Comparison of inflammatory and acute-phase responses in the brain and peripheral organs of the ME7 model of prion disease.
ABSTRACT: Chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as prion disease and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are reported to be associated with microglial activation and increased brain and serum cytokines and acute-phase proteins (APPs). Unlike AD, prion disease is also associated with a peripheral component in that the presumed causative agent, PrPSc, also accumulates in the spleen and other lymphoreticular organs. It is unclear whether the reported systemic acute-phase response represents a systemic inflammatory response to prion disease or merely reflects central nervous system (CNS) inflammation. For this study, we investigated whether intracerebrally initiated prion disease (ME7 model) provokes splenic, hepatic, or brain inflammatory and acute-phase responses. We detected no significant elevation of proinflammatory cytokines or activation of macrophages in the spleens of these animals, despite clear PrPSc deposition. Similarly, at 19 weeks we detected no significant elevation of transcripts for the APPs serum amyloid A, complement C3, pentraxin 3, and alpha2-antiplasmin in the liver, despite CNS neurodegeneration and splenic PrPSc deposition at this time. However, despite the low CNS expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines, there was robust expression of these APPs in degenerating brains. These findings suggest that PrPSc is not a stimulus for splenic macrophages and that neither peripheral PrPSc deposition nor CNS neurodegeneration is sufficient to produce a systemic acute-phase response. We also propose that serum cytokine and APP measurements are not useful during preclinical disease. Possible consequences of the clear chronic elevation of APPs in the CNS are discussed.
Project description:Autophagy is a dynamic cellular mechanism involved in protein and organelle turnover through lysosomal degradation. Autophagy regulation modulates the pathologies associated with many neurodegenerative diseases. Using sheep naturally infected with scrapie as a natural animal model of prion diseases, we investigated the regulation of autophagy in the central nervous system (CNS) during the clinical phase of the disease. We present a gene expression and protein distribution analysis of different autophagy-related markers and investigate their relationship with prion-associated lesions in several areas of the CNS. Gene expression of autophagy markers ATG5 and ATG9 was downregulated in some areas of scrapie brains. In contrast, ATG5 protein accumulates in medulla oblongata and positively correlates with prion deposition and scrapie-related lesions. The accumulation of this protein and p62, a marker of autophagy impairment, suggests that autophagy is decreased in the late phases of the disease. However, the increment of LC3 proteins and the mild expression of p62 in basal ganglia and cerebellum, primarily in Purkinje cells, suggests that autophagy machinery is still intact in less affected areas. We hypothesize that specific cell populations of the CNS may display neuroprotective mechanisms against prion-induced toxicity through the induction of PrPSc clearance by autophagy.
Project description:Sheep scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), which are invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Accumulation of the misfolded prion protein, PrPSc in the CNS results in progressive neurodegenerative disease. Susceptible VRQ homozygous New Zealand Cheviot sheep were infected with standard scrapie sheep prion (SSBP/1) scrapie by inoculation in the drainage area of the prescapular lymph nodes. PrPSc was consistently detected by immunohistology in the CNS at XX days post infection (dpi). This study compares the genes and physiological pathways that are affected by the progression of TSE disease in the CNS, focusing on time points immediately before (XX dpi) and after (XX dpi) the detection of disease-associated PrPSc.
Project description:Misfolding and aggregation of host proteins are important features of the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal dementia and prion diseases. In all these diseases, the misfolded protein increases in amount by a mechanism involving seeded polymerization. In prion diseases, host prion protein is misfolded to form a pathogenic protease-resistant form, PrPSc, which accumulates in neurons, astroglia and microglia in the CNS. Here using dual-staining immunohistochemistry, we compared the cell specificity of PrPSc accumulation at early preclinical times post-infection using three mouse scrapie strains that differ in brain regional pathology. PrPSc from each strain had a different pattern of cell specificity. Strain 22L was mainly associated with astroglia, whereas strain ME7 was mainly associated with neurons and neuropil. In thalamus and cortex, strain RML was similar to 22L, but in substantia nigra, RML was similar to ME7. Expression of 90 genes involved in neuroinflammation was studied quantitatively using mRNA from thalamus at preclinical times. Surprisingly, despite the cellular differences in PrPSc accumulation, the pattern of upregulated genes was similar for all three strains, and the small differences observed correlated with variations in the early disease tempo. Gene upregulation correlated with activation of both astroglia and microglia detected in early disease prior to vacuolar pathology or clinical signs. Interestingly, the profile of upregulated genes in scrapie differed markedly from that seen in two acute viral CNS diseases (LaCrosse virus and BE polytropic Friend retrovirus) that had reactive gliosis at levels similar to our prion-infected mice.
Project description:In the human prion disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), different CJD neuropathological subtypes are defined by the presence in normal prion protein (PrPC) of a methionine or valine at residue 129, by the molecular mass of the infectious prion protein PrPSc, by the pattern of PrPSc deposition, and by the distribution of spongiform change in the brain. Heterozygous cases of CJD potentially add another layer of complexity to defining CJD subtypes since PrPSc can have either a methionine (PrPSc-M129) or valine (PrPSc-V129) at residue 129. We have recently demonstrated that the relative amount of PrPSc-M129 versus PrPSc-V129, i.e. the PrPSc allotype ratio, varies between heterozygous CJD cases. In order to determine if differences in PrPSc allotype correlated with different disease phenotypes, we have inoculated 10 cases of heterozygous CJD (7 sporadic and 3 iatrogenic) into two transgenic mouse lines overexpressing PrPC with a methionine at codon 129. In one case, brain-region specific differences in PrPSc allotype appeared to correlate with differences in prion disease transmission and phenotype. In the other 9 cases inoculated, the presence of PrPSc-V129 was associated with plaque formation but differences in PrPSc allotype did not consistently correlate with disease incubation time or neuropathology. Thus, while the PrPSc allotype ratio may contribute to diverse prion phenotypes within a single brain, it does not appear to be a primary determinative factor of disease phenotype.
Project description:Neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration are common during prion infection, but the mechanisms that underlie these pathological features are not well understood. Several components of innate immunity, such as Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 and Complement C1q, have been shown to influence prion disease. To identify additional components of innate immunity that might impact prion disease within the central nervous system (CNS), we screened RNA from brains of pre-clinical and clinical 22L-infected mice for alterations in genes associated with innate immunity. Transcription of several genes encoding damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) proteins and receptors were increased in the brains of prion-infected mice. To investigate the role of some of these proteins in prion disease of the CNS, we infected mice deficient in DAMP receptor genes Tlr2, C3ar1, and C5ar1 with 22L scrapie. Elimination of TLR2 accelerated disease by a median of 10 days, while lack of C3aR1 or C5aR1 had no effect on disease tempo. Histopathologically, all knockout mouse strains tested were similar to infected control mice in gliosis, vacuolation, and PrPSc deposition. Analysis of proinflammatory markers in the brains of infected knockout mice indicated only a few alterations in gene expression suggesting that C5aR1 and TLR2 signaling did not act synergistically in the brains of prion-infected mice. These results indicate that signaling through TLR2 confers partial neuroprotection during prion infection.
Project description:Prion diseases are transmissible neurodegenerative disorders of prion protein (PrP) conformation. Prion replication by conversion of benign PrPC isoforms into disease-specific PrPSc isoforms is intimately involved in prion disease pathogenesis and may be initiated in cholesterol-rich caveolae-like domains (CLD). Concentrations of the cholesterol transporter ATP-binding cassette A1 protein (ABCA1) are elevated in pre-clinical scrapie prion-infected mice and in prion-infected cells in vitro. Elevation of ABCA1 in prion-infected brain is not a direct consequence of local PrPSc accumulation, indeed levels of ABCA1 are comparable in brain regions that differ dramatically in the amount of PrPSc. Similarly, ABCA1 concentrations are identical in normal mice, transgenic mice overexpressing PrP and PrP knockout mice. In contrast, PrPC and PrPSc levels, but not Prnp mRNA, were increased by overexpression of ABCA1 in N2a neuroblastoma cells and scrapie prion-infected N2a cells (ScN2a). Conversely, RNAi-mediated knock down of Abca1 expression decreased the concentrations of PrPC in N2a cells and of PrPSc in ScN2a cells. These results suggest that ABCA1's effects on PrPC levels are post-translational and may reflect an increase in of PrPC stability, mediated either indirectly by increasing membrane cholesterol and CLD formation or by other functions of ABCA1. The increased supply of PrPC available for conversion would lead to increased PrPSc formation.
Project description:Prion diseases are progressive and fatal, neurodegenerative disorders described in humans and animals. According to the "protein-only" hypothesis, the normal host-encoded prion protein (PrPC) is converted into a pathological and infectious form (PrPSc) in these diseases. Transgenic knockout models have shown that PrPC is a prerequisite for the development of prion disease. In Norwegian dairy goats, a mutation (Ter) in the prion protein gene (PRNP) effectively blocks PrPC synthesis. We inoculated 12 goats (4 PRNP+/+, 4 PRNP+/Ter, and 4 PRNPTer/Ter) intracerebrally with goat scrapie prions. The mean incubation time until clinical signs of prion disease was 601 days post-inoculation (dpi) in PRNP+/+ goats and 773 dpi in PRNP+/Ter goats. PrPSc and vacuolation were similarly distributed in the central nervous system (CNS) of both groups and observed in all brain regions and segments of the spinal cord. Generally, accumulation of PrPSc was limited in peripheral organs, but all PRNP+/+ goats and 1 of 4 PRNP+/Ter goats were positive in head lymph nodes. The four PRNPTer/Ter goats remained healthy, without clinical signs of prion disease, and were euthanized 1260 dpi. As expected, no accumulation of PrPSc was observed in the CNS or peripheral tissues of this group, as assessed by immunohistochemistry, enzyme immunoassay, and real-time quaking-induced conversion. Our study shows for the first time that animals devoid of PrPC due to a natural mutation do not propagate prions and are resistant to scrapie. Clinical onset of disease is delayed in heterozygous goats expressing about 50% of PrPC levels.
Project description:Sheep scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), which are invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Accumulation of the misfolded prion protein, PrPSc in the CNS results in progressive neurodegenerative disease. Susceptible VRQ homozygous New Zealand Cheviot sheep were infected with SSBP/1 scrapie by inoculation in the drainage area of the prescapular lymph nodes. PrPSc was consistently detected by immunohistology in the CNS at 125 days post infection (dpi). This study compares the genes and physiological pathways that are affected by the progression of TSE disease in the CNS, focusing on time points immediately before (75dpi) and at the time point when PrPSc is consistently detected in the CNS (125 dpi).
Project description:PrPSc is an infectious and disease-specific conformer of the prion protein, which accumulation in the CNS underlies the pathology of prion diseases. PrPSc replicates by binding to the cellular conformer of the prion protein (PrPC) expressed by host cells and rendering its secondary structure a likeness of itself. PrPC is a plasma membrane anchored protein, which constitutively recirculates between the cell surface and the endocytic compartment. Since PrPSc engages PrPC along this trafficking pathway, its replication process is often referred to as "recycling propagation." Certain monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against prion protein can abrogate the presence of PrPSc from prion-infected cells. However, the precise mechanism(s) underlying their therapeutic propensities remains obscure. Using N2A murine neuroblastoma cell line stably infected with 22L mouse-adapted scrapie strain (N2A/22L), we investigated here the modus operandi of the 6D11 clone, which was raised against the PrPSc conformer and has been shown to permanently clear prion-infected cells from PrPSc presence. We determined that 6D11 mAb engages and sequesters PrPC and PrPSc at the cell surface. PrPC/6D11 and PrPSc/6D11 complexes are then endocytosed from the plasma membrane and are directed to lysosomes, therefore precluding recirculation of nascent PrPSc back to the cell surface. Targeting PrPSc by 6D11 mAb to the lysosomal compartment facilitates its proteolysis and eventually shifts the balance between PrPSc formation and degradation. Ongoing translation of PrPC allows maintaining the steady-state level of prion protein within the cells, which was not depleted under 6D11 mAb treatment. Our findings demonstrate that through disrupting recycling propagation of PrPSc and promoting its degradation, 6D11 mAb restores cellular proteostasis of prion protein.
Project description:Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common human prion disease, is transmissible through iatrogenic routes due to abundant infectious prions [misfolded forms of the prion protein (PrPSc)] in the central nervous system (CNS). Some epidemiological studies have associated sCJD risk with non-CNS surgeries. We explored the potential prion seeding activity and infectivity of skin from sCJD patients. Autopsy or biopsy skin samples from 38 patients [21 sCJD, 2 variant CJD (vCJD), and 15 non-CJD] were analyzed by Western blotting and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) for PrPSc Skin samples from two patients were further examined for prion infectivity by bioassay using two lines of humanized transgenic mice. Western blotting revealed dermal PrPSc in one of five deceased sCJD patients and one of two vCJD patients. However, the more sensitive RT-QuIC assay detected prion seeding activity in skin from all 23 CJD decedents but not in skin from any non-CJD control individuals (with other neurological conditions or other diseases) during blinded testing. Although sCJD patient skin contained ~103- to 105-fold lower prion seeding activity than did sCJD patient brain tissue, all 12 mice from two transgenic mouse lines inoculated with sCJD skin homogenates from two sCJD patients succumbed to prion disease within 564 days after inoculation. Our study demonstrates that the skin of sCJD patients contains both prion seeding activity and infectivity, which raises concerns about the potential for iatrogenic sCJD transmission via skin.