Mini-Forum on Neurotransmitters and Alzheimer's Disease (Guest Editor: P. Hemachandra Reddy)
P. Hemachandra Reddy
A Critical Assessment of Research on Neurotransmitters in Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: The purpose of this mini-forum, “Neurotransmitters and Alzheimer’s Disease”, is to critically assess the current status of neurotransmitters in Alzheimer’s disease. Neurotransmitters are essential neurochemicals that maintain synaptic and cognitive functions in mammals, including humans, by sending signals across pre- and postsynaptic neurons. Authorities in synaptic and neurotransmitters in the field of Alzheimer’s disease summarize the current status of basic biology of synapses and neurotransmitters, and also update the current status of clinical trials of neurotransmitters in Alzheimer’s disease. This article discusses the prevalence, economic impact, and stages of Alzheimer’s dementia in humans.
Ravi Rajmohan, P. Hemachandra Reddy
Amyloid-Beta and Phosphorylated Tau Accumulations Cause Abnormalities at Synapses of Alzheimer’s Disease Neurons
Abstract: Amyloid-beta (Aβ) and hyperphosphorylated tau are hallmark lesions of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the loss of synapses and dysfunctions of neurotransmission are more directly tied to disease severity. The role of these lesions in the pathoetiological progression of the disease remains contested. Biochemical, cellular, molecular, and pathological studies provided several lines of evidence and improved our understanding of how Aβ and hyperphosphorylated tau accumulation may directly harm synapses and alter neurotransmission. In vitro evidence suggests that Aβ and hyperphosphorylated tau have both direct and indirect cytotoxic effects that affect neurotransmission, axonal transport, signaling cascades, organelle function, and immune response in ways that lead to synaptic loss and dysfunctions in neurotransmitter release. Observations in preclinical models and autopsy studies support these findings, suggesting that while the pathoetiology of positive lesions remains elusive, their removal may reduce disease severity and progression. The purpose of this article is to highlight the need for further investigation of the role of tau in disease progression and its interactions with Aβ and neurotransmitters alike.
Cynthia L. Bethea, Arubala P. Reddy, Fernanda Lima Christian
How Studies of the Serotonin System in Macaque Models of Menopause Relate to Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Serotonin plays a key role in mood or affect, and dysfunction of the serotonin system has been linked to depression in humans and animal models. Depression appears prior to or coincident with overt symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in about 50% of patients, and some experts consider it a risk factor for the development of AD. In addition, AD is more prevalent in women, who also show increased incidence of depression. Indeed, it has been proposed that mechanisms underlying depression overlap the mechanisms thought to hasten AD. Women undergo ovarian failure and cessation of ovarian steroid production in middle age and the postmenopausal period correlates with an increase in the onset of depression and AD. This laboratory has examined the many actions of ovarian steroids in the serotonin system of non-human primates using a rhesus macaque model of surgical menopause with short or long-term estradiol (E) or estradiol plus progesterone (E+P) replacement therapy. In this mini-review, we present a brief synopsis of the relevant literature concerning AD, depression, and serotonin. We also present some of our data on serotonin neuron viability, the involvement of the caspase-independent pathway, and apoptosis-inducing factor in serotonin-neuron viability, as well as gene expression related to neurodegeneration and neuron viability in serotonin neurons from adult and aged surgical menopausal macaques. We show that ovarian steroids, particularly E, are crucial for serotonin neuron function and health. In the absence of E, serotonin neurons are endangered and deteriorating toward apoptosis. The possibility that this scenario may proceed or accompany AD in postmenopausal women seems likely.
Saurabh Kumar Jha, Niraj Kumar Jha, Dhiraj Kumar, Renu Sharma, Abhishek Shrivastava, Rashmi K Ambasta and Pravir Kumar
Stress-Induced Synaptic Dysfunction and Neurotransmitter Release in Alzheimer’s Disease: Can Neurotransmitters and Neuromodulators be Potential Therapeutic Targets?
Abstract: The communication between neurons at synaptic junctions is an intriguing process that monitors the transmission of various electro-chemical signals in the central nervous system. Albeit any aberration in the mechanisms associated with transmission of these signals leads to loss of synaptic contacts in both the neocortex and hippocampus thereby causing insidious cognitive decline and memory dysfunction. Compelling evidence suggests that soluble amyloid-β (Aβ) and hyperphosphorylated tau serve as toxins in the dysfunction of synaptic plasticity and aberrant neurotransmitter (NT) release at synapses consequently causing a cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Further, an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission systems induced by impaired redox signaling and altered mitochondrial integrity is also amenable for such abnormalities. Defective NT release at the synaptic junction causes several detrimental effects associated with altered activity of synaptic proteins, transcription factors, Ca2+ homeostasis, and other molecules critical for neuronal plasticity. These detrimental effects further disrupt the normal homeostasis of neuronal cells and thereby causing synaptic loss. Moreover, the precise mechanistic role played by impaired NTs and neuromodulators (NMs) and altered redox signaling in synaptic dysfunction remains mysterious, and their possible interlink still needs to be investigated. Therefore, this review elucidates the intricate role played by both defective NTs/NMs and altered redox signaling in synaptopathy. Further, the involvement of numerous pharmacological approaches to compensate neurotransmission imbalance has also been discussed, which may be considered as a potential therapeutic approach in synaptopathy associated with AD.
Rui Wang, P. Hemachandra Reddy
Role of Glutamate and NMDA Receptors in Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Excitatory glutamatergic neurotransmission via N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is critical for synaptic plasticity and survival of neurons. However, excessive NMDAR activity causes excitotoxicity and promotes cell death, underlying a potential mechanism of neurodegeneration occurred in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Studies indicate that the distinct outcomes of NMDAR-mediated responses are induced by regionalized receptor activities, followed by different downstream signaling pathways. The activation of synaptic NMDARs initiates plasticity and stimulates cell survival. In contrast, the activation of extrasynaptic NMDARs promotes cell death and thus contributes to the etiology of AD, which can be blocked by an AD drug, memantine, an NMDAR antagonist that selectively blocks the function of extrasynaptic NMDARs.
Ramesh Kandimalla, P. Hemachandra Reddy
Therapeutics of Neurotransmitters in Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, characterized by the loss of memory, multiple cognitive impairments and changes in the personality and behavior. Several decades of intense research have revealed that multiple cellular changes are involved in disease process, including synaptic damage, mitochondrial abnormalities and inflammatory responses, in addition to formation and accumulation of amyloid- (A) and phosphorylated tau. Although tremendous progress has been made in understanding the impact of neurotransmitters in the progression and pathogenesis of AD, we still do not have a drug molecule associated with neurotransmitter(s) that can delay disease process in elderly individuals and/or restore cognitive functions in AD patients. The purpose of our article is to assess the latest developments in neurotransmitters research using cell and mouse models of AD. We also updated the current status of clinical trials using neurotransmitters’ agonists/antagonists in AD.
Lan Guo, Jing Tian, Heng Du
Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Synaptic Transmission Failure in Alzheimer's Disease
Abstract: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder, in which multiple risk factors converge. Despite the complexity of the etiology of the disease, synaptic failure is the pathological basis of cognitive impairment, the cardinal sign of AD. Decreased synaptic density, compromised synaptic transmission, and defected synaptic plasticity are hallmark synaptic pathologies accompanying AD. However, the mechanisms by which synapses are injured in AD-related conditions have not been fully elucidated yet. Mitochondria are a critical organelle in neurons. The pivotal role of mitochondria in supporting synaptic function and the concomitant occurrence of mitochondrial dysfunction with synaptic stress in postmortem AD brains as well as AD animal models seem to lend the credibility to the hypothesis that mitochondrial defects underlie synaptic failure in AD. This concept is further strengthened by the protective effect of mitochondrial medicine on synaptic function against the toxicity of amyloid-β, a key player in the pathogenesis of AD. In this review, we focus on the association between mitochondrial dysfunction and synaptic transmission deficits in AD. Impaired mitochondrial energy production, deregulated mitochondrial calcium handling, excess mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation, and release play a crucial role in mediating synaptic transmission deregulation in AD. The understanding of the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in synaptic stress may lead to novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of AD through the protection of synaptic transmission by targeting to mitochondrial deficits.
Qian Cai, Prasad Tammineni
Mitochondrial Aspects of Synaptic Dysfunction in Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by brain deposition of amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles along with steady cognitive decline. Synaptic damage, an early pathological event, correlates strongly with cognitive deficits and memory loss. Mitochondria are essential organelles for synaptic function. Neurons utilize specialized mechanisms to drive mitochondrial trafficking to synapses in which mitochondria buffer Ca2+ and serve as local energy sources by supplying ATP to sustain neurotransmitter release. Mitochondrial abnormalities are one of the earliest and prominent features in AD patient brains. Amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau both trigger mitochondrial alterations. Accumulating evidence suggests that mitochondrial perturbation acts as a key factor that is involved in synaptic failure and degeneration in AD. The importance of mitochondria in supporting synaptic function has made them a promising target of new therapeutic strategy for AD. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms regulating mitochondrial function at synapses, highlight recent findings on the disturbance of mitochondrial dynamics and transport in AD, and discuss how these alterations impact synaptic vesicle release and thus contribute to synaptic pathology associated with AD.
Eric Tönnies, Eugenia Trushina
Oxidative Stress, Synaptic Dysfunction, and Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder without a cure. Most AD cases are sporadic where age represents the greatest risk factor. Lack of understanding of the disease mechanism hinders the development of efficacious therapeutic approaches. The loss of synapses in the affected brain regions correlates best with cognitive impairment in AD patients and has been considered as the early mechanism that precedes neuronal loss. Oxidative stress has been recognized as a contributing factor in aging and in the progression of multiple neurodegenerative diseases including AD. Increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) associated with age- and disease-dependent loss of mitochondrial function, altered metal homeostasis, and reduced antioxidant defense directly affect synaptic activity and neurotransmission in neurons leading to cognitive dysfunction. In addition, molecular targets affected by ROS include nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, lipids, proteins, calcium homeostasis, mitochondrial dynamics and function, cellular architecture, receptor trafficking and endocytosis, and energy homeostasis. Abnormal cellular metabolism in turn could affect the production and accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) and hyperphosphorylated Tau protein, which independently could exacerbate mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS production, thereby contributing to a vicious cycle. While mounting evidence implicates ROS in the AD etiology, clinical trials with antioxidant therapies have not produced consistent results. In this review, we will discuss the role of oxidative stress in synaptic dysfunction in AD, innovative therapeutic strategies evolved based on a better understanding of the complexity of molecular mechanisms of AD, and the dual role ROS play in health and disease.
Shanya Jiang and Kiran Bhaskar
Dynamics of the Complement, Cytokine, and Chemokine Systems in the Regulation of Synaptic Function and Dysfunction Relevant to Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia affecting nearly 45 million people worldwide. However, the etiology of AD is still unclear. Accumulations of amyloid-β plaques and tau tangles, neuroinflammation, and synaptic and neuronal loss are the major neuropathological hallmarks of AD, with synaptic loss being the strongest correlating factor with memory and cognitive impairment in AD. Many of these pathological hallmarks influence each other during the onset and progression of the disease. Recent genetic evidences suggest the possibility of a causal link between altered immune pathways and synaptic dysfunction in AD. Emerging studies also suggest that immune system-mediated synaptic pruning could initiate early-stage pathogenesis of AD. This comprehensive review is toward understanding the crosstalk of neuron-microglia-astrocyte and dynamics of complement, cytokine, and chemokine systems in the regulation of synaptic function and dysfunction relevant to AD. We start with summarizing several immune pathways, involving complements, MHC-I and CX3CL1, which mediate synaptic elimination during development and in AD. We then will discuss the potential of targeting these molecules as therapeutic interventions or as biomarkers for AD.
Eric B. Gonzales and Nathalie Sumien
Acidity and Acid-Sensing Ion Channels in the Normal and Alzheimer’s Disease Brain
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease prevalence has reached epidemic proportion with very few treatment options, which are associated with a multitude of side effects. A potential avenue of research for new therapies are protons, and their associated receptor: acid-sensing ion channels (ASIC). Protons are often overlooked neurotransmitters, and proton-gated currents have been identified in the brain. Furthermore, ASICs have been determined to be crucial for proper brain function. While there is more work to be done, this review is intended to highlight protons as neurotransmitters and their role along with the role of ASICs within physiological functioning of the brain. We will also cover the pathophysiological associations between ASICs and modulators of ASICs. Finally, this review will sum up how the studies of protons, ASICs, and their modulators may generate new therapeutic molecules for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Chia-Chi Huang, Ciro Isidoro (Handling Associate Editor: Fabrizio Piazza)
Raman Spectrometric Detection Methods for Early and Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: The continuous increasing rate of patients suffering of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) worldwide requires the adoption of novel techniques for non-invasive early diagnosis and monitoring of the disease. Here we review the various Raman spectroscopic techniques, including Fourier Transform-Raman spectroscopy, surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy, coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering spectroscopy, and confocal Raman microspectroscopy, that could be used for the diagnosis of AD. These techniques have shown the potential to detect AD biomarkers, such as the amyloid-β peptide and the tau protein, or the neurotransmitters involved in the disease (e.g., Glutamate and γ-Aminobutyric acid), or the typical structural alterations in specific brain areas. The possibility to detect the specific biomarkers in liquid biopsies and to obtain high resolution 3D microscope images of the affected area make the Raman spectroscopy a valuable ally in the early diagnosis and monitoring of AD.
Xin-jun Liu, Jun Wei, Ying-hui Shang, Han-chang Huang, Feng-xue Lao
Modulation of AβPP and GSK3β by Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Involvement in Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a dementia disease with neuronal loss and synaptic impairment. This impairment is caused, at least partly, by the generation of two main AD hallmarks, namely the hyperphosphorylated tau protein comprising neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques containing amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides. The amyloid-β protein precursor (AβPP) and glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) are two main proteins associated with AD and are closely correlated with these hallmarks. Recently, both of the proteins were reported to be modulated by endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and are involved in the pathogenesis of AD. The mechanism of ERS plus the modulation of AβPP processing and GSK3β activity by ERS in AD are summarized and explored in this review.
Gisela Esquerda-Canals, Laia Montoliu-Gaya, Jofre Güell-Bosch, Sandra Villegas
Mouse Models of Alzheimer’s Disease
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that nowadays affects more than 40 million people worldwide and it is predicted to exponentially increase in the coming decades. Because no curative treatment exists, research on the pathophysiology of the disease, as well as the testing of new drugs, are mandatory. For these purposes, animal models constitute a valuable, although perfectible tool. This review takes a tour through several aspects of mouse models of AD, such as the generation of transgenic models, the relevance of the promoter driving the expression of the transgenes, and the concrete transgenes used to simulate AD pathophysiology. Then, transgenic mouse lines harboring mutated human genes at several loci such as APP, PSEN1, APOE4, and ob (leptin) are reviewed. Therefore, not only the accumulation of the Aβ peptide is emulated but also cholesterol and insulin metabolism. Further novel information about the disease will allow for the development of more accurate animal models, which in turn will undoubtedly be helpful for bringing preclinical research closer to clinical trials in humans.
Stefano Gazzina, Silvana Archetti, Antonella Alberici, Elisa Bonomi, Maura Cosseddu, Diego Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Padovani, Barbara Borroni (Handling Associate Editor: Emilio Di Maria)
Frontotemporal Dementia due to the Novel GRN Arg161GlyfsX36 Mutation
Abstract: Progranulin is a multifunctional growth factor mainly expressed in neurons and microglia. Loss-of-function mutations in the Granulin (GRN) gene are causative of frontotemporal dementia with TAR DNA-binding protein-43 inclusions. We reported the case of a 51-year-old male patient affected by sporadic agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia, in whom we identified a novel heterozygous deletion in the exon 6 (g.10338_39delAG, p.Arg161GlyfsX36). Plasma progranulin levels were significantly reduced and in silico analysis predicted a premature termination codon. This case expands our knowledge on GRN mutations in frontotemporal dementia.
Robin Wingbermühle, Ke-Xin Wen, Frank Wolters, M. Arfan Ikram, Daniel Bos
Smoking, APOE Genotype, and Cognitive Decline: The Rotterdam Study
Abstract: The association of smoking with preclinical cognitive decline remains unclear and may be modified by the APOE ε4 genotype. In 5,705 participants (mean age: 63.9 ± 9.1 years; 57.4% women) from the population-based Rotterdam Study, we investigated the relationship between smoking and cognitive decline over a 5.5-year period and examined potential effect modification by APOE ε4 genotype. We found that current smoking was related to decline in global cognition [difference compared to never smoking: -0.06 (95% C.I.-0.10;-0.01)], as well as decline on specific cognitive tests including the Letter Digit Substitution Task, the 15-Word Learning Test, and the Purdue Pegboard. We found no evidence for effect modification by APOE ε4 genotype on this relation.
Kaarin J. Anstey, Ranmalee Eramudugolla, Sidhant Chopra, Jasmine Price, Joanne Wood (Handling Associate Editor: Mark Bondi)
Assessment of Driving Safety in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment
Abstract: Background: With population aging, drivers with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are increasing; however, there is little evidence available regarding their safety. Objective: We aimed to evaluate risk of unsafe on-road driving performance among older adults with MCI. Method: The study was a cross-sectional observational study, set in Canberra, Australia. Participants were non-demented, current drivers (n = 302) aged 65 to 96 years (M = 75.7, SD = 6.18, 40% female) recruited through the community and primary and tertiary care clinics. Measures included a standardized on-road driving test (ORT), a battery of screening measures designed to evaluate older driver safety (UFOV®, Drive Safe, Multi-D), a neurocognitive test battery, and questionnaires on driving history and behavior. Results: Using Winblad criteria, 57 participants were classified as having MCI and 245 as cognitively normal (CN). While the MCI group had a significantly lower overall safety rating on the ORT (5.61 versus 6.05, p = 0.03), there was a wide range of driving safety scores in the CN and MCI groups. The MCI group performed worse than the CN group on the off-road screening tests. The best fitting model of predictors of the ORT performance across the combined sample included age, the Multi-D, and DriveSafe, classifying 90.4% of the sample correctly. Conclusion: Adults with MCI exhibit a similar range of driving ability to CN adults, although on average they scored lower on off-road and on-road assessments. Driving specific tests were more strongly associated with safety ratings than traditional neuropsychological tests.
Huajing Yin, Weiping Wang, Wenwen Yu, Jiang Li, Nan Feng, Ling Wang, Xiaoliang Wang
Changes in Synaptic Plasticity and Glutamate Receptors in Type 2 Diabetic KK-Ay Mice
Abstract: In the present study, the progressive alteration of cognition and the mechanisms of reduction in long-term potentiation (LTP) in spontaneous obese KK-Ay type 2 diabetic mice were investigated. In the study, 3-, 5-, and 7-month-old KK-Ay mice were used. The results indicated that KK-Ay mice showed cognitive deficits in the Morris water maze test beginning at the age of 3 months. LTP was significantly impaired in KK-Ay mice during whole study period (3 to 7 months). The above deficits were reversible at an early stage (3 to 5 months old) by diet intervention. Moreover, we found the underlying mechanisms of LTP impairment in KK-Ay mice might be attributed to abnormal phosphorylation or expression of postsynaptic glutamate receptor subunits instead of alteration of basal synaptic transmission. The expression levels of NR1, NR2A, and NR2B subunits of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors were unchanged while the Tyr-dependent phosphorylation of both NR2A and NR2B subunits were significantly reduced in KK-Ay mice. The level of p-Src expression mediating this process was decreased, and the level of αCaMKII autophosphorylation was also reduced. Meanwhile, the GluR1 of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptors (AMPARs) was decreased, and GluR2 was significantly increased. These data suggest that deficits in synaptic plasticity in KK-Ay mice may arise from the abnormal phosphorylation of the NR2 subunits and the alteration of subunit composition of AMPARs. Diet intervention at an early stage of diabetes might alleviate the cognitive deficits and LTP reduction in KK-Ay mice.
Shunichiro Shinagawa, Kazue Shigenobu, Kenji Tagai, Ryuji Fukuhara, Naoto Kamimura, Takaaki Mori, Kenji Yoshiyama, Hiroaki Kazui, Kazuhiko Nakayama, Manabu Ikeda
Violation of Laws in Frontotemporal Dementia: A Multicenter Study in Japan
Abstract: Although violations of laws, such as shoplifting, are considered to be common in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients, there have been few studies on this subject and the frequencies and types of such violations have not been clarified. The objective of this study was to conduct a retrospective investigation of FTD patients in the psychiatry departments of multiple institutions to determine the types and frequencies of any law violations and compare them with those of AD patients. All patients were examined between January 2011 and December 2015 at the specialized dementia outpatient clinics of 10 facilities (5 psychiatry departments of university hospitals, 5 psychiatric hospitals). According to diagnostic criteria, 73 behavior variant FTD (bvFTD) patients, 84 semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (svPPA) patients, and 225 age- and sex-matched AD subjects as the control group were selected. The findings revealed a higher rate of law violations in the bvFTD and svPPA patients before the initial consultation as compared to the AD group (bvFTD: 33%, svPPA: 21%, AD: 6%) and that many patients had been referred due to such violations. Laws had been broken 4 times or 5 or more times in several cases in the FTD group before the initial consultation. Regarding rates for different types of violation, in bvFTD subjects, the highest rate was for theft, followed by nuisance acts and hit and run. In svPPA, theft had the highest rate, followed by ignoring road signs. There was no gender difference in law violations but they were more frequent when the disease was severe at the initial consultation in the FTD group. As the rates of law violations after the initial consultation were lower than before it, interventions were considered to have been effective. These findings may be useful for future prevention as well as to the legal system.
Sara J. Czaja, David A. Loewenstein, Samir A. Sabbag, Rosie E. Curiel, Elizabeth Crocco, Philip D. Harvey
A Novel Method for Direct Assessment of Everyday Competence Among Older Adults
Abstract: Background: Recent findings indicate that impairments in functional performance do occur among individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Most assessment strategies for everyday competence are associated with challenges with reliability, are typically in paper and pencil format, or require in-person administration by a trained professional. Objective: This paper reports on a novel technology-based assessment battery of everyday competence that includes ecologically valid simulations of daily activities important to independence. Methods: The sample included 85 non-cognitively impaired older adults aged 65+ and 62 older adults diagnosed with amnestic MCI (aMCI). Participants completed standard measures of cognitive abilities and the computerized battery of everyday tasks, which included simulations of a doctor’s visit; and medication and financial management tasks. Results: The older adults with aMCI performed significantly poorer on all three tasks in the everyday task battery. Performance on these measures were also moderately correlated with standard measures of cognitive abilities and showed good test-retest reliability. Conclusions: The results show that it is feasible to use a technology-based assessment battery of everyday tasks with both non-cognitively impaired older adults and older adults with MCI. The use of this type of battery can overcome many of the logistic constraints associated with current functional assessment protocols.
Celia O’Hare, Rose-Anne Kenny, Howard Aizenstein, Robert Boudreau Anne Newman, Lenore Launer, Suzanne Satterfield, Kristine Yaffe, Caterina Rosano for the Health ABC Study (Handling Associate Editor: Walter Struhal)
Cognitive Status, Gray Matter Atrophy, and Lower Orthostatic Blood Pressure in Older Adults
Abstract: Background: Associations between orthostatic blood pressure and cognitive status (CS) have been described with conflicting results. Objective: We hypothesize that long-term exposure to lower orthostatic blood pressure is related to having worse CS later in life and that atrophy of regions involved in central regulation of autonomic function mediate these associations. Methods: Three-to-four measures of orthostatic blood pressure were obtained from 1997-2003 in a longitudinal cohort of aging, and average systolic orthostatic blood pressure response (ASOBPR) was computed as % change in systolic blood pressure from sit-to-stand measured at one minute post stand. CS was determined in 2010-2012 by clinician-adjudication (n=240; age=87.1±2.6; 59% women; 37% black) with a subsample also undergoing concurrent structural neuroimaging (n=129). Gray matter volume of regions related to autonomic function was measured. Multinomial regression was used to compare ASOBPR in those who were cognitively intact versus those with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or dementia, controlling for demographics, trajectories of seated blood pressure, incident cardiovascular risk/events and medications measured from 1997 to 2012. Models were repeated in the subsample with neuroimaging, before and after adjustment for regional gray matter volume. Results: There was an inverse association between ASOBPR and probability of dementia diagnosis (9% lower probability for each % point higher ASOBPR: OR 0.91, CI95%=0.85-0.98; p=0.01). Associations were similar in the subgroup with neuroimaging before and after adjustment for regional gray matter volume. Conclusion: ASOBPR may be an early marker of risk of dementia in older adults living in the community.
Marta Fernández-Matarrubia, Jordi A. Matías-Guiu, María Nieves Cabrera-Martín, Teresa Moreno-Ramos, María Valles-Salgado, José Luis Carreras, Jorge Matías-Guiu
Episodic Memory Dysfunction in Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia: A Clinical And FDG-PET Study
Abstract: Background: Episodic memory disturbance is still considered as an exclusion criterion for behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), but growing evidence suggests that memory can be impaired. Objective: Our main purposes were to assess episodic memory in a group of bvFTD patients comparatively with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients, and analyze the relationship between episodic memory and brain metabolism measured using positron emission tomography imaging with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET). Methods: Twenty-six bvFTD, 29 AD, and 24 healthy controls were included. Episodic memory was assessed by the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test (FCSRT), which controls for effective encoding and measures memory consolidation processing. All participants underwent FDG-PET brain scans to provide data for voxel-based brain mapping analysis. Results: Half of bvFTD patients had a deficit of total, free delayed, and total free delayed recall as severe as AD patients (amnestic-FTD). The other half had FCSRT scores similar to controls (non-amnestic-FTD). Imaging analyses revealed that amnestic-FTD showed bilateral lower metabolism than non-amnestic-FTD in anterior parahippocampal and inferior temporal gyri. Additionally, FCSRT total and total delayed scores were inversely correlated with parahippocampal metabolism in both bvFTD and AD. Besides, bvFTD showed an inverse association among FCSRT and inferior temporal metabolism. Conclusions: Our findings support that bvFTD could present a genuine amnesia affecting storage and consolidation abilities, which involves structures implicated in the Papez circuit, as occurs in AD, and also inferior temporal regions. These results contribute to understanding the mechanisms underpinning memory dysfunction in bvFTD, and may be relevant to further revisions of the current diagnostic criteria.
Evan Dorey*, Michelle Bamji-Mirza*, Dema Najem, Yan Li, Hong Liu, Debbie Callaghan, Douglas Walker, Lih-Fen Lue, Danica Stanimirovic, Wandong Zhang *These authors contributed equally to this work.
Apolipoprotein E Isoforms Differentially Regulate Alzheimer’s Disease and Amyloid-β-Induced Inflammatory Response in vivo and in vitro
Abstract: Neuroinflammation plays a critical role in neuronal dysfunction and death of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). ApoE4 is a major risk factor of AD, while ApoE2 is neuroprotective. Little is known about the roles of ApoE isoforms in the neuroinflammation seen in AD. Their roles and mechanisms in Aβ-induced/neuroinflammation were investigated in this study using in vivo and in vitro models. Rat astrocytes were treated with lipid-poor recombinant hApoE or/and Aβ42. Mouse astrocyte lines-expressing lipidated hApoE were treated with Aβ42 or/and vitamin D receptor (VDR) agonist, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Cells and media were harvested for cytokine ELISA, RNA isolated for qRT-PCR, and nuclear protein for transcription factor (TF) arrays and EMSA. hApoE-transgenic and AD mice were mated to generate hApoE2/AD and hApoE4/AD mice. Mice were sacrificed at 6 months of age. Brain tissues were collected for cytokine ELISA array, Aβ ELISA, immunoblotting, and immunohistochemistry. hApoE4/AD mice had significantly higher levels of inflammatory cytokines than hApoE2/AD mice. Lipidated hApoE4 significantly promoted inflammatory gene expression induced by Aβ42 but not recombinant hApoE4 in astrocytes as compared to controls. Lipidated hApoE3 provided a certain degree of protection against Aβ42-induced inflammatory response but not recombinant hApoE3 as compared to controls. Both lipidated and recombinant hApoE2 provided protection against Aβ42-induced inflammatory response compared to controls. TF array revealed that ApoE2 strongly activated VDR in Aβ42-treated astrocytes. Application of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 completely inhibited Aβ-induced inflammatory gene expression in hApoE4-expressing astrocytes. The results suggest that ApoE4 promotes, but ApoE2 inhibits, AD/Aβ-induced neuroinflammation via VDR signaling. Targeting VDR signaling may relieve AD neuroinflammation.
Inmaculada Lopez-Font, Claudia P. Boix, Henrik Zetterberg, Kaj Blennow, Javier Sáez-Valero (Handling Associate Editor: Miguel Calero)
Alterations in the Balance of Amyloid-β Protein Precursor Species in the Cerebrospinal Fluid of Alzheimer’s Disease Patients
Abstract: We recently demonstrated that soluble forms of the amyloid-β protein precursor (sAβPP) assemble into multimeric complexes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which contributes to the underestimation of specific sAβPP species when assessed by ELISA. To circumvent this issue, we analyzed by SDS-PAGE large fragments of sAβPP and their variants in the CSF from Alzheimer’s disease (AD; n=20) and control (n=20) subjects, probing with specific antibodies against particular domains. Similar levels of sAβPPα and sAβPPβ protein were found in CSF samples from AD and controls, yet there appeared to be a shift in the balance of the soluble full-length AβPP (sAβPPf) species in AD samples, with a decrease in the proportion of the lower (~100 kDa) band relative to the upper (~120 kDa) band. Similar differences were observed in the contribution of the major KPI-immunoreactive AβPP species. CSF samples also displayed differences in the correlations of AβPP species with classical AD biomarkers, particularly with respect to the Aβ42 peptide. The differences reveal alterations that probably reflect pathophysiological changes in the brain.
Joshua Stott, Katrina Scior, William Mandy, Georgina Charlesworth (Handling Associate Editor: Jason Brandt)
Dementia Screening Accuracy is Robust to Premorbid IQ Variation: Evidence from the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-III and the Test of Premorbid Function
Abstract: Background: Scores on cognitive screening tools for dementia are associated with premorbid IQ. It has been suggested that screening scores should be adjusted accordingly. However, no study has examined whether premorbid IQ variation affects screening accuracy. Objective: To investigate whether the screening accuracy of a widely used cognitive screening tool for dementia, the Addenbrooke’s cognitive examination-III (ACE-III), is improved by adjusting for premorbid IQ. Methods: 171 UK based adults (96 memory service attendees diagnosed with dementia and 75 healthy volunteers over the age of 65 without subjective memory impairments) completed the ACE-III and the Test of Premorbid Function (TOPF). The difference in screening performance between the ACE-III alone and the ACE-III adjusted for TOPF was assessed against a reference standard; the presence or absence of a diagnosis of dementia (Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or others). Results: Logistic regression and receiver operating curve analyses indicated that the ACE-III has excellent screening accuracy (93% sensitivity, 94% specificity) in distinguishing those with and without a dementia diagnosis. Although ACE-III scores were associated with TOPF scores, TOPF scores may be affected by having dementia and screening accuracy was not improved by accounting for premorbid IQ, age, or years of education. Conclusion: ACE-III screening accuracy is high and screening performance is robust to variation in premorbid IQ, age, and years of education. Adjustment of ACE-III cut-offs for premorbid IQ is not recommended in clinical practice. The analytic strategy used here may be useful to assess the impact of premorbid IQ on other screening tools.
Sina Ochmann, Martin Dyrba, Michel J. Grothe, Elisabeth Kasper, Steffi Webel, Karlheinz Hauenstein, Stefan J. Teipel
Does Functional Connectivity Provide a Marker for Cognitive Rehabilitation Effects in Alzheimer’s Disease? An Interventional Study
Abstract: Background: Cognitive rehabilitation (CR) is a cognitive intervention for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that aims to maintain everyday competences. The analysis of functional connectivity (FC) in resting-state functional MRI has been used to investigate the effects of cognitive interventions. Objectives: We evaluated the effect of CR on the default mode network FC in a group of patients with mild AD, compared to an active control group. Methods: We performed a three-month interventional study including 16 patients with a diagnosis of AD. The intervention group (IG) consisted of eight patients, performing twelve sessions of CR. The active control group (CG) performed a standardized cognitive training. We used a seed region placed in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) for FC analysis, comparing scans acquired before and after the intervention. Effects were thresholded at a significance of p < 0.001 (uncorrected) and a minimal cluster size of 50 voxels. Results: The interaction of group by time showed a higher increase of PCC connectivity in IG compared to CG in the bilateral cerebellar cortex. CG revealed widespread, smaller clusters of higher FC increase compared with IG. Across all participants, an increase in quality of life was associated with connectivity increase over time in the bilateral precuneus. Conclusions: CR showed an effect on the FC of the DMN in the IG. These effects need further study in larger samples to confirm if FC analysis may suit as a surrogate marker for the effect of cognitive interventions in AD.
Katharina Brueggen, Elisabeth Kasper, Sina Ochmann, Henrike Pfaff, Steffi Webel, Wolfgang Schneider, Stefan Teipel
Cognitive Rehabilitation in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Controlled Intervention Trial
Abstract: Background: Cognitive Rehabilitation for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an integrative multimodal intervention. It aims to maintain autonomy and quality of life by enhancing the patients’ abilities to compensate for decreased cognitive functioning. Objective: We evaluated the feasibility of a group–based Cognitive Rehabilitation approach in mild AD dementia and assessed its effect on activities of daily living (ADL). Methods: We included 16 patients with AD dementia in a controlled partial–randomized design. We adapted the manual–guided Cognitive Rehabilitation program (CORDIAL) to a group setting. Over the course of three months, one group received the Cognitive Rehabilitation intervention (n = 8), while the other group received a standardized Cognitive Training as an active control condition (n = 8). ADL–competence was measured as primary outcome. The secondary outcome parameters included cognitive abilities related to daily living, functional cognitive state, and non–cognitive domains, e.g., quality of life. For each scale, we assessed the interaction effect ‘intervention by time’, i.e., from pre– to post–intervention. Results: We found no significant interaction effect of intervention by time on the primary outcome ADL–competence. The interaction effect was significant for quality of life (Cohen’s d: -1.43), showing an increase in the intervention group compared with the control group. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the feasibility of a group–based Cognitive Rehabilitation program for patients with mild AD dementia. The Cognitive Rehabilitation showed no significant effect on ADL, possibly reflecting a lack of transfer between the therapy setting and real life. However, the group setting enhanced communication skills and coping mechanisms. Effects on ADL may not have reached statistical significance due to a limited sample size. Furthermore, future studies might use an extended duration of the intervention and integrate caregivers to a greater extent to increase transfer to activities of daily living.
Suzanne Craft, Amy Claxton, Laura D. Baker, Angela J. Hanson, Brenna Cholerton, Emily H. Trittschuh, Deborah Dahl, Erin Caulder, Bryan Neth, Thomas J. Montine, Youngkyoo Jung, Joseph Maldjian, Christopher Whitlow, Seth Friedman (Handling Associate Editor: Suzanne de la Monte)
Effects of Regular and Long-Acting Insulin on Cognition and Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarkers: A Pilot Clinical Trial
Abstract: Background: Long acting insulin detemir administered intranasally for three weeks enhanced memory for adults with Alzheimer’s disease dementia (AD) or amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The investigation of longer-term administration is necessary to determine whether benefits persist, whether they are similar to benefits provided by regular insulin, and whether either form of insulin therapy affects AD biomarkers. Objective: The present study aimed to determine whether four months of treatment with intranasal insulin detemir or regular insulin improves cognition, daily functioning, and AD biomarkers for adults with MCI or AD. Methods: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included an intent-to-treat sample consisting of 36 adults diagnosed with MCI or mild to moderate AD. Participants received placebo (n = 12), 40 IU of insulin detemir (n = 12), or 40 IU of regular insulin (n = 12) daily for four months, administered with a nasal delivery device. A cognitive battery was administered at baseline and after two and four months of treatment. MRI was administered for all participants and lumbar puncture for a subset (n=20) at baseline and four months. The primary outcome was change from baseline to four months on a memory composite (sum of Z scores for delayed list and story recall). Secondary outcomes included: global cognition (Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognition), daily functioning (Dementia Severity Rating Scale), MRI volume changes in AD-related regions of interest, and cerebrospinal fluid AD markers. Results: The regular insulin treated group had better memory after two and four months compared with placebo (p<0.03). No significant effects were observed for the detemir-assigned group compared with the placebo group, or for daily functioning for either group. Regular insulin treatment was associated with preserved volume on MRI. Regular insulin treatment was also associated with reduction in the tau-P181/A42 ratio. Conclusion: Future research is warranted to examine the mechanistic basis of treatment differences, and to further assess the efficacy and safety of intranasal insulin.