Altered redox mitochondrial biology in the neurodegenerative disorder fragile X-tremor/ataxia syndrome: use of antioxidants in precision medicine.
ABSTRACT: A 55-200 expansion of the CGG nucleotide repeat in the 5'-UTR of the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1) is the hallmark of the triplet nucleotide disease known as the "premutation" as opposed to those with >200 repeats, known as the full mutation or fragile X syndrome. Originally, premutation carriers were thought to be free of phenotypic traits; however, some are diagnosed with emotional and neurocognitive issues and, later in life, with the neurodegenerative disease fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). Considering that mitochondrial dysfunction has been observed in fibroblasts and post-mortem brain samples from carriers of the premutation, we hypothesized that mitochondrial dysfunction-derived ROS may result in cumulative oxidative-nitrative damage. Fibroblasts from premutation carriers (n=31, all FXTAS-free except 8), compared to age- and sex-matched controls (n=25), showed increased mitochondrial ROS production, impaired Complex I activity, lower expression of MIA40 (rate-limiting step of the redox-regulated mitochondrial-disulfide-relay-system), increased mtDNA deletions, and increased biomarkers of lipid and protein oxidative-nitrative damage. Most of the outcomes were more pronounced in FXTAS-affected individuals. Significant recovery of mitochondrial mass and/or function was obtained with superoxide or hydroxyl radicals' scavengers, a glutathione peroxidase analog, or by overexpressing MIA40. The effects of ethanol (a hydroxyl radical scavenger) were deleterious, while others (by N-acetyl-cysteine, quercetin and epigallocatechin-3-gallate) were outcome- and/or carrier-specifics. The use of antioxidants in the context of precision medicine is discussed with the goal of improving mitochondrial function in carriers with the potential of decreasing the morbidity and/or delaying FXTAS onset.
Project description:FXTAS (fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder that affects individuals who are carriers of premutation expansions (55-200 CGG repeats) in the 5' untranslated region of the FMR1 (fragile X mental retardation 1) gene. The role of MD (mitochondrial dysfunction) in FXTAS was evaluated in fibroblasts and brain samples from premutation carriers with and without FXTAS symptoms, with a range of CGG repeats. This study resulted in several important conclusions: (i) decreased NAD- and FAD-linked oxygen uptake rates and uncoupling between electron transport and synthesis of ATP were observed in fibroblasts from premutation carriers; (ii) a lower expression of mitochondrial proteins preceded both in age and in CGG repeats the appearance of overt clinical involvement; (iii) the CGG repeat size required for altered mitochondrial protein expression was also smaller than that required to produce brain intranuclear inclusions from individuals with the premutation who died, suggesting that MD is an incipient pathological process occurring in individuals who do not display overt features of FXTAS; and (iv) on the basis of the CGG repeats, MD preceded the increase in oxidative/nitrative stress damage, indicating that the latter is a late event. MD in carriers of small CGG repeats, even when the allele size is not sufficient to produce FXTAS, may predispose them to other disorders (e.g. Parkinson's disease) that are likely to involve MD, and to environmental stressors, which may trigger the development of FXTAS symptoms. Detection of MD is of critical importance to the management of FXTAS, since it opens up additional treatment options for this disorder.
Project description:Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a late onset neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by tremors, ataxia, impaired coordination, and cognitive decline. While all FXTAS individuals are carriers of a 55-200 CGG expansion at the 5'-UTR of the fragile X mental retardation gene (FMR1), also known as premutation, not all carriers develop FXTAS symptoms and some display other types of psychological/emotional disorders (e.g., autism, anxiety). The goal of this study was to investigate whether the mitochondrial dysfunction previously observed in fibroblasts from older premutation individuals (>60 years) was already present in younger (17-48 years), non-FXTAS-affected carriers and to identify the type and severity of the bioenergetic deficit. Since FXTAS affects mostly males, while females account for a small part of the FXTAS-affected population displaying less severe symptoms, only fibroblasts from males were evaluated in this study. Based on polarographic and enzymatic measurements, a generalized OXPHOS deficit was noted accompanied by increases in the matrix biomarker citrate synthase, oxidative stress (as increased mtDNA copy number and deletions), and mitochondrial network disruption/disorganization. Some of the outcomes (ATP-linked oxygen uptake, coupling, citrate synthase activity, and mitochondrial network organization) strongly correlated with the extent of the CGG expansion, with more severe deficits observed in cell lines carrying higher CGG number. Furthermore, mitochondrial outcomes can identify endophenotypes among carriers and are robust predictors of the premutation diagnosis before the onset of FXTAS, with the potential to be used as markers of prognosis and/or as readouts of pharmacological interventions.
Project description:Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder that affects individuals who are carriers of small CGG premutation expansions in the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. Mitochondrial dysfunction was observed as an incipient pathological process occurring in individuals who do not display overt features of FXTAS (1). Fibroblasts from premutation carriers had lower oxidative phosphorylation capacity (35% of controls) and Complex IV activity (45%), and higher precursor-to-mature ratios (P:M) of nDNA-encoded mitochondrial proteins (3.1-fold). However, fibroblasts from carriers with FXTAS symptoms presented higher FMR1 mRNA expression (3-fold) and lower Complex V (38%) and aconitase activities (43%). Higher P:M of ATPase ?-subunit (ATPB) and frataxin were also observed in cortex from patients that died with FXTAS symptoms. Biochemical findings observed in FXTAS cells (lower mature frataxin, lower Complex IV and aconitase activities) along with common phenotypic traits shared by Friedreich's ataxia and FXTAS carriers (e.g. gait ataxia, loss of coordination) are consistent with a defective iron homeostasis in both diseases. Higher P:M, and lower ZnT6 and mature frataxin protein expression suggested defective zinc and iron metabolism arising from altered ZnT protein expression, which in turn impairs the activity of mitochondrial Zn-dependent proteases, critical for the import and processing of cytosolic precursors, such as frataxin. In support of this hypothesis, Zn-treated fibroblasts showed a significant recovery of ATPB P:M, ATPase activity and doubling time, whereas Zn and desferrioxamine extended these recoveries and rescued Complex IV activity.
Project description:Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder among carriers of premutation expansions (55-200 CGG repeats) of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. The clinical features of FXTAS, as well as various forms of clinical involvement in carriers without FXTAS, are thought to arise through a direct toxic gain of function of high levels of FMR1 mRNA containing the expanded CGG repeat. Here we report a cellular endophenotype involving increased stress response (HSP27, HSP70 and CRYAB) and altered lamin A/C expression/organization in cultured skin fibroblasts from 11 male carriers of premutation alleles of the FMR1 gene, including six patients with FXTAS and five premutation carriers with no clinical evidence of FXTAS, compared with six controls. A similar abnormal cellular phenotype was found in CNS tissue from 10 patients with FXTAS. Finally, there is an analogous abnormal cellular distribution of lamin A/C isoforms in knock-in mice bearing the expanded CGG repeat in the murine Fmr1 gene. These alterations are evident even in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, raising the possibility that, in humans, the expanded-repeat mRNA triggers pathogenic mechanisms early in development, thus providing a molecular basis for the neurodevelopmental abnormalities observed in some children and clinical symptoms in some adults who are carriers of premutation FMR1 alleles. Cellular dysregulation in fibroblasts represents a novel and highly advantageous model for investigating disease pathogenesis in premutation carriers and for quantifying and monitoring disease progression. Fibroblast studies may also prove useful in screening and testing the efficacy of therapeutic interventions.
Project description:To investigate the nature of cognitive impairments and underlying brain mechanisms in older female fragile X premutation carriers with and without fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS).Extensive neuropsychological testing and cognitive event-related brain potentials (ERPs; particularly, the auditory P300) were examined in 84 female participants: 33 fragile X premutation carriers with FXTAS (mean age = 62.8 years), 25 premutation carriers without FXTAS (mean age = 55.4 years), and 26 normal healthy controls (mean age = 59.3 years).Both premutation groups exhibited executive dysfunction on the Behavioral Dyscontrol Scale, with subtle impairments in inhibition and performance monitoring in female carriers without FXTAS, and more substantial deficits in FXTAS women. However, the female carrier group without FXTAS showed more pronounced deficiencies in working memory. Abnormal ERPs were recorded over the frontal lobes, where FXTAS patients showed both P300 amplitude reduction and latency prolongation, whereas only decreased frontal P300 amplitudes were found in carriers without FXTAS. These frontal P300 measures correlated with executive function and information processing speed.The neuropsychological testing and ERP results of the present study provide support for the hypothesis that executive dysfunction is the primary cognitive impairment among older female premutation carriers both with and without FXTAS, although these deficits are relatively mild compared to those in FXTAS males. These findings are consistent with a synergistic effect of the premutation and aging on cognitive impairment among older female fragile X premutation carriers, even in those without FXTAS symptoms.
Project description:A 55-200 CGG repeat expansion in the 5'-UTR of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene is known as a premutation. Some carriers are affected by the neurodegenerative disorder fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), primary ovarian insufficiency, and neurobehavioral impairments. Based on the mitochondrial dysfunction observed in fibroblasts and brain samples from carriers, as well as in neurons and brains from a mouse model of the premutation, we evaluated the presence of the Warburg effect in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 30 premutation carriers with either a rebalance of the metabolism [increasing glycolysis while decreasing oxidative phosphorylation (oxphos)] or a metabolic amplification (increasing glycolysis while maintaining/increasing oxphos). Deficits in oxphos-more pronounced in FXTAS-affected subjects-were accompanied by a shift toward glycolysis, suggesting increased glycolysis despite aerobic conditions. Differential proteomics extended these findings, unveiling a decreased antioxidant response, translation, and disrupted extracellular matrix and cytoskeleton organization with activation of prosenescence pathways. Lower bioenergetics segregated with increased incidence of low executive function, tremors, below-average IQ, and FXTAS. The combination of functional and proteomic data unveiled new mechanisms related to energy production in the premutation, showing the potential of being applicable to other psychiatric disorders to identify endophenotype-specific responses relevant to neurobiology.-Napoli, E., Song, G., Schneider, A., Hagerman, R., Eldeeb, M. A. A. A., Azarang, A., Tassone, F., Giulivi, C. Warburg effect linked to cognitive-executive deficits in FMR1 premutation.
Project description:Carriers of premutation CGG expansions in the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene are at higher risk of developing a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder named Fragile X-associated tremor ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). Given that mitochondrial dysfunction has been identified in fibroblasts, PBMC and brain samples from carriers as well as in animal models of the premutation and that mitochondria are at the center of intermediary metabolism, the aim of the present study was to provide a complete view of the metabolic pattern by uncovering plasma metabolic perturbations in premutation carriers. To this end, metabolic profiles were evaluated in plasma from 23 premutation individuals and 16 age- and sex-matched controls. Among the affected pathways, mitochondrial dysfunction was associated with a Warburg-like shift with increases in lactate levels and altered Krebs' intermediates, neurotransmitters, markers of neurodegeneration and increases in oxidative stress-mediated damage to biomolecules. The number of CGG repeats correlated with a subset of plasma metabolites, which are implicated not only in mitochondrial disorders but also in other neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases. For the first time, the identified pathways shed light on disease mechanisms contributing to morbidity of the premutation, with the potential of assessing metabolites in longitudinal studies as indicators of morbidity or disease progression, especially at the early preclinical stages.
Project description:Within the past few years, there has been a significant change in identifying and characterizing the FMR1 premutation associated phenotypes. The premutation has been associated with elevated FMR1 mRNA levels and slight to moderate reductions in FMRP levels. Furthermore, it has been established that approximately 20% of female premutation carriers present primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) and that fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) occurs in one-third of all male premutation carriers older than 50 years. Besides POI and FXTAS, new disorders have recently been described among individuals (especially females) with the FMR1 premutation. Those pathologies include thyroid disease, hypertension, seizures, peripheral neuropathy, and fibromyalgia. However there are few reports related to FXTAS penetrance among female premutation carriers or regarding these disorders recently associated to the FMR1 premutation. Therefore, we have evaluated 398 fragile X syndrome (FXS) families in an attempt to provide an estimation of the premutation associated phenotypes penetrance. Our results show that signs of FXTAS are detected in 16.5% of female premutation carriers and in 45.5% of premutated males older than 50 years. Furthermore, among females with the FMR1 premutation, penetrance of POI, thyroid disease and chronic muscle pain is 18.6, 15.9 and 24.4%, respectively. The knowledge of this data might be useful for accurate genetic counselling as well as for a better characterization of the clinical phenotypes of FMR1 premutation carriers.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and its associated disorders are caused by the expansion of the CGG repeat in the 5' untranslated region of the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1). The full mutation, defined as >200 cytosine-guanine-guanine (CGG) triplet repeats, causes FXS. Individuals with 55-199 CGG repeats, classified as premutation carriers, are affected by two distinct disorders depending on their premutation status. Disorders associated with premutation carriers include: Fragile X-associated Tremor Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS) and Fragile X-associated Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (FXPOI). The molecular similarities of FXTAS and FXPOI (e.g. overabundance of FMR1 transcript and intranuclear inclusions) suggest that similar molecular mechanisms underlie both FXTAS and FXPOI. The current hypothesis describes the underlying mechanism for FXTAS as an mRNA gain-of-function mutation, however the underlying mechanism for FXPOI remains unresolved. New data suggests that repeat associated non-AUG (RAN) translation could underlie FXPOI.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Individuals with premutation alleles of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene are at risk of developing fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) during aging. Characterization of motor issues associated with aging in FMR1 premutation carriers is needed to determine neurodegenerative processes and establish new biobehavioral indicators to help identify individuals at greatest risk of developing FXTAS.<h4>Methods</h4>We examined postural stability in 18 premutation carriers ages 46-77?years and 14 age-matched healthy controls. Participants completed a test of static stance and two tests of dynamic postural sway on a force platform to quantify postural variability and complexity. CGG repeat length was measured for each premutation carrier, and MRI and neurological evaluations were conducted to identify carriers who currently met criteria for FXTAS. Of the 18 premutation carriers, seven met criteria for definite/probable FXTAS (FXTAS+), seven showed no MRI or neurological signs of FXTAS (FXTAS-), and four were inconclusive due to insufficient data.<h4>Results</h4>Compared to controls, premutation carriers showed increased center of pressure (COP) variability in the mediolateral (COP<sub>ML</sub>) direction during static stance and reduced COP variability in the anterior-posterior (COP<sub>AP</sub>) direction during dynamic AP sway. They also showed reductions in COP<sub>ML</sub> complexity during each postural condition. FXTAS+ individuals showed reduced COP<sub>AP</sub> variability compared to FXTAS- carriers and healthy controls during dynamic AP sway. Across all carriers, increased sway variability during static stance and decreased sway variability in target directions during dynamic sways were associated with greater CGG repeat length and more severe neurologically rated posture and gait abnormalities.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our findings indicate that aging FMR1 premutation carriers show static and dynamic postural control deficits relative to healthy controls implicating degenerative processes of spinocerebellar and cerebellar-brainstem circuits that may be independent of or precede the onset of FXTAS. Our finding that FXTAS+ and FXTAS- premutation carriers differed on their level of intentional AP sway suggests that neural mechanisms of dynamic postural control may be differentially impacted in patients with FXTAS, and its measurement may be useful for rapidly and precisely identifying disease presence and onset.