In the human brain, the morphology of cortical gyri and sulci is complex and variable among individuals, and it may reflect pathological functioning with specific abnormalities observed in certain developmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Since cortical folding occurs early during brain development, these structural abnormalities might be present long before the appearance of functional symptoms. So far, the precise mechanisms responsible for such alteration in the convolution pattern during intra-uterine or post-natal development are still poorly understood. Here we compared anatomical and functional brain development in vivo among 45 premature newborns who experienced different intra-uterine environments: 22 normal singletons, 12 twins and 11 newborns with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and dedicated post-processing tools, we investigated early disturbances in cortical formation at birth, over the developmental period critical for the emergence of convolutions (26-36 weeks of gestational age), and defined early 'endophenotypes' of sulcal development. We demonstrated that twins have a delayed but harmonious maturation, with reduced surface and sulcation index compared to singletons, whereas the gyrification of IUGR newborns is discordant to the normal developmental trajectory, with a more pronounced reduction of surface in relation to the sulcation index compared to normal newborns. Furthermore, we showed that these structural measurements of the brain at birth are predictors of infants' outcome at term equivalent age, for MRI-based cerebral volumes and neurobehavioural development evaluated with the assessment of preterm infant's behaviour (APIB).
Recent evidence suggests that neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) promote recovery in animal models with delayed neuronal death via a number of indirect bystander effects. A comprehensive knowledge of how transplanted NPCs exert their therapeutic effects is still lacking. Here, we investigated the effects of a delayed transplantation of adult syngenic NPCs-injected intravenously 72 h after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion-on neurological recovery, histopathology and gene expression. NPC-transplanted mice showed a significantly improved recovery from 18 days post-transplantation (dpt) onwards, which persisted throughout the study. A small percentage of injected NPCs accumulated in the brain, integrating mainly in the infarct boundary zone, where most of the NPCs remained undifferentiated up to 30 dpt. Histopathological analysis revealed a hitherto unreported very delayed neuroprotective effect of NPCs, becoming evident at 10 and 30 dpt. Tissue survival was associated with downregulation of markers of inflammation, glial scar formation and neuronal apoptotic death at both mRNA and protein levels. Our data highlight the relevance of very delayed degenerative processes in the stroke brain that are intimately associated with inflammatory and glial responses. These processes may efficaciously be antagonized by (stem) cell-based strategies at time-points far beyond established therapeutic windows for pharmacological neuroprotection.
The posterior cingulate cortex is a highly connected and metabolically active brain region. Recent studies suggest it has an important cognitive role, although there is no consensus about what this is. The region is typically discussed as having a unitary function because of a common pattern of relative deactivation observed during attentionally demanding tasks. One influential hypothesis is that the posterior cingulate cortex has a central role in supporting internally-directed cognition. It is a key node in the default mode network and shows increased activity when individuals retrieve autobiographical memories or plan for the future, as well as during unconstrained 'rest' when activity in the brain is 'free-wheeling'. However, other evidence suggests that the region is highly heterogeneous and may play a direct role in regulating the focus of attention. In addition, its activity varies with arousal state and its interactions with other brain networks may be important for conscious awareness. Understanding posterior cingulate cortex function is likely to be of clinical importance. It is well protected against ischaemic stroke, and so there is relatively little neuropsychological data about the consequences of focal lesions. However, in other conditions abnormalities in the region are clearly linked to disease. For example, amyloid deposition and reduced metabolism is seen early in Alzheimer's disease. Functional neuroimaging studies show abnormalities in a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, autism, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as ageing. Our own work has consistently shown abnormal posterior cingulate cortex function following traumatic brain injury, which predicts attentional impairments. Here we review the anatomy and physiology of the region and how it is affected in a range of clinical conditions, before discussing its proposed functions. We synthesize key findings into a novel model of the region's function (the 'Arousal, Balance and Breadth of Attention' model). Dorsal and ventral subcomponents are functionally separated and differences in regional activity are explained by considering: (i) arousal state; (ii) whether attention is focused internally or externally; and (iii) the breadth of attentional focus. The predictions of the model can be tested within the framework of complex dynamic systems theory, and we propose that the dorsal posterior cingulate cortex influences attentional focus by 'tuning' whole-brain metastability and so adjusts how stable brain network activity is over time.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive tauopathy that occurs as a consequence of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. We analysed post-mortem brains obtained from a cohort of 85 subjects with histories of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 68 subjects: all males, ranging in age from 17 to 98 years (mean 59.5 years), including 64 athletes, 21 military veterans (86% of whom were also athletes) and one individual who engaged in self-injurious head banging behaviour. Eighteen age- and gender-matched individuals without a history of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury served as control subjects. In chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the spectrum of hyperphosphorylated tau pathology ranged in severity from focal perivascular epicentres of neurofibrillary tangles in the frontal neocortex to severe tauopathy affecting widespread brain regions, including the medial temporal lobe, thereby allowing a progressive staging of pathology from stages I-IV. Multifocal axonal varicosities and axonal loss were found in deep cortex and subcortical white matter at all stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. TAR DNA-binding protein 43 immunoreactive inclusions and neurites were also found in 85% of cases, ranging from focal pathology in stages I-III to widespread inclusions and neurites in stage IV. Symptoms in stage I chronic traumatic encephalopathy included headache and loss of attention and concentration. Additional symptoms in stage II included depression, explosivity and short-term memory loss. In stage III, executive dysfunction and cognitive impairment were found, and in stage IV, dementia, word-finding difficulty and aggression were characteristic. Data on athletic exposure were available for 34 American football players; the stage of chronic traumatic encephalopathy correlated with increased duration of football play, survival after football and age at death. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy was the sole diagnosis in 43 cases (63%); eight were also diagnosed with motor neuron disease (12%), seven with Alzheimer's disease (11%), 11 with Lewy body disease (16%) and four with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (6%). There is an ordered and predictable progression of hyperphosphorylated tau abnormalities through the nervous system in chronic traumatic encephalopathy that occurs in conjunction with widespread axonal disruption and loss. The frequent association of chronic traumatic encephalopathy with other neurodegenerative disorders suggests that repetitive brain trauma and hyperphosphorylated tau protein deposition promote the accumulation of other abnormally aggregated proteins including TAR DNA-binding protein 43, amyloid beta protein and alpha-synuclein.
The PET tracer [F-18]-AV-1451 allows visualization of tau pathology in living subjects. Ossenkoppele et al. employ the tracer in patients with distinct Alzheimer's disease variants to investigate correlates of tau deposition. Pathological aggregation of tau, but not amyloid-beta, is linked to patterns of neurodegeneration and clinical manifestations of Alzheimer's disease.See Sarazin et al. (doi:10.1093/brain/aww041) for a scientific commentary on this article. The PET tracer [F-18]-AV-1451 allows visualization of tau pathology in living subjects. Ossenkoppele et al. employ the tracer in patients with distinct Alzheimer's disease variants to investigate correlates of tau deposition. Pathological aggregation of tau, but not amyloid-beta, is linked to patterns of neurodegeneration and clinical manifestations of Alzheimer's disease.The advent of the positron emission tomography tracer F-18-AV1451 provides the unique opportunity to visualize the regional distribution of tau pathology in the living human brain. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that tau pathology is closely linked to symptomatology and patterns of glucose hypometabolism in Alzheimer's disease, in contrast to the more diffuse distribution of amyloid-beta pathology. We included 20 patients meeting criteria for probable Alzheimer's disease dementia or mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease, presenting with a variety of clinical phenotypes, and 15 amyloid-beta-negative cognitively normal individuals, who underwent F-18-AV1451 (tau), C-11-PiB (amyloid-beta) and F-18-FDG (glucose metabolism) positron emission tomography, apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotyping and neuropsychological testing. Voxel-wise contrasts against controls (at P right temporoparietal cortex). In conclusion, tau imaging-contrary to amyloid-beta imaging-shows a strong regional association with clinical and anatomical heterogeneity in Alzheimer's disease. Although preliminary, these results are consistent with and expand upon findings from post-mortem, animal and cerebrospinal fluid studies, and suggest that the pathological aggregation of tau is closely linked to patterns of neurodegeneration and clinical manifestations of Alzheimer's disease.
Brain networks contain a minority of highly connected hub nodes with high topological value and biological cost. Using network analysis of DTI data from healthy volunteers, and meta-analyses of published MRI studies in 26 brain disorders, Crossley et al. show that lesions across disorders tend to be concentrated at hubs.Brain networks or 'connectomes' include a minority of highly connected hub nodes that are functionally valuable, because their topological centrality supports integrative processing and adaptive behaviours. Recent studies also suggest that hubs have higher metabolic demands and longer-distance connections than other brain regions, and therefore could be considered biologically costly. Assuming that hubs thus normally combine both high topological value and high biological cost, we predicted that pathological brain lesions would be concentrated in hub regions. To test this general hypothesis, we first identified the hubs of brain anatomical networks estimated from diffusion tensor imaging data on healthy volunteers (n = 56), and showed that computational attacks targeted on hubs disproportionally degraded the efficiency of brain networks compared to random attacks. We then prepared grey matter lesion maps, based on meta-analyses of published magnetic resonance imaging data on more than 20 000 subjects and 26 different brain disorders. Magnetic resonance imaging lesions that were common across all brain disorders were more likely to be located in hubs of the normal brain connectome (P < 10(-4), permutation test). Specifically, nine brain disorders had lesions that were significantly more likely to be located in hubs (P < 0.05, permutation test), including schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Both these disorders had significantly hub-concentrated lesion distributions, although (almost completely) distinct subsets of cortical hubs were lesioned in each disorder: temporal lobe hubs specifically were associated with higher lesion probability in Alzheimer's disease, whereas in schizophrenia lesions were concentrated in both frontal and temporal cortical hubs. These results linking pathological lesions to the topological centrality of nodes in the normal diffusion tensor imaging connectome were generally replicated when hubs were defined instead by the meta-analysis of more than 1500 task-related functional neuroimaging studies of healthy volunteers to create a normative functional co-activation network. We conclude that the high cost/high value hubs of human brain networks are more likely to be anatomically abnormal than non-hubs in many (if not all) brain disorders.
Electroencephalography is mandatory to determine the epilepsy syndrome. However, for the precise localization of the irritative zone in patients with focal epilepsy, costly and sometimes cumbersome imaging techniques are used. Recent small studies using electric source imaging suggest that electroencephalography itself could be used to localize the focus. However, a large prospective validation study is missing. This study presents a cohort of 152 operated patients where electric source imaging was applied as part of the pre-surgical work-up allowing a comparison with the results from other methods. Patients (n = 152) with >1 year postoperative follow-up were studied prospectively. The sensitivity and specificity of each imaging method was defined by comparing the localization of the source maximum with the resected zone and surgical outcome. Electric source imaging had a sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 88% if the electroencephalogram was recorded with a large number of electrodes (128-256 channels) and the individual magnetic resonance image was used as head model. These values compared favourably with those of structural magnetic resonance imaging (76% sensitivity, 53% specificity), positron emission tomography (69% sensitivity, 44% specificity) and ictal/interictal single-photon emission-computed tomography (58% sensitivity, 47% specificity). The sensitivity and specificity of electric source imaging decreased to 57% and 59%, respectively, with low number of electrodes (<32 channels) and a template head model. This study demonstrated the validity and clinical utility of electric source imaging in a large prospective study. Given the low cost and high flexibility of electroencephalographic systems even with high channel counts, we conclude that electric source imaging is a highly valuable tool in pre-surgical epilepsy evaluation.
Based on the recent literature and collective experience, an international consortium developed revised guidelines for the diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. The validation process retrospectively reviewed clinical records and compared the sensitivity of proposed and earlier criteria in a multi-site sample of patients with pathologically verified frontotemporal lobar degeneration. According to the revised criteria, 'possible' behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia requires three of six clinically discriminating features (disinhibition, apathy/inertia, loss of sympathy/empathy, perseverative/compulsive behaviours, hyperorality and dysexecutive neuropsychological profile). 'Probable' behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia adds functional disability and characteristic neuroimaging, while behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia 'with definite frontotemporal lobar degeneration' requires histopathological confirmation or a pathogenic mutation. Sixteen brain banks contributed cases meeting histopathological criteria for frontotemporal lobar degeneration and a clinical diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies or vascular dementia at presentation. Cases with predominant primary progressive aphasia or extra-pyramidal syndromes were excluded. In these autopsy-confirmed cases, an experienced neurologist or psychiatrist ascertained clinical features necessary for making a diagnosis according to previous and proposed criteria at presentation. Of 137 cases where features were available for both proposed and previously established criteria, 118 (86%) met 'possible' criteria, and 104 (76%) met criteria for 'probable' behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. In contrast, 72 cases (53%) met previously established criteria for the syndrome (P < 0.001 for comparison with 'possible' and 'probable' criteria). Patients who failed to meet revised criteria were significantly older and most had atypical presentations with marked memory impairment. In conclusion, the revised criteria for behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia improve diagnostic accuracy compared with previously established criteria in a sample with known frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Greater sensitivity of the proposed criteria may reflect the optimized diagnostic features, less restrictive exclusion features and a flexible structure that accommodates different initial clinical presentations. Future studies will be needed to establish the reliability and specificity of these revised diagnostic guidelines.
The importance of the cerebellum for non-motor functions is becoming more and more evident. The influence on cognitive functions from acquired cerebellar lesions during childhood, however, is not well known. We present follow-up data from 24 patients, who were operated upon during childhood for benign cerebellar tumours. The benign histology of these tumours required neither radiotherapy nor chemotherapy. Post-operatively, these children were of normal intelligence with a mean IQ of 99.1, performance intelligence quotient (PIQ) of 101.3 and verbal intelligence quotient (VIQ) of 96.8. However, 57% of patients showed abnormalities in subtesting. In addition, more extensive neuropsychological testing revealed significant problems for attention, memory, processing speed and interference. Visuo-constructive problems were marked for copying the Rey figure, but less pronounced for recall of the figure. Verbal fluency was more affected than design fluency. Behavioural deficits could be detected in 33% of patients. Attention deficit problems were marked in 12.5%, whereas others demonstrated psychiatric symptoms such as mutism, addiction problems, anorexia, uncontrolled temper tantrums and phobia. Age at tumour operation and size of tumour had no influence on outcome. Vermis involvement was related to an increase in neuropsychological and psychiatric problems. The observation that patients with left-sided cerebellar tumours were more affected than patients with right-sided tumours is probably also influenced by a more pronounced vermian involvement in the former group. In summary, this study confirms the importance of the cerebellum for cognitive development and points to the necessity of careful follow-up for these children to provide them with the necessary help to achieve full integration into professional life.
The accumulation of insoluble proteins is a pathological hallmark of several neurodegenerative disorders. Tauopathies are caused by the dysfunction and aggregation of tau protein and an impairment of cellular protein degradation pathways may contribute to their pathogenesis. Thus, a deficiency in autophagy can cause neurodegeneration, while activation of autophagy is protective against some proteinopathies. Little is known about the role of autophagy in animal models of human tauopathy. In the present report, we assessed the effects of autophagy stimulation by trehalose in a transgenic mouse model of tauopathy, the human mutant P301S tau mouse, using biochemical and immunohistochemical analyses. Neuronal survival was evaluated by stereology. Autophagy was activated in the brain, where the number of neurons containing tau inclusions was significantly reduced, as was the amount of insoluble tau protein. This reduction in tau aggregates was associated with improved neuronal survival in the cerebral cortex and the brainstem. We also observed a decrease of p62 protein, suggesting that it may contribute to the removal of tau inclusions. Trehalose failed to activate autophagy in the spinal cord, where it had no impact on the level of sarkosyl-insoluble tau. Accordingly, trehalose had no effect on the motor impairment of human mutant P301S tau transgenic mice. Our findings provide direct evidence in favour of the degradation of tau aggregates by autophagy. Activation of autophagy may be worth investigating in the context of therapies for human tauopathies.
Accumulation of the DNA/RNA binding protein fused in sarcoma as cytoplasmic inclusions in neurons and glial cells is the pathological hallmark of all patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with mutations in FUS as well as in several subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration, which are not associated with FUS mutations. The mechanisms leading to inclusion formation and fused in sarcoma-associated neurodegeneration are only poorly understood. Because fused in sarcoma belongs to a family of proteins known as FET, which also includes Ewing's sarcoma and TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15, we investigated the potential involvement of these other FET protein family members in the pathogenesis of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies. Immunohistochemical analysis of FET proteins revealed a striking difference among the various conditions, with pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations being labelled exclusively for fused in sarcoma, whereas fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration also consistently immunostained for TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and variably for Ewing's sarcoma. Immunoblot analysis of proteins extracted from post-mortem tissue of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology demonstrated a relative shift of all FET proteins towards insoluble protein fractions, while genetic analysis of the TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing's sarcoma gene did not identify any pathogenic variants. Cell culture experiments replicated the findings of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations by confirming the absence of TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing's sarcoma alterations upon expression of mutant fused in sarcoma. In contrast, all endogenous FET proteins were recruited into cytoplasmic stress granules upon general inhibition of Transportin-mediated nuclear import, mimicking the findings in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology. These results allow a separation of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies caused by FUS mutations from those without a known genetic cause based on neuropathological features. More importantly, our data imply different pathological processes underlying inclusion formation and cell death between both conditions; the pathogenesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations appears to be more restricted to dysfunction of fused in sarcoma, while a more global and complex dysregulation of all FET proteins is involved in the subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology.
The pace of nigrostriatal degeneration, both with regards to striatal denervation and loss of melanin and tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons, is poorly understood especially early in the Parkinson's disease process. This study investigated the extent of nigrostriatal degeneration in patients with Parkinson's disease at different disease durations from time of diagnosis. Brains of patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 28) with post-diagnostic intervals of 1-27 years and normal elderly control subjects (n = 9) were examined. Sections of the post-commissural putamen and substantia nigra pars compacta were processed for tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine transporter immunohistochemistry. The post-commissural putamen was selected due to tissue availability and the fact that dopamine loss in this region is associated with motor disability in Parkinson's disease. Quantitative assessments of putaminal dopaminergic fibre density and stereological estimates of the number of melanin-containing and tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (both in total and in subregions) were performed by blinded investigators in cases where suitable material was available (n = 17). Dopaminergic markers in the dorsal putamen showed a modest loss at 1 year after diagnosis in the single case available for study. There was variable (moderate to marked) loss, at 3 years. At 4 years post-diagnosis and thereafter, there was virtually complete loss of staining in the dorsal putamen with only an occasional abnormal dopaminergic fibre detected. In the substantia nigra pars compacta, there was a 50-90% loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons from the earliest time points studied with only marginal additional loss thereafter. There was only a similar to 10% loss of melanized neurons in the one case evaluated 1 year post-diagnosis, and variable (30 to 60%) loss during the first several years post-diagnosis with more gradual and subtle loss in the second decade. At all time points, there were more melanin-containing than tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells. Loss of dopaminergic markers in the dorsal putamen occurs rapidly and is virtually complete by 4 years post-diagnosis. Loss of melanized nigral neurons lags behind the loss of dopamine markers. These findings have important implications for understanding the nature of Parkinson's disease neurodegeneration and for studies of putative neuroprotective/restorative therapies.
alpha-Synuclein is the major component of filamentous inclusions that constitute the defining characteristic of neurodegenerative alpha-synucleinopathies. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying alpha-synuclein accumulation and spread are unclear. Here we show that intracerebral injections of sarkosyl-insoluble alpha-synuclein from brains of patients with dementia with Lewy bodies induced hyperphosphorylated alpha-synuclein pathology in wild-type mice. Furthermore, injection of fibrils of recombinant human and mouse alpha-synuclein efficiently induced similar alpha-synuclein pathologies in wild-type mice. C57BL/6J mice injected with alpha-synuclein fibrils developed abundant Lewy body/Lewy neurite-like pathology, whereas mice injected with soluble alpha-synuclein did not. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that endogenous mouse alpha-synuclein started to accumulate 3 months after inoculation, while injected human alpha-synuclein fibrils disappeared in about a week. These results indicate that alpha-synuclein fibrils have prion-like properties and inoculation into wild-type brain induces alpha-synuclein pathology in vivo. This is a new mouse model of sporadic alpha-synucleinopathy and should be useful for elucidating progression mechanisms and evaluating disease-modifying therapy.
Developmental dyslexia is defined as a disorder of learning to read. It is thus critical to examine the neural processes that impair learning to read during the early phase of reading acquisition, before compensatory mechanisms are adapted by older readers with dyslexia. Using electroencephalography-based event-related imaging, we investigated how tuning of visual activity for print advances in the same children before and after initial reading training in school. The focus was on a fast, coarse form of visual tuning for print, measured as an increase of the occipito-temporal N1 response at 150-270 ms in the event-related potential (ERP) to words compared to symbol strings. The results demonstrate that the initial development of reading skills and visual tuning for print progressed more slowly in those children who became dyslexic than in their control peers. Print-specific tuning in 2nd grade strongly distinguished dyslexic children from controls. It was maximal in the inferior occipito-temporal cortex, left-lateralized in controls, and reduced in dyslexic children. The results suggest that delayed initial visual tuning for print critically contributes to the development of dyslexia.
A single traumatic brain injury is associated with an increased risk of dementia and, in a proportion of patients surviving a year or more from injury, the development of hallmark Alzheimer's disease-like pathologies. However, the pathological processes linking traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease remain poorly understood. Growing evidence supports a role for neuroinflammation in the development of Alzheimer's disease. In contrast, little is known about the neuroinflammatory response to brain injury and, in particular, its temporal dynamics and any potential role in neurodegeneration. Cases of traumatic brain injury with survivals ranging from 10 h to 47 years post injury (n = 52) and age-matched, uninjured control subjects (n = 44) were selected from the Glasgow Traumatic Brain Injury archive. From these, sections of the corpus callosum and adjacent parasaggital cortex were examined for microglial density and morphology, and for indices of white matter pathology and integrity. With survival of epsilon 3 months from injury, cases with traumatic brain injury frequently displayed extensive, densely packed, reactive microglia (CR3/43- and/or CD68-immunoreactive), a pathology not seen in control subjects or acutely injured cases. Of particular note, these reactive microglia were present in 28% of cases with survival of > 1 year and up to 18 years post-trauma. In cases displaying this inflammatory pathology, evidence of ongoing white matter degradation could also be observed. Moreover, there was a 25% reduction in the corpus callosum thickness with survival > 1 year post-injury. These data present striking evidence of persistent inflammation and ongoing white matter degeneration for many years after just a single traumatic brain injury in humans. Future studies to determine whether inflammation occurs in response to or, conversely, promotes white matter degeneration will be important. These findings may provide parallels for studying neurodegenerative disease, with traumatic brain injury patients serving as a model for longitudinal investigations, in particular with a view to identifying potential therapeutic interventions.
In addition to amyloid-beta plaque and tau neurofibrillary tangle deposition, neuroinflammation is considered a key feature of Alzheimer's disease pathology. Inflammation in Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the presence of reactive astrocytes and activated microglia surrounding amyloid plaques, implicating their role in disease pathogenesis. Microglia in the healthy adult mouse depend on colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) signalling for survival, and pharmacological inhibition of this receptor results in rapid elimination of nearly all of the microglia in the central nervous system. In this study, we set out to determine if chronically activated microglia in the Alzheimer's disease brain are also dependent on CSF1R signalling, and if so, how these cells contribute to disease pathogenesis. Ten-month-old 5xfAD mice were treated with a selective CSF1R inhibitor for 1 month, resulting in the elimination of similar to 80% of microglia. Chronic microglial elimination does not alter amyloid-beta levels or plaque load; however, it does rescue dendritic spine loss and prevent neuronal loss in 5xfAD mice, as well as reduce overall neuroinflammation. Importantly, behavioural testing revealed improvements in contextual memory. Collectively, these results demonstrate that microglia contribute to neuronal loss, as well as memory impairments in 5xfAD mice, but do not mediate or protect from amyloid pathology.
Malformations of cerebral cortical development include a wide range of developmental disorders that are common causes of neurodevelopmental delay and epilepsy. In addition, study of these disorders contributes greatly to the understanding of normal brain development and its perturbations. The rapid recent evolution of molecular biology, genetics and imaging has resulted in an explosive increase in our knowledge of cerebral cortex development and in the number and types of malformations of cortical development that have been reported. These advances continue to modify our perception of these malformations. This review addresses recent changes in our perception of these disorders and proposes a modified classification based upon updates in our knowledge of cerebral cortical development.
Three sets of research criteria are available for diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the International Working Group-1, International Working Group-2, and National Institute of Aging-Alzheimer Association criteria. We compared the prevalence and prognosis of Alzheimer's disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage according to these criteria. Subjects with mild cognitive impairment (n = 1607), 766 of whom had both amyloid and neuronal injury markers, were recruited from 13 cohorts. We used cognitive test performance and available biomarkers to classify subjects as prodromal Alzheimer's disease according to International Working Group-1 and International Working Group-2 criteria and in the high Alzheimer's disease likelihood group, conflicting biomarker groups (isolated amyloid pathology or suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology), and low Alzheimer's disease likelihood group according to the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria. Outcome measures were the proportion of subjects with Alzheimer's disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage and progression to Alzheimer's disease-type dementia. We performed survival analyses using Cox proportional hazards models. According to the International Working Group-1 criteria, 850 (53%) subjects had prodromal Alzheimer's disease. Their 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer's disease-type dementia was 50% compared to 21% for subjects without prodromal Alzheimer's disease. According to the International Working Group-2 criteria, 308 (40%) subjects had prodromal Alzheimer's disease. Their 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer's disease-type dementia was 61% compared to 22% for subjects without prodromal Alzheimer's disease. According to the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria, 353 (46%) subjects were in the high Alzheimer's disease likelihood group, 49 (6%) in the isolated amyloid pathology group, 220 (29%) in the suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology group, and 144 (19%) in the low Alzheimer's disease likelihood group. The 3-year progression rate to Alzheimer's disease-type dementia was 59% in the high Alzheimer's disease likelihood group, 22% in the isolated amyloid pathology group, 24% in the suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology group, and 5% in the low Alzheimer's disease likelihood group. Our findings support the use of the proposed research criteria to identify Alzheimer's disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage. In clinical settings, the use of both amyloid and neuronal injury markers as proposed by the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association criteria offers the most accurate prognosis. For clinical trials, selection of subjects in the National Institute of Ageing-Alzheimer Association high Alzheimer's disease likelihood group or the International Working Group-2 prodromal Alzheimer's disease group could be considered.
A diagnosis of motor complete spinal cord injury carries a dim prognosis for recovery. However, Angeli et al. show that epidural stimulation of the spinal cord can modulate the spinal circuitry to enable completely paralysed individuals to voluntarily control muscles of their legs and recover intentional movement years after injury. Previously, we reported that one individual who had a motor complete, but sensory incomplete spinal cord injury regained voluntary movement after 7 months of epidural stimulation and stand training. We presumed that the residual sensory pathways were critical in this recovery. However, we now report in three more individuals voluntary movement occurred with epidural stimulation immediately after implant even in two who were diagnosed with a motor and sensory complete lesion. We demonstrate that neuromodulating the spinal circuitry with epidural stimulation, enables completely paralysed individuals to process conceptual, auditory and visual input to regain relatively fine voluntary control of paralysed muscles. We show that neuromodulation of the sub-threshold motor state of excitability of the lumbosacral spinal networks was the key to recovery of intentional movement in four of four individuals diagnosed as having complete paralysis of the legs. We have uncovered a fundamentally new intervention strategy that can dramatically affect recovery of voluntary movement in individuals with complete paralysis even years after injury.