Neuroprotective effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in rodent and primate models of Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT: Profound neuronal dysfunction in the entorhinal cortex contributes to early loss of short-term memory in Alzheimer's disease. Here we show broad neuroprotective effects of entorhinal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) administration in several animal models of Alzheimer's disease, with extension of therapeutic benefits into the degenerating hippocampus. In amyloid-transgenic mice, BDNF gene delivery, when administered after disease onset, reverses synapse loss, partially normalizes aberrant gene expression, improves cell signaling and restores learning and memory. These outcomes occur independently of effects on amyloid plaque load. In aged rats, BDNF infusion reverses cognitive decline, improves age-related perturbations in gene expression and restores cell signaling. In adult rats and primates, BDNF prevents lesion-induced death of entorhinal cortical neurons. In aged primates, BDNF reverses neuronal atrophy and ameliorates age-related cognitive impairment. Collectively, these findings indicate that BDNF exerts substantial protective effects on crucial neuronal circuitry involved in Alzheimer's disease, acting through amyloid-independent mechanisms. BDNF therapeutic delivery merits exploration as a potential therapy for Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene delivery to the entorhinal cortex is a candidate for treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) to reduce neurodegeneration that is associated with memory loss. Accurate targeting of the entorhinal cortex in AD is complex due to the deep and atrophic state of this brain region. Using MRI-guided methods with convection-enhanced delivery, we were able to accurately and consistently target AAV2-BDNF delivery to the entorhinal cortex of non-human primates; 86 ± 3% of transduced cells in the targeted regions co-localized with the neuronal marker NeuN. The volume of AAV2-BDNF (3 × 108 vg/µl) infusion linearly correlated with the number of BDNF labeled cells and the volume (mm3) of BDNF immunoreactivity in the entorhinal cortex. BDNF is normally trafficked to the hippocampus from the entorhinal cortex; in these experiments, we also found that BDNF immunoreactivity was elevated in the hippocampus following therapeutic BDNF vector delivery to the entorhinal cortex, achieving growth factor distribution through key memory circuits. These findings indicate that MRI-guided infusion of AAV2-BDNF to the entorhinal cortex of the non-human primate results in safe and accurate targeting and distribution of BDNF to both the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus. These methods are adaptable to human clinical trials.
Project description:Failure of Alzheimer's disease clinical trials to improve or stabilize cognition has led to the need for a better understanding of the driving forces behind cognitive decline in the presence of active disease processes. To dissect contributions of individual pathologies to cognitive function, we used the TgF344-AD rat model, which recapitulates the salient hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease pathology observed in patient populations (amyloid, tau inclusions, frank neuronal loss, and cognitive deficits). scyllo-Inositol treatment attenuated amyloid-? peptide in disease-bearing TgF344-AD rats, which rescued pattern separation in the novel object recognition task and executive function in the reversal learning phase of the Barnes maze. Interestingly, neither activities of daily living in the burrowing task nor spatial memory in the Barnes maze were rescued by attenuating amyloid-? peptide. To understand the pathological correlates leading to behavioural rescue, we examined the neuropathology and in vivo electrophysiological signature of the hippocampus. Amyloid-? peptide attenuation reduced hippocampal tau pathology and rescued adult hippocampal neurogenesis and neuronal function, via improvements in cross-frequency coupling between theta and gamma bands. To investigate mechanisms underlying the persistence of spatial memory deficits, we next examined neuropathology in the entorhinal cortex, a region whose input to the hippocampus is required for spatial memory. Reduction of amyloid-? peptide in the entorhinal cortex had no effect on entorhinal tau pathology or entorhinal-hippocampal neuronal network dysfunction, as measured by an impairment in hippocampal response to entorhinal stimulation. Thus, rescue or not of cognitive function is dependent on regional differences of amyloid-?, tau and neuronal network dysfunction, demonstrating the importance of staging disease in patients prior to enrolment in clinical trials. These results further emphasize the need for combination therapeutic approaches across disease progression.
Project description:Stem cell-based therapy is a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, but its application to Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains limited. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is critical in the pathogenesis and treatment of AD. Here, we present a novel therapeutic approach for AD treatment using BDNF-overexpressing neural stem cells (BDNF-NSCs). In vitro, BDNF overexpression was neuroprotective to beta-amyloid-treated NSCs. In vivo, engrafted BDNF-NSCs-derived neurons not only displayed the Ca(2+)-response fluctuations, exhibited electrophysiological properties of mature neurons and integrated into local brain circuits, but recovered the cognitive deficits. Furthermore, BDNF overexpression improved the engrafted cells' viability, neuronal fate, neurite complexity, maturation of electrical property and the synaptic density. In contrast, knockdown of the BDNF in BDNF-NSCs diminished stem cell-based therapeutic efficacy. Together, our findings indicate BDNF overexpression improves the therapeutic potential of engrafted NSCs for AD via neurogenic effects and neuronal replacement, and further support the feasibility of NSC-based ex vivo gene therapy for AD.
Project description:Calcium homeostasis plays a major role in maintaining neuronal function under physiological conditions. Amyloid-? (A?) initiates pathological processes that include disruption in intracellular calcium levels, so amelioration of the calcium alteration could serve as an indirect functional indicator of treatment efficacy. Therefore, calcium dynamics were used as a measure of functional outcome. We evaluated the effects of the anti-A? antibody aducanumab on calcium homeostasis and plaque clearance in aged Tg2576 mice with in vivo multiphoton imaging. Acute topical application of aducanumab to the brain resulted in clearance of amyloid plaques. Although chronic systemic administration of aducanumab in 22-month-old mice did not clear existing plaques, calcium overload was ameliorated over time. Therefore, this antibody likely restores neuronal network function that possibly underlies cognitive deficits, indicating promise as a clinical treatment. In addition, functional readouts such as calcium overload may be a more useful outcome measure to monitor treatment efficacy in models of Alzheimer's disease compared with amyloid burden alone.Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is currently without a cure. Aducanumab is an anti-amyloid-? antibody being developed for the treatment of AD. Interim analyses of a phase 1b clinical trial have suggested potential beneficial effects on amyloid pathology and cognitive status in patients treated with aducanumab (Sevigny et al., 2016). Here, we show that a murine analog of aducanumab clears amyloid plaques in an acute setting and restores calcium homeostasis disrupted in a mouse model of AD upon chronic treatment. Therefore, we demonstrate that aducanumab reverses a functional outcome measure reflective of neural network activity.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease is characterized by cognitive alterations, cerebral atrophy and neuropathological lesions including neuronal loss, accumulation of misfolded and aggregated β-amyloid peptides (Aβ) and tau proteins. Iatrogenic induction of Aβ is suspected in patients exposed to pituitary-derived hormones, dural grafts, or surgical instruments, presumably contaminated with Aβ. Induction of Aβ and tau lesions has been demonstrated in transgenic mice after contamination with Alzheimer's disease brain homogenates, with very limited functional consequences. Unlike rodents, primates naturally express Aβ or tau under normal conditions and attempts to transmit Alzheimer pathology to primates have been made for decades. However, none of earlier studies performed any detailed functional assessments. For the first time we demonstrate long term memory and learning impairments in a non-human primate (Microcebus murinus) following intracerebral injections with Alzheimer human brain extracts. Animals inoculated with Alzheimer brain homogenates displayed progressive cognitive impairments (clinical tests assessing cognitive and motor functions), modifications of neuronal activity (detected by electroencephalography), widespread and progressive cerebral atrophy (in vivo MRI assessing cerebral volume loss using automated voxel-based analysis), neuronal loss in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex (post mortem stereology). They displayed parenchymal and vascular Aβ depositions and tau lesions for some of them, in regions close to the inoculation sites. Although these lesions were sparse, they were never detected in control animals. Tau-positive animals had the lowest performances in a memory task and displayed the greatest neuronal loss. Our study is timely and important as it is the first one to highlight neuronal and clinical dysfunction following inoculation of Alzheimer's disease brain homogenates in a primate. Clinical signs in a chronic disease such as Alzheimer take a long time to be detectable. Documentation of clinical deterioration and/or dysfunction following intracerebral inoculations with Alzheimer human brain extracts could lead to important new insights about Alzheimer initiation processes.
Project description:SEE ROGAEVA AND SCHMITT-ULMS DOI101093/AWW201 FOR A SCIENTIFIC COMMENTARY ON THIS ARTICLE: The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism is implicated in synaptic excitation and neuronal integrity, and has previously been shown to moderate amyloid-β-related memory decline and hippocampal atrophy in preclinical sporadic Alzheimer's disease. However, the effect of BDNF in autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease is unknown. We aimed to determine the effect of BDNF Val66Met on cognitive function, hippocampal function, tau and amyloid-β in preclinical autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease. We explored effects of apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 on these relationships. The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network conducted clinical, neuropsychological, genetic, biomarker and neuroimaging measures at baseline in 131 mutation non-carriers and 143 preclinical autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease mutation carriers on average 12 years before clinical symptom onset. BDNF genotype data were obtained for mutation carriers (95 Val66 homozygotes, 48 Met66 carriers). Among preclinical mutation carriers, Met66 carriers had worse memory performance, lower hippocampal glucose metabolism and increased levels of cerebrospinal fluid tau and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) than Val66 homozygotes. Cortical amyloid-β and cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-β42 levels were significantly different from non-carriers but did not differ between preclinical mutation carrier Val66 homozygotes and Met66 carriers. There was an effect of APOE on amyloid-β levels, but not cognitive function, glucose metabolism or tau. As in sporadic Alzheimer's disease, the deleterious effects of amyloid-β on memory, hippocampal function, and tau in preclinical autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease mutation carriers are greater in Met66 carriers. To date, this is the only genetic factor found to moderate downstream effects of amyloid-β in autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:The PDAPP transgenic mouse overexpresses human amyloid precursor protein V717F (PDAPP minigene) and develops age-related cerebral amyloid-beta protein (Abeta) deposits similar to senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease. We find age-related cortical and limbic Abeta deposition that begins at 8 months and progresses to cover 20-50% of the neuropil in cingulate cortex, entorhinal cortex, and hippocampus of 18-month-old heterozygotic animals. The regional patterns of transgene expression and amyloid deposition suggest that Abeta deposits occur at the terminals of overexpressing neurons. Amyloid deposition is associated with dystrophic neurites and extensive gliosis. However, stereological analysis shows that there is no overt neuronal loss in entorhinal cortex, CA1 hippocampal subfield, or cingulate cortex through 18 months of age. In addition, there is no apparent loss of mRNA encoding neuronal synaptic, cytoskeletal, or metabolic proteins. Thus, widespread Abeta deposition in 18-month-old heterozygotic mice produces neuritic alterations and gliosis without widespread neuronal death.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of age-related dementia. Neuropathological hallmarks of AD include brain deposition of β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and accumulation of both hyperphosphorylated and acetylated tau. RGFP-966, a brain-penetrant and selective HDAC3 inhibitor, or HDAC3 silencing, increases BDNF expression, increases histone H3 and H4 acetylation, decreases tau phosphorylation and tau acetylation at disease-associated sites, reduces β-secretase cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), and decreases Aβ1-42 accumulation in HEK-293 cells overexpressing APP with the double Swedish mutation (HEK/APPsw). In the triple transgenic AD mouse model (3xTg-AD), repeated administration of 3 and 10 mg/kg of RGFP-966 reverses pathological tau phosphorylation at Thr181, Ser202, and Ser396, increases levels of the Aβ degrading enzyme Neprilysin in plasma, decreases Aβ1-42 protein levels in the brain and periphery, and improves spatial learning and memory. Finally, we show that RGFP-966 decreases Aβ1-42 accumulation and both tau acetylation and phosphorylation at disease residues in neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells obtained from APOEε4-carrying AD patients. These data indicate that HDAC3 plays an important regulatory role in the expression and regulation of proteins associated with AD pathophysiology, supporting the notion that HDAC3 may be a disease-modifying therapeutic target.
Project description:BDNF, an essential trophic factor implicated in synaptic plasticity and neuronal survival, is reduced in Alzheimer's disease (AD). BDNF deficiency's association with Tau pathology in AD is well documented. However, the molecular mechanisms accounting for these events remain incompletely understood. Here we show that BDNF deprivation triggers Tau proteolytic cleavage by activating δ-secretase [i.e., asparagine endopeptidase (AEP)], and the resultant Tau N368 fragment binds TrkB receptors and blocks its neurotrophic signals, inducing neuronal cell death. Knockout of BDNF or TrkB receptors provokes δ-secretase activation via reducing T322 phosphorylation by Akt and subsequent Tau N368 cleavage, inducing AD-like pathology and cognitive dysfunction, which can be restored by expression of uncleavable Tau N255A/N368A mutant. Blocking the Tau N368-TrkB complex using Tau repeat-domain 1 peptide reverses this pathology. Thus, our findings support that BDNF reduction mediates Tau pathology via activating δ-secretase in AD.
Project description:Neuronal activity patterns are disrupted in neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). One example is disruption of corticothalamic slow oscillations responsible for sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Slow waves are periodic oscillations in neuronal activity occurring at frequencies of <1 Hz. The power, but not the frequency of slow oscillations is altered in a mouse model of AD. Optogenetic rescue of slow oscillations by increasing activity in cortical pyramidal neurons at the frequency of slow waves restores slow wave power, halts deposition of amyloid plaques and prevents neuronal calcium dysregulation. Here we determined whether driving this circuit at an increased rate would exacerbate the amyloid-dependent calcium dyshomeostasis in transgenic mice. Doubling the frequency of slow waves for one month with optogenetics resulted in increased amyloid beta - dependent disruptions in neuronal calcium homeostasis and loss of synaptic spines. Therefore, while restoration of physiological circuit dynamics is sufficient to abrogate the progression of Alzheimer's disease pathology and should be considered an avenue for clinical treatment of AD patients with sleep disorders, pathophysiological stimulation of neuronal circuits leads to activity - dependent acceleration of amyloid production, aggregation and downstream neuronal dysfunction.