ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a highly heterogenous group of progressive neurodegenerative disorders characterized by atrophy of prefrontal and anterior temporal cortices. Recently, the research in the field of FTLD has gained increased attention due to the clinical, neuropathological, and genetic heterogeneity and has increased our understanding of the disease pathogenesis. FTLD is a genetically complex disorder. It has a strong genetic basis and 50% of patients show a positive family history for FTLD. Linkage studies have revealed seven chromosomal loci and a number of genes including MAPT, PGRN, VCP, and CHMB-2B are associated with the disease. Neuropathologically, FTLD is classified into tauopathies and ubiquitinopathies. The vast majority of FTLD cases are characterized by pathological accumulation of tau or TDP-43 positive inclusions, each as an outcome of mutations in MAPT or PGRN, respectively. Identification of novel proteins involved in the pathophysiology of the disease, such as progranulin and TDP-43, may prove to be excellent biomarkers of disease progression and thereby lead to the development of better therapeutic options through pharmacogenomics. However, much more dissections into the causative pathways are needed to get a full picture of the etiology. Over the past decade, advances in research on the genetics of FTLD have revealed many pathogenic mutations leading to different clinical manifestations of the disease. This review discusses the current concepts and recent advances in our understanding of the genetics of FTLD.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are sensitive for tau or TDP-43 pathology in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Neuroimaging analyses have revealed distinct distributions of disease in FTLD patients with genetic mutations. However, genetic influences on neuroanatomic structure in sporadic FTLD have not been assessed. In this report, we use novel multivariate tools, Eigenanatomy, and sparse canonical correlation analysis to identify associations between SNPs and neuroanatomic structure in sporadic FTLD. Magnetic resonance imaging analyses revealed that rs8070723 (MAPT) was associated with gray matter variance in the temporal cortex. Diffusion tensor imaging analyses revealed that rs1768208 (MOBP), rs646776 (near SORT1), and rs5848 (PGRN) were associated with white matter variance in the midbrain and superior longitudinal fasciculus. In an independent autopsy series, we observed that rs8070723 and rs1768208 conferred significant risk of tau pathology relative to TDP-43, and rs646776 conferred increased risk of TDP-43 pathology relative to tau. Identified brain regions and SNPs may help provide an in vivo screen for underlying pathology in FTLD and contribute to our understanding of sporadic FTLD.
Project description:Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that is the second most common form of dementia affecting individuals under age 65. The most common pathological subtype, FTLD with transactive response DNA-binding protein with a molecular weight of 43 kDa inclusions (FTLD-TDP), is often caused by autosomal dominant mutations in the progranulin gene (GRN) encoding the progranulin protein (PGRN). GRN pathogenic mutations result in haploinsufficiency, usually by nonsense-mediated decay of the mRNA. Since the discovery of these mutations in 2006, several groups have published data and animal models that provide further insight into the genetic and functional relevance of PGRN in the context of FTLD-TDP. These studies were critical in initiating our understanding of the role of PGRN in neural development, degeneration, synaptic transmission, cell signaling, and behavior. Furthermore, recent publications have now identified the receptors for PGRN, which will hopefully lead to additional therapeutic targets. Additionally, drug screens have been conducted to identify pharmacological regulators of PGRN levels to be used as potential treatments for PGRN haploinsufficiency. Here we review recent literature describing relevant data on GRN genetics, cell culture experiments describing the potential role and regulators of PGRN in the central nervous system, animal models of PGRN deficiency, and potential PGRN-related FTLD therapies that are currently underway. The present review aims to underscore the necessity of further elucidation of PGRN biology in FTLD-related neurodegeneration.
Project description:Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in GRN, the progranulin gene, which result in progranulin (PGRN) protein haploinsufficiency, are a major cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP). PGRN is composed of seven and a half repeats of a highly conserved granulin motif that is cleaved to produce the granulin peptides A-G and paragranulin. To better understand the role of PGRN and granulin (Grn) peptides in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration, we evaluated PGRN/Grn in brains of patients with Alzheimer disease, FTLD-TDP type A with or without GRN mutations, and normal individuals, using a panel of monoclonal antibodies against Grn peptides A-G. In the neocortex, Grn peptide-specific immunostains were observed, for example, membranous Grn E immunopositivity in pyramidal neurons, and Grn C immunopositivity in ramified microglia. In the hippocampus, Grn immunopositivity in the CA1 and CA2 regions showed disease-specific changes in both neurons and microglia. Most interestingly, in FTLD-TDP type A with GRN mutations, there is a 60% decrease in the density of Grn-positive microglia in the hippocampal CA1, suggesting that haploinsufficiency of the GRN mutations also extends to PGRN expression in microglia. This study provides important insights into future studies of the pathogenesis and treatment of FTLD-TDP.
Project description:Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that can be triggered through genetic or sporadic mechanisms. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have become a major therapeutic focus as their pervasive expression and powerful regulatory roles in disease pathogenesis become increasingly apparent. Here we examine the role of miRNAs in FTLD patients with TAR DNA-binding protein 43 pathology (FTLD-TDP) caused by genetic mutations in the progranulin (PGRN) gene.Using miRNA array profiling, we identified the 20 miRNAs that showed greatest evidence (unadjusted P < 0.05) of dysregulation in frontal cortex of eight FTLD-TDP patients carrying PGRN mutations when compared to 32 FTLD-TDP patients with no apparent genetic abnormalities. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analyses provided technical validation of the differential expression for 9 of the 20 miRNAs in frontal cortex. Additional qRT-PCR analyses showed that 5 out of 9 miRNAs (miR-922, miR-516a-3p, miR-571, miR-548b-5p, and miR-548c-5p) were also significantly dysregulated (unadjusted P < 0.05) in cerebellar tissue samples of PGRN mutation carriers, consistent with a systemic reduction in PGRN levels. We developed a list of gene targets for the 5 candidate miRNAs and found 18 genes dysregulated in a reported FTLD mRNA study to exhibit anti-correlated miRNA-mRNA patterns in affected cortex and cerebellar tissue. Among the targets is brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitor 3, which was recently identified as an important player in synapse biology.Our study suggests that miRNAs may contribute to the pathogenesis of FTLD-TDP caused by PGRN mutations and provides new insight into potential future therapeutic options.
Project description:Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with inclusion body myopathy and Paget disease of bone is a rare, autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in the VCP (valosin-containing protein) gene. The disease is characterized neuropathologically by frontal and temporal lobar atrophy, neuron loss and gliosis, and ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U), which are distinct from those seen in other sporadic and familial FTLD-U entities. The major component of the ubiquitinated inclusions of FTLD with VCP mutation is TDP-43 (TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa). TDP-43 proteinopathy links sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sporadic FTLD-U, and most familial forms of FTLD-U. Understanding the relationship between individual gene defects and pathologic TDP-43 will facilitate the characterization of the mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration. Using cell culture models, we have investigated the role of mutant VCP in intracellular trafficking, proteasomal function, and cell death and demonstrate that mutations in the VCP gene 1) alter localization of TDP-43 between the nucleus and cytosol, 2) decrease proteasome activity, 3) induce endoplasmic reticulum stress, 4) increase markers of apoptosis, and 5) impair cell viability. These results suggest that VCP mutation-induced neurodegeneration is mediated by several mechanisms.
Project description:Tau aggregation is a hallmark feature in a subset of patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Early and selective loss of von Economo neurons (VENs) and fork cells within the frontoinsular (FI) and anterior cingulate cortices (ACC) is observed in patients with sporadic behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD) due to frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), including FTLD with tau inclusions (FTLD-tau). Recently, we further showed that these specialized neurons show preferential aggregation of TDP-43 in FTLD-TDP. Whether VENs and fork cells are prone to tau accumulation in FTLD-tau remains unclear, and no previous studies of these neurons have focused on patients with pathogenic variants in the gene encoding microtubule-associated protein tau (FTLD-tau/MAPT). Here, we examined regional profiles of tau aggregation and neurodegeneration in 40 brain regions in 8 patients with FTLD-tau/MAPT and 7 with Pick's disease (PiD), a sporadic form of FTLD-tau that often presents with bvFTD. We further qualitatively assessed the cellular patterns of frontoinsular tau aggregation in FTLD-tau/MAPT using antibodies specific for tau hyperphosphorylation, acetylation, or conformational change. ACC and mid-insula were among the regions most affected by neurodegeneration and tau aggregation in FTLD-tau/MAPT and PiD. In these two forms of FTLD-tau, severity of regional neurodegeneration and tau protein aggregation were highly correlated across regions. In FTLD-tau/MAPT, VENs and fork cells showed disproportionate tau protein aggregation in patients with V337 M, A152T, and IVS10 + 16 variants, but not in patients with the P301L variant. As seen in FTLD-TDP, our data suggest that VENs and fork cells represent preferentially vulnerable neuron types in most, but not all of the MAPT variants we studied.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To determine the clinical, anatomical, genetic and pathological features of dual frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) pathology: FTLD-tau and FTLD-TDP-43 in a large clinicopathological cohort. METHODS:We selected subjects with mixed FTLD-TDP and FTLD-tau from 247 FTLD cases from the University of California, San Francisco, Neurodegenerative Disease Brain Bank collected between 2000 and 2016 and compared their clinical, anatomical, genetic, imaging and pathological signatures with those of subjects with pure FTLD. RESULTS:We found nine cases (3.6%) with prominent FTLD-TDP and FTLD-tau. Six cases were sporadic, whereas one case had a C9ORF72 expansion, another had a TARDBP A90V variant, and the other had an MAPT p.A152T variant. The subtypes of FTLD-TDP and FTLD-tau varied. Mixed FTLD cases were older and tended to show a higher burden of Alzheimer disease pathology (3/9, 33%). The neuroimaging signature of mixed cases, in general, included more widespread atrophy than that of pure groups. Specifically, cases of mixed corticobasal degeneration (CBD) with FTLD-TDP showed more prominent asymmetric left-sided atrophy than did those of pure CBD. However, the clinical phenotype of mixed cases was similar to that seen in pure FTLD. CONCLUSIONS:Although patients with mixed FTLD-TDP and FTLD-tau are rare, in-depth clinical, pathological and genetic investigations may shed light on the genetic and biochemical pathways that cause the accumulation of multiple proteinaceous inclusions and inform therapeutic targets that may be beneficial to each one of these abnormal protein misfoldings.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Cell biological and genetic evidence implicate failures in degrading aggregating proteins, such as tau and TDP-43, through the autophagy or lysosomal pathways in the pathogenesis of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). METHODS:We investigated changes in the degradative pathways in 60 patients with different pathological or genetic forms of FTLD employing immunohistochemistry for marker proteins such as lysosomal-associated membrane proteins 1 (LAMP-1) and 2 (LAMP-2), cathepsin D (CTSD) and microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 alpha (LC3A). Immunostained sections were qualitatively and semi-quantitatively assessed for the appearance, distribution and intensity of staining in neurones of the dentate gyrus (DG) and CA4 region of the hippocampus, and the temporal cortex (Tcx). RESULTS:Lower levels of neuronal LAMP-1 immunostaining were present in the DG and Tcx in FTLD-tau compared to FTLD-TDP. There was less LAMP-1 immunostaining in FTLD-tau with MAPT mutations, and FTLD-tau with Pick bodies, compared to FTLD-TDP types A and B, and less LAMP-1 immunostaining in FTLD-TDP type C than in FTLD-TDP types A and B. There was greater LAMP-1 immunostaining in GRN mutation which may reflect the underlying type A histology rather than mutation. There were no differences in neuronal LAMP-2, CTSD, EEA-1 or LC3A immunostaining between any of the five FTLD histological or four genetic groups, nor between FTLD-TDP and FTLD-tau. CONCLUSIONS:The underlying pathological mechanism in FTLD-tau may lie with a relative deficiency of lysosomes, or defective vesicular transport, whereas the failure to clear TDP-43 aggregates may lie with lysosomal dysfunction rather than a lack of available lysosomes or degradative enzymes.
Project description:Progranulin (PGRN) is a glycoprotein with multiple roles in normal and disease states. Mutations within the GRN gene cause frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). The affected neurons display distinctive TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) inclusions. How partial loss of PGRN causes TDP-43 neuropathology is poorly understood. TDP-43 inclusions are also found in affected neurons of patients with other neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease. In ALS, TDP-43 inclusions are typically also immunoreactive for fused in sarcoma (FUS). Mutations within TDP-43 or FUS are themselves neuropathogenic in ALS and some cases of FTLD. We used the outgrowth of caudal primary motor neurons (MNs) in zebrafish embryos to investigate the interaction of PGRN with TDP-43 and FUS in vivo. As reported previously, depletion of zebrafish PGRN-A (zfPGRN-A) is associated with truncated primary MNs and impaired motor function. Here we found that depletion of zfPGRN-A results in primary MNs outgrowth stalling at the horizontal myoseptum, a line of demarcation separating the myotome into dorsal and ventral compartments that is where the final destination of primary motor is assigned. Successful axonal outgrowth beyond the horizontal myoseptum depends in part upon formation of acetylcholine receptor clusters and this was found to be disorganized upon depletion of zfPGRN-A. PGRN reversed the effects of zfPGRN-A knockdown, but a related gene, zfPGRN-1, was without effect. Both knockdown of TDP-43 or FUS, as well as expression of humanTDP-43 and FUS mutants results in MN abnormalities that are reversed by co-expression of hPGRN mRNA. Neither TDP-43 nor FUS reversed MN phenotypes caused by the depletion of PGRN. Thus TDP-43 and FUS lie upstream of PGRN in a gene complementation pathway. The ability of PGRN to override TDP-43 and FUS neurotoxicity due to partial loss of function or mutation in the corresponding genes may have therapeutic relevance.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To identify clinicopathological differences between frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) due to mutations in progranulin (FTLD-GRN) and chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (FTLD-C9ORF72).<h4>Methods</h4>We performed quantitative neuropathologic comparison of 17 FTLD-C9ORF72 and 15 FTLD-GRN with a focus on microglia. For clinical comparisons, only cases with high quality medical documentation and concurring diagnoses by at least two neurologists were included (14 FTLD-GRN and 13 FTLD-C9ORF72). Neuropathological analyses were limited to TDP-43 Type A to assure consistent assessment between the groups, acknowledging that Type A is a minority of C9ORF72 patients. Furthermore, only cases with sufficient tissue from all regions were studied (11 FTLD-GRN and 11 FTLD-C9ORF72). FTLD cases were also compared to age- and sex-matched normal controls. Immunohistochemistry was performed for pTDP-43, IBA-1, CD68, and GFAP. Morphological characterization of microglia was performed in sections of cortex blinded to clinical and genetic information.<h4>Results</h4>FTLD-GRN patients had frequent asymmetric clinical features, including aphasia and apraxia, as well as more asymmetric cortical atrophy. Neuropathologically, FTLD-C9ORF72 had greater hippocampal tau pathology and more TDP-43 neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions. FTLD-GRN had more neocortical microvacuolation, as well as more IBA-1-positive ameboid microglia in superficial cortical layers and in subcortical white matter. FTLD-GRN also had more microglia with nuclear condensation, possibly indicating apoptosis. Microglial morphology with CD68 immunohistochemistry in FTLD-GRN and FTLD-C9ORF72 differed from controls.<h4>Interpretation</h4>Our findings underscore differences in microglial response in FTLD-C9ORF72 and FTLD-GRN as shown by significant differences in ameboid microglia in gray and white matter. These results suggest the differential contribution of microglial dysfunction in FTLD-GRN and FTLD-C9ORF72 and suggest that clinical, neuroimaging and pathologic differences could in part be related to differences in microglia response.