Chronic acquired hepatocerebral degeneration (CAHD) is a rare neurological disorder of cirrhotic patients, characterized by parkinsonism and cognitive impairment. A T1 hyperintensity on the globus pallidum due to an accumulation of manganese (Mn) is found in these patients. The aim of the study was to investigate CAHD, Mn and the MRI pallidal signal in a series of cirrhotic patients. The association between pallidal T1 hyperintensity, CAHD, and blood levels of Mn, the effect of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) on the MRI signal and neurological findings, and the role of the pallidal signal as a predictor of CAHD were evaluated. Twenty-six out of 90 patients with cirrhosis had pallidal T1 hyperintensity. Seven patients had CAHD. OLT was followed by the disappearance of CAHD and MRI signal in 2/2 patients. The MRI signal disappeared after OLT in 8/13 patients after a median follow-up time of 24 months. In the patients who did not undergo OLT, CAHD did not present after a median follow-up time of 18 months. The cause of cirrhosis, episodes of acute hepatic encephalopathy and signal intensity were not correlated with CAHD. The blood levels of Mn did not reflect either the MRI signal or CAHD. In conclusion, the pallidal T1 hyperintensity is a prerequisite for the clinical manifestations of CAHD but is not sufficient. The blood levels of Mn as routinely monitored are not a useful marker of Mn burden. The MRI pallidal signal is not a predictor of CAHD.
A hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the first intron of C9ORF72 has been shown to be responsible for a high number of familial cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Atypical presentations have been described, particularly psychosis.
Progranulin (PGRN) is a fundamental neurotrophic factor, and is also involved in inflammation and wound repair. PGRN may have pro- or anti-inflammatory properties, depending upon proteolysis of the anti-inflammatory parent PGRN protein and the generation of pro-inflammatory granulin peptides.
An association study of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP)-A1 was carried out in a population of 274 patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and 287 with Alzheimer disease (AD) as compared with 344 age- and gender-matched controls. In addition, we evaluated expression levels of hnRNP-A1 and its regulatory microRNA (miR)-590-3p in blood cells from patients and controls. A statistically significant increased frequency of the hnRNP-A1 rs7967622 C/C genotype was observed in FTLD, but not in AD, in patients as compared to controls (23.0 versus 15.4%; p?=?0.022, odds ratio [OR] 1.64, confidence interval [CI] 1.09-2.46). Stratifying according to gender, a statistically significant increased frequency of the hnRNP-A1 rs7967622 C/C genotype was observed in male patients as compared to male controls (23.1 versus 11.3%; p?=?0.015, OR 2.36, CI 1.22-4.58 but not in females. Considering the rs4016671 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), all patients and controls were wild type. Significantly increased hnRNP-A1 relative expression levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was observed in patients with AD, but not with FTLD, as compared to controls (2.724?±?0.570 versus 1.076?±?0.187, p?=?0.021). Decreased relative expression levels of hsa-miR-590-3p was observed in patients with AD versus controls (0.685?±?0.080 versus 0.931?±?0.111, p?=?0.079), and correlated negatively with hnRNP-A1 mRNA levels (r?=?-0.615, p?=?0.0237). According to these findings, hnRNP-A1 and its transcription regulatory factor miR-590-3p are disregulated in patients with AD, and the hnRNP-A1 rs7967622 C/C genotype is likely a risk factor for FTLD in male populations.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is generally considered to be a paradigm of pure motor neuron disorder; nevertheless, the possible occurrence of cognitive impairment up to a frank dementia in patients affected by ALS is recognized. The appraisal of the cognitive impairment in ALS patients is crucial not only to the therapeutic trials of this incurable disease, but also to the planning of care, compliance to interventions, the end-of-life decisions. The cognitive/behavioral changes of ALS patients are consistent with frontotemporal dysfunctions; the overlap of neuropathological features of ALS and frontotemporal lobe degeneration (FTLD) supports, in addition, the putative spectrum of ALS and FTD. In the present review, the pertinent clinical, genetic, neuropathological, neuropsychological and neuroimaging data of the literature are comprehensively and critically discussed. The distinct and overlapping features of ALS and FTD are pointed out, as well as the undisclosed questions deserving additional studies.
TDP-43, encoded by TARDBP, is a ubiquitously expressed, primarily nuclear protein. In recent years, TDP-43 has been identified as the major pathological protein in ALS due to its mislocalisation in the cytoplasm of motor neurons of patients with and without TARDBP mutations and expression in forms that do not match its predicted molecular weight. In this study, the TDP-43 profile was investigated using western immunoblot analysis in whole lysates, nuclei and cytoplasm of circulating lymphomonocytes from 16 ALS patients, 4 with (ALS/TDP+) and 12 without (ALS/TDP-) TARDBP mutations in the protein C-terminal domain, and thirteen age-matched, healthy donors (controls). Three disease-unaffected first-degree relatives of an ALS/TDP+ patient were also included: one carried the parent mutation (Rel/TDP+) whereas the other two did not (Rel/TDP-). In all ALS patients, relatives and controls, TDP-43 retained the predicted molecular weight in whole cell lysates and nuclei, but in the cytoplasm its molecular weight was slightly smaller than expected. In quantitative terms, TDP-43 was expressed at approximately the same levels in whole cell lysates of ALS patients, relatives and controls. In contrast, TDP-43 accumulated in the cytoplasm with concomitant nuclear depletion in all ALS/TDP+ patients, in about 50% of ALS/TDP- patients and in the Rel/TDP+ subject compared to the controls. In the remaining ALS/TDP- patients and in the two Rel/TDP- subjects, TDP-43 matched the control levels in both subcellular compartments. Were these findings further confirmed, circulating lymphomonocytes could be informative of TDP-43 mislocalisation in nervous tissue and used as a biomarker for future disease risk.
Linkage analysis identified a region on chromosome 9p associated with Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD). A detailed analysis of candidate genes lying in this region demonstrated an association with Ubiquitin Associated Protein (UBAP)1. The distribution of five Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) located in the chromosome 9 haplotype identified via linkage analysis, including UBAP1 rs7018487, UBAP2 rs1785506 and rs307658, and KIF24 rs17350674 and rs10814083, has been determined in a population of 284 patients diagnosed with FTLD, including 245 with behavioural variant Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD), 23 with Progressive Aphasia and 16 with Semantic Dementia, compared with 318 age-matched controls. A statistically significant increased frequency of the KIF24 rs17350674 AA genotype was observed in patients compared with controls (7.4 versus 2.5%; P=0.0068, OR: 3.63, CI: 1.58-8.35). Considering each syndrome separately, similar results where obtained in bvFTD versus controls (7.7 versus 2.5%, P=0.005, OR: 3.26, CI: 1.40-7.57). Stratifying for gender, a statistically significant increased genotypic frequency was observed in female patients as compared with female controls (8.9 versus 2.5%, P=0.008, OR: 3.85, CI: 1.36-10.93). In silico analysis predicted that the substitution from W to L caused by the rs17350674 affects protein function (P<0.05). The KIF24 rs17350674 polymorphism likely acts as a risk factor for sporadic FTLD, but a replication study would be needed to confirm these preliminary findings.
Although a large number of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients have undergone transplantation procedures with olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) in the Bejing Hospital, to our knowledge, no post-mortem neuropathologic analyses have been performed. We examined the post-mortem brain of two Italian patients affected by ALS who underwent cellular transplantation in Beijing with their consent. Our aim was to assess the events following the graft procedure to possibly support the rationale of the treatment strategy. The neuropathologic findings were analyzed on the basis of the limited awareness of the experimental conditions and discussed in relation to the safety, efficacy and long-term outcome of the transplanted cells. Islands of quiescent, undifferentiated cells within the delivery track persisting for up to 12 months-24 months were found. Prominent glial and inflammatory reaction around the delivery track strongly supports the encasement of the graft. Evidence of axonal regeneration, neuronal differentiation and myelination was not seen. The surgical procedure of implantation was not compatible with a neurotrophic effect. The OEC transplantation did not modify the neuropathology of ALS in the two patients. In conclusion, the present neuropathologic analysis does not support a beneficial effect of fetal OEC implantation into the frontal lobes of ALS patients.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and fatal motor neuron disease, and protein aggregation has been proposed as a possible pathogenetic mechanism. However, the aggregate protein constituents are poorly characterized so knowledge on the role of aggregation in pathogenesis is limited.
Recent studies showed that TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), encoded by the TARDBP gene, is a major pathological protein in both sporadic and familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). The aim of this study was to search for mutations of the TARDBP gene in the disease.
Previously, myelin from cerebral white matter (CWM) of two subjects of a family with orthochromatic adult-onset autosomal-dominant leukodystrophy (ADLD) was disclosed to exhibit defective large isoform of myelin-associated glycoprotein (L-MAG) and patchy distribution only in the elder subject. L-MAG and neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) (N-CAM 180, 140, and 120) are structurally related and concur to myelin/axon interaction. In early developmental stages, in neurons and glia N-CAM is converted into polysialylated (PSA)-NCAM by two sialyltransferases sialyltransferase-X (STX) and polysialyltransferase-1 (PST). Notably, PSA-NCAM disrupts N-CAM adhesive properties and is nearly absent in the adult brain. Here, CWM extracts and myelin of the two subjects were searched for the expression pattern of the N-CAM isoforms and PSA-NCAM, and their CWM was evaluated for N-CAM, STX and PST gene copy number and gene expression as mRNA. Biochemically, we disclosed that in CWM extracts and myelin from both subjects, PSA-NCAM accumulates, N-CAM 180 considerably increases, N-CAM 140 is modestly modified and N-CAM 120 remarkably decreases; duplication of genes encoding N-CAM, STX and PST was not revealed, whereas PST mRNA was clearly increased. Immunohistochemically, in CWM of both subjects, we found an unusually diffuse accumulation of PSA-NCAM without inflammation markers. PSA-NCAM persistence, up-regulated PST mRNA and previously uncovered defective L-MAG may be early pathogenetic events in this ADLD form.
Gray matter (GM) lesions are recognized as important components of the pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS), and involvement of the deep gray matter (DGM) is suggested by magnetic resonance imaging. The aims of this study were to determine the frequency and distribution of lesions and characterize the inflammatory and neurodegenerative changes in DGM of MS patients. Histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and morphometry were performed on whole coronal sections of 14 MS and 12 control (6 normal, 6 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients) brains. Demyelinating lesions were frequent in MS DGM; most often in the thalamus and caudate, but they were also seen in the putamen, pallidum, claustrum, amygdala, hypothalamus, and substantia nigra. Most DGM lesions involved both GM and white matter. Inflammation in active DGM lesions was similar to that in lesions only in white matter but was less intense, and there was a preponderance of activated microglia, scarce myelin-laden macrophages, and a lesser extent of axonal damage. Neuronal loss was observed both in DGM lesions and nondemyelinated DGM with neuron atrophy in nondemyelinated DGM. In conclusion, demyelination and neurodegenerative changes are common in MS DGM and may contribute to clinical impairment. Inflammation in DGM lesions is intermediate between the destructive inflammation of white matter lesions and the minimal inflammation of cortical lesions. We hypothesize that alterations of glutamate reuptake mechanisms may contribute to these differences.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder consisting of progressive loss of motor neurons. TDP-43 has been identified as a component of ubiquitin-immunoreactive inclusions of motor neurons in ALS. We focused on the diffuse cytoplasmic TDP-43 immunoreactivity in ALS neurons, and quantitatively assessed it in comparison with skein/round TDP-43 and ubiquitin immunostaining in motor neurons of 30 sporadic ALS cases. The percentage of spinal motor neurons with cytoplasmic TDP-43 immunoreactivity was higher than that of ubiquitin-immunoreactive ones. The percentage of TDP-43-positive motor neurons was independent of neuron counts in anterior horns, while the percentage of ubiquitinated neurons was inversely correlated. Aiming to define the cytosolic localization of TDP-43, the immunoblot analysis of spinal cord and frontal cortex showed that full-length TDP-43, the 45 kDa form and ubiquitinated TDP-43 are found in the soluble inclusion-free fraction. The present data suggest that delocalization, accumulation and ubiquitination of TDP-43 in the cytoplasm of motor neurons are early dysfunctions in the cascade of the events leading to motor neuron degeneration in ALS, preceding the formation of insoluble inclusion bodies. Being cytoplasmic accumulation an ongoing event during the course of the illness, a therapeutic approach to this incurable disease can be envisaged.
Niemann-Pick disease (NPD) type A is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by sphingomyelin (SM) accumulation in lysosomes relying on reduced or absent acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) activity. NPD-A patients develop progressive neurodegeneration including cerebral and cerebellar atrophy, relevant Purkinje cell and myelin deficiency with death within 3 years. ASMknock-out (ASMKO) mice, an animal model of NPD-A, develop a phenotype largely mimicking that of NPD-A. The mechanisms underlying myelin formation are poorly documented in ASMKO mice. In this study we determined the content of four myelin-specific proteins, myelin basic protein (MBP), 2,3-cyclic nucleotide 3-phosphodiesterase (CNP), myelin associated glycoprotein (MAG) and proteolipid protein (PLP), and that of myelin-enriched sphingolipids in the brains of ASMKO and wild-type mice in early stages of post-natal (pn) life. Protein and mRNA analysis revealed that in ASMKO mice beginning from 4 post-natal weeks (wk-pn), the expression levels of MAG, CNP, and MBP were below those observed in wild-type mice and the same applied to PLP at 10 wk-pn. Moreover, at 4 wk-pn the expression of SOX10, one of the transcription factors involved in oligodendrocyte development and maintenance was lower in ASMKO mice. Lipid analysis showed that SM and the gangliosides GM3 and GM2 accumulated in the brains of ASMKO mice, as opposed to galactocerebroside and galactosulfocerebroside that, in parallel with the mRNAs of UDP-galactose ceramide galactosyltransferase and galactose-3-O-sulfotransferase 1, the two transferases involved in their synthesis, decreased. Myelin lipid analysis showed a progressive sphingomyelin accumulation in ASMKO mice; noteworthy, of the two sphingomyelin species known to be resolved by TLC, only that with the lower Rf accumulated. The immunohistochemical analysis showed that the reduced expression of myelin specific proteins in ASMKO mice at 10 wk-pn was not restricted to the Purkinje layer of the cerebellar cortex but involved the cerebral cortex as well. In conclusion, reduced oligodendrocyte metabolic activity is likely to be the chief cause of myelin deficiency in ASMKO mice, thus shedding light on the molecular dysfunctions underlying neurodegeneration in NPD-A.
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