Positive symptoms arise after lesions of the nervous system. They include neurogenic pain, tinnitus, abnormal movements, epilepsy and certain neuropsychiatric disorders. Stereotactic medial thalamotomies were performed on 104 patients with chronic therapy-resistant positive symptoms. Peroperative recordings of 2012 single units revealed an overwhelming unresponsiveness (99%) to sensory stimuli or motor activation. Among these unresponsive cells, 45.1% presented a rhythmic or random bursting activity. Rhythmic bursting activities had an average interburst interval of 263+/-46 ms corresponding to a frequency of 3.8+/-0.7 Hz. Frequency variations among the different symptoms were not statistically different. Intraburst characteristics such as the highest frequency encountered in the burst (480+/-80 Hz) or the mean frequency of the burst (206+/-44 Hz) were also similar in all patients. All bursts, rhythmic or random, fulfilled the extracellular criteria of low-threshold calcium spike (LTS) bursts. After medial thalamotomy and depending on the symptom, 43-67% of the patients reached a 50-100% relief with sparing of all neurological functions. On the basis of these electrophysiological and clinical results, we propose a unified concept for all positive symptoms centred on a self-perpetuating thalamic cell membrane hyperpolarization, similar to the one seen in slow-wave sleep.
Recent evidence suggests that neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) promote recovery in animal models with delayed neuronal death via a number of indirect bystander effects. A comprehensive knowledge of how transplanted NPCs exert their therapeutic effects is still lacking. Here, we investigated the effects of a delayed transplantation of adult syngenic NPCs-injected intravenously 72 h after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion-on neurological recovery, histopathology and gene expression. NPC-transplanted mice showed a significantly improved recovery from 18 days post-transplantation (dpt) onwards, which persisted throughout the study. A small percentage of injected NPCs accumulated in the brain, integrating mainly in the infarct boundary zone, where most of the NPCs remained undifferentiated up to 30 dpt. Histopathological analysis revealed a hitherto unreported very delayed neuroprotective effect of NPCs, becoming evident at 10 and 30 dpt. Tissue survival was associated with downregulation of markers of inflammation, glial scar formation and neuronal apoptotic death at both mRNA and protein levels. Our data highlight the relevance of very delayed degenerative processes in the stroke brain that are intimately associated with inflammatory and glial responses. These processes may efficaciously be antagonized by (stem) cell-based strategies at time-points far beyond established therapeutic windows for pharmacological neuroprotection.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive tauopathy that occurs as a consequence of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. We analysed post-mortem brains obtained from a cohort of 85 subjects with histories of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 68 subjects: all males, ranging in age from 17 to 98 years (mean 59.5 years), including 64 athletes, 21 military veterans (86% of whom were also athletes) and one individual who engaged in self-injurious head banging behaviour. Eighteen age- and gender-matched individuals without a history of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury served as control subjects. In chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the spectrum of hyperphosphorylated tau pathology ranged in severity from focal perivascular epicentres of neurofibrillary tangles in the frontal neocortex to severe tauopathy affecting widespread brain regions, including the medial temporal lobe, thereby allowing a progressive staging of pathology from stages I-IV. Multifocal axonal varicosities and axonal loss were found in deep cortex and subcortical white matter at all stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. TAR DNA-binding protein 43 immunoreactive inclusions and neurites were also found in 85% of cases, ranging from focal pathology in stages I-III to widespread inclusions and neurites in stage IV. Symptoms in stage I chronic traumatic encephalopathy included headache and loss of attention and concentration. Additional symptoms in stage II included depression, explosivity and short-term memory loss. In stage III, executive dysfunction and cognitive impairment were found, and in stage IV, dementia, word-finding difficulty and aggression were characteristic. Data on athletic exposure were available for 34 American football players; the stage of chronic traumatic encephalopathy correlated with increased duration of football play, survival after football and age at death. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy was the sole diagnosis in 43 cases (63%); eight were also diagnosed with motor neuron disease (12%), seven with Alzheimer's disease (11%), 11 with Lewy body disease (16%) and four with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (6%). There is an ordered and predictable progression of hyperphosphorylated tau abnormalities through the nervous system in chronic traumatic encephalopathy that occurs in conjunction with widespread axonal disruption and loss. The frequent association of chronic traumatic encephalopathy with other neurodegenerative disorders suggests that repetitive brain trauma and hyperphosphorylated tau protein deposition promote the accumulation of other abnormally aggregated proteins including TAR DNA-binding protein 43, amyloid beta protein and alpha-synuclein.
Based on the recent literature and collective experience, an international consortium developed revised guidelines for the diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. The validation process retrospectively reviewed clinical records and compared the sensitivity of proposed and earlier criteria in a multi-site sample of patients with pathologically verified frontotemporal lobar degeneration. According to the revised criteria, 'possible' behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia requires three of six clinically discriminating features (disinhibition, apathy/inertia, loss of sympathy/empathy, perseverative/compulsive behaviours, hyperorality and dysexecutive neuropsychological profile). 'Probable' behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia adds functional disability and characteristic neuroimaging, while behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia 'with definite frontotemporal lobar degeneration' requires histopathological confirmation or a pathogenic mutation. Sixteen brain banks contributed cases meeting histopathological criteria for frontotemporal lobar degeneration and a clinical diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies or vascular dementia at presentation. Cases with predominant primary progressive aphasia or extra-pyramidal syndromes were excluded. In these autopsy-confirmed cases, an experienced neurologist or psychiatrist ascertained clinical features necessary for making a diagnosis according to previous and proposed criteria at presentation. Of 137 cases where features were available for both proposed and previously established criteria, 118 (86%) met 'possible' criteria, and 104 (76%) met criteria for 'probable' behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. In contrast, 72 cases (53%) met previously established criteria for the syndrome (P < 0.001 for comparison with 'possible' and 'probable' criteria). Patients who failed to meet revised criteria were significantly older and most had atypical presentations with marked memory impairment. In conclusion, the revised criteria for behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia improve diagnostic accuracy compared with previously established criteria in a sample with known frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Greater sensitivity of the proposed criteria may reflect the optimized diagnostic features, less restrictive exclusion features and a flexible structure that accommodates different initial clinical presentations. Future studies will be needed to establish the reliability and specificity of these revised diagnostic guidelines.
Brain networks contain a minority of highly connected hub nodes with high topological value and biological cost. Using network analysis of DTI data from healthy volunteers, and meta-analyses of published MRI studies in 26 brain disorders, Crossley et al. show that lesions across disorders tend to be concentrated at hubs.Brain networks or 'connectomes' include a minority of highly connected hub nodes that are functionally valuable, because their topological centrality supports integrative processing and adaptive behaviours. Recent studies also suggest that hubs have higher metabolic demands and longer-distance connections than other brain regions, and therefore could be considered biologically costly. Assuming that hubs thus normally combine both high topological value and high biological cost, we predicted that pathological brain lesions would be concentrated in hub regions. To test this general hypothesis, we first identified the hubs of brain anatomical networks estimated from diffusion tensor imaging data on healthy volunteers (n = 56), and showed that computational attacks targeted on hubs disproportionally degraded the efficiency of brain networks compared to random attacks. We then prepared grey matter lesion maps, based on meta-analyses of published magnetic resonance imaging data on more than 20 000 subjects and 26 different brain disorders. Magnetic resonance imaging lesions that were common across all brain disorders were more likely to be located in hubs of the normal brain connectome (P < 10(-4), permutation test). Specifically, nine brain disorders had lesions that were significantly more likely to be located in hubs (P < 0.05, permutation test), including schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Both these disorders had significantly hub-concentrated lesion distributions, although (almost completely) distinct subsets of cortical hubs were lesioned in each disorder: temporal lobe hubs specifically were associated with higher lesion probability in Alzheimer's disease, whereas in schizophrenia lesions were concentrated in both frontal and temporal cortical hubs. These results linking pathological lesions to the topological centrality of nodes in the normal diffusion tensor imaging connectome were generally replicated when hubs were defined instead by the meta-analysis of more than 1500 task-related functional neuroimaging studies of healthy volunteers to create a normative functional co-activation network. We conclude that the high cost/high value hubs of human brain networks are more likely to be anatomically abnormal than non-hubs in many (if not all) brain disorders.
The importance of the cerebellum for non-motor functions is becoming more and more evident. The influence on cognitive functions from acquired cerebellar lesions during childhood, however, is not well known. We present follow-up data from 24 patients, who were operated upon during childhood for benign cerebellar tumours. The benign histology of these tumours required neither radiotherapy nor chemotherapy. Post-operatively, these children were of normal intelligence with a mean IQ of 99.1, performance intelligence quotient (PIQ) of 101.3 and verbal intelligence quotient (VIQ) of 96.8. However, 57% of patients showed abnormalities in subtesting. In addition, more extensive neuropsychological testing revealed significant problems for attention, memory, processing speed and interference. Visuo-constructive problems were marked for copying the Rey figure, but less pronounced for recall of the figure. Verbal fluency was more affected than design fluency. Behavioural deficits could be detected in 33% of patients. Attention deficit problems were marked in 12.5%, whereas others demonstrated psychiatric symptoms such as mutism, addiction problems, anorexia, uncontrolled temper tantrums and phobia. Age at tumour operation and size of tumour had no influence on outcome. Vermis involvement was related to an increase in neuropsychological and psychiatric problems. The observation that patients with left-sided cerebellar tumours were more affected than patients with right-sided tumours is probably also influenced by a more pronounced vermian involvement in the former group. In summary, this study confirms the importance of the cerebellum for cognitive development and points to the necessity of careful follow-up for these children to provide them with the necessary help to achieve full integration into professional life.
The PET tracer [F-18]-AV-1451 allows visualization of tau pathology in living subjects. Ossenkoppele et al. employ the tracer in patients with distinct Alzheimer's disease variants to investigate correlates of tau deposition. Pathological aggregation of tau, but not amyloid-beta, is linked to patterns of neurodegeneration and clinical manifestations of Alzheimer's disease.See Sarazin et al. (doi:10.1093/brain/aww041) for a scientific commentary on this article. The PET tracer [F-18]-AV-1451 allows visualization of tau pathology in living subjects. Ossenkoppele et al. employ the tracer in patients with distinct Alzheimer's disease variants to investigate correlates of tau deposition. Pathological aggregation of tau, but not amyloid-beta, is linked to patterns of neurodegeneration and clinical manifestations of Alzheimer's disease.The advent of the positron emission tomography tracer F-18-AV1451 provides the unique opportunity to visualize the regional distribution of tau pathology in the living human brain. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that tau pathology is closely linked to symptomatology and patterns of glucose hypometabolism in Alzheimer's disease, in contrast to the more diffuse distribution of amyloid-beta pathology. We included 20 patients meeting criteria for probable Alzheimer's disease dementia or mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease, presenting with a variety of clinical phenotypes, and 15 amyloid-beta-negative cognitively normal individuals, who underwent F-18-AV1451 (tau), C-11-PiB (amyloid-beta) and F-18-FDG (glucose metabolism) positron emission tomography, apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotyping and neuropsychological testing. Voxel-wise contrasts against controls (at P right temporoparietal cortex). In conclusion, tau imaging-contrary to amyloid-beta imaging-shows a strong regional association with clinical and anatomical heterogeneity in Alzheimer's disease. Although preliminary, these results are consistent with and expand upon findings from post-mortem, animal and cerebrospinal fluid studies, and suggest that the pathological aggregation of tau is closely linked to patterns of neurodegeneration and clinical manifestations of Alzheimer's disease.
Accumulation of the DNA/RNA binding protein fused in sarcoma as cytoplasmic inclusions in neurons and glial cells is the pathological hallmark of all patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with mutations in FUS as well as in several subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration, which are not associated with FUS mutations. The mechanisms leading to inclusion formation and fused in sarcoma-associated neurodegeneration are only poorly understood. Because fused in sarcoma belongs to a family of proteins known as FET, which also includes Ewing's sarcoma and TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15, we investigated the potential involvement of these other FET protein family members in the pathogenesis of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies. Immunohistochemical analysis of FET proteins revealed a striking difference among the various conditions, with pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations being labelled exclusively for fused in sarcoma, whereas fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration also consistently immunostained for TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and variably for Ewing's sarcoma. Immunoblot analysis of proteins extracted from post-mortem tissue of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology demonstrated a relative shift of all FET proteins towards insoluble protein fractions, while genetic analysis of the TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing's sarcoma gene did not identify any pathogenic variants. Cell culture experiments replicated the findings of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations by confirming the absence of TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing's sarcoma alterations upon expression of mutant fused in sarcoma. In contrast, all endogenous FET proteins were recruited into cytoplasmic stress granules upon general inhibition of Transportin-mediated nuclear import, mimicking the findings in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology. These results allow a separation of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies caused by FUS mutations from those without a known genetic cause based on neuropathological features. More importantly, our data imply different pathological processes underlying inclusion formation and cell death between both conditions; the pathogenesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations appears to be more restricted to dysfunction of fused in sarcoma, while a more global and complex dysregulation of all FET proteins is involved in the subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology.
The pace of nigrostriatal degeneration, both with regards to striatal denervation and loss of melanin and tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons, is poorly understood especially early in the Parkinson's disease process. This study investigated the extent of nigrostriatal degeneration in patients with Parkinson's disease at different disease durations from time of diagnosis. Brains of patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 28) with post-diagnostic intervals of 1-27 years and normal elderly control subjects (n = 9) were examined. Sections of the post-commissural putamen and substantia nigra pars compacta were processed for tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine transporter immunohistochemistry. The post-commissural putamen was selected due to tissue availability and the fact that dopamine loss in this region is associated with motor disability in Parkinson's disease. Quantitative assessments of putaminal dopaminergic fibre density and stereological estimates of the number of melanin-containing and tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (both in total and in subregions) were performed by blinded investigators in cases where suitable material was available (n = 17). Dopaminergic markers in the dorsal putamen showed a modest loss at 1 year after diagnosis in the single case available for study. There was variable (moderate to marked) loss, at 3 years. At 4 years post-diagnosis and thereafter, there was virtually complete loss of staining in the dorsal putamen with only an occasional abnormal dopaminergic fibre detected. In the substantia nigra pars compacta, there was a 50-90% loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons from the earliest time points studied with only marginal additional loss thereafter. There was only a similar to 10% loss of melanized neurons in the one case evaluated 1 year post-diagnosis, and variable (30 to 60%) loss during the first several years post-diagnosis with more gradual and subtle loss in the second decade. At all time points, there were more melanin-containing than tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells. Loss of dopaminergic markers in the dorsal putamen occurs rapidly and is virtually complete by 4 years post-diagnosis. Loss of melanized nigral neurons lags behind the loss of dopamine markers. These findings have important implications for understanding the nature of Parkinson's disease neurodegeneration and for studies of putative neuroprotective/restorative therapies.
A single traumatic brain injury is associated with an increased risk of dementia and, in a proportion of patients surviving a year or more from injury, the development of hallmark Alzheimer's disease-like pathologies. However, the pathological processes linking traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease remain poorly understood. Growing evidence supports a role for neuroinflammation in the development of Alzheimer's disease. In contrast, little is known about the neuroinflammatory response to brain injury and, in particular, its temporal dynamics and any potential role in neurodegeneration. Cases of traumatic brain injury with survivals ranging from 10 h to 47 years post injury (n = 52) and age-matched, uninjured control subjects (n = 44) were selected from the Glasgow Traumatic Brain Injury archive. From these, sections of the corpus callosum and adjacent parasaggital cortex were examined for microglial density and morphology, and for indices of white matter pathology and integrity. With survival of epsilon 3 months from injury, cases with traumatic brain injury frequently displayed extensive, densely packed, reactive microglia (CR3/43- and/or CD68-immunoreactive), a pathology not seen in control subjects or acutely injured cases. Of particular note, these reactive microglia were present in 28% of cases with survival of > 1 year and up to 18 years post-trauma. In cases displaying this inflammatory pathology, evidence of ongoing white matter degradation could also be observed. Moreover, there was a 25% reduction in the corpus callosum thickness with survival > 1 year post-injury. These data present striking evidence of persistent inflammation and ongoing white matter degeneration for many years after just a single traumatic brain injury in humans. Future studies to determine whether inflammation occurs in response to or, conversely, promotes white matter degeneration will be important. These findings may provide parallels for studying neurodegenerative disease, with traumatic brain injury patients serving as a model for longitudinal investigations, in particular with a view to identifying potential therapeutic interventions.
alpha-Synuclein is the major component of filamentous inclusions that constitute the defining characteristic of neurodegenerative alpha-synucleinopathies. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying alpha-synuclein accumulation and spread are unclear. Here we show that intracerebral injections of sarkosyl-insoluble alpha-synuclein from brains of patients with dementia with Lewy bodies induced hyperphosphorylated alpha-synuclein pathology in wild-type mice. Furthermore, injection of fibrils of recombinant human and mouse alpha-synuclein efficiently induced similar alpha-synuclein pathologies in wild-type mice. C57BL/6J mice injected with alpha-synuclein fibrils developed abundant Lewy body/Lewy neurite-like pathology, whereas mice injected with soluble alpha-synuclein did not. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that endogenous mouse alpha-synuclein started to accumulate 3 months after inoculation, while injected human alpha-synuclein fibrils disappeared in about a week. These results indicate that alpha-synuclein fibrils have prion-like properties and inoculation into wild-type brain induces alpha-synuclein pathology in vivo. This is a new mouse model of sporadic alpha-synucleinopathy and should be useful for elucidating progression mechanisms and evaluating disease-modifying therapy.
A diagnosis of motor complete spinal cord injury carries a dim prognosis for recovery. However, Angeli et al. show that epidural stimulation of the spinal cord can modulate the spinal circuitry to enable completely paralysed individuals to voluntarily control muscles of their legs and recover intentional movement years after injury. Previously, we reported that one individual who had a motor complete, but sensory incomplete spinal cord injury regained voluntary movement after 7 months of epidural stimulation and stand training. We presumed that the residual sensory pathways were critical in this recovery. However, we now report in three more individuals voluntary movement occurred with epidural stimulation immediately after implant even in two who were diagnosed with a motor and sensory complete lesion. We demonstrate that neuromodulating the spinal circuitry with epidural stimulation, enables completely paralysed individuals to process conceptual, auditory and visual input to regain relatively fine voluntary control of paralysed muscles. We show that neuromodulation of the sub-threshold motor state of excitability of the lumbosacral spinal networks was the key to recovery of intentional movement in four of four individuals diagnosed as having complete paralysis of the legs. We have uncovered a fundamentally new intervention strategy that can dramatically affect recovery of voluntary movement in individuals with complete paralysis even years after injury.
Antibodies that immunoprecipitate I-125-alpha-dendrotoxin-labelled voltage-gated potassium channels extracted from mammalian brain tissue have been identified in patients with neuromyotonia, Morvan's syndrome, limbic encephalitis and a few cases of adult-onset epilepsy. These conditions often improve following immunomodulatory therapies. However, the proportions of the different syndromes, the numbers with associated tumours and the relationships with potassium channel subunit antibody specificities have been unclear. We documented the clinical phenotype and tumour associations in 96 potassium channel antibody positive patients (titres > 400 pM). Five had thymomas and one had an endometrial adenocarcinoma. To define the antibody specificities, we looked for binding of serum antibodies and their effects on potassium channel currents using human embryonic kidney cells expressing the potassium channel subunits. Surprisingly, only three of the patients had antibodies directed against the potassium channel subunits. By contrast, we found antibodies to three proteins that are complexed with I-125-alpha-dendrotoxin-labelled potassium channels in brain extracts: (i) contactin-associated protein-2 that is localized at the juxtaparanodes in myelinated axons; (ii) leucine-rich, glioma inactivated 1 protein that is most strongly expressed in the hippocampus; and (iii) Tag-1/contactin-2 that associates with contactin-associated protein-2. Antibodies to Kv1 subunits were found in three sera, to contactin-associated protein-2 in 19 sera, to leucine-rich, glioma inactivated 1 protein in 55 sera and to contactin-2 in five sera, four of which were also positive for the other antibodies. The remaining 18 sera were negative for potassium channel subunits and associated proteins by the methods employed. Of the 19 patients with contactin-associated protein-antibody-2, 10 had neuromyotonia or Morvan's syndrome, compared with only 3 of the 55 leucine-rich, glioma inactivated 1 protein-antibody positive patients (P < 0.0001), who predominantly had limbic encephalitis. The responses to immunomodulatory therapies, defined by changes in modified Rankin scores, were good except in the patients with tumours, who all had contactin-associated-2 protein antibodies. This study confirms that the majority of patients with high potassium channel antibodies have limbic encephalitis without tumours. The identification of leucine-rich, glioma inactivated 1 protein and contactin-associated protein-2 as the major targets of potassium channel antibodies, and their associations with different clinical features, begins to explain the diversity of these syndromes; furthermore, detection of contactin-associated protein-2 antibodies should help identify the risk of an underlying tumour and a poor prognosis in future patients.
In patients with medically refractory focal epilepsy who are candidates for epilepsy surgery, concordant non-invasive neuroimaging data are useful to guide invasive electroencephalographic recordings or surgical resection. Simultaneous electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging recordings can reveal regions of haemodynamic fluctuations related to epileptic activity and help localize its generators. However, many of these studies (40-70%) remain inconclusive, principally due to the absence of interictal epileptiform discharges during simultaneous recordings, or lack of haemodynamic changes correlated to interictal epileptiform discharges. We investigated whether the presence of epilepsy-specific voltage maps on scalp electroencephalography correlated with haemodynamic changes and could help localize the epileptic focus. In 23 patients with focal epilepsy, we built epilepsy-specific electroencephalographic voltage maps using averaged interictal epileptiform discharges recorded during long-term clinical monitoring outside the scanner and computed the correlation of this map with the electroencephalographic recordings in the scanner for each time frame. The time course of this correlation coefficient was used as a regressor for functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis to map haemodynamic changes related to these epilepsy-specific maps (topography-related haemodynamic changes). The method was first validated in five patients with significant haemodynamic changes correlated to interictal epileptiform discharges on conventional analysis. We then applied the method to 18 patients who had inconclusive simultaneous electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies due to the absence of interictal epileptiform discharges or absence of significant correlated haemodynamic changes. The concordance of the results with subsequent intracranial electroencephalography and/or resection area in patients who were seizure free after surgery was assessed. In the validation group, haemodynamic changes correlated to voltage maps were similar to those obtained with conventional analysis in 5/5 patients. In 14/18 patients (78%) with previously inconclusive studies, scalp maps related to epileptic activity had haemodynamic correlates even when no interictal epileptiform discharges were detected during simultaneous recordings. Haemodynamic changes correlated to voltage maps were spatially concordant with intracranial electroencephalography or with the resection area. We found better concordance in patients with lateral temporal and extratemporal neocortical epilepsy compared to medial/polar temporal lobe epilepsy, probably due to the fact that electroencephalographic voltage maps specific to lateral temporal and extratemporal epileptic activity are more dissimilar to maps of physiological activity. Our approach significantly increases the yield of simultaneous electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging to localize the epileptic focus non-invasively, allowing better targeting for surgical resection or implantation of intracranial electrode arrays.
In addition to amyloid-beta plaque and tau neurofibrillary tangle deposition, neuroinflammation is considered a key feature of Alzheimer's disease pathology. Inflammation in Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the presence of reactive astrocytes and activated microglia surrounding amyloid plaques, implicating their role in disease pathogenesis. Microglia in the healthy adult mouse depend on colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) signalling for survival, and pharmacological inhibition of this receptor results in rapid elimination of nearly all of the microglia in the central nervous system. In this study, we set out to determine if chronically activated microglia in the Alzheimer's disease brain are also dependent on CSF1R signalling, and if so, how these cells contribute to disease pathogenesis. Ten-month-old 5xfAD mice were treated with a selective CSF1R inhibitor for 1 month, resulting in the elimination of similar to 80% of microglia. Chronic microglial elimination does not alter amyloid-beta levels or plaque load; however, it does rescue dendritic spine loss and prevent neuronal loss in 5xfAD mice, as well as reduce overall neuroinflammation. Importantly, behavioural testing revealed improvements in contextual memory. Collectively, these results demonstrate that microglia contribute to neuronal loss, as well as memory impairments in 5xfAD mice, but do not mediate or protect from amyloid pathology.
Inflammation and oxidative stress are thought to promote tissue damage in multiple sclerosis. Thus, novel therapeutics enhancing cellular resistance to free radicals could prove useful for multiple sclerosis treatment. BG00012 is an oral formulation of dimethylfumarate. In a phase II multiple sclerosis trial, BG00012 demonstrated beneficial effects on relapse rate and magnetic resonance imaging markers indicative of inflammation as well as axonal destruction. First we have studied effects of dimethylfumarate on the disease course, central nervous system, tissue integrity and the molecular mechanism of action in an animal model of chronic multiple sclerosis: myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57BL/6 mice. In the chronic phase of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, preventive or therapeutic application of dimethylfumarate ameliorated the disease course and improved preservation of myelin, axons and neurons. In vitro, the application of fumarates increased murine neuronal survival and protected human or rodent astrocytes against oxidative stress. Application of dimethylfumarate led to stabilization of the transcription factor nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2, activation of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2-dependent transcriptional activity and accumulation of NADP(H) quinoline oxidoreductase-1 as a prototypical target gene. Furthermore, the immediate metabolite of dimethylfumarate, monomethylfumarate, leads to direct modification of the inhibitor of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1, at cysteine residue 151. In turn, increased levels of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2 and reduced protein nitrosylation were detected in the central nervous sytem of dimethylfumarate-treated mice. Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2 was also upregulated in the spinal cord of autopsy specimens from untreated patients with multiple sclerosis. In dimethylfumarate-treated mice suffering from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, increased immunoreactivity for nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2 was detected by confocal microscopy in neurons of the motor cortex and the brainstem as well as in oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. In mice deficient for nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2 on the same genetic background, the dimethylfumarate mediated beneficial effects on clinical course, axon preservation and astrocyte activation were almost completely abolished thus proving the functional relevance of this transcription factor for the neuroprotective mechanism of action. We conclude that the ability of dimethylfumarate to activate nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor 2 may offer a novel cytoprotective modality that further augments the natural antioxidant responses in multiple sclerosis tissue and is not yet targeted by other multiple sclerosis therapies.
Three sets of research criteria are available for diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the International Working Group-1, International Working Group-2, and National Institute of Aging-Alzheimer Association criteria. We compared the prevalence and prognosis of Alzheimer's disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage according to these criteria. Subjects with mild cognitive impairment (n = 1607), 766 of whom had both amyloid and neuronal injury markers, were recruited from 13 cohorts. We used cognitive test performance and available biomarkers to classify subjects as prodromal Alzheimer's disease according to International Working Group-1 and International Working Group-2 criteria and in the high Alzheimer's disease likelihood group, conflicting biomarker groups (isolated amyloid pathology or suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology), and low Alzheimer's disease likelihood group according to the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria. Outcome measures were the proportion of subjects with Alzheimer's disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage and progression to Alzheimer's disease-type dementia. We performed survival analyses using Cox proportional hazards models. According to the International Working Group-1 criteria, 850 (53%) subjects had prodromal Alzheimer's disease. Their 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer's disease-type dementia was 50% compared to 21% for subjects without prodromal Alzheimer's disease. According to the International Working Group-2 criteria, 308 (40%) subjects had prodromal Alzheimer's disease. Their 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer's disease-type dementia was 61% compared to 22% for subjects without prodromal Alzheimer's disease. According to the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria, 353 (46%) subjects were in the high Alzheimer's disease likelihood group, 49 (6%) in the isolated amyloid pathology group, 220 (29%) in the suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology group, and 144 (19%) in the low Alzheimer's disease likelihood group. The 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer's disease-type dementia was 59% in the high Alzheimer's disease likelihood group, 22% in the isolated amyloid pathology group, 24% in the suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology group, and 5% in the low Alzheimer's disease likelihood group. Our findings support the use of the proposed research criteria to identify Alzheimer's disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage. In clinical settings, the use of both amyloid and neuronal injury markers as proposed by the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria offers the most accurate prognosis. For clinical trials, selection of subjects in the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association high Alzheimer's disease likelihood group or the International Working Group-2 prodromal Alzheimer's disease group could be considered.
Recent resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown significant group differences in several regions and networks between patients with major depressive disorder and healthy controls. The objective of the present study was to investigate the whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity patterns of depressed patients, which can be used to test the feasibility of identifying major depressive individuals from healthy controls. Multivariate pattern analysis was employed to classify 24 depressed patients from 29 demographically matched healthy volunteers. Permutation tests were used to assess classifier performance. The experimental results demonstrate that 94.3% (P < 0.0001) of subjects were correctly classified by leave-one-out cross-validation, including 100% identification of all patients. The majority of the most discriminating functional connections were located within or across the default mode network, affective network, visual cortical areas and cerebellum, thereby indicating that the disease-related resting-state network alterations may give rise to a portion of the complex of emotional and cognitive disturbances in major depression. Moreover, the amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, parahippocampal gyrus and hippocampus, which exhibit high discriminative power in classification, may play important roles in the pathophysiology of this disorder. The current study may shed new light on the pathological mechanism of major depression and suggests that whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging may provide potential effective biomarkers for its clinical diagnosis.
Partial epilepsies have a substantial heritability. However, the actual genetic causes are largely unknown. In contrast to many other common diseases for which genetic association-studies have successfully revealed common variants associated with disease risk, the role of common variation in partial epilepsies has not yet been explored in a well-powered study. We undertook a genome-wide association-study to identify common variants which influence risk for epilepsy shared amongst partial epilepsy syndromes, in 3445 patients and 6935 controls of European ancestry. We did not identify any genome-wide significant association. A few single nucleotide polymorphisms may warrant further investigation. We exclude common genetic variants with effect sizes above a modest 1.3 odds ratio for a single variant as contributors to genetic susceptibility shared across the partial epilepsies. We show that, at best, common genetic variation can only have a modest role in predisposition to the partial epilepsies when considered across syndromes in Europeans. The genetic architecture of the partial epilepsies is likely to be very complex, reflecting genotypic and phenotypic heterogeneity. Larger meta-analyses are required to identify variants of smaller effect sizes (odds ratio < 1.3) or syndrome-specific variants. Further, our results suggest research efforts should also be directed towards identifying the multiple rare variants likely to account for at least part of the heritability of the partial epilepsies. Data emerging from genome-wide association-studies will be valuable during the next serious challenge of interpreting all the genetic variation emerging from whole-genome sequencing studies.
Antibodies to the N-methyl-d-aspartate subtype of glutamate receptor have been associated with a newly-described encephalopathy that has been mainly identified in young females with ovarian tumours. However, the full clinical spectrum and treatment responses are not yet clear. We established a sensitive cell-based assay for detection of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antibodies in serum or cerebrospinal fluid, and a quantitative fluorescent immunoprecipitation assay for serial studies. Although there was marked intrathecal synthesis of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antibodies, the absolute levels of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antibodies were higher in serum than in cerebrospinal fluid. N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antibodies were of the immunoglobulin G1 subclass and were able to activate complement on N-methyl d-aspartate receptor-expressing human embryonic kidney cells. From questionnaires returned on 44 N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antibody-positive patients, we identified a high proportion without a detected tumour (35/44, 80%: follow-up 3.6-121 months, median 16 months). Among the latter were 15 adult females (43%), 10 adult males (29%) and 10 children (29%), with four in the first decade of life. Overall, there was a high proportion (29%) of non-Caucasians. Good clinical outcomes, as defined by reductions in modified Rankin scores, correlated with decreased N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antibody levels and were associated with early (< 40 days) administration of immunotherapies in non-paraneoplastic patients (P < 0.0001) and earlier tumour removal in paraneoplastic patients (P = 0.02). Ten patients (23%) who were first diagnosed during relapses had no evidence of tumours but had received minimal or no immunotherapy during earlier episodes. Temporal analysis of the onset of the neurological features suggested progression through two main stages. The time of onset of the early features, characterized by neuropsychiatric symptoms and seizures preceded by a median of 10-20 days, the onset of movement disorders, reduction in consciousness and dysautonomia. This temporal dichotomy was also seen in the timing of cerebrospinal fluid, electroencephalographic and in the rather infrequent cerebral imaging changes. Overall, our data support a model in which the early features are associated with cerebrospinal fluid lymphocytosis, and the later features with appearance of oligoclonal bands. The immunological events and neuronal mechanisms underlying these observations need to be explored further, but one possibility is that the early stage represents diffusion of serum antibodies into the cortical grey matter, whereas the later stage results from secondary expansion of the immunological repertoire within the intrathecal compartment acting on subcortical neurons. Four patients, who only had temporal lobe epilepsy without oligoclonal bands, may represent restriction to the first stage.