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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and TrkB hippocampal gene expression are putative predictors of neuritic plaque and neurofibrillary tangle pathology

Ginsberg, Stephen D; Malek-Ahmadi, Michael H; Alldred, Melissa J; Chen, Yinghua; Chen, Kewei; Chao, Moses V; Counts, Scott E; Mufson, Elliott J
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Downregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its cognate neurotrophin receptor, TrkB, were observed during the progression of dementia, but whether the Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathological lesions diffuse plaques, (DPs), neuritic plaques (NPs), and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are related to this alteration remains to be clarified. METHODS:Negative binomial (NB) regressions were performed using gene expression data accrued from a single population of CA1 pyramidal neurons and regional hippocampal dissections obtained from participants in the Rush Religious Orders Study (RROS). RESULTS:Downregulation of Bdnf is independently associated with increased entorhinal cortex NPs. Downregulation of TrkB is independently associated with increased entorhinal cortex NFTs and CA1 NPs during the progression of AD. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:Results indicate that BDNF and TrkB dysregulation contribute to AD neuropathology, most notably hippocampal NPs and NFTs. These data suggest attenuating BDNF/TrkB signaling deficits either at the level of BDNF, TrkB, or downstream of TrkB signaling may abrogate NPs and/or NFTs.
PMID: 31349032
ISSN: 1095-953x
CID: 3988372

Maternal choline supplementation alters basal forebrain cholinergic neuron gene expression in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome

Kelley, Christy M; Ginsberg, Stephen D; Alldred, Melissa J; Strupp, Barbara J; Mufson, Elliott J
Down syndrome (DS), trisomy 21, is marked by intellectual disability and a premature aging profile including degeneration of the basal forebrain cholinergic neuron (BFCN) projection system, similar to what is seen in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although data indicate that perinatal maternal choline supplementation (MCS) alters the structure and function of these neurons in the Ts65Dn mouse model of DS and AD (Ts), how MCS affects the molecular profile of vulnerable BFCNs is unknown. We investigated the genetic signature of BFCNs obtained from Ts and disomic (2N) offspring of Ts65Dn dams maintained on a MCS diet (Ts+, 2N+) or a choline-normal diet (ND) from mating until weaning, then maintained on ND until 4.4-7.5 months of age. Brains were then collected and prepared for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunohistochemistry and laser capture microdissection followed by RNA extraction and custom-designed microarray analysis. Findings revealed upregulation of select transcripts in classes of genes related to the cytoskeleton (Tubb4b), AD (Cav1), cell death (Bcl2), presynaptic (Syngr1), immediate early (Fosb, Arc), G protein signaling (Gabarap, Rgs10), and cholinergic neurotransmission (Chrnb3) in Ts compared to 2N mice, which were normalized with MCS. Moreover, significant downregulation was seen in select transcripts associated with the cytoskeleton (Dync1h1), intracellular signaling (Itpka, Gng3, Mlst8), and cell death (Ccng1) in Ts compared to 2N mice that were normalized with MCS. This study provides valuable insight into mechanisms of genotype-dependent differences and the effects of MCS at the molecular level within a key vulnerable cell type in DS and AD. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 31120189
ISSN: 1932-846x
CID: 3920842

Long-term effects of maternal choline supplementation on CA1 pyramidal neuron gene expression in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease

Alldred, Melissa J; Chao, Helen M; Lee, Sang Han; Beilin, Judah; Powers, Brian E; Petkova, Eva; Strupp, Barbara J; Ginsberg, Stephen D
Choline is critical for normative function of 3 major pathways in the brain, including acetylcholine biosynthesis, being a key mediator of epigenetic regulation, and serving as the primary substrate for the phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase pathway. Sufficient intake of dietary choline is critical for proper brain function and neurodevelopment. This is especially important for brain development during the perinatal period. Current dietary recommendations for choline intake were undertaken without critical evaluation of maternal choline levels. As such, recommended levels may be insufficient for both mother and fetus. Herein, we examined the impact of perinatal maternal choline supplementation (MCS) in a mouse model of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease, the Ts65Dn mouse relative to normal disomic littermates, to examine the effects on gene expression within adult offspring at ∼6 and 11 mo of age. We found MCS produces significant changes in offspring gene expression levels that supersede age-related and genotypic gene expression changes. Alterations due to MCS impact every gene ontology category queried, including GABAergic neurotransmission, the endosomal-lysosomal pathway and autophagy, and neurotrophins, highlighting the importance of proper choline intake during the perinatal period, especially when the fetus is known to have a neurodevelopmental disorder such as trisomy.-Alldred, M. J., Chao, H. M., Lee, S. H., Beilin, J., Powers, B. E., Petkova, E., Strupp, B. J., Ginsberg, S. D. Long-term effects of maternal choline supplementation on CA1 pyramidal neuron gene expression in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease.
PMID: 31180719
ISSN: 1530-6860
CID: 3929822

Selective decline of neurotrophin and neurotrophin receptor genes within CA1 pyramidal neurons and hippocampus proper: Correlation with cognitive performance and neuropathology in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease

Ginsberg, Stephen D; Malek-Ahmadi, Michael H; Alldred, Melissa J; Che, Shaoli; Elarova, Irina; Chen, Yinghua; Jeanneteau, Freddy; Kranz, Thorsten M; Chao, Moses V; Counts, Scott E; Mufson, Elliott J
Hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, a major component of the medial temporal lobe memory circuit, are selectively vulnerable during the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The cellular mechanism(s) underlying degeneration of these neurons and the relationship to cognitive performance remains largely undefined. Here, we profiled neurotrophin and neurotrophin receptor gene expression within microdissected CA1 neurons along with regional hippocampal dissections from subjects who died with a clinical diagnosis of no cognitive impairment (NCI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or AD using laser capture microdissection (LCM), custom-designed microarray analysis, and qPCR of CA1 subregional dissections. Gene expression levels were correlated with cognitive test scores and AD neuropathology criteria. We found a significant downregulation of several neurotrophin genes (e.g., Gdnf, Ngfb, and Ntf4) in CA1 pyramidal neurons in MCI compared to NCI and AD subjects. In addition, the neurotrophin receptor transcripts TrkB and TrkC were decreased in MCI and AD compared to NCI. Regional hippocampal dissections also revealed select neurotrophic gene dysfunction providing evidence for vulnerability within the hippocampal proper during the progression of dementia. Downregulation of several neurotrophins of the NGF family and cognate neurotrophin receptor (TrkA, TrkB, and TrkC) genes correlated with antemortem cognitive measures including the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), a composite global cognitive score (GCS), and Episodic, Semantic, and Working Memory, Perceptual Speed, and Visuospatial domains. Significant correlations were found between select neurotrophic expression downregulation and neuritic plaques (NPs) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), but not diffuse plaques (DPs). The data suggest that dysfunction of neurotrophin signaling complexes have profound negative sequelae within vulnerable hippocampal cell types, which play a role in mnemonic and executive dysfunction during the progression of AD.
PMCID:5844851
PMID: 28888073
ISSN: 1098-1063
CID: 2688442

Frontal cortex and striatal cellular and molecular pathobiology in individuals with Down syndrome with and without dementia

Perez, Sylvia E; Miguel, Jennifer C; He, Bin; Malek-Ahmadi, Michael; Abrahamson, Eric E; Ikonomovic, Milos D; Lott, Ira; Doran, Eric; Alldred, Melissa J; Ginsberg, Stephen D; Mufson, Elliott J
Although, by age 40, individuals with Down syndrome (DS) develop amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and tau-containing neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) linked to cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease (AD), not all people with DS develop dementia. Whether Aβ plaques and NFTs are associated with individuals with DS with (DSD +) and without dementia (DSD -) is under-investigated. Here, we applied quantitative immunocytochemistry and fluorescent procedures to characterize NFT pathology using antibodies specific for tau phosphorylation (pS422, AT8), truncation (TauC3, MN423), and conformational (Alz50, MC1) epitopes, as well as Aβ and its precursor protein (APP) to frontal cortex (FC) and striatal tissue from DSD + to DSD - cases. Expression profiling of single pS422 labeled FC layer V and VI neurons was also determined using laser capture microdissection and custom-designed microarray analysis. Analysis revealed that cortical and striatal Aβ plaque burdens were similar in DSD + and DSD - cases. In both groups, most FC plaques were neuritic, while striatal plaques were diffuse. By contrast, FC AT8-positive NFTs and neuropil thread densities were significantly greater in DSD + compared to DSD -, while striatal NFT densities were similar between groups. FC pS422-positive and TauC3 NFT densities were significantly greater than Alz50-labeled NFTs in DSD + , but not DSD - cases. Putaminal, but not caudate pS422-positive NFT density, was significantly greater than TauC3-positive NFTs. In the FC, AT8 + pS422 + Alz50, TauC3 + pS422 + Alz50, pS422 + Alz50, and TauC3 + pS422 positive NFTs were more frequent in DSD + compared to DSD- cases. Single gene-array profiling of FC pS422 positive neurons revealed downregulation of 63 of a total of 864 transcripts related to Aβ/tau biology, glutamatergic, cholinergic, and monoaminergic metabolism, intracellular signaling, cell homeostasis, and cell death in DSD + compared DSD - cases. These observations suggest that abnormal tau aggregation plays a critical role in the development of dementia in DS.
PMID: 30734106
ISSN: 1432-0533
CID: 3632462

Apolipoprotein E4 genotype compromises brain exosome production

Peng, Katherine Y; Pérez-González, Rocío; Alldred, Melissa J; Goulbourne, Chris N; Morales-Corraliza, Jose; Saito, Mariko; Saito, Mitsuo; Ginsberg, Stephen D; Mathews, Paul M; Levy, Efrat
In addition to being the greatest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, expression of the ɛ4 allele of apolipoprotein E can lead to cognitive decline during ageing that is independent of Alzheimer's amyloid-β and tau pathology. In human post-mortem tissue and mouse models humanized for apolipoprotein E, we examined the impact of apolipoprotein E4 expression on brain exosomes, vesicles that are produced within and secreted from late-endocytic multivesicular bodies. Compared to humans or mice homozygous for the risk-neutral ɛ3 allele we show that the ɛ4 allele, whether homozygous or heterozygous with an ɛ3 allele, drives lower exosome levels in the brain extracellular space. In mice, we show that the apolipoprotein E4-driven change in brain exosome levels is age-dependent: while not present at age 6 months, it is detectable at 12 months of age. Expression levels of the exosome pathway regulators tumor susceptibility gene 101 (TSG101) and Ras-related protein Rab35 (RAB35) were found to be reduced in the brain at the protein and mRNA levels, arguing that apolipoprotein E4 genotype leads to a downregulation of exosome biosynthesis and release. Compromised exosome production is likely to have adverse effects, including diminishing a cell's ability to eliminate materials from the endosomal-lysosomal system. This reduction in brain exosome levels in 12-month-old apolipoprotein E4 mice occurs earlier than our previously reported brain endosomal pathway changes, arguing that an apolipoprotein E4-driven failure in exosome production plays a primary role in endosomal and lysosomal deficits that occur in apolipoprotein E4 mouse and human brains. Disruption of these interdependent endosomal-exosomal-lysosomal systems in apolipoprotein E4-expressing individuals may contribute to amyloidogenic amyloid-β precursor protein processing, compromise trophic signalling and synaptic function, and interfere with a neuron's ability to degrade material, all of which are events that lead to neuronal vulnerability and higher risk of Alzheimer's disease development. Together, these data suggest that exosome pathway dysfunction is a previously unappreciated component of the brain pathologies that occur as a result of apolipoprotein E4 expression.
PMID: 30496349
ISSN: 1460-2156
CID: 3500172

Nerve Growth Factor Pathobiology During the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

Mufson, Elliott J; Counts, Scott E; Ginsberg, Stephen D; Mahady, Laura; Perez, Sylvia E; Massa, Stephen M; Longo, Frank M; Ikonomovic, Milos D
The current review summarizes the pathobiology of nerve growth factor (NGF) and its cognate receptors during the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Both transcript and protein data indicate that cholinotrophic neuronal dysfunction is related to an imbalance between TrkA-mediated survival signaling and the NGF precursor (proNGF)/p75NTR-mediated pro-apoptotic signaling, which may be related to alteration in the metabolism of NGF. Data indicate a spatiotemporal pattern of degeneration related to the evolution of tau pathology within cholinotrophic neuronal subgroups located within the nucleus basalis of Meynert (nbM). Despite these degenerative events the cholinotrophic system is capable of cellular resilience and/or plasticity during the prodromal and later stages of the disease. In addition to neurotrophin dysfunction, studies indicate alterations in epigenetically regulated proteins occur within cholinotrophic nbM neurons during the progression of AD, suggesting a mechanism that may underlie changes in transcript expression. Findings that increased cerebrospinal fluid levels of proNGF mark the onset of MCI and the transition to AD suggests that this proneurotrophin is a potential disease biomarker. Novel therapeutics to treat NGF dysfunction include NGF gene therapy and the development of small molecule agonists for the cognate prosurvival NGF receptor TrkA and antagonists against the pan-neurotrophin p75NTR death receptor for the treatment of AD.
PMCID:6613497
PMID: 31312116
ISSN: 1662-4548
CID: 3977852

Pretangle pathology within cholinergic nucleus basalis neurons coincides with neurotrophic and neurotransmitter receptor gene dysregulation during the progression of Alzheimer's disease

Tiernan, Chelsea T; Ginsberg, Stephen D; He, Bin; Ward, Sarah M; Guillozet-Bongaarts, Angela L; Kanaan, Nicholas M; Mufson, Elliott J; Counts, Scott E
Cholinergic basal forebrain neurons of the nucleus basalis of Meynert (nbM) regulate attentional and memory function and are exquisitely prone to tau pathology and neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) formation during the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). nbM neurons require the neurotrophin nerve growth factor (NGF), its cognate receptor TrkA, and the pan-neurotrophin receptor p75NTR for their maintenance and survival. Additionally, nbM neuronal activity and cholinergic tone are regulated by the expression of nicotinic (nAChR) and muscarinic (mAChR) acetylcholine receptors as well as receptors modulating glutamatergic and catecholaminergic afferent signaling. To date, the molecular and cellular relationships between the evolution of tau pathology and nbM neuronal survival remain unknown. To address this knowledge gap, we profiled cholinotrophic pathway genes within nbM neurons immunostained for pS422, a pretangle phosphorylation event preceding tau C-terminal truncation at D421, or dual-labeled for pS422 and TauC3, a later stage tau neo-epitope revealed by this same C-terminal truncation event, via single-population custom microarray analysis. nbM neurons were obtained from postmortem tissues from subjects who died with an antemortem clinical diagnosis of no cognitive impairment (NCI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or mild/moderate AD. Quantitative analysis revealed significant downregulation of mRNAs encoding TrkA as well as TrkB and the Trk-mediated downstream pro-survival kinase Akt in pS422+ compared to unlabeled, pS422-negative nbM neurons. In addition, pS422+ neurons displayed a downregulation of transcripts encoding NMDA receptor subunit 2B, metabotropic glutamate receptor 2, D2 dopamine receptor, and β1 adrenoceptor. By contrast, transcripts encoding p75NTR were downregulated in dual-labeled pS422+/TauC3+ neurons. Appearance of the TauC3 epitope was also associated with an upregulation of the α7 nAChR subunit and differential downregulation of the β2 nAChR subunit. Notably, we found that gene expression patterns for each cell phenotype did not differ with clinical diagnosis. However, linear regression revealed that global cognition and Braak stage were predictors of select transcript changes within both unlabeled and pS422+/TauC3- neurons. Taken together, these cell phenotype-specific gene expression profiling data suggest that dysregulation of neurotrophic and neurotransmitter signaling is an early pathogenic mechanism associated with NFT formation in vulnerable nbM neurons and cognitive decline in AD, which may be amenable to therapeutic intervention early in the disease process.
PMID: 29859871
ISSN: 1095-953x
CID: 3144262

Gene Profiling of Nucleus Basalis Tau Containing Neurons in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium Study

Mufson, Elliott Jay; He, Bin; Ginsberg, Stephen D; Carper, Benjamin A; Bieler, Gayle S; Crawford, Fiona C; Alverez, Victor E; Huber, Bernard R; Stein, Thor D; McKee, Ann C; Perez, Sylvia E
Military personnel and athletes exposed to traumatic brain injury may develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Brain pathology in CTE includes intracellular accumulation of abnormally phosphorylated tau proteins (p-tau), the main constituent of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Recently, we found that cholinergic basal forebrain (CBF) neurons within the nucleus basalis of Meynert (nbM), which provide the major cholinergic innervation to the cortex, display an increasing number of NFTs across the pathological stages of CTE.1 However, molecular mechanisms underlying nbM neurodegeneration post CTE remain unknown. Here, we assessed the genetic signature of nbM neurons containing the p-tau pretangle maker pS422 obtained from CTE subjects who came to autopsy and received a neuropathological CTE staging assessment (Stages II, III, and IV) using laser capture microdissection and custom-designed microarray analysis. Quantitative analysis revealed dysregulation of key genes in several gene ontology groups between CTE stages. Specifically, downregulation of the nicotinic cholinergic receptor subunit beta-2 gene (Chrnb2), monoaminergic enzymes catechol-O-methyltransferase (Comt) and dopa decarboxylase (Ddc), chloride channels Clcn4 and Clcn5, scaffolding protein caveolin 1 (Cav1), cortical development/cytoskeleton element lissencephaly 1 (Lis1) and intracellular signaling cascade member adenylate cyclase 3 (Adcy3) was observed in pS422-immunreactive nbM neurons in CTE patients. By contrast, upregulation of calpain 2 (Capn2) and microtubule-associated protein 2 (Map2) transcript levels was found in stage IV CTE patients. These single-population data in vulnerable neurons indicates alterations in gene expression associated with neurotransmission, signal transduction, the cytoskeleton, cell survival/death signaling, and microtubule dynamics suggesting novel molecular pathways to target for drug discovery in CTE.
PMCID:5962931
PMID: 29338612
ISSN: 1557-9042
CID: 2916122

CA1 pyramidal neuron gene expression mosaics in the Ts65Dn murine model of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease following maternal choline supplementation (MCS)

Alldred, Melissa J; Chao, Helen M; Lee, Sang Han; Beilin, Judah; Powers, Brian E; Petkova, Eva; Strupp, Barbara J; Ginsberg, Stephen D
Although there are changes in gene expression and alterations in neuronal density and afferent inputs in the forebrain of trisomic mouse models of Down syndrome (DS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD), there is a lack of systematic assessments of gene expression and encoded proteins within individual vulnerable cell populations, precluding translational investigations at the molecular and cellular level. Further, no effective treatment exists to combat intellectual disability and basal forebrain cholinergic neurodegeneration seen in DS. To further our understanding of gene expression changes before and following cholinergic degeneration in a well-established mouse model of DS/AD, the Ts65Dn mouse, we assessed RNA expression levels from CA1 pyramidal neurons at two adult ages (∼6 months of age and ∼11 months of age) in both Ts65Dn and their normal disomic (2N) littermates. We further examined a viable therapeutic, maternal choline supplementation (MCS), which has been previously shown to lessen dysfunction in spatial cognition and attention, and have protective effects on the survival of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons (BFCNs) in the Ts65Dn mouse model. Results indicate that MCS normalized expression of several genes in key gene ontology categories, including synaptic plasticity, calcium signaling, and AD-associated neurodegeneration related to amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ) clearance. Specifically, normalized expression levels were found for endothelin converting enzyme-2 (Ece2), insulin degrading enzyme (Ide), Dyrk1a, and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (Camk2a), among other relevant genes. Single population expression profiling of vulnerable CA1 pyramidal neurons indicates that MCS is a viable therapeutic for long-term reprogramming of key transcripts involved in neuronal signaling that are dysregulated in the trisomic mouse brain which have translational potential for DS and AD.
PMCID:5874173
PMID: 29394516
ISSN: 1098-1063
CID: 2933942