TREM2-Dependent Effects on Microglia in Alzheimer's Disease.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:Haplodeficiency of the microglia gene TREM2 increases risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) but the mechanisms remain uncertain. To investigate this, we used high-resolution confocal and super-resolution (STORM) microscopy in AD-like mice and human AD tissue. We found that microglia processes, rich in TREM2, tightly surround early amyloid fibrils and plaques promoting their compaction and insulation. In Trem2- or DAP12-haplodeficient mice and in humans with R47H TREM2 mutations, microglia had a markedly reduced ability to envelop amyloid deposits. This led to an increase in less compact plaques with longer and branched amyloid fibrils resulting in greater surface exposure to adjacent neurites. This was associated with more severe neuritic tau hyperphosphorylation and axonal dystrophy around amyloid deposits. Thus, TREM2 deficiency may disrupt the formation of a neuroprotective microglia barrier that regulates amyloid compaction and insulation. Pharmacological modulation of this barrier could be a novel therapeutic strategy for AD.
Project description:Background TREM2 is a microglial cell surface receptor, with risk mutations linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), including R47H. TREM2 signalling via SYK aids phagocytosis, chemotaxis, survival, and changes to microglial activation state. In AD mouse models, knockout (KO) of TREM2 impairs microglial clustering around amyloid and prevents microglial activation. The R47H mutation is proposed to reduce TREM2 ligand binding. We investigated cell phenotypes of the R47H mutant and TREM2 KO in a model of human microglia, and compared their transcriptional signatures, to determine the mechanism by which R47H TREM2 disrupts function. Methods We generated human microglia-like iPSC-macrophages (pMac) from isogenic induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, with homozygous R47H mutation or TREM2 knockout (KO). We firstly validated the effect of the R47H mutant on TREM2 surface and subcellular localization in pMac. To assess microglial phenotypic function, we measured phagocytosis of dead neurons, cell morphology, directed migration, survival, and LPS-induced inflammation. We performed bulk RNA-seq, comparing significant differentially expressed genes (DEGs; p?<?0.05) between the R47H and KO versus WT, and bioinformatically predicted potential upstream regulators of TREM2-mediated gene expression. Results R47H modified surface expression and shedding of TREM2, but did not impair TREM2-mediated signalling, or gross phenotypes that were dysregulated in the TREM2 KO (phagocytosis, motility, survival). However, altered gene expression in the R47H TREM2 pMac overlapped by 90% with the TREM2 KO and was characterised by dysregulation of genes involved with immunity, proliferation, activation, chemotaxis, and adhesion. Downregulated mediators of ECM adhesion included the vitronectin receptor ?V?3, and consequently, R47H TREM2 pMac adhered weakly to vitronectin compared with WT pMac. To counteract these transcriptional defects, we investigated TGF?1, as a candidate upstream regulator. TGF?1 failed to rescue vitronectin adhesion of pMac, although it improved ?V?3 expression. Conclusions The R47H mutation is not sufficient to cause gross phenotypic defects of human pMac under standard culture conditions. However, overlapping transcriptional defects with TREM2 KO supports the hypothesised partial loss-of-function effects of the R47H mutation. Furthermore, transcriptomics can guide us to more subtle phenotypic defects in the R47H cells, such as reduced cell adhesion, and can be used to predict targets for therapeutic intervention.
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:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by plaques containing amyloid-? (A?) and neurofibrillary tangles composed of aggregated, hyperphosphorylated tau. Beyond tau and A?, evidence suggests that microglia play an important role in AD pathogenesis. Rare variants in the microglia-expressed triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) gene increase AD risk 2- to 4-fold. It is likely that these TREM2 variants increase AD risk by decreasing the response of microglia to A? and its local toxicity. However, neocortical A? pathology occurs many years before neocortical tau pathology in AD. Thus, it will be important to understand the role of TREM2 in the context of tauopathy. We investigated the impact of the AD-associated TREM2 variant (R47H) on tau-mediated neuropathology in the PS19 mouse model of tauopathy. We assessed PS19 mice expressing human TREM2CV (common variant) or human TREM2R47H. PS19-TREM2R47H mice had significantly attenuated brain atrophy and synapse loss versus PS19-TREM2CV mice. Gene expression analyses and CD68 immunostaining revealed attenuated microglial reactivity in PS19-TREM2R47H versus PS19-TREM2CV mice. There was also a decrease in phagocytosis of postsynaptic elements by microglia expressing TREM2R47H in the PS19 mice and in human AD brains. These findings suggest that impaired TREM2 signaling reduces microglia-mediated neurodegeneration in the setting of tauopathy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The R47H variant of Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) confers greatly increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD), reflective of a central role for myeloid cells in neurodegeneration. Understanding how this variant confers AD risk promises to provide important insights into how myeloid cells contribute to AD pathogenesis and progression. METHODS:In order to investigate this mechanism, CRISPR/Cas9 was used to generate a mouse model of AD harboring one copy of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) encoding the R47H variant in murine Trem2. TREM2 expression, myeloid cell responses to amyloid deposition, plaque burden, and neuritic dystrophy were assessed at 4 months of age. RESULTS:AD mice heterozygous for the Trem2 R47H allele exhibited reduced total Trem2 mRNA expression, reduced TREM2 expression around plaques, and reduced association of myeloid cells with plaques. These results were comparable to AD mice lacking one copy of Trem2. AD mice heterozygous for the Trem2 R47H allele also showed reduced myeloid cell responses to amyloid deposition, including a reduction in proliferation and a reduction in CD45 expression around plaques. Expression of the Trem2 R47H variant also reduced dense core plaque number but increased plaque-associated neuritic dystrophy. CONCLUSIONS:These data suggest that the AD-associated TREM2 R47H variant increases risk for AD by conferring a loss of TREM2 function and enhancing neuritic dystrophy around plaques.
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: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.
Project description:Loss-of-function genetic variants of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) are linked with an enhanced risk of developing dementias. Microglia, the resident immune cell of the brain, express TREM2, and microglial responses are implicated in dementia pathways. In a normal surveillance state, microglia use oxidative phosphorylation for their energy supply, but rely on the ability to undergo a metabolic switch to glycolysis to allow them to perform rapid plastic responses. We investigated the role of TREM2 on the microglial metabolic function in human patient iPSC-derived microglia expressing loss of function variants in TREM2. We show that these TREM2 variant iPSC-microglia, including the Alzheimer's disease R47H risk variant, exhibit significant metabolic deficits including a reduced mitochondrial respiratory capacity and an inability to perform a glycolytic immunometabolic switch. We determined that dysregulated PPAR?/p38MAPK signaling underlies the observed phenotypic deficits in TREM2 variants and that activation of these pathways can ameliorate the metabolic deficit in these cells and consequently rescue critical microglial cellular function such as ?-Amyloid phagocytosis. These findings have ramifications for microglial focussed-treatments in AD.