophy rates embrace a characteristic pattern of brain structures known for a high vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease pathology, encouraging for the use of (11)C-labelled Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography measures as early indicators of Alzheimer's disease. These results may begin to shed light on the mechanisms by which amyloid-β deposition leads to neurodegeneration and cognitive decline and the development of a more specific Alzheimer's disease-specific imaging signature for diagnosis and use of this knowledge in the development of new anti-therapies for Alzheimer's disease.
Complement receptor 2 is expressed in neural progenitor cells and regulates adult hippocampal neurogenesis.
J Neurosci. 2011 Mar 16;31(11):3981-9
Authors: Moriyama M, Fukuhara T, Britschgi M, He Y, Narasimhan R, Villeda S, Molina H, Huber BT, Holers M, Wyss-Coray T
Injury and inflammation are potent regulators of adult neurogenesis. As the complement system forms a key immune pathway that may also exert critical functions in neural development and neurodegeneration, we asked whether complement receptors regulate neurogenesis. We discovered that complement receptor 2 (CR2), classically known as a coreceptor of the B-lymphocyte antigen receptor, is expressed in adult neural progenitor cells (NPCs) of the dentate gyrus. Two of its ligands, C3d and interferon-α (IFN-α), inhibited proliferation of wild-type NPCs but not NPCs derived from mice lacking Cr2 (Cr2(-/-)), indicating functional Cr2 expression. Young and old Cr2(-/-) mice exhibited prominent increases in basal neurogenesis compared with wild-type littermates, whereas intracerebral injection of C3d resulted in fewer proliferating neuroblasts in wild-type than in Cr2(-/-) mice. We conclude that Cr2 regulates hippocampal neurogenesis and propose that increased C3d and IFN-α production associated with brain injury or viral infections may inhibit neurogenesis.
PMID: 21411641 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Immunotherapy of cerebrovascular amyloidosis in a transgenic mouse model.
Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Feb;33(2):432.e1-432.e13
Authors: Lifshitz V, Weiss R, Benromano T, Kfir E, Blumenfeld-Katzir T, Tempel-Brami C, Assaf Y, Xia W, Wyss-Coray T, Weiner HL, Frenkel D
Cerebrovascular amyloidosis is caused by amyloid accumulation in walls of blood vessel walls leading to hemorrhagic stroke and cognitive impairment. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) expression levels correlate with the degree of cerebrovascular amyloid deposition in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and TGF-β1 immunoreactivity in such cases is increased along the cerebral blood vessels. Here we show that a nasally administered proteosome-based adjuvant activates macrophages and decreases vascular amyloid in TGF-β1 mice. Animals were nasally treated with a proteosome-based adjuvant on a weekly basis for 3 months beginning at age 13 months. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) we found that while control animals showed a significant cerebrovascular pathology, proteosome-based adjuvant prevents further brain damage and prevents pathological changes in the blood-brain barrier. Using an object recognition test and Y-maze, we found significant improvement in cognition in the treated group. Our findings support the potential use of a macrophage immunomodulator as a novel approach to reduce cerebrovascular amyloid, prevent microhemorrhage, and improve cognition.
PMID: 21371785 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Fine mapping of genetic variants in BIN1, CLU, CR1 and PICALM for association with cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease.
PLoS One. 2011;6(2):e15918
Authors: Kauwe JS, Cruchaga C, Karch CM, Sadler B, Lee M, Mayo K, Latu W, Su'a M, Fagan AM, Holtzman DM, Morris JC, Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, Goate AM
Recent genome-wide association studies of Alzheimer's disease (AD) have identified variants in BIN1, CLU, CR1 and PICALM that show replicable association with risk for disease. We have thoroughly sampled common variation in these genes, genotyping 355 variants in over 600 individuals for whom measurements of two AD biomarkers, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 42 amino acid amyloid beta fragments (Aβ(42)) and tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (ptau(181)), have been obtained. Association analyses were performed to determine whether variants in BIN1, CLU, CR1 or PICALM are associated with changes in the CSF levels of these biomarkers. Despite adequate power to detect effects as small as a 1.05 fold difference, we have failed to detect evidence for association between SNPs in these genes and CSF Aβ(42) or ptau(181) levels in our sample. Our results suggest that these variants do not affect risk via a mechanism that results in a strong additive effect on CSF levels of Aβ(42) or ptau(181).
PMID: 21347408 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Workshop summary: roles of the TNF family in neuronal development, function and pathology.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011;691:537-8
Authors: Tansey MG, Wyss-Coray T
PMID: 21153358 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Longitudinal changes in white matter disease and cognition in the first year of the Alzheimer disease neuroimaging initiative.
Arch Neurol. 2010 Nov;67(11):1370-8
Authors: Carmichael O, Schwarz C, Drucker D, Fletcher E, Harvey D, Beckett L, Jack CR, Weiner M, DeCarli C, Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate relationships between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based measures of white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), measured at baseline and longitudinally, and 1-year cognitive decline using a large convenience sample in a clinical trial design with a relatively mild profile of cardiovascular risk factors.
DESIGN: Convenience sample in a clinical trial design.
SUBJECTS: A total of 804 participants in the Alzheimer Disease Neuroimaging Initiative who received MRI scans, cognitive testing, and clinical evaluations at baseline, 6-month follow-up, and 12-month follow-up visits. For each scan, WMHs were detected automatically on coregistered sets of T1, proton density, and T2 MRI images using a validated method. Mixed-effects regression models evaluated relationships between risk factors for WMHs, WMH volume, and change in outcome measures including Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog), and Clinical Dementia Rating Scale sum of boxes scores. Covariates in these models included race, sex, years of education, age, apolipoprotein E genotype, baseline clinical diagnosis (cognitively normal, mild cognitive impairment, or Alzheimer disease), cardiovascular risk score, and MRI-based hippocampal and brain volumes.
RESULTS: Higher baseline WMH volume was associated with greater subsequent 1-year increase in ADAS-Cog and decrease in MMSE scores. Greater WMH volume at follow-up was associated with greater ADAS-Cog and lower MMSE scores at follow-up. Higher baseline age and cardiovascular risk score and more impaired baseline clinical diagnosis were associated with higher baseline WMH volume.
CONCLUSIONS: White matter hyperintensity volume predicts 1-year cognitive decline in a relatively healthy convenience sample that was similar to clinical trial samples, and therefore should be considered as a covariate of interest at baseline and longitudinally in future AD treatment trials.
Beclin 1 complex in autophagy and Alzheimer disease.
Arch Neurol. 2010 Oct;67(10):1181-4
Authors: Jaeger PA, Wyss-Coray T
Beclin 1 is a protein involved in the regulation of autophagy and has been shown to be reduced in patients with Alzheimer disease. This review summarizes the current research data that link disturbances in autophagy, a cellular degradation and maintenance pathway, to the development of Alzheimer disease and related neurodegenerative diseases. It also provides a brief overview of the existing pharmacological interventions available to modulate autophagy activity in mammalian cells.
PMID: 20937944 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Angiotensin II sustains brain inflammation in mice via TGF-beta.
J Clin Invest. 2010 Aug;120(8):2782-94
Authors: Lanz TV, Ding Z, Ho PP, Luo J, Agrawal AN, Srinagesh H, Axtell R, Zhang H, Platten M, Wyss-Coray T, Steinman L
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is a key hormonal system regulating blood pressure. However, expression of RAAS components has recently been detected in immune cells, and the RAAS has been implicated in several mouse models of autoimmune disease. Here, we have identified Ang II as a paracrine mediator, sustaining inflammation in the CNS in the EAE mouse model of MS via TGF-beta. Ang II type 1 receptors (AT1Rs) were found to be primarily expressed in CNS-resident cells during EAE. In vitro, astrocytes and microglia responded to Ang II treatment by inducing TGF-beta expression via a pathway involving the TGF-beta-activating protease thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1). TGF-beta upregulation in astrocytes and microglia during EAE was blocked with candesartan (CA), an inhibitor of AT1R. Treatment of EAE with CA ameliorated paralysis and blunted lymphocyte infiltration into the CNS, outcomes that were also seen with genetic ablation of AT1Ra and treatment with an inhibitor of TSP-1. These data suggest that AT1R antagonists, frequently prescribed as antihypertensives, may be useful to interrupt this proinflammatory, CNS-specific pathway in individuals with MS.
PMID: 20628203 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Cellular source of apolipoprotein E4 determines neuronal susceptibility to excitotoxic injury in transgenic mice.
Am J Pathol. 2010 Aug;177(2):563-9
Authors: Buttini M, Masliah E, Yu GQ, Palop JJ, Chang S, Bernardo A, Lin C, Wyss-Coray T, Huang Y, Mucke L
The lipid transport protein apolipoprotein E (apoE) is abundantly expressed in the brain. Its main isoforms in humans are apoE2, apoE3, and apoE4. ApoE4 is the major known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and also contributes to the pathogenesis of various other neurological conditions. In the central nervous system, apoE is synthesized by glial cells and neurons, but it is unclear whether the cellular source affects its biological activities. To address this issue, we induced excitotoxic injury by systemic kainic acid injection in transgenic Apoe knockout mice expressing human apoE isoforms in astrocytes or neurons. Regardless of its cellular source, apoE3 expression protected neuronal synapses and dendrites against the excitotoxicity seen in apoE-deficient mice. Astrocyte-derived apoE4, which has previously been shown to have detrimental effects in vitro, was as excitoprotective as apoE3 in vivo. In contrast, neuronal expression of apoE4 was not protective and resulted in loss of cortical neurons after excitotoxic challenge, indicating that neuronal apoE4 promotes excitotoxic cell death. Thus, an imbalance between astrocytic (excitoprotective) and neuronal (neurotoxic) apoE4 expression may increase susceptibility to diverse neurological diseases involving excitotoxic mechanisms.
PMID: 20595630 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Regulation of amyloid precursor protein processing by the Beclin 1 complex.
PLoS One. 2010;5(6):e11102
Authors: Jaeger PA, Pickford F, Sun CH, Lucin KM, Masliah E, Wyss-Coray T
Autophagy is an intracellular degradation pathway that functions in protein and organelle turnover in response to starvation and cellular stress. Autophagy is initiated by the formation of a complex containing Beclin 1 (BECN1) and its binding partner Phosphoinositide-3-kinase, class 3 (PIK3C3). Recently, BECN1 deficiency was shown to enhance the pathology of a mouse model of Alzheimer Disease (AD). However, the mechanism by which BECN1 or autophagy mediate these effects are unknown. Here, we report that the levels of Amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its metabolites can be reduced through autophagy activation, indicating that they are a substrate for autophagy. Furthermore, we find that knockdown of Becn1 in cell culture increases the levels of APP and its metabolites. Accumulation of APP and APP C-terminal fragments (APP-CTF) are accompanied by impaired autophagosomal clearance. Pharmacological inhibition of autophagosomal-lysosomal degradation causes a comparable accumulation of APP and APP-metabolites in autophagosomes. Becn1 reduction in cell culture leads to lower levels of its binding partner Pik3c3 and increased presence of Microtubule-associated protein 1, light chain 3 (LC3). Overexpression of Becn1, on the other hand, reduces cellular APP levels. In line with these observations, we detected less BECN1 and PIK3C3 but more LC3 protein in brains of AD patients. We conclude that BECN1 regulates APP processing and turnover. BECN1 is involved in autophagy initiation and autophagosome clearance. Accordingly, BECN1 deficiency disrupts cellular autophagy and autophagosomal-lysosomal degradation and alters APP metabolism. Together, our findings suggest that autophagy and the BECN1-PIK3C3 complex regulate APP processing and play an important role in AD pathology.
PMID: 20559548 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Beclin 1 gene transfer activates autophagy and ameliorates the neurodegenerative pathology in alpha-synuclein models of Parkinson's and Lewy body diseases.
J Neurosci. 2009 Oct 28;29(43):13578-88
Authors: Spencer B, Potkar R, Trejo M, Rockenstein E, Patrick C, Gindi R, Adame A, Wyss-Coray T, Masliah E
Accumulation of the synaptic protein alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) is a hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD) and Lewy body disease (LBD), a heterogeneous group of disorders with dementia and parkinsonism, where Alzheimer's disease and PD interact. Accumulation of alpha-syn in these patients might be associated with alterations in the autophagy pathway. Therefore, we postulate that delivery of beclin 1, a regulator of the autophagy pathway, might constitute a strategy toward developing a therapy for LBD/PD. Overexpression of alpha-syn from lentivirus transduction in a neuronal cell line resulted in lysosomal accumulation and alterations in autophagy. Coexpression of beclin 1 activated autophagy, reduced accumulation of alpha-syn, and ameliorated associated neuritic alterations. The effects of beclin 1 overexpression on LC3 and alpha-syn accumulation were partially blocked by 3-MA and completely blocked by bafilomycin A1. In contrast, rapamycin enhanced the effects of beclin 1. To evaluate the potential effects of activating autophagy in vivo, a lentivirus expressing beclin 1 was delivered to the brain of a alpha-syn transgenic mouse. Neuropathological analysis demonstrated that beclin 1 injections ameliorated the synaptic and dendritic pathology in the tg mice and reduced the accumulation of alpha-syn in the limbic system without any significant deleterious effects. This was accompanied by enhanced lysosomal activation and reduced alterations in the autophagy pathway. Thus, beclin 1 plays an important role in the intracellular degradation of alpha-syn either directly or indirectly through the autophagy pathway and may present a novel therapeutic target for LBD/PD.
PMID: 19864570 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Immune activation in brain aging and neurodegeneration: too much or too little?
Neuron. 2009 Oct 15;64(1):110-22
Authors: Lucin KM, Wyss-Coray T
Until recently, the brain was studied almost exclusively by neuroscientists and the immune system by immunologists, fuelling the notion that these systems represented two isolated entities. However, as more data suggest an important role of the immune system in regulating the progression of brain aging and neurodegenerative disease, it has become clear that the crosstalk between these systems can no longer be ignored and a new interdisciplinary approach is necessary. A central question that emerges is whether immune and inflammatory pathways become hyperactivated with age and promote degeneration or whether insufficient immune responses, which fail to cope with age-related stress, may contribute to disease. We try to explore here the consequences of gain versus loss of function with an emphasis on microglia as sensors and effectors of immune function in the brain, and we discuss the potential role of the peripheral environment in neurodegenerative diseases.
PMID: 19840553 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
The p75 neurotrophin receptor promotes amyloid-beta(1-42)-induced neuritic dystrophy in vitro and in vivo.
J Neurosci. 2009 Aug 26;29(34):10627-37
Authors: Knowles JK, Rajadas J, Nguyen TV, Yang T, LeMieux MC, Vander Griend L, Ishikawa C, Massa SM, Wyss-Coray T, Longo FM
Oligomeric forms of amyloid-beta (Abeta) are thought to play a causal role in Alzheimer's disease (AD), and the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)) has been implicated in Abeta-induced neurodegeneration. To further define the functions of p75(NTR) in AD, we examined the interaction of oligomeric Abeta(1-42) with p75(NTR), and the effects of that interaction on neurite integrity in neuron cultures and in a chronic AD mouse model. Atomic force microscopy was used to ascertain the aggregated state of Abeta, and fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis revealed that Abeta oligomers interact with the extracellular domain of p75(NTR). In vitro studies of Abeta-induced death in neuron cultures isolated from wild-type and p75(NTR-/-) mice, in which the p75(NTR) extracellular domain is deleted, showed reduced sensitivity of mutant cells to Abeta-induced cell death. Interestingly, Abeta-induced neuritic dystrophy and activation of c-Jun, a known mediator of Abeta-induced deleterious signaling, were completely prevented in p75(NTR-/-) neuron cultures. Thy1-hAPP(Lond/Swe) x p75(NTR-/-) mice exhibited significantly diminished hippocampal neuritic dystrophy and complete reversal of basal forebrain cholinergic neurite degeneration relative to those expressing wild-type p75(NTR). Abeta levels were not affected, suggesting that removal of p75(NTR) extracellular domain reduced the ability of excess Abeta to promote neuritic degeneration. These findings indicate that although p75(NTR) likely does not mediate all Abeta effects, it does play a significant role in enabling Abeta-induced neurodegeneration in vitro and in vivo, establishing p75(NTR) as an important therapeutic target for AD.
PMID: 19710315 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Bioluminescence analysis of Smad-dependent TGF-beta signaling in live mice.
Methods Mol Biol. 2009;574:193-202
Authors: Luo J, Wyss-Coray T
TGF-beta signaling via the Smad2/3 pathway has key roles in development and tissue homeostasis. Perturbations of the TGF-beta signaling are involved in the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including cancer, fibrotic disorders, developmental defects, and neurodegeneration. To study the temporal and spatial patterns of Smad2/3-dependent signaling in living animals, we engineered transgenic mice with a Smad-responsive luciferase reporter (SBE-luc mice). Smad2/3-dependent signaling can be assessed non-invasively in living mice by bioluminescence imaging. To identify the cellular source of the bioluminescence signal, we generated new reporter mice expressing a trifusion protein containing luciferase, red fluorescent protein (RFP), and thymidine kinase under the control of the same SBE promoter (SBE-lucRT mice). SBE-luc and SBE-lucRT mice can be used to study temporal, tissue-specific activation of Smad2/3-dependent signaling in living mice as well as for the identification of endogenous or synthetic modulators of this pathway.
PMID: 19685310 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Bioactive TGF-beta can associate with lipoproteins and is enriched in those containing apolipoprotein E3.
J Neurochem. 2009 Aug;110(4):1254-62
Authors: Tesseur I, Zhang H, Brecht W, Corn J, Gong JS, Yanagisawa K, Michikawa M, Weisgraber K, Huang Y, Wyss-Coray T
Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) has central functions in development, tissue maintenance, and repair and has been implicated in major diseases. We discovered that TGF-beta1 contains several amphipathic helices and hydrophobic domains similar to apolipoprotein E (apoE), a protein involved in lipoprotein metabolism. Indeed, TGF-beta1 associates with lipoproteins isolated from human plasma, cultured liver cells, or astrocytes, and its bioactivity was highest in high-density lipoprotein preparations. Importantly, lipoproteins containing the apoE3 isoform had higher TGF-beta levels and bioactivity than those containing apoE4, a major genetic risk factor for atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Because TGF-beta1 can be protective in these diseases an association with apoE3 may be beneficial. Association of TGF-beta with different types of lipoproteins may facilitate its diffusion, regulate signaling, and offer additional specificity for this important growth factor.
PMID: 19549280 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
All-you-can-eat: autophagy in neurodegeneration and neuroprotection.
Mol Neurodegener. 2009;4:16
Authors: Jaeger PA, Wyss-Coray T
Autophagy is the major pathway involved in the degradation of proteins and organelles, cellular remodeling, and survival during nutrient starvation. Autophagosomal dysfunction has been implicated in an increasing number of diseases from cancer to bacterial and viral infections and more recently in neurodegeneration. While a decrease in autophagic activity appears to interfere with protein degradation and possibly organelle turnover, increased autophagy has been shown to facilitate the clearance of aggregation-prone proteins and promote neuronal survival in a number of disease models. On the other hand, too much autophagic activity can be detrimental as well and lead to cell death, suggesting the regulation of autophagy has an important role in cell fate decisions. An increasing number of model systems are now available to study the role of autophagy in the central nervous system and how it might be exploited to treat disease. We will review here the current knowledge of autophagy in the central nervous system and provide an overview of the various models that have been used to study acute and chronic neurodegeneration.
PMID: 19348680 [PubMed]
Collagen VI protects neurons against Abeta toxicity.
Nat Neurosci. 2009 Feb;12(2):119-21
Authors: Cheng JS, Dubal DB, Kim DH, Legleiter J, Cheng IH, Yu GQ, Tesseur I, Wyss-Coray T, Bonaldo P, Mucke L
Amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptides, widely presumed to cause Alzheimer's disease, increased mouse neuronal expression of collagen VI through a mechanism involving transforming growth factor signaling. Reduction of collagen VI augmented Abeta neurotoxicity, whereas treatment of neurons with soluble collagen VI blocked the association of Abeta oligomers with neurons, enhanced Abeta aggregation and prevented neurotoxicity. These results identify collagen VI as an important component of the neuronal injury response and demonstrate its neuroprotective potential.
PMID: 19122666 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Blood protein signature for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer disease.
Arch Neurol. 2009 Feb;66(2):161-5
Authors: Britschgi M, Wyss-Coray T
Alzheimer disease (AD) has become one of the main health concerns for the elderly population in the United States. Current treatments target symptoms only, but several advanced clinical trials are testing new drugs that are potentially disease modifying. Because AD is still difficult to diagnose in its earliest stages and the disease process is estimated to start many years before current clinical diagnosis is made, accurate and simple diagnostic tools are urgently needed. We recently described a blood-based panel of secreted signaling proteins that distinguishes between blinded samples from patients with AD and control subjects with high accuracy. The same proteins also predicted progression to AD in preclinical patients with mild cognitive impairment several years before clinical diagnosis for AD was made. Herein, we describe these findings and discuss the potential for a more general application of our proteomic approach in understanding and diagnosing disease.
PMID: 19064741 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Microglia--a wrench in the running wheel?
Neuron. 2008 Aug 28;59(4):527-9
Authors: Villeda S, Wyss-Coray T
Increasing the amount of physical activity has been observed to ameliorate the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD), as well as enhance neurogenesis. Choi et al. in this issue of Neuron report that the expression of Presenilin 1 (PS1) variants, responsible for the early onset of familial AD, are capable of mitigating the regenerative effects associated with increased activity and environmental enrichment likely through changes in resident microglia and their secreted factors.
PMID: 18760689 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Genes contributing to prion pathogenesis.
J Gen Virol. 2008 Jul;89(Pt 7):1777-88
Authors: Tamgüney G, Giles K, Glidden DV, Lessard P, Wille H, Tremblay P, Groth DF, Yehiely F, Korth C, Moore RC, Tatzelt J, Rubinstein E, Boucheix C, Yang X, Stanley P, Lisanti MP, Dwek RA, Rudd PM, Moskovitz J, Epstein CJ, Cruz TD, Kuziel WA, Maeda N, Sap J, Ashe KH, Carlson GA, Tesseur I, Wyss-Coray T, Mucke L, Weisgraber KH, Mahley RW, Cohen FE, Prusiner SB
Prion diseases are caused by conversion of a normally folded, non-pathogenic isoform of the prion protein (PrP(C)) to a misfolded, pathogenic isoform (PrP(Sc)). Prion inoculation experiments in mice expressing homologous PrP(C) molecules on different genetic backgrounds displayed different incubation times, indicating that the conversion reaction may be influenced by other gene products. To identify genes that contribute to prion pathogenesis, we analysed incubation times of prions in mice in which the gene product was inactivated, knocked out or overexpressed. We tested 20 candidate genes, because their products either colocalize with PrP, are associated with Alzheimer's disease, are elevated during prion disease, or function in PrP-mediated signalling, PrP glycosylation, or protein maintenance. Whereas some of the candidates tested may have a role in the normal function of PrP(C), our data show that many genes previously implicated in prion replication have no discernible effect on the pathogenesis of prion disease. While most genes tested did not significantly affect survival times, ablation of the amyloid beta (A4) precursor protein (App) or interleukin-1 receptor, type I (Il1r1), and transgenic overexpression of human superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) prolonged incubation times by 13, 16 and 19 %, respectively.
PMID: 18559949 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
The autophagy-related protein beclin 1 shows reduced expression in early Alzheimer disease and regulates amyloid beta accumulation in mice.
J Clin Invest. 2008 Jun;118(6):2190-9
Authors: Pickford F, Masliah E, Britschgi M, Lucin K, Narasimhan R, Jaeger PA, Small S, Spencer B, Rockenstein E, Levine B, Wyss-Coray T
Autophagy is the principal cellular pathway for degradation of long-lived proteins and organelles and regulates cell fate in response to stress. Recently, autophagy has been implicated in neurodegeneration, but whether it is detrimental or protective remains unclear. Here we report that beclin 1, a protein with a key role in autophagy, was decreased in affected brain regions of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) early in the disease process. Heterozygous deletion of beclin 1 (Becn1) in mice decreased neuronal autophagy and resulted in neurodegeneration and disruption of lysosomes. In transgenic mice that express human amyloid precursor protein (APP), a model for AD, genetic reduction of Becn1 expression increased intraneuronal amyloid beta (Abeta) accumulation, extracellular Abeta deposition, and neurodegeneration and caused microglial changes and profound neuronal ultrastructural abnormalities. Administration of a lentiviral vector expressing beclin 1 reduced both intracellular and extracellular amyloid pathology in APP transgenic mice. We conclude that beclin 1 deficiency disrupts neuronal autophagy, modulates APP metabolism, and promotes neurodegeneration in mice and that increasing beclin 1 levels may have therapeutic potential in AD.
PMID: 18497889 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Bioluminescence in vivo imaging of autoimmune encephalomyelitis predicts disease.
J Neuroinflammation. 2008;5:6
Authors: Luo J, Ho P, Steinman L, Wyss-Coray T
BACKGROUND: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis is a widely used animal model to understand not only multiple sclerosis but also basic principles of immunity. The disease is scored typically by observing signs of paralysis, which do not always correspond with pathological changes.
METHODS: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis was induced in transgenic mice expressing an injury responsive luciferase reporter in astrocytes (GFAP-luc). Bioluminescence in the brain and spinal cord was measured non-invasively in living mice. Mice were sacrificed at different time points to evaluate clinical and pathological changes. The correlation between bioluminescence and clinical and pathological EAE was statistically analyzed by Pearson correlation analysis.
RESULTS: Bioluminescence from the brain and spinal cord correlates strongly with severity of clinical disease and a number of pathological changes in the brain in EAE. Bioluminescence at early time points also predicts severity of disease.
CONCLUSION: These results highlight the potential use of bioluminescence imaging to monitor neuroinflammation for rapid drug screening and immunological studies in EAE and suggest that similar approaches could be applied to other animal models of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
PMID: 18237444 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Live imaging of Smad2/3 signaling in mouse skin wound healing.
Wound Repair Regen. 2007 Sep-Oct;15(5):762-6
Authors: Chong AK, Satterwhite T, Pham HM, Costa MA, Luo J, Longaker MT, Wyss-Coray T, Chang J
Biophotonics and real-time imaging are novel technologies that can greatly enhance the study of complex biological processes. We applied this technology in a transgenic mouse with a luciferase reporter gene fused to a transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) responsive Smad2/3-binding element to study bioluminescence after skin wounding. Two dorsal midline excisional skin wounds were made using a biopsy punch. One wound was randomized to suture closure and the other allowed to heal by secondary intention (n=8 each wound). Bioluminescence was measured at fixed time points following surgery. Phospho-Smad2/3 immunohistochemistry was performed to localize expression in skin wound samples. In vivo bioluminescence increased following skin wounding. Peak activity occurred on day 17 and was fourfold that of baseline (p<0.05). Subgroup analysis of primary and secondary healing showed that primarily sutured wounds had peak activities earlier than those with secondary healing, although this did not reach statistical significance. Intense phospho-Smad2/3 staining was found in the hair follicles. In vivo bioluminescence tracks Smad2/3-dependent TGF-beta signaling in the in vivo wound healing process. Our findings suggest that signaling increases after wound healing, which contrasts with other studies that show raised TGF-beta signaling in the initial days following wounding.
PMID: 17971023 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Glia-dependent TGF-beta signaling, acting independently of the TH17 pathway, is critical for initiation of murine autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
J Clin Invest. 2007 Nov;117(11):3306-15
Authors: Luo J, Ho PP, Buckwalter MS, Hsu T, Lee LY, Zhang H, Kim DK, Kim SJ, Gambhir SS, Steinman L, Wyss-Coray T
Autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a mouse model for multiple sclerosis, is characterized by the activation of immune cells, demyelination of axons in the CNS, and paralysis. We found that TGF-beta1 synthesis in glial cells and TGF-beta-induced signaling in the CNS were activated several days before the onset of paralysis in mice with autoimmune encephalomyelitis. While early production of TGF-beta1 was observed in glial cells TGF-beta signaling was activated in neurons and later in infiltrating T cells in inflammatory lesions. Systemic treatment with a pharmacological inhibitor of TGF-beta signaling ameliorated the paralytic disease and reduced the accumulation of pathogenic T cells and expression of IL-6 in the CNS. Priming of peripheral T cells was not altered, nor was the generation of TH17 cells, indicating that this effect was directed within the brain, yet affected the immune system. These results suggest that early production of TGF-beta1 in the CNS creates a permissive and dangerous environment for the initiation of autoimmune inflammation, providing a rare example of the brain modulating the immune system. Importantly, inhibition of TGF-beta signaling may have benefits in the treatment of the acute phase of autoimmune CNS inflammation.
PMID: 17965773 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Classification and prediction of clinical Alzheimer's diagnosis based on plasma signaling proteins.
Nat Med. 2007 Nov;13(11):1359-62
Authors: Ray S, Britschgi M, Herbert C, Takeda-Uchimura Y, Boxer A, Blennow K, Friedman LF, Galasko DR, Jutel M, Karydas A, Kaye JA, Leszek J, Miller BL, Minthon L, Quinn JF, Rabinovici GD, Robinson WH, Sabbagh MN, So YT, Sparks DL, Tabaton M, Tinklenberg J, Yesavage JA, Tibshirani R, Wyss-Coray T
A molecular test for Alzheimer's disease could lead to better treatment and therapies. We found 18 signaling proteins in blood plasma that can be used to classify blinded samples from Alzheimer's and control subjects with close to 90% accuracy and to identify patients who had mild cognitive impairment that progressed to Alzheimer's disease 2-6 years later. Biological analysis of the 18 proteins points to systemic dysregulation of hematopoiesis, immune responses, apoptosis and neuronal support in presymptomatic Alzheimer's disease.
PMID: 17934472 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Systemic and acquired immune responses in Alzheimer's disease.
Int Rev Neurobiol. 2007;82:205-33
Authors: Britschgi M, Wyss-Coray T
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized clinically by a progressive cognitive decline and dementia. AD brains are marked by amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, neuronal cell loss, and a prominent activation of glial cells, and innate immune responses. A growing number of studies in AD have also reported alterations in systemic immune responses including changes in lymphocyte and macrophage distribution and activation, the presence of autoantibodies, or abnormal cytokine production. Studies in animal models for AD support the notion that immune cells infiltrate the brain and may modulate the disease. Here we will review evidence for systemic alterations in immune responses and a role for acquired immunity in AD and discuss their potential contribution to the disease.
PMID: 17678963 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Selective expansion of foxp3-positive regulatory T cells and immunosuppression by suppressors of cytokine signaling 3-deficient dendritic cells.
J Immunol. 2007 Aug 15;179(4):2170-9
Authors: Matsumura Y, Kobayashi T, Ichiyama K, Yoshida R, Hashimoto M, Takimoto T, Tanaka K, Chinen T, Shichita T, Wyss-Coray T, Sato K, Yoshimura A
Dendritic cells (DCs) induce immunity and immunological tolerance as APCs. It has been shown that DCs secreting IL-10 induce IL-10(+) Tr1-type regulatory T (Treg) cells, whereas Foxp3-positive Treg cells are expanded from naive CD4(+) T cells by coculturing with mature DCs. However, the regulatory mechanism of expansion of Foxp3(+) Treg cells by DCs has not been clarified. In this study, we demonstrated that suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-3-deficient DCs have a strong potential as Foxp3(+) T cell-inducing tolerogenic DCs. SOCS3(-/-) DCs expressed lower levels of class II MHC, CD40, CD86, and IL-12 than wild-type (WT)-DCs both in vitro and in vivo, and showed constitutive activation of STAT3. Foxp3(-) effector T cells were predominantly expanded by the priming with WT-DCs, whereas Foxp3(+) Treg cells were selectively expanded by SOCS3(-/-) DCs. Adoptive transfer of SOCS3(-/-) DCs reduced the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Foxp3(+) T cell expansion was blocked by anti-TGF-beta Ab, and SOCS3(-/-) DCs produced higher levels of TGF-beta than WT-DCs, suggesting that TGF-beta plays an essential role in the expansion of Foxp3(+) Treg cells. These results indicate an important role of SOCS3 in determining on immunity or tolerance by DCs.
PMID: 17675476 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
In vitro analysis of transforming growth factor-beta1 inhibition in novel transgenic SBE-luciferase mice.
Ann Plast Surg. 2007 Aug;59(2):207-13
Authors: Satterwhite TS, Chong AK, Luo J, Pham H, Costa M, Longaker MT, Wyss-Coray T, Chang J
BACKGROUND: Transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) expression correlates with scarring. A novel transgenic mouse model with a Smad2/3-responsive luciferase reporter construct (SBE-luc) has been developed. We hypothesized that bioluminescence in SBE-luc dermal fibroblasts could be measured to assess TGF-beta1 inhibition.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cultured dermal fibroblasts from SBE-luc mice were treated simultaneously with TGF-beta1 and increasing doses of either neutralizing antibody to TGF-beta (NA-TGFbeta) or SB-431542, a novel TGF-beta receptor kinase inhibitor. Fibroblasts were measured for luciferase activity. SBE-luc fibroblasts underwent Western blot analysis for collagen type I production.
RESULTS: TGF-beta1 produced maximal luciferase activity in SBE-luc fibroblasts at 0.1 ng/mL (P < 0.05). NA-TGFbeta and SB-431542 inhibited luciferase activity in a dose-dependent fashion, with complete inhibition achieved by 0.1 microg/mL and 1 microM, respectively (P < 0.05). NA-TGFbeta and SB-431542 inhibited collagen type I production.
CONCLUSIONS: Our in vitro results provide validation for further in vivo real-time imaging studies using the SBE-luc mouse as a novel wound-healing model.
PMID: 17667417 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Orally administered TGF-beta is biologically active in the intestinal mucosa and enhances oral tolerance.
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Oct;120(4):916-23
Authors: Ando T, Hatsushika K, Wako M, Ohba T, Koyama K, Ohnuma Y, Katoh R, Ogawa H, Okumura K, Luo J, Wyss-Coray T, Nakao A
BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic studies suggest that TGF-beta in breast milk provides protection against allergic disease during infancy. However, it is unclear whether orally administered TGF-beta, such as TGF-beta in human milk, retains and exerts its activity in the intestinal mucosa and can affect immune response (tolerance) to dietary antigens.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether orally administered TGF-beta is biologically active in intestinal mucosa and affects oral tolerance.
METHODS: Activity of orally administered TGF-beta in the intestinal mucosa was evaluated by means of in vivo imaging with transgenic mice expressing a Smad-responsive reporter construct (SBE-luc mice), by means of immunohistochemical staining with anti-phosphorylated Smad2 antibody, and by means of real-time RT-PCR analysis of TGF-beta and Smad7 mRNA expression. The effects of orally administered TGF-beta on oral tolerance induction were assessed in mice tolerized by means of high-dose ovalbumin (OVA) feeding.
RESULTS: The oral administration of TGF-beta increased Smad-responsive reporter activity in the intestines of SBE-luc mice and induced Smad2 phosphorylation and TGF-beta and Smad7 mRNA expression in the intestines of BALB/c mice. Serum TGF-beta levels were also increased after oral administration of TGF-beta. BALB/c mice treated orally with OVA and TGF-beta showed augmented reduction of OVA-specific IgE and IgG1 antibodies, T-cell reactivity, and immediate-type skin reactions when compared with the mice treated orally with OVA alone.
CONCLUSIONS: Orally administered TGF-beta retains sufficient biologic activity in intestinal mucosa and enhances oral tolerance.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Oral administration of TGF-beta might become a potential strategy to prevent allergic diseases, such as food allergy.
PMID: 17606291 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Immune cells may fend off Alzheimer disease.
Nat Med. 2007 Apr;13(4):408-9
Authors: Britschgi M, Wyss-Coray T
PMID: 17415372 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
A role for TGF-beta signaling in neurodegeneration: evidence from genetically engineered models.
Curr Alzheimer Res. 2006 Dec;3(5):505-13
Authors: Tesseur I, Wyss-Coray T
Neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) afflict growing numbers of people but treatments are not available or ineffective. These diseases are characterized by the loss of specific neuronal populations, the accumulation of protein aggregates inside and sometimes outside neurons, and an activation of immune pathways in the brain. The causes of sporadic forms of AD or PD are not known but it has been postulated that reduced trophic support to neurons together with age dependent increases in cellular stress lead to chronic injury and ultimately the demise of neurons. TGF-betas are neuroprotective factors and organizers of injury responses and as such might have a role in neurodegenerative disease. We review here the evidence mostly from genetically manipulated mice that links the TGF-beta signaling pathway to neuronal phenotypes and neurodegeneration. Although many of these mutant models did not produce overt CNS phenotypes or adult brain were not studied due to embryonic lethality, there is growing support for a role of TGF-beta signaling in neuronal maintenance, function, and degeneration. Future studies will have to determine whether dysregulation of TGF-beta signaling in neurodegenerative diseases is significant and whether this signaling pathway may even be a target for treatment.
PMID: 17168649 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Bioluminescence imaging of Smad signaling in living mice shows correlation with excitotoxic neurodegeneration.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Nov 28;103(48):18326-31
Authors: Luo J, Lin AH, Masliah E, Wyss-Coray T
The TGF-beta signaling pathway is a key organizer of injury and immune responses, and recent studies suggest it fulfills critical roles in CNS function and maintenance. TGF-beta receptor activation results in phosphorylation of Smad proteins, which subsequently translocate to the nucleus to regulate gene transcription by binding to Smad binding elements (SBE). Using SBE-luciferase reporter mice, we recently discovered that the brain has the highest Smad baseline activity of any major organ in the mouse, and we now demonstrate that this signal is primarily localized to pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus. In vivo excitatory stimulation with kainic acid (KA) resulted in an increase in luciferase activity and phosphorylated Smad2 (Smad2P), and nuclear translocation of Smad2P in hippocampal CA3 neurons correlated significantly with luciferase activity. Although this activation was most prominent at 24 h after KA administration in neurons, Smad2P immunoreactivity gradually increased in astrocytes and microglial cells at 3 and 5 days, consistent with reactive gliosis. Bioluminescence measured over the skull in living mice peaked at 12-72 h and correlated with the extent of microglial activation and pathological markers of neurodegeneration 5 days after injury. Treatment with the glutamate receptor antagonist MK-801 strongly reduced bioluminescence and pathology. These results show that Smad2 signaling is a sensitive marker of neuronal activation and CNS injury that can be used to monitor KA-induced neuronal degeneration. This and related mouse models may provide valuable tools to study mechanisms and treatments for neurodegeneration.
PMID: 17110447 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Deficiency in neuronal TGF-beta signaling promotes neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's pathology.
J Clin Invest. 2006 Nov;116(11):3060-9
Authors: Tesseur I, Zou K, Esposito L, Bard F, Berber E, Can JV, Lin AH, Crews L, Tremblay P, Mathews P, Mucke L, Masliah E, Wyss-Coray T
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by progressive neurodegeneration and cerebral accumulation of the beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta), but it is unknown what makes neurons susceptible to degeneration. We report that the TGF-beta type II receptor (TbetaRII) is mainly expressed by neurons, and that TbetaRII levels are reduced in human AD brain and correlate with pathological hallmarks of the disease. Reducing neuronal TGF-beta signaling in mice resulted in age-dependent neurodegeneration and promoted Abeta accumulation and dendritic loss in a mouse model of AD. In cultured cells, reduced TGF-beta signaling caused neuronal degeneration and resulted in increased levels of secreted Abeta and beta-secretase-cleaved soluble amyloid precursor protein. These results show that reduced neuronal TGF-beta signaling increases age-dependent neurodegeneration and AD-like disease in vivo. Increasing neuronal TGF-beta signaling may thus reduce neurodegeneration and be beneficial in AD.
PMID: 17080199 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Increased T cell recruitment to the CNS after amyloid beta 1-42 immunization in Alzheimer's mice overproducing transforming growth factor-beta 1.
J Neurosci. 2006 Nov 1;26(44):11437-41
Authors: Buckwalter MS, Coleman BS, Buttini M, Barbour R, Schenk D, Games D, Seubert P, Wyss-Coray T
Immunotherapy targeting the amyloid beta (Abeta) peptide is a novel therapy under investigation for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). A clinical trial using Abeta(1-42) (AN1792) as the immunogen was halted as a result of development of meningoencephalitis in a small number of patients. The cytokine TGF-beta1 is a key modulator of immune responses that is increased in the brain in AD. We show here that local overexpression of TGF-beta1 in the brain increases both meningeal and parenchymal T lymphocyte number. Furthermore, TGF-beta1 overexpression in a mouse model for AD [amyloid precursor protein (APP) mice] leads to development of additional T cell infiltrates when mice were immunized at a young but not old age with AN1792. Notably, only mice overproducing both Abeta (APP mice) and TGF-beta1 experienced a rise in T lymphocyte number after immunization. One-third of infiltrating T cells were CD4 positive. We did not observe significant differences in B lymphocyte numbers in any of the genotypes or treatment groups. These results demonstrate that TGF-beta1 overproduction in the brain can promote T cell infiltration, in particular after Abeta(1-42) immunization. Likewise, levels of TGF-beta1 or other immune factors in brains of AD patients may influence the response to Abeta(1-42) immunization.
PMID: 17079673 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases.
J Neuroimmunol. 2006 Jul;176(1-2):198-215
Authors: Dhib-Jalbut S, Arnold DL, Cleveland DW, Fisher M, Friedlander RM, Mouradian MM, Przedborski S, Trapp BD, Wyss-Coray T, Yong VW
Multiple sclerosis is considered a disease of myelin destruction; Parkinson's disease (PD), one of dopaminergic neuron depletion; ALS, a disease of motor neuron death; and Alzheimer's, a disease of plaques and tangles. Although these disorders differ in important ways, they also have common pathogenic features, including inflammation, genetic mutations, inappropriate protein aggregates (e.g., Lewy bodies, amyloid plaques), and biochemical defects leading to apoptosis, such as oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. In most disorders, it remains uncertain whether inflammation and protein aggregation are neurotoxic or neuroprotective. Elucidating the mechanisms that orchestrate neuronal diseases should facilitate development of neuroprotective and neurorestorative strategies.
PMID: 16983747 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Inflammation in Alzheimer disease: driving force, bystander or beneficial response?
Nat Med. 2006 Sep;12(9):1005-15
Authors: Wyss-Coray T
Alzheimer disease is a progressive dementia with unknown etiology that affects a growing number of the aging population. Increased expression of inflammatory mediators in postmortem brains of people with Alzheimer disease has been reported, and epidemiological studies link the use of anti-inflammatory drugs with reduced risk for the disorder. On the initial basis of this kind of evidence, inflammation has been proposed as a possible cause or driving force of Alzheimer disease. If true, this could have important implications for the development of new treatments. Alternatively, inflammation could simply be a byproduct of the disease process and may not substantially alter its course. Or components of the inflammatory response might even be beneficial and slow the disease. To address these possibilities, we need to determine whether inflammation in Alzheimer disease is an early event, whether it is genetically linked with the disease and whether manipulation of inflammatory pathways changes the course of the pathology. Although there is still little evidence that inflammation triggers or promotes Alzheimer disease, increasing evidence from mouse models suggests that certain inflammatory mediators are potent drivers of the disease. Related factors, on the other hand, elicit beneficial responses and can reduce disease.
PMID: 16960575 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Tgf-Beta pathway as a potential target in neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's.
Curr Alzheimer Res. 2006 Jul;3(3):191-5
Authors: Wyss-Coray T
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of large numbers of forebrain neurons. There are currently no effective AD treatments available and the cause of the disease is unknown in the majority of cases. Because normal neuronal maintenance and survival depends on stimulation of key signaling pathways by a number of neurotrophic factors it has been postulated that reduced signaling by or expression of these factors may promote neurodegeneration. Growing evidence suggests that the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signaling pathway may be one such neurotrophic pathway that meets important protective and survival roles in neurons. Here I explore this evidence and discuss the pathway as a potential target for the treatment of neurodegeneration and AD.
PMID: 16842094 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Chronically increased transforming growth factor-beta1 strongly inhibits hippocampal neurogenesis in aged mice.
Am J Pathol. 2006 Jul;169(1):154-64
Authors: Buckwalter MS, Yamane M, Coleman BS, Ormerod BK, Chin JT, Palmer T, Wyss-Coray T
There is increasing evidence that hippocampal learning correlates strongly with neurogenesis in the adult brain. Increases in neurogenesis after brain injury also correlate with improved outcomes. With aging the capacity to generate new neurons decreases dramatically, both under normal conditions and after injury. How this decrease occurs is not fully understood, but we hypothesized that transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1, a cell cycle regulator that rapidly increases after injury and with age, might play a role. We found that chronic overproduction of TGF-beta1 from astrocytes almost completely blocked the generation of new neurons in aged transgenic mice. Even young adult TGF-beta1 mice had 60% fewer immature, doublecortin-positive, hippocampal neurons than wild-type littermate controls. Bromodeoxyuridine labeling of dividing cells in 2-month-old TGF-beta1 mice confirmed this decrease in neuro-genesis and revealed a similar decrease in astrogenesis. Treatment of early neural progenitor cells with TGF-beta1 inhibited their proliferation. This strongly suggests that TGF-beta1 directly affects these cells before their differentiation into neurons and astrocytes. Together, these data show that TGF-beta1 is a potent inhibitor of hippocampal neural progenitor cell proliferation in adult mice and suggest that it plays a key role in limiting injury and age-related neurogenesis.
PMID: 16816369 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Highly sensitive and specific bioassay for measuring bioactive TGF-beta.
BMC Cell Biol. 2006;7:15
Authors: Tesseur I, Zou K, Berber E, Zhang H, Wyss-Coray T
BACKGROUND: Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-beta) regulates key biological processes during development and in adult tissues and has been implicated in many diseases. To study the biological functions of TGF-beta, sensitive, specific, and convenient bioassays are necessary. Here we describe a new cell-based bioassay that fulfills these requirements.
RESULTS: Embryonic fibroblasts from Tgfb1-/- mice were stably transfected with a reporter plasmid consisting of TGF-beta responsive Smad-binding elements coupled to a secreted alkaline phosphatase reporter gene (SBE-SEAP). Clone MFB-F11 showed more than 1000-fold induction after stimulation with 1 ng/ml TGF-beta1, and detected as little as 1 pg/ml TGF-beta1. MFB-F11 cells were highly induced by TGF-beta1, TGF-beta2 and TGF-beta3, but did not show induction with related family members activin, nodal, BMP-2 and BMP-6 or with trophic factors bFGF and BDNF. MFB-F11 cells can detect and quantify TGF-beta in biological samples without prior enrichment of TGF-betas, and can detect biologically activated TGF-beta in a cell co-culture system.
CONCLUSION: MFB-F11 cells can be used to rapidly and specifically measure TGF-beta with high sensitivity.
PMID: 16549026 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Small molecule tgf-beta mimetics as potential neuroprotective factors.
Curr Alzheimer Res. 2005 Apr;2(2):183-6
Authors: Zhang H, Zou K, Tesseur I, Wyss-Coray T
Neurodegenerative and dementing illnesses are becoming an increasing social and economical burden as the number of older people continues to grow in industrialized countries. Current knowledge of the processes leading to these diseases is still limited, and very few effective treatments are available. Because neurodegeneration is associated with an activation of injury and innate immune responses in the brain, drugs that could mimic the beneficial aspects of this response are potential therapeutic candidates. The cytokine transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 is an organizer of the brain's response to injury and is known to be neuroprotective. Previous studies from our lab also showed that TGF-beta1 can reduce accumulation of beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta), which appears to be central to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis, and we therefore initiated a search for small molecule chemical compounds that could mimic this effect. We report here the identification of several such TGF-beta mimetics detected in an in vitro screen of a library with 5000 chemically diverse compounds. If active in vivo, these mimetics could be developed into candidates for the treatment of neurodegeneration.
PMID: 15974916 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Global analysis of Smad2/3-dependent TGF-beta signaling in living mice reveals prominent tissue-specific responses to injury.
J Immunol. 2005 Jul 1;175(1):547-54
Authors: Lin AH, Luo J, Mondshein LH, ten Dijke P, Vivien D, Contag CH, Wyss-Coray T
Smad2 and Smad3 (Smad2/3) proteins are key signaling molecules for TGF-beta and some related family members regulating the transcription of several hundred genes. TGF-beta have key roles in development, tissue homeostasis, and the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including cancer, fibrotic disorders, developmental defects, and neurodegeneration. To study the temporal and spatial patterns of Smad2/3-dependent signaling in normal and pathological conditions in the living organism, we engineered transgenic mice with a Smad-responsive luciferase reporter construct (SBE-luc mice). Using bioluminescent imaging, we assessed Smad2/3 signaling activity noninvasively in living mice. At baseline, this activity was highest in brain, intestine, heart, and skin, and correlated with biochemical measurements of reporter activity. Primary astrocytes cultured from SBE-luc mice showed specific activation of the reporter in response to Smad2/3-activating TGF-beta family members. Treatment of mice with the endotoxin LPS resulted in a fast and vigorous, but transient activation of the reporter in the intestine. Although the response was similarly rapid in brain, it remained increased, indicating important but different cellular responses to endotoxin challenge in these organs. Traumatic brain injury with a needle stab resulted in local activation of Smad2/3-dependent genes and a severalfold increase in bioluminescence in living mice. SBE-luc mice can therefore be used to study temporal, tissue-specific activation of Smad2/3-dependent signaling in living mice in normal or pathological conditions as well as for the identification of endogenous or synthetic modulators of this pathway.
PMID: 15972691 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Killing pain, killing neurons?
Nat Med. 2005 May;11(5):472-3
Authors: Wyss-Coray T
PMID: 15875048 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Reduced brain tissue perfusion in TGF-beta 1 transgenic mice showing Alzheimer's disease-like cerebrovascular abnormalities.
Neurobiol Dis. 2005 Jun-Jul;19(1-2):38-46
Authors: Gaertner RF, Wyss-Coray T, Von Euw D, Lesné S, Vivien D, Lacombe P
We have studied the functional repercussions of cerebrovascular abnormalities in transgenic mice overexpressing TGF-beta1. These mice develop Alzheimer's disease-like vascular and meningeal alterations without parenchymal degeneration. Autoradiographic cerebral blood flow measurements in 9-month-old TGF-beta1 mice compared to non-transgenic littermates provided evidence of reduced tissue perfusion, most prominent in limbic regions. A highly significant inverse correlation was found between the density of thioflavin-S-positive blood vessels and blood flow in the hippocampus and the cortex. An inverse correlation was likewise found between meningeal staining and blood flow in thalamic nuclei and regions of high blood flow. Thus, the vascular abnormalities were associated locally with reduced perfusion rate and more widely with limitation in the blood flow. These chronic changes may be related to fibrillar and soluble A beta peptides, the amount of which was almost doubled in the brains of TGF-beta1 mice. Comparison with previous results of cerebral glucose utilization in TGF-beta1 mice shows that reduced utilization preferentially occurred in regions with a high metabolic rate and a relatively low blood flow, suggesting that the metabolic needs are not met by blood supply in these regions.
PMID: 15837559 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Insights into the pathogenesis of hydrocephalus from transgenic and experimental animal models.
Brain Pathol. 2004 Jul;14(3):312-6
Authors: Crews L, Wyss-Coray T, Masliah E
Hydrocephalus is a progressive brain disorder characterized by abnormalities in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and ventricular dilatation that leads to cerebral atrophy, and if left untreated, can be fatal. Genetic mutations, congenital malformations, infectious diseases, intracerebral hemorrhages and tumors are common conditions resulting in hydrocephalus. Although the causes of obstructive hydrocephalus are better understood, the mechanisms resulting in chronic, progressive communicating congenital and acquired hydrocephalus are less well understood. In this regard, recent studies in transgenic (tg) mice suggest that increased expression of cytokines such as TGF-beta1 might play an important role by disrupting the vascular extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, promoting hemorrhages, and altering the reabsorption of CSF. In this context, the main objective of this manuscript is to provide an overview on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of hydrocephalus based on studies derived from tg and experimental animal models.
PMID: 15446587 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Transforming growth factor-beta signaling pathway as a therapeutic target in neurodegeneration.
J Mol Neurosci. 2004;24(1):149-53
Authors: Wyss-Coray T
Neurodegenerative diseases are becoming an increasing social and economical burden as our population ages; but current knowledge of the processes leading to these diseases is still limited, and no effective treatments are available. Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia and afflicts an estimated 4 million people in this country alone. Because accumulation of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide appears central to AD pathogenesis, large efforts have been directed at understanding and interfering with Abeta production or aggregation. These efforts have largely identified the processes resulting in Abeta production from the larger amyloid precursor protein (APP) and have revealed that Abeta peptide is also produced at low levels in the healthy brain. Interestingly, Abeta production is rapidly increased after neuronal injury, and traumatic brain injury is a known risk factor for AD and Parkinson's disease. In contrast, brain injury in young individuals does not seem to result in AD, and brain injury in animal models can promote Abeta clearance. This suggests that certain factors associated with injury might be able to reduce the accumulation of Abeta. Accumulation of Abeta peptide might be reduced either directly by stimulating phagocytes or other Abeta-degrading processes, or indirectly, by reducing neuronal injury and thus lowering the production of Abeta peptide. Directing the brain's natural mechanisms for clearing Abeta or increasing neuroprotection might therefore be reasonable approaches in interfering with AD pathogenesis.
PMID: 15314264 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Modelling neuroinflammatory phenotypes in vivo.
J Neuroinflammation. 2004 Jul 1;1(1):10
Authors: Buckwalter MS, Wyss-Coray T
Inflammation of the central nervous system is an important but poorly understood part of neurological disease. After acute brain injury or infection there is a complex inflammatory response that involves activation of microglia and astrocytes and increased production of cytokines, chemokines, acute phase proteins, and complement factors. Antibodies and T lymphocytes may be involved in the response as well. In neurodegenerative disease, where injury is more subtle but consistent, the inflammatory response is continuous. The purpose of this prolonged response is unclear, but it is likely that some of its components are beneficial and others are harmful. Animal models of neurological disease can be used to dissect the specific role of individual mediators of the inflammatory response and assess their potential benefit. To illustrate this approach, we discuss how mutant mice expressing different levels of the cytokine transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-beta1), a major modulator of inflammation, produce important neuroinflammatory phenotypes. We then demonstrate how crosses of TGF-beta1 mutant mice with mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) produced important new information on the role of inflammation in AD and on the expression of different neuropathological phenotypes that characterize this disease.
PMID: 15285805 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Neuron-specific apolipoprotein e4 proteolysis is associated with increased tau phosphorylation in brains of transgenic mice.
J Neurosci. 2004 Mar 10;24(10):2527-34
Authors: Brecht WJ, Harris FM, Chang S, Tesseur I, Yu GQ, Xu Q, Dee Fish J, Wyss-Coray T, Buttini M, Mucke L, Mahley RW, Huang Y
Apolipoprotein E (apoE) is found in amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains, but its role in their pathogenesis is unclear. Previously, we found C-terminal-truncated fragments of apoE in AD brains and showed that such fragments can cause neurodegeneration and can induce NFT-like inclusions in cultured neuronal cells and in transgenic mice. Here, we analyzed apoE fragmentation in brain tissue homogenates from transgenic mice expressing apoE3 or apoE4 in neurons [neuron-specific enolase (NSE)-apoE] or astrocytes [glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-apoE] by Western blotting. The C-terminal-truncated fragments of apoE accumulated, in an age-dependent manner, in the brains of NSE-apoE4 and, to a significantly lesser extent, NSE-apoE3 mice; however, no fragments were detected in GFAP-apoE3 or GFAP-apoE4 mice. In NSE-apoE mice, the pattern of apoE fragmentation resembled that seen in AD brains, and the fragmentation was specific for certain brain regions, occurring in the neocortex and hippocampus, which are vulnerable to AD-related neurodegeneration, but not in the less vulnerable cerebellum. Excitotoxic challenge with kainic acid significantly increased apoE fragmentation in NSE-apoE4 but not NSE-apoE3 mice. Phosphorylated tau (p-tau) also accumulated in an age-dependent manner in NSE-apoE4 mice and, to a much lesser extent, in NSE-apoE3 mice but not in GFAP-apoE3 or GFAP-apoE4 mice. Intraneuronal p-tau inclusions in the hippocampus were prominent in 21-month-old NSE-apoE4 mice but barely detectable in NSE-apoE3 mice. Thus, the accumulation of potentially pathogenic C-terminal-truncated fragments of apoE depends on both the isoform and the cellular source of apoE. Neuron-specific proteolytic cleavage of apoE4 is associated with increased phosphorylation of tau and may play a key role in the development of AD-related neuronal deficits.
PMID: 15014128 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Loss of TGF-beta 1 leads to increased neuronal cell death and microgliosis in mouse brain.
Neuron. 2003 Dec 18;40(6):1133-45
Authors: Brionne TC, Tesseur I, Masliah E, Wyss-Coray T
TGF-beta1 is a key regulator of diverse biological processes in many tissues and cell types, but its exact function in the developing and adult mammalian CNS is still unknown. We report that lack of TGF-beta1 expression in neonatal Tgfb1(-/-) mice results in a widespread increase in degenerating neurons accompanied by reduced expression of synaptophysin and laminin and a prominent microgliosis. Lack of TGF-beta1 also strongly reduces survival of primary neurons cultured from Tgfb1(-/-) mice. TGF-beta1 deficiency in adult Tgfb1(-/+) mice results in increased neuronal susceptibility to excitotoxic injury, whereas astroglial overexpression of TGF-beta1 protects adult mice against neurodegeneration in acute, excitotoxic and chronic injury paradigms. This study reveals a nonredundant function for TGF-beta1 in maintaining neuronal integrity and survival of CNS neurons and in regulating microglial activation. Because individual TGF-beta1 expression levels in the brain vary considerably between humans, this finding could have important implications for susceptibility to neurodegeneration.
PMID: 14687548 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Astroglial regulation of apolipoprotein E expression in neuronal cells. Implications for Alzheimer's disease.
J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 30;279(5):3862-8
Authors: Harris FM, Tesseur I, Brecht WJ, Xu Q, Mullendorff K, Chang S, Wyss-Coray T, Mahley RW, Huang Y
Although apolipoprotein (apo) E is synthesized in the brain primarily by astrocytes, neurons in the central nervous system express apoE, albeit at lower levels than astrocytes, in response to various physiological and pathological conditions, including excitotoxic stress. To investigate how apoE expression is regulated in neurons, we transfected Neuro-2a cells with a 17-kilobase human apoE genomic DNA construct encoding apoE3 or apoE4 along with upstream and downstream regulatory elements. The baseline expression of apoE was low. However, conditioned medium from an astrocytic cell line (C6) or from apoE-null mouse primary astrocytes increased the expression of both isoforms by 3-4-fold at the mRNA level and by 4-10-fold at the protein level. These findings suggest that astrocytes secrete a factor or factors that regulate apoE expression in neuronal cells. The increased expression of apoE was almost completely abolished by incubating neurons with U0126, an inhibitor of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk), suggesting that the Erk pathway controls astroglial regulation of apoE expression in neuronal cells. Human neuronal precursor NT2/D1 cells expressed apoE constitutively; however, after treatment of these cells with retinoic acid to induce differentiation, apoE expression diminished. Cultured mouse primary cortical and hippocampal neurons also expressed low levels of apoE. Astrocyte-conditioned medium rapidly up-regulated apoE expression in fully differentiated NT2 neurons and in cultured mouse primary cortical and hippocampal neurons. Thus, neuronal expression of apoE is regulated by a diffusible factor or factors released from astrocytes, and this regulation depends on the activity of the Erk kinase pathway in neurons.
PMID: 14585838 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Carboxyl-terminal-truncated apolipoprotein E4 causes Alzheimer's disease-like neurodegeneration and behavioral deficits in transgenic mice.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Sep 16;100(19):10966-71
Authors: Harris FM, Brecht WJ, Xu Q, Tesseur I, Kekonius L, Wyss-Coray T, Fish JD, Masliah E, Hopkins PC, Scearce-Levie K, Weisgraber KH, Mucke L, Mahley RW, Huang Y
Apolipoprotein (apo) E4 increases the risk and accelerates the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the underlying mechanisms remain to be determined. We previously found that apoE undergoes proteolytic cleavage in AD brains and in cultured neuronal cells, resulting in the accumulation of carboxyl-terminal-truncated fragments of apoE that are neurotoxic. Here we show that this fragmentation is caused by proteolysis of apoE by a chymotrypsin-like serine protease that cleaves apoE4 more efficiently than apoE3. Transgenic mice expressing the carboxyl-terminal-cleaved product, apoE4(Delta272-299), at high levels in the brain died at 2-4 months of age. The cortex and hippocampus of these mice displayed AD-like neurodegenerative alterations, including abnormally phosphorylated tau (p-tau) and Gallyas silver-positive neurons that contained cytosolic straight filaments with diameters of 15-20 nm, resembling preneurofibrillary tangles. Transgenic mice expressing lower levels of the truncated apoE4 survived longer but showed impaired learning and memory at 6-7 months of age. Thus, carboxyl-terminal-truncated fragments of apoE4, which occur in AD brains, are sufficient to elicit AD-like neurodegeneration and behavioral deficits in vivo. Inhibiting their formation might inhibit apoE4-associated neuronal deficits.
PMID: 12939405 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Adult mouse astrocytes degrade amyloid-beta in vitro and in situ.
Nat Med. 2003 Apr;9(4):453-7
Authors: Wyss-Coray T, Loike JD, Brionne TC, Lu E, Anankov R, Yan F, Silverstein SC, Husemann J
Alzheimer disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by excessive deposition of amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptides in the brain. One of the earliest neuropathological changes in AD is the accumulation of astrocytes at sites of Abeta deposition, but the cause or significance of this cellular response is unclear. Here we show that cultured adult mouse astrocytes migrate in response to monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), a chemokine present in AD lesions, and cease migration upon interaction with immobilized Abeta(1-42). We also show that astrocytes bind and degrade Abeta(1-42). Astrocytes plated on Abeta-laden brain sections from a mouse model of AD associate with the Abeta deposits and reduce overall Abeta levels in these sections. Our results suggest a novel mechanism for the accumulation of astrocytes around Abeta deposits, indicate a direct role for astrocytes in degradation of Abeta and implicate deficits in astroglial clearance of Abeta in the pathogenesis of AD. Treatments that increase removal of Abeta by astrocytes may therefore be a critical mechanism to reduce the neurodegeneration associated with AD.
PMID: 12612547 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Molecular and functional dissection of TGF-beta1-induced cerebrovascular abnormalities in transgenic mice.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Nov;977:87-95
Authors: Buckwalter M, Pepper JP, Gaertner RF, Von Euw D, Lacombe P, Wyss-Coray T
Cerebrovascular abnormalities, such as reduced blood flow, microvascular fibrosis, and cerebrovascular amyloid angiopathy, are prominent in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, their etiology is poorly understood and it is unclear whether cerebrovascular changes contribute to functional impairments in the absence of neurodegeneration. In humans with AD, transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) mRNA levels in the midfrontal gyrus correlate positively with the relative degree of cerebrovascular amyloid deposition in that brain region, suggesting a possible role for TGF-beta1 in human cerebrovascular abnormalities. Transgenic mice overexpressing TGF-beta1 in astrocytes develop AD-like cerebrovascular abnormalities, including perivascular astrocytosis, microvascular basement membrane thickening, and accumulation of thioflavin S-positive amyloid in the absence of parenchymal degeneration. Mice overexpressing TGF-beta1 alone or in addition to human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) show selective accumulation of human beta-amyloid (Abeta) in blood vessels and develop cerebral hemorrhages in old age. In 9-month-old TGF-beta1 transgenic mice, cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the limbic system was significantly less than in nontransgenic littermate controls. Aged TGF-beta1 mice also showed overall reduced cerebral glucose uptake (CGU) as a measure of brain activity. Thus, chronic overproduction of TGF-beta1 in the brain results in structural and functional impairments reminiscent of those in AD cases with amyloid angiopathy.
PMID: 12480736 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Inflammation in neurodegenerative disease--a double-edged sword.
Neuron. 2002 Aug 1;35(3):419-32
Authors: Wyss-Coray T, Mucke L
Inflammation is a defense reaction against diverse insults, designed to remove noxious agents and to inhibit their detrimental effects. It consists of a dazzling array of molecular and cellular mechanisms and an intricate network of controls to keep them in check. In neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation may be triggered by the accumulation of proteins with abnormal conformations or by signals emanating from injured neurons. Given the multiple functions of many inflammatory factors, it has been difficult to pinpoint their roles in specific (patho)physiological situations. Studies of genetically modified mice and of molecular pathways in activated glia are beginning to shed light on this issue. Altered expression of different inflammatory factors can either promote or counteract neurodegenerative processes. Since many inflammatory responses are beneficial, directing and instructing the inflammatory machinery may be a better therapeutic objective than suppressing it.
PMID: 12165466 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Prominent neurodegeneration and increased plaque formation in complement-inhibited Alzheimer's mice.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Aug 6;99(16):10837-42
Authors: Wyss-Coray T, Yan F, Lin AH, Lambris JD, Alexander JJ, Quigg RJ, Masliah E
Abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid (Abeta) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with prominent brain inflammation. Whereas earlier studies concluded that this inflammation is detrimental, more recent animal data suggest that at least some inflammatory processes may be beneficial and promote Abeta clearance. Consistent with these observations, overproduction of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 resulted in a vigorous microglial activation that was accompanied by at least a 50% reduction in Abeta accumulation in human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice. In a search for inflammatory mediators associated with this reduced pathology, we found that brain levels of C3, the central component of complement and a key inflammatory protein activated in AD, were markedly higher in hAPP/TGF-beta1 mice than in hAPP mice. To assess the importance of complement in the pathogenesis of AD-like disease in mice, we inhibited C3 activation by expressing soluble complement receptor-related protein y (sCrry), a complement inhibitor, in the brains of hAPP mice. Abeta deposition was 2- to 3-fold higher in 1-year-old hAPP/sCrry mice than in age-matched hAPP mice and was accompanied by a prominent accumulation of degenerating neurons. These results indicate that complement activation products can protect against Abeta-induced neurotoxicity and may reduce the accumulation or promote the clearance of amyloid and degenerating neurons. These findings provide evidence for a role of complement and innate immune responses in AD-like disease in mice and support the concept that certain inflammatory defense mechanisms in the brain may be beneficial in neurodegenerative disease.
PMID: 12119423 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]