Soluble TREM2 induces inflammatory responses and enhances microglial survival.
ABSTRACT: Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is an innate immune receptor expressed in microglia in the brain. A soluble form of TREM2 (sTREM2) derived from proteolytic cleavage of the cell surface receptor is increased in the preclinical stages of AD and positively correlates with the amounts of total and phosphorylated tau in the cerebrospinal fluid. However, the physiological and pathological functions of sTREM2 remain unknown. Here, we show that sTREM2 promotes microglial survival in a PI3K/Akt-dependent manner and stimulates the production of inflammatory cytokines depending on NF-?B. Variants of sTREM2 carrying AD risk-associated mutations were less potent in both suppressing apoptosis and triggering inflammatory responses. Importantly, sTREM2 delivered to the hippocampi of both wild-type and Trem2-knockout mice elevated the expression of inflammatory cytokines and induced morphological changes of microglia. Collectively, these data indicate that sTREM2 triggers microglial activation inducing inflammatory responses and promoting survival. This study has implications for the pathogenesis of AD and provides insights into targeting sTREM2 pathway for AD therapy.
Project description:Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is a receptor mainly expressed on the surface of microglia. It mediates multiple pathophysiological processes in various diseases. Recently, TREM2 has been found to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). TREM2 is a transmembrane protein that is specifically expressed on microglia in the brain. It contains a long ectodomain that directly interacts with the extracellular environment to regulate microglial function. The ectodomain of TREM2 is processed by a disintegrin and metalloprotease, resulting in the release of a soluble form of TREM2 (sTREM2). Recent studies have demonstrated that sTREM2 is a bioactive molecule capable of binding ligands, activating microglia, and regulating immune responses during the AD continuum. Clinical studies revealed that sTREM2 level is elevated in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD patients, and the sTREM2 level is positively correlated with the levels of classical CSF biomarkers, namely t-tau and p-tau, indicating that it is a reliable predictor of the early stages of AD. Herein, we summarize the key results on the generation, structure, and function of sTREM2 to provide new insights into TREM2-related mechanisms underlying AD pathogenesis and to promote the development of TREM2-based therapeutic strategy.
Project description:Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is a microglial surface receptor genetically linked to the risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). A proteolytic product, soluble TREM2 (sTREM2), is abundant in the cerebrospinal fluid and its levels positively correlate with neuronal injury markers. To gain insights into the pathological roles of sTREM2, we studied sTREM2 in the brain of 5xFAD mice, a model of AD, by direct stereotaxic injection of recombinant sTREM2 protein or by adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated expression. We found that sTREM2 reduces amyloid plaque load and rescues functional deficits of spatial memory and long-term potentiation. Importantly, sTREM2 enhances microglial proliferation, migration, clustering in the vicinity of amyloid plaques and the uptake and degradation of Aβ. Depletion of microglia abolishes the neuroprotective effects of sTREM2. Our study demonstrates a protective role of sTREM2 against amyloid pathology and related toxicity and suggests that increasing sTREM2 can be explored for AD therapy.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been genetically and pathologically associated with neuroinflammation. Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is a microglial receptor involved in innate immunity. TREM2 rare protein coding genetic variants have been linked to AD. A soluble TREM2 (sTREM2) cleavage product is elevated in AD. It is unclear whether there is a relationship between elevated sTREM2 and markers of inflammation. The hypothesis of this investigation was that central and peripheral inflammation play a role in sTREM2 levels in AD. A consistent association of peripheral or central markers of inflammation and CSF sTREM2 levels was not found, suggesting a limited impact of general inflammation on sTREM2 levels. An association between peripheral sTREM2 levels and CSF sTREM2, as well as an association between CSF sTREM2 and a marker of blood brain barrier integrity, was observed in AD, suggesting a potential role of peripheral TREM2 in central TREM2 biology.
Project description:Soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (sTREM2) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has been associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). TREM2 plays a critical role in microglial activation, survival, and phagocytosis; however, the pathophysiological role of sTREM2 in AD is not well understood. Understanding the role of sTREM2 in AD may reveal new pathological mechanisms and lead to the identification of therapeutic targets. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic modifiers of CSF sTREM2 obtained from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Common variants in the membrane-spanning 4-domains subfamily A (MS4A) gene region were associated with CSF sTREM2 concentrations (rs1582763; P = 1.15 × 10-15); this was replicated in independent datasets. The variants associated with increased CSF sTREM2 concentrations were associated with reduced AD risk and delayed age at onset of disease. The single-nucleotide polymorphism rs1582763 modified expression of the MS4A4A and MS4A6A genes in multiple tissues, suggesting that one or both of these genes are important for modulating sTREM2 production. Using human macrophages as a proxy for microglia, we found that MS4A4A and TREM2 colocalized on lipid rafts at the plasma membrane, that sTREM2 increased with MS4A4A overexpression, and that silencing of MS4A4A reduced sTREM2 production. These genetic, molecular, and cellular findings suggest that MS4A4A modulates sTREM2. These findings also provide a mechanistic explanation for the original GWAS signal in the MS4A locus for AD risk and indicate that TREM2 may be involved in AD pathogenesis not only in TREM2 risk-variant carriers but also in those with sporadic disease.
Project description:Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) develop Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related neuropathology, characterized by amyloid plaques with amyloid ? (A?) and neurofibrillary tangles with tau accumulation. Peripheral inflammation and the innate immune response are elevated in DS. Triggering receptor expressed in myeloid cells 2 (<i>TREM2</i>) genetic variants are risk factors for AD and other neurodegenerative diseases. Soluble TREM2 (sTREM2), a soluble cleavage product of TREM2, is elevated in AD cerebrospinal fluid and positively correlates with cognitive decline. There is relatively little information about TREM2 in DS. Our objective was to examine the relationship between sTREM2 and inflammatory markers in young adults with DS, prior to the development of dementia symptoms. Because TREM2 plays a role in the innate immune response and has been associated with dementia, the hypothesis of this exploratory study was that young adults with DS predementia (<i>n</i> = 15, mean age = 29.5 y) would exhibit a different relationship between sTREM2 and inflammatory markers in plasma, compared with neurotypical, age-matched controls (<i>n</i> = 16, mean age = 29.6 y). Indeed, young adults with DS had significantly elevated plasma sTREM2 and inflammatory markers. Additionally, in young adults with DS, sTREM2 correlated positively with 24 of the measured cytokines, whereas there were no significant correlations in the control group. Hierarchical clustering of sTREM2 and cytokine concentrations also differed between the groups, supporting the hypothesis that its function is altered in people with DS predementia. This preliminary report of human plasma provides a basis for future studies investigating the relationship between TREM2 and the broader immune response predementia.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>The progression rate of Alzheimer's disease (AD) varies and might be affected by the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM2) activity. We explored if cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) soluble TREM2 (sTREM2), a proxy of microglial activity, is associated with clinical progression rate.<h4>Methods</h4>Patients with clinical AD (N = 231) were followed for up to 3 years after diagnosis. Cognitively healthy controls (N = 42) were followed for 5 years. CSF sTREM2 was analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Group-based trajectory modeling revealed distinct clinical progression groups.<h4>Results</h4>Higher CSF sTREM2 was associated with slow clinical progression. The slow- and medium-progressing groups had higher CSF sTREM2 than the cognitively healthy, who had a similar level to patients with rapid clinical progression.<h4>Discussion</h4>CSF sTREM2 levels were associated with clinical progression in AD, regardless of core biomarkers. This could be useful in assessing disease development in relation to patient care and clinical trial recruitment.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a late-onset dementia characterized by the deposition of amyloid plaques and formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) which lead to neuronal loss and cognitive deficits. Abnormal protein aggregates in the AD brain are also associated with reactive microglia and astrocytes. Whether this glial response is beneficial or detrimental in AD pathology is under debate. Microglia are the resident innate immune cells in the central nervous system (CNS) that survey the surrounding environment. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified the R47H variant of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cell 2 (TREM2) as a risk factor for late-onset AD (LOAD) with an odds ratio of 4.5. TREM2 is an immunoreceptor primarily present on microglia in the CNS that binds to polyanionic molecules. The transmembrane domain of TREM2 signals through DAP12, an adaptor protein that contains an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM), which mediates TREM2 signaling and promotes microglial activation and survival. In mouse models of AD, Trem2 haplodeficiency and deficiency lead to reduced microglial clustering around amyloid ? (A?) plaques, suggesting TREM2 is required for plaque-associated microglial responses. Recently, TREM2 has been shown to enhance microglial metabolism through the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. Although aberrant metabolism has long been associated with AD, not much was known regarding how metabolism in microglia might affect disease progression. In this review, we discuss the role of TREM2 and metabolism in AD pathology, highlighting how TREM2-mediated microglial metabolism modulates AD pathogenesis.
Project description:Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 2 (TREM2), which is expressed on myeloid cells including microglia in the CNS, has recently been identified as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). TREM2 transmits intracellular signals through its transmembrane binding partner DNAX-activating protein 12 (DAP12). Homozygous mutations inactivating TREM2 or DAP12 lead to Nasu-Hakola disease; however, how AD risk-conferring variants increase AD risk is not clear. To elucidate the signaling pathways underlying reduced TREM2 expression or loss of function in microglia, we respectively knocked down and knocked out the expression of TREM2 in in vitro and in vivo models. We found that TREM2 deficiency reduced the viability and proliferation of primary microglia, reduced microgliosis in Trem2-/- mouse brains, induced cell cycle arrest at the G1/S checkpoint, and decreased the stability of β-catenin, a key component of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway responsible for maintaining many biological processes, including cell survival. TREM2 stabilized β-catenin by inhibiting its degradation via the Akt/GSK3β signaling pathway. More importantly, treatment with Wnt3a, LiCl, or TDZD-8, which activates the β-catenin-mediated Wnt signaling pathway, rescued microglia survival and microgliosis in Trem2-/- microglia and/or in Trem2-/- mouse brain. Together, our studies demonstrate a critical role of TREM2-mediated Wnt/β-catenin pathway in microglial viability and suggest that modulating this pathway therapeutically may help to combat the impaired microglial survival and microgliosis associated with AD.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Mutations in the TREM2 (Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 2) gene are associated with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) with effective sizes comparable to that of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele, making it imperative to understand the molecular pathway(s) underlying TREM2 function in microglia. Our findings shed new light on the relationship between TREM2/DNAX-activating protein 12 (DAP12) signaling and Wnt/β-catenin signaling and provide clues as to how reduced TREM2 function might impair microglial survival in AD pathogenesis. We demonstrate that TREM2 promotes microglial survival by activating the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and that it is possible to restore Wnt/β-catenin signaling when TREM2 activity is disrupted or reduced. Therefore, we demonstrate the potential for manipulating the TREM2/β-catenin signaling pathway for the treatment of AD.
Project description:The surface receptor triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) plays a crucial role in maintaining a multitude of microglial activities, such as survival, proliferation, migration, metabolism, inflammation, and phagocytosis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying TREM2-mediated microglial activities remain largely elusive. Herein, we found that TREM2 interacted with the type I transmembrane protein TMEM59, whose expression could facilitate autophagic flux through its carboxyl-terminus. TMEM59 expression was decreased upon lipopolysaccharide treatment. While downregulation of TMEM59 promoted anti-inflammatory factor expression and attenuated lipopolysaccharide treatment-induced inflammation. Importantly, we found that overexpression of TREM2 reduced TMEM59 protein levels through promoting its degradation, whereas TMEM59 levels were elevated in Trem2-deficient microglia. Finally, impaired survival, proliferation, migration, and phagocytosis, as well as dysregulated autophagy and metabolism in Trem2-deficient microglia were attenuated upon TMEM59 silencing. Together, our findings reveal a novel function of TREM2 in mediating TMEM59 protein degradation and demonstrate the importance of TMEM59 homeostasis in maintaining TREM2-mediated microglial activities.
Project description:Immunotherapeutic approaches are currently the most advanced treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Antibodies against amyloid ?-peptide (A?) bind to amyloid plaques and induce their clearance by microglia via Fc receptor-mediated phagocytosis. Dysfunctions of microglia may play a pivotal role in AD pathogenesis and could result in reduced efficacy of antibody-mediated A? clearance. Recently, heterozygous mutations in the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2), a microglial gene involved in phagocytosis, were genetically linked to late onset AD Loss of TREM2 reduces the ability of microglia to engulf A?. We have now investigated whether loss of TREM2 affects the efficacy of immunotherapeutic approaches. We show that anti-A? antibodies stimulate A? uptake and amyloid plaque clearance in a dose-dependent manner in the presence or absence of TREM2. However, TREM2-deficient N9 microglial cell lines, macrophages as well as primary microglia showed significantly reduced uptake of antibody-bound A? and as a consequence reduced clearance of amyloid plaques. Titration experiments revealed that reduced efficacy of amyloid plaque clearance by Trem2 knockout cells can be compensated by elevating the concentration of therapeutic antibodies.