Astrocytes and oligodendrocytes undergo subtype-specific transcriptional changes in Alzheimer's disease
Resolving glial contributions to Alzheimer's disease (AD) is necessary because changes in neuronal function, such as reduced synaptic density, altered electrophysiological properties, and degeneration, are not entirely cell autonomous. To improve understanding of transcriptomic heterogeneity in glia during AD, we used single-nuclei RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) to characterize astrocytes and oligodendrocytes from apolipoprotein (APOE) Æ2/3 human AD and age- and genotype-matched non-symptomatic (NS) brains. We enriched astrocytes before sequencing and characterized pathology from the same location as the sequenced material. We characterized baseline heterogeneity in both astrocytes and oligodendrocytes and identified global and subtype-specific transcriptomic changes between AD and NS astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. We also took advantage of recent human and mouse spatial transcriptomics resources to localize heterogeneous astrocyte subtypes to specific regions in the healthy and inflamed brain. Finally, we integrated our data with published AD snRNA-seq datasets, highlighting the power of combining datasets to resolve previously unidentifiable astrocyte subpopulations.
Proteomic differences in hippocampus and cortex of sudden unexplained death in childhood
Sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) is death of a child over 1Â year of age that is unexplained after review of clinical history, circumstances of death, and complete autopsy with ancillary testing. Multiple etiologies may cause SUDC. SUDC and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) share clinical and pathological features, suggesting some similarities in mechanism of death and possible abnormalities in hippocampus and cortex. To identify molecular signaling pathways, we performed label-free quantitative mass spectrometry on microdissected frontal cortex, hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG), and cornu ammonis (CA1-3) in SUDC (nâ€‰=â€‰19) and pediatric control cases (nâ€‰=â€‰19) with an explained cause of death. At a 5% false discovery rate (FDR), we found differential expression of 660 proteins in frontal cortex, 170 in DG, and 57 in CA1-3. Pathway analysis of altered proteins identified top signaling pathways associated with activated oxidative phosphorylation (pâ€‰=â€‰6.3â€‰Ã—â€‰10-15, zâ€‰=â€‰4.08) and inhibited EIF2 signaling (pâ€‰=â€‰2.0â€‰Ã—â€‰10-21, zâ€‰=â€‰-Â 2.56) in frontal cortex, and activated acute phase response in DG (pâ€‰=â€‰8.5â€‰Ã—â€‰10-6, zâ€‰=â€‰2.65) and CA1-3 (pâ€‰=â€‰4.7â€‰Ã—â€‰10-6, zâ€‰=â€‰2.00). Weighted gene correlation network analysis (WGCNA) of clinical history indicated that SUDC-positive post-mortem virology (nâ€‰=â€‰4/17) had the most significant module in each brain region, with the top most significant associated with decreased mRNA metabolic processes (pâ€‰=â€‰2.8â€‰Ã—â€‰10-5) in frontal cortex. Additional modules were associated with clinical history, including fever within 24Â h of death (top: increased mitochondrial fission in DG, pâ€‰=â€‰1.8â€‰Ã—â€‰10-3) and febrile seizure history (top: decreased small molecule metabolic processes in frontal cortex, pâ€‰=â€‰8.8â€‰Ã—â€‰10-5) in all brain regions, neuropathological hippocampal findings in the DG (top: decreased focal adhesion, pâ€‰=â€‰1.9â€‰Ã—â€‰10-3). Overall, cortical and hippocampal protein changes were present in SUDC cases and some correlated with clinical features. Our studies support that proteomic studies of SUDC cohorts can advance our understanding of the pathogenesis of these tragedies and may inform the development of preventive strategies.
The amyloid plaque proteome in early onset Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome
Amyloid plaques contain many proteins in addition to beta amyloid (AÎ²). Previous studies examining plaque-associated proteins have shown these additional proteins are important; they provide insight into the factors that drive amyloid plaque development and are potential biomarkers or therapeutic targets for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aim of this study was to comprehensively identify proteins that are enriched in amyloid plaques using unbiased proteomics in two subtypes of early onset AD: sporadic early onset AD (EOAD) and Down Syndrome (DS) with AD. We focused our study on early onset AD as the drivers of the more aggressive pathology development in these cases is unknown and it is unclear whether amyloid-plaque enriched proteins differ between subtypes of early onset AD. Amyloid plaques and neighbouring non-plaque tissue were microdissected from human brain sections using laser capture microdissection and label-free LC-MS was used to quantify the proteins present. 48 proteins were consistently enriched in amyloid plaques in EOAD and DS. Many of these proteins were more significantly enriched in amyloid plaques than AÎ². The most enriched proteins in amyloid plaques in both EOAD and DS were: COL25A1, SMOC1, MDK, NTN1, OLFML3 and HTRA1. Endosomal/lysosomal proteins were particularly highly enriched in amyloid plaques. Fluorescent immunohistochemistry was used to validate the enrichment of four proteins in amyloid plaques (moesin, ezrin, ARL8B and SMOC1) and to compare the amount of total AÎ², AÎ²40, AÎ²42, phosphorylated AÎ², pyroglutamate AÎ² species and oligomeric species in EOAD and DS. These studies showed that phosphorylated AÎ², pyroglutamate AÎ² species and SMOC1 were significantly higher in DS plaques, while oligomers were significantly higher in EOAD. Overall, we observed that amyloid plaques in EOAD and DS largely contained the same proteins, however the amount of enrichment of some proteins was different in EOAD and DS. Our study highlights the significant enrichment of many proteins in amyloid plaques, many of which may be potential therapeutic targets and/or biomarkers for AD.
Blinded Review of Hippocampal Neuropathology in Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Reveals Inconsistent Observations and Similarities to Explained Pediatric Deaths
AIMS/OBJECTIVE:Hippocampal findings are implicated in the pathogenesis of sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC), although some studies have identified similar findings in sudden explained death in childhood (SEDC) cases. We blindly reviewed hippocampal histology in SUDC and SEDC controls. METHODS:Hippocampal H&E slides (n=67; 36 SUDC, 31 controls) from clinical and forensic collaborators were evaluated by 9 blinded reviewers: 3 board-certified forensic pathologists, 3 neuropathologists, and 3 dual-certified neuropathologist/forensic pathologists. RESULTS:Among nine reviewers, about 50% of hippocampal sections were rated as abnormal (SUDC 52.5%, controls 53.0%), with no difference by cause of death (COD) (p=0.16) or febrile seizure history (p=0.90). There was little agreement among nine reviewers on whether a slide was within normal range (Fleiss' kappa=0.014, p=0.47). Within reviewer groups, there were no findings more frequent in SUDC compared to controls, with variability in pyramidal neuron and dentate gyrus findings. Across reviewer groups, there was concordance for bilamination and granule cell loss. Neither SUDC (51.2%) nor control (55.9%) slides were considered contributory to determining COD (p=0.41). CONCLUSIONS:The lack of an association of hippocampal findings in SUDC and controls, as well as inconsistency of observations by multiple blinded reviewers, indicates discrepancy with previous studies and an inability to reliably identify hippocampal malformation associated with sudden death (HMASD). These findings underscore a need for larger studies to standardize evaluation of hippocampal findings, identify the range of normal variation and, changes unrelated to SUDC or febrile seizures. Molecular studies may help identify novel immunohistological markers that inform on COD.
Raphe and ventrolateral medulla proteomics in epilepsy and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy
Brainstem nuclei dysfunction is implicated in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. In animal models, deficient serotonergic activity is associated with seizure-induced respiratory arrest. In humans, glia are decreased in the ventrolateral medullary pre-Botzinger complex that modulate respiratory rhythm, as well as in the medial medullary raphe that modulate respiration and arousal. Finally, sudden unexpected death in epilepsy cases have decreased midbrain volume. To understand the potential role of brainstem nuclei in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, we evaluated molecular signalling pathways using localized proteomics in microdissected midbrain dorsal raphe and medial medullary raphe serotonergic nuclei, as well as the ventrolateral medulla in brain tissue from epilepsy patients who died of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy and other causes in diverse epilepsy syndromes and non-epilepsy control cases (nâ€‰=â€‰15-16 cases per group/region). Compared with the dorsal raphe of non-epilepsy controls, we identified 89 proteins in non-sudden unexpected death in epilepsy and 219 proteins in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy that were differentially expressed. These proteins were associated with inhibition of EIF2 signalling (P-value of overlapâ€‰=â€‰1.29â€‰Ã—â€‰10-8, zâ€‰=â€‰-2.00) in non-sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. In sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, there were 10 activated pathways (top pathway: gluconeogenesis I, P-value of overlapâ€‰=â€‰3.02â€‰Ã—â€‰10-6, zâ€‰=â€‰2.24) and 1 inhibited pathway (fatty acid beta-oxidation, P-value of overlapâ€‰=â€‰2.69â€‰Ã—â€‰10-4, zâ€‰=â€‰-2.00). Comparing sudden unexpected death in epilepsy and non-sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, 10 proteins were differentially expressed, but there were no associated signalling pathways. In both medullary regions, few proteins showed significant differences in pairwise comparisons. We identified altered proteins in the raphe and ventrolateral medulla of epilepsy patients, including some differentially expressed in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy cases. Altered signalling pathways in the dorsal raphe of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy indicate a shift in cellular energy production and activation of G-protein signalling, inflammatory response, stress response and neuronal migration/outgrowth. Future studies should assess the brain proteome in relation to additional clinical variables (e.g. recent tonic-clonic seizures) and in more of the reciprocally connected cortical and subcortical regions to better understand the pathophysiology of epilepsy and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.
Plasma biomarkers of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with and without new neurological symptom
Proteomics and Transcriptomics of the Hippocampus and Cortex in SUDEP and High-Risk SUDEP Patients
OBJECTIVE:To identify the molecular signaling pathways underlying sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) and high-risk SUDEP compared to epilepsy control patients. METHODS:For proteomics analyses, we evaluated the hippocampus and frontal cortex from microdissected post-mortem brain tissue of 12 SUDEP and 14 non-SUDEP epilepsy patients. For transcriptomics analyses, we evaluated hippocampus and temporal cortex surgical brain tissue from mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) patients: 6 low-risk and 8 high-risk SUDEP as determined by a short (< 50 seconds) or prolonged (â‰¥ 50 seconds) postictal generalized EEG suppression (PGES) that may indicate severely depressed brain activity impairing respiration, arousal, and protective reflexes. RESULTS:In autopsy hippocampus and cortex, we observed no proteomic differences between SUDEP and non-SUDEP epilepsy patients, contrasting with our previously reported robust differences between epilepsy and non-epilepsy control patients. Transcriptomics in hippocampus and cortex from surgical epilepsy patients segregated by PGES identified 55 differentially expressed genes (37 protein-coding, 15 lncRNAs, three pending) in hippocampus. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:The SUDEP proteome and high-risk SUDEP transcriptome were similar to other epilepsy patients in hippocampus and frontal cortex, consistent with diverse epilepsy syndromes and comorbidities associated with SUDEP. Studies with larger cohorts and different epilepsy syndromes, as well as additional anatomic regions may identify molecular mechanisms of SUDEP.
Somatic Focal Copy Number Gains of Noncoding Regions of Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Genes in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a heterogenous group of disorders defined by recurrent seizure activity due to abnormal synchronized activity of neurons. A growing number of epilepsy cases are believed to be caused by genetic factors and copy number variants (CNV) contribute to up to 5% of epilepsy cases. However, CNVs in epilepsy are usually large deletions or duplications involving multiple neurodevelopmental genes. In patients who underwent seizure focus resection for treatment-resistant epilepsy, whole genome DNA methylation profiling identified 3 main clusters of which one showed strong association with receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) genes. We identified focal copy number gains involving epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and PDGFRA loci. The dysplastic neurons of cases with amplifications showed marked overexpression of EGFR and PDGFRA, while glial and endothelial cells were negative. Targeted sequencing of regulatory regions and DNA methylation analysis revealed that only enhancer regions of EGFR and gene promoter of PDGFRA were amplified, while coding regions did not show copy number abnormalities or somatic mutations. Somatic focal copy number gains of noncoding regulatory represent a previously unrecognized genetic driver in epilepsy and a mechanism of abnormal activation of RTK genes. Upregulated RTKs provide a potential avenue for therapy in seizure disorders.
Neuropathology in the North American sudden unexpected death in epilepsy registry
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy is the leading category of epilepsy-related death and the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Risk factors can include a recent history and high frequency of generalized tonic-clonic seizures, which can depress brain activity postictally, impairing respiration, arousal and protective reflexes. Neuropathological findings in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy cases parallel those in other epilepsy patients, with no implication of novel structures or mechanisms in seizure-related deaths. Few large studies have comprehensively reviewed whole brain examination of such patients. We evaluated 92 North American Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy Registry cases with whole brain neuropathological examination by board-certified neuropathologists blinded to the adjudicated cause of death, with an average of 16 brain regions examined per case. The 92 cases included 61 sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (40 definite, 9 definite plus, 6 probable, 6 possible) and 31 people with epilepsy controls who died from other causes. The mean age at death was 34.4 years and 65.2% (60/92) were male. The average age of death was younger for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy cases than for epilepsy controls (30.0 versus 39.6 years; P = 0.006), and there was no difference in sex distribution respectively (67.3% male versus 64.5%, P = 0.8). Among sudden unexpected death in epilepsy cases, earlier age of epilepsy onset positively correlated with a younger age at death (P = 0.0005) and negatively correlated with epilepsy duration (P = 0.001). Neuropathological findings were identified in 83.7% of the cases in our cohort. The most common findings were dentate gyrus dysgenesis (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy 50.9%, epilepsy controls 54.8%) and focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy 41.8%, epilepsy controls 29.0%). The neuropathological findings in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy paralleled those in epilepsy controls, including the frequency of total neuropathological findings as well as the specific findings in the dentate gyrus, findings pertaining to neurodevelopment (e.g. FCD, heterotopias) and findings in the brainstem (e.g. medullary arcuate or olivary dysgenesis). Thus, like prior studies, we found no neuropathological findings that were more common in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy cases. Future neuropathological studies evaluating larger sudden unexpected death in epilepsy and control cohorts would benefit from inclusion of different epilepsy syndromes with detailed phenotypic information, consensus among pathologists particularly for more subjective findings where observations can be inconsistent, and molecular approaches to identify markers of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy risk or pathogenesis.
Proteomic differences in the hippocampus and cortex of epilepsy brain tissue