Elevated TREM2 Gene Dosage Reprograms Microglia Responsivity and Ameliorates Pathological Phenotypes in Alzheimer's Disease Models.
ABSTRACT: Variants of TREM2 are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). To study whether increasing TREM2 gene dosage could modify the disease pathogenesis, we developed BAC transgenic mice expressing human TREM2 (BAC-TREM2) in microglia. We found that elevated TREM2 expression reduced amyloid burden in the 5xFAD mouse model. Transcriptomic profiling demonstrated that increasing TREM2 levels conferred a rescuing effect, which includes dampening the expression of multiple disease-associated microglial genes and augmenting downregulated neuronal genes. Interestingly, 5xFAD/BAC-TREM2 mice showed further upregulation of several reactive microglial genes linked to phagocytosis and negative regulation of immune cell activation. Moreover, these mice showed enhanced process ramification and phagocytic marker expression in plaque-associated microglia and reduced neuritic dystrophy. Finally, elevated TREM2 gene dosage led to improved memory performance in AD models. In summary, our study shows that a genomic transgene-driven increase in TREM2 expression reprograms microglia responsivity and ameliorates neuropathological and behavioral deficits in AD mouse models.
Project description:TREM2 BAC transgenic mice with elevated expression of human TREM2 in microglia under its endogenous regulation without overexpression of other TREM-like genes on the BAC were generated and crossed with 5xFAD mice, an mouse model of AD. Transcriptome and gene coexpression analyses were performed to obtain chronical view of TREM gene dosage dependent changes in the context of amyloid pathology. The results confer strong evidence that increased TREM2 alters brain transcriptome network response only in the context of a disease state and with an overall rescuing effect in 5xFAD mice. Overall design: Brain cortical tissues were dissected from WT, BAC-TREM2, 5xFAD and 5xFAD/BAC-TREM2 at 2, 4 and 7 months of age. RNA was extracted using Qiagen RNeasy kit. Libraries prepared using the Illumina TruSeq RNA Library Prep Kit v2 and sequenced on an Illumina HiSeq4000 sequencer using strand-specific, paired-end, 69-mer sequencing protocols to a minimum read depth of 30 million reads per sample. Reads were aligned to mouse genome mm10 using the STAR aligner with default settings. Read counts for individual genes were obtained using HTSeq.
Project description:The microglial receptors CD33 and TREM2 have been associated with risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we investigated crosstalk between CD33 and TREM2. We showed that knockout of CD33 attenuated amyloid beta (A?) pathology and improved cognition in 5xFAD mice, both of which were abrogated by additional TREM2 knockout. Knocking out TREM2 in 5xFAD mice exacerbated A? pathology and neurodegeneration but reduced Iba1+ cell numbers, all of which could not be rescued by additional CD33 knockout. RNA-seq profiling of microglia revealed that genes related to phagocytosis and signaling (IL-6, IL-8, acute phase response) are upregulated in 5xFAD;CD33-/- and downregulated in 5xFAD;TREM2-/- mice. Differential gene expression in 5xFAD;CD33-/- microglia depended on the presence of TREM2, suggesting TREM2 acts downstream of CD33. Crosstalk between CD33 and TREM2 includes regulation of the IL-1?/IL-1RN axis and a gene set in the "receptor activity chemokine" cluster. Our results should facilitate AD therapeutics targeting these receptors.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that causes late-onset dementia. The R47H variant of the microglial receptor TREM2 triples AD risk in genome-wide association studies. In mouse AD models, TREM2-deficient microglia fail to proliferate and cluster around the amyloid-? plaques characteristic of AD. In vitro, the common variant (CV) of TREM2 binds anionic lipids, whereas R47H mutation impairs binding. However, in vivo, the identity of TREM2 ligands and effect of the R47H variant remain unknown. We generated transgenic mice expressing human CV or R47H TREM2 and lacking endogenous TREM2 in the 5XFAD AD model. Only the CV transgene restored amyloid-?-induced microgliosis and microglial activation, indicating that R47H impairs TREM2 function in vivo. Remarkably, soluble TREM2 was found on neurons and plaques in CV- but not R47H-expressing 5XFAD brains, although in vitro CV and R47H were shed similarly via Adam17 proteolytic activity. These results demonstrate that TREM2 interacts with neurons and plaques duing amyloid-? accumulation and R47H impairs this interaction.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease in which the formation of extracellular aggregates of amyloid beta (A?) peptide, fibrillary tangles of intraneuronal tau and microglial activation are major pathological hallmarks. One of the key molecules involved in microglial activation is galectin-3 (gal3), and we demonstrate here for the first time a key role of gal3 in AD pathology. Gal3 was highly upregulated in the brains of AD patients and 5xFAD (familial Alzheimer's disease) mice and found specifically expressed in microglia associated with A? plaques. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the LGALS3 gene, which encodes gal3, were associated with an increased risk of AD. Gal3 deletion in 5xFAD mice attenuated microglia-associated immune responses, particularly those associated with TLR and TREM2/DAP12 signaling. In vitro data revealed that gal3 was required to fully activate microglia in response to fibrillar A?. Gal3 deletion decreased the A? burden in 5xFAD mice and improved cognitive behavior. Interestingly, a single intrahippocampal injection of gal3 along with A? monomers in WT mice was sufficient to induce the formation of long-lasting (2 months) insoluble A? aggregates, which were absent when gal3 was lacking. High-resolution microscopy (stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy) demonstrated close colocalization of gal3 and TREM2 in microglial processes, and a direct interaction was shown by a fluorescence anisotropy assay involving the gal3 carbohydrate recognition domain. Furthermore, gal3 was shown to stimulate TREM2-DAP12 signaling in a reporter cell line. Overall, our data support the view that gal3 inhibition may be a potential pharmacological approach to counteract AD.
Project description:Genetic studies identified mutations in several immune-related genes that confer increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD), suggesting a key role for microglia in AD pathology. Microglia are recruited to and actively modulate the local toxicity of amyloid plaques in models of AD through these cells' transcriptional and functional reprogramming to a disease-associated phenotype. However, it remains unknown whether microglia actively respond to amyloid accumulation before plaque deposition in AD. We compared microglial interactions with neurons that exhibit amyloid accumulation to those that do not in 1-month-old 5XFAD mice to determine which aspects of microglial morphology and function are altered by early 6E10+ amyloid accumulation. We provide evidence of preferential microglial process engagement of amyloid laden neurons. Microglia, on exposure to amyloid, also increase their internalization of neurites even before plaque onset. Unexpectedly, we found that triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2), which is critical for microglial responses to amyloid plaque pathology later in disease, is not required for enhanced microglial interactions with neurons or neurite internalization early in disease. However, TREM2 was still required for early morphological changes exhibited by microglia. These data demonstrate that microglia sense and respond to amyloid accumulation before plaques form using a distinct mechanism from the TREM2-dependent pathway required later in disease.
Project description:Glia have been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. Variants of the microglia receptor triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) increase AD risk, and activation of disease-associated microglia (DAM) is dependent on TREM2 in mouse models of AD. We surveyed gene-expression changes associated with AD pathology and TREM2 in 5XFAD mice and in human AD by single-nucleus RNA sequencing. We confirmed the presence of Trem2-dependent DAM and identified a previously undiscovered Serpina3n+C4b+ reactive oligodendrocyte population in mice. Interestingly, remarkably different glial phenotypes were evident in human AD. Microglia signature was reminiscent of IRF8-driven reactive microglia in peripheral-nerve injury. Oligodendrocyte signatures suggested impaired axonal myelination and metabolic adaptation to neuronal degeneration. Astrocyte profiles indicated weakened metabolic coordination with neurons. Notably, the reactive phenotype of microglia was less evident in TREM2-R47H and TREM2-R62H carriers than in non-carriers, demonstrating a TREM2 requirement in both mouse and human AD, despite the marked species-specific differences.
Project description:Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is a microglial surface receptor that triggers intracellular protein tyrosine phosphorylation. Recent genome-wide association studies have shown that a rare R47H mutation of TREM2 correlates with a substantial increase in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). To address the basis for this genetic association, we studied TREM2 deficiency in the 5XFAD mouse model of AD. We found that TREM2 deficiency and haploinsufficiency augment ?-amyloid (A?) accumulation due to a dysfunctional response of microglia, which fail to cluster around A? plaques and become apoptotic. We further demonstrate that TREM2 senses a broad array of anionic and zwitterionic lipids known to associate with fibrillar A? in lipid membranes and to be exposed on the surface of damaged neurons. Remarkably, the R47H mutation impairs TREM2 detection of lipid ligands. Thus, TREM2 detects damage-associated lipid patterns associated with neurodegeneration, sustaining the microglial response to A? accumulation.
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:TREM2 is a receptor for lipids expressed in microglia. The R47H variant of human TREM2 impairs ligand binding and increases Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) risk. In mouse models of amyloid b (Ab) accumulation, defective TREM2 function affects microglial response to Ab plaques exacerbating tissue damage, whereas TREM2 overexpression attenuates pathology. Thus, AD may benefit from TREM2 activation. Here, we examined the impact of an anti-human TREM2 agonistic mAb, AL002c, in a mouse AD model expressing either the common variant (CV) or the R47H variant of TREM2. Single cell RNA-seq of microglia after acute systemic administration of AL002c showed induction of proliferation in both CV- and R47H-transgenic mice. Prolonged administration of AL002c reduced filamentous plaques and neurite dystrophy, impacted behavior and tempered glial inflammatory response. We further showed that a variant of AL002c has been given safely in a first-in-human phase I clinical trial and engages TREM2 based on CSF biomarkers. We conclude that AL002c is a promising candidate for AD therapy. Overall design: Single-cell RNA-seq on whole brains from an AL002c acute dose in common variant (CV) and R47H human TREM2 variant BAC transgenic 5XFAD mice
Project description:BACKGROUND:Microglia are innate immune cells of the brain that perform phagocytic and inflammatory functions in disease conditions. Transcriptomic studies of acutely-isolated microglia have provided novel insights into their molecular and functional diversity in homeostatic and neurodegenerative disease states. State-of-the-art mass spectrometry methods can comprehensively characterize proteomic alterations in microglia in neurodegenerative disorders, potentially providing novel functionally relevant molecular insights that are not provided by transcriptomics. However, comprehensive proteomic profiling of adult primary microglia in neurodegenerative disease conditions has not been performed. METHODS:We performed quantitative mass spectrometry based proteomic analyses of purified CD11b+ acutely-isolated microglia from adult (6 mo) mice in normal, acute neuroinflammatory (LPS-treatment) and chronic neurodegenerative states (5xFAD model of Alzheimer's disease [AD]). Differential expression analyses were performed to characterize specific microglial proteomic changes in 5xFAD mice and identify overlap with LPS-induced pro-inflammatory changes. Our results were also contrasted with existing proteomic data from wild-type mouse microglia and from existing microglial transcriptomic data from wild-type and 5xFAD mice. Neuropathological validation studies of select proteins were performed in human AD and 5xFAD brains. RESULTS:Of 4133 proteins identified, 187 microglial proteins were differentially expressed in the 5xFAD mouse model of AD pathology, including proteins with previously known (Apoe, Clu and Htra1) as well as previously unreported relevance to AD biology (Cotl1 and Hexb). Proteins upregulated in 5xFAD microglia shared significant overlap with pro-inflammatory changes observed in LPS-treated mice. Several proteins increased in human AD brain were also upregulated by 5xFAD microglia (Aβ peptide, Apoe, Htra1, Cotl1 and Clu). Cotl1 was identified as a novel microglia-specific marker with increased expression and strong association with AD neuropathology. Apoe protein was also detected within plaque-associated microglia in which Apoe and Aβ were highly co-localized, suggesting a role for Apoe in phagocytic clearance of Aβ. CONCLUSIONS:We report a comprehensive proteomic study of adult mouse microglia derived from acute neuroinflammation and AD models, representing a valuable resource to the neuroscience research community. We highlight shared and unique microglial proteomic changes in acute neuroinflammation aging and AD mouse models and identify novel roles for microglial proteins in human neurodegeneration.