Low plasma neurofilament light levels associated with raised cortical microglial activation suggest inflammation acts to protect prodromal Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid levels of neurofilament light (NfL), a marker of axonal degeneration, have previously been reported to be raised in patients with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer's disease (AD). Activated microglia, an intrinsic inflammatory response to brain lesions, are also known to be present in a majority of Alzheimer or mild cognitive impaired (MCI) subjects with raised ?-amyloid load on their positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. It is now considered that the earliest phase of inflammation may be protective to the brain, removing amyloid plaques and remodelling synapses. Our aim was to determine whether the cortical inflammation/microglial activation load, measured with the translocator protein marker 11C-PK11195 PET, was correlated with plasma NfL levels in prodromal and early Alzheimer subjects. METHODS:Twenty-seven MCI or early AD cases with raised cortical ?-amyloid load had 11C-(R)-PK11195 PET, structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, and levels of their plasma NfL measured. Correlation analyses were performed using surface-based cortical statistics. RESULTS:Statistical maps localised areas in MCI cases where levels of brain inflammation correlated inversely with plasma NfL levels. These areas were localised in the frontal, parietal, precuneus, occipital, and sensorimotor cortices. Brain inflammation correlated negatively with mean diffusivity (MD) of water with regions overlapping. CONCLUSION:We conclude that an inverse correlation between levels of inflammation in cortical areas and plasma NfL levels indicates that microglial activation may initially be protective to axons in AD. This is supported by the finding of an inverse association between cortical water diffusivity and microglial activation in the same regions. Our findings suggest a rationale for stimulating microglial activity in early and prodromal Alzheimer cases-possibly using immunotherapy. Plasma NfL levels could be used as a measure of the protective efficacy of immune stimulation and for monitoring efficacy of putative neuroprotective agents.
Project description:Activated microglia may play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) as they cluster around beta-amyloid (Abeta) plaques. They are, therefore, a potential therapeutic target in both AD and its prodrome amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI).To characterize in vivo with (11)C-(R)-PK11195 and (11)C-PIB PET the distribution of microglial activation and amyloid deposition in patients with amnestic MCI.Fourteen subjects with MCI had (11)C-(R)-PK11195 and (11)C-PIB PET with psychometric tests.Seven out of 14 (50%) patients with MCI had increased cortical (11)C-PIB retention (p < 0.001) while 5 out of 13 (38%) subjects with MCI showed increased (11)C-(R)-PK11195 uptake. The MCI subgroup with increased (11)C-PIB retention also showed increased cortical (11)C-(R)-PK11195 binding (p < 0.036) though this increase only remained significant in frontal cortex after a correction for multiple comparisons. There was no correlation between regional levels of (11)C-(R)-PK11195 and (11)C-PIB binding in individual patients with MCI: only three of the five MCI cases with increased (11)C-(R)-PK11195 binding had increased levels of (11)C-PIB retention.Our findings indicate that, while amyloid deposition and microglial activation can be detected in vivo in around 50% of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), these pathologies can occur independently. The detection of microglial activation in patients with MCI suggests that anti-inflammatory therapies may be relevant to the prevention of AD.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The aim of this longitudinal study was to assess with positron emission tomography (PET) the relationship between levels of inflammation and the loads of aggregated ?-amyloid and tau at baseline and again after 2 years in prodromal Alzheimer's disease. METHODS:Forty-three subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) had serial 11C-PK11195 PET over 2 years to measure inflammation changes, and 11C-PiB PET to determine ?-amyloid fibril load; 22 also had serial 18F-Flortaucipir PET to determine tau tangle load. Cortical surface statistical mapping was used to localise areas showing significant changes in tracer binding over time and to interrogate correlations between tracer binding of the tracers at baseline and after 2 years. RESULTS:Those MCI subjects with high 11C-PiB uptake at baseline (classified as prodromal Alzheimer's disease) had raised inflammation levels which significantly declined across cortical regions over 2 years although their ?-amyloid levels continued to rise. Those MCI cases who had low/normal 11C-PiB uptake at baseline but their levels then rose over 2 years were classified as prodromal AD with low Thal phase 1-2 amyloid deposition at baseline. They showed levels of cortical inflammation which correlated with their rising ?-amyloid load. Those MCI cases with baseline low 11C-PiB uptake that remained stable were classified as non-AD, and they showed no correlated inflammation levels. Finally, MCI cases which showed both high 11C-PiB and 18F-Flortaucipir uptake at baseline (MCI due to AD) showed a further rise in their tau tangle load over 2 years with a correlated rise in levels of inflammation. CONCLUSIONS:Our baseline and 2-year imaging findings are compatible with a biphasic trajectory of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease: MCI cases with low baseline but subsequently rising ?-amyloid load show correlated levels of microglial activation which then later decline when the ?-amyloid load approaches AD levels. Later, as tau tangles form in ?-amyloid positive MCI cases with prodromal AD, the rising tau load is associated with higher levels of inflammation.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To investigate the influence of microglial activation in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease trajectory, we assessed the relationship between microglial activation and gray matter volume and hippocampal volume in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). METHODS:In this study, 55 participants (37 with early stages of MCI and 18 controls) underwent [11C]PBR28 PET, a marker of microglial activation; volumetric MRI to evaluate gray matter and hippocampal volumes as well as clinical and neuropsychometric evaluation. [11C]PBR28 VT (volume of distribution) was calculated using arterial input function and Logan graphical analysis. Gray matter volume and hippocampal volumes were calculated from MRI for each participant. Statistical parametric mapping software was used to perform voxel-wise correlations and biological parametric mapping analysis. Amyloid status was assessed using [18F]flutemetamol PET. RESULTS:Higher [11C]PBR28 VT in different cortical areas correlated with higher gray matter volume in both amyloid-positive and -negative MCI. In addition, higher hippocampal volume correlated with higher cortical [11C]PBR28 Logan VT. CONCLUSIONS:In this in vivo study, we have demonstrated that microglial activation quantified using [11C]PBR28 PET was associated with higher gray matter volume and higher hippocampal volume in patients with MCI. This might suggest that microglial activation may not always be associated with neuronal damage, and indeed it may have a beneficial effect in the early stages of the Alzheimer trajectory. While further longitudinal studies are necessary, these findings have significant implications on therapeutic strategies targeting microglial activation.
Project description:Activated microglia are thought to play a major role in cortical gray matter (GM) demyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS). Our objective was to evaluate microglial activation in cortical GM of patients with MS in vivo and to explore its relationship to measures of disability.Using PET and optimized modeling and segmentation procedures, we investigated cortical (11)C-PK11195 (PK11195) binding in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), patients with secondary progressive MS (SPMS), and healthy controls. Disability was assessed with the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29).Patients with MS showed increased cortical GM PK11195 binding relative to controls, which was multifocal and highest in the postcentral, middle frontal, anterior orbital, fusiform, and parahippocampal gyri. Patients with SPMS also showed additional increases in precentral, superior parietal, lingual and anterior superior, medial and inferior temporal gyri. Total cortical GM PK11195 binding correlated with EDSS scores, with a stronger correlation for the subgroup of patients with SPMS. In patients with SPMS, PK11195 binding also correlated with MSIS-29 scores. No correlation with disability measures was seen for PK11195 binding in white matter. Higher EDSS scores correlated with higher levels of GM PK11195 binding in the postcentral gyrus for patients with RRMS and in precentral gyrus for those with SPMS.Microglial activation in cortical GM of patients with MS can be assessed in vivo. The distribution is not uniform and shows a relationship to clinical disability. We speculate that the increased PK11195 binding corresponds to enhanced microglial activation described in postmortem SPMS cortical GM.
Project description:[(11)C](R)PK11195-PET measures upregulation of translocator protein, which is associated with microglial activation, [(11)C]PIB-PET is a marker of amyloid, while [(18)F]FDG-PET measures cerebral glucose metabolism (rCMRGlc). We hypothesize that microglial activation is an early event in the Parkinson's disease (PD) spectrum and is independent of the amyloid pathology. The aim of this study is to evaluate in vivo the relationship between microglial activation, amyloid deposition, and glucose metabolism in Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) and PD subjects without dementia. Here, we evaluated 11 PDD subjects, 8 PD subjects without dementia, and 24 control subjects. Subjects underwent T1 and T2 MRI, [(11)C](R)PK11195, [(18)F]FDG, and [(11)C]PIB PET scans. Parametric maps of [(11)C](R)PK11195 binding potential, rCMRGlc, and [(11)C]PIB uptake were interrogated using region of interest and SPM (statistical parametric mapping) analysis. The PDD patients showed a significant increase of microglial activation in anterior and posterior cingulate, striatum, frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital cortical regions compared with the controls. The PD subjects also showed a statistically significant increase in microglial activation in temporal, parietal, and occipital regions. [(11)C]PIB uptake was marginally increased in PDD and PD. There was a significant reduction in glucose metabolism in PDD and PD. We have also demonstrated pixel-by-pixel correlation between mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score and microglial activation, and MMSE score and rCMRGlc. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that cortical microglial activation and reduced glucose metabolism can be detected early on in this disease spectrum. Significant microglial activation may be a factor in driving the disease process in PDD. Given this, agents that affect microglial activation could have an influence on disease progression.
Project description:Existing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or imaging (tau positron emission tomography) biomarkers for Alzheimer disease (AD) are invasive or expensive. Biomarkers based on standard blood test results would be useful in research, drug development, and clinical practice. Plasma neurofilament light (NFL) has recently been proposed as a blood-based biomarker for neurodegeneration in dementias.To test whether plasma NFL concentrations are increased in AD and associated with cognitive decline, other AD biomarkers, and imaging evidence of neurodegeneration.In this prospective case-control study, an ultrasensitive assay was used to measure plasma NFL concentration in 193 cognitively healthy controls, 197 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 180 patients with AD dementia from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The study dates were September 7, 2005, to February 13, 2012. The plasma NFL analysis was performed in September 2016.Associations were tested between plasma NFL and diagnosis, A? pathologic features, CSF biomarkers of neuronal injury, cognition, brain structure, and metabolism.Among 193 cognitively healthy controls, 197 patients with mild cognitive impairment, and 180 patients with AD with dementia, plasma NFL correlated with CSF NFL (Spearman ??=?0.59, P?<?.001). Plasma NFL was increased in patients with MCI (mean, 42.8 ng/L) and patients with AD dementia (mean, 51.0 ng/L) compared with controls (mean, 34.7 ng/L) (P?<?.001) and had high diagnostic accuracy for patients with AD with dementia vs controls (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.87, which is comparable to established CSF biomarkers). Plasma NFL was particularly high in patients with MCI and patients with AD dementia with A? pathologic features. High plasma NFL correlated with poor cognition and AD-related atrophy (at baseline and longitudinally) and with brain hypometabolism (longitudinally).Plasma NFL is associated with AD diagnosis and with cognitive, biochemical, and imaging hallmarks of the disease. This finding implies a potential usefulness for plasma NFL as a noninvasive biomarker in AD.
Project description:Inflammation is increasingly recognized as part of the pathology of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, but its role in dementia with Lewy bodies remains unclear. Using multimodal imaging and peripheral cytokine analysis, we therefore investigated central and peripheral inflammation in this common form of dementia. Nineteen participants with probable dementia with Lewy bodies and 16 similarly aged controls underwent 3 T MRI and PET imaging with 11C-PK11195, a marker of microglial activation in vivo. Peripheral blood inflammatory cytokines were also measured in all subjects, as well as in an additional 10 controls, using the Mesoscale Human Cytokine 36 plex panel and additional assays for high sensitivity c-reactive protein, tumour necrosis factor receptor 1, IL-34, YKL-40 (chitinase-3-like protein 1) and colony stimulating factor 1. To test for the presence of in vivo amyloid, 11C-Pittsburgh compound B PET imaging was also performed in 16 of the dementia with Lewy body participants. Microglial activation was elevated in dementia with Lewy bodies subjects with mild disease when compared to those with moderate/severe impairment, where disease severity was indexed by cognitive performance on the revised Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination. In patients, strong correlations were found between cognitive performance and 11C-PK11195 non-displaceable binding potential in several regions including the caudate nucleus (R = 0.83, P = 0.00008) and cuneus (R = 0.77, P = 0.0005). Several inflammatory cytokines were altered in the patients compared to controls, with elevated macrophage inflammatory protein-3 (P = 0.001), IL-17A (P = 0.008) and IL-2 (P = 0.046) and reduced IL-8 (P = 0.024). There was no correlation between cortical 11C-Pittsburgh compound B standardized uptake value ratio and clinical features, regional 11C-PK11195 binding or peripheral cytokine levels. Nor was there any regional correlation between 11C-PK11195 non-displaceable binding potentials and 11C-Pittsburgh compound B standardized uptake value ratios. Our findings provide evidence for both central and peripheral inflammatory changes in dementia with Lewy bodies, with microglial activation occurring early in the disease in key regions known to be associated with pathology, before declining as cognition declines. Raised peripheral cytokines associated with T cell function further suggest a role for the adaptive immune system in the pathogenesis of the disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Plasma neurofilament light (NFL) is a promising biomarker for Alzheimer disease (AD), which increases in the early stage of AD and is associated with the progression of AD. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of plasma NFL in Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative 1 (ADNI-1) cohort to identify novel variants associated with AD. METHODS:This study included 179 cognitively healthy controls (HC), 176 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 172 patients with AD. All subjects were restricted to non-Hispanic Caucasian derived from the ADNI cohort and met all quality control (QC) criteria. Association of plasma NFL with the genetic variants was assessed using PLINK with an additive genetic model, i.e.dose-dependent effect of the minor alleles. The influence of a genetic variant associated with plasma NFL (rs7943454) on brain structure was further assessed using PLINK with a linear regression model. RESULTS:The minor allele (T) of rs7943454 in leucine zipper protein 2 gene (LUZP2) was associated with higher plasma NFL at suggestive levels (P = 1.39 × 10- 6) in a dose-dependent fashion. In contrast, the minor allele (G) of rs640476 near GABRB2 was associated with lower plasma NFL at suggestive levels (P = 6.71 × 10- 6) in a dose-dependent effect in all diagnostic groups except the MCI group. Furthermore, the minor allele (T) of rs7943454 within LUZP2 increased the onset risk of AD (odds ratio = 1.547, confidence interval 95% = 1.018-2.351) and was associated with atrophy of right middle temporal gyrus in the whole cohort in the longitudinal study (P = 0.0234). CONCLUSION:GWAS found the associations of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs7943454 and rs640476) with plasma NFL at suggestive levels. Rs7943454 in LUZP2 was associated with the onset risk of AD and atrophy of right middle temporal gyrusin the whole cohort. Using an endophenotype-based approach, we identified rs7943454 as a new AD risk locus.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Microglial cells are activated in response to changes in brain homeostasis during aging, dementia, and stroke. Type 2 endocannabinoid receptors (CB2) and translocator protein 18 kD (TSPO) are considered to reflect distinct aspects of microglia-related neuroinflammatory responses in the brain. CB2 activation is considered to relate to the neuroprotective responses that may occur predominantly in the early stage of brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, while an increase in TSPO expression tends to occur later during neuroinflammation, in a proinflammatory fashion. However, this information was deduced from studies with different animal samples under different experimental settings. In this study, we aimed to examine the early microglial status in the inflammation occurring in the brains of senescence-accelerated mouse prone 10 (SAMP10) mice, using positron emission tomography (PET) with CB2 and TSPO tracers, together with immunohistochemistry. METHODS:Five- and 15-week-old SAMP10 mice that undergo neurodegeneration after 7?months of age were used. The binding levels of the TSPO tracer (R)-[11C]PK11195 and CB2 tracer [11C]NE40 were measured using PET in combination with immunohistochemistry for CB2 and TSPO. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report PET data for CB2 and TSPO at the early stage of cognitive impairment in an animal model. RESULTS:The standard uptake value ratios (SUVRs) of [11C]NE40 binding were significantly higher than those of (R)-[11C]PK11195 binding in the cerebral cortical region at 15?weeks of age. At 5?weeks of age, the [11C]NE40 SUVR tended to be higher than the (R)-[11C]PK11195 SUVR. The (R)-[11C]PK11195 SUVR did not significantly differ between 5- and 15-week-old mice. Consistently, immunostaining analysis confirmed the upregulation of CB2, but not TSPO. CONCLUSIONS:The use of the CB2 tracer [11C]NE40 and/or an immunohistochemical approach allows evaluation of the role of microglia in acute neuroinflammatory processes in the early stage of neurodegeneration. The present results provide in vivo evidence of different responses of two types of microglia to senescence-accelerated neuroinflammation, implying the perturbation of microglial balance by aging. Specific treatment for CB2-positive microglia might help ameliorate senescence-related neuroinflammation and the following neurodegeneration.
Project description:Importance:Neuronal and axonal destruction are hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases, but it is difficult to estimate the extent and progress of the damage in the disease process. Objective:To investigate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of neurofilament light (NFL) protein, a marker of neuroaxonal degeneration, in control participants and patients with dementia, motor neuron disease, and parkinsonian disorders (determined by clinical criteria and autopsy), and determine its association with longitudinal cognitive decline. Design, Setting, and Participants:In this case-control study, we investigated NFL levels in CSF obtained from controls and patients with several neurodegenerative diseases. Collection of samples occurred between 1996 and 2014, patients were followed up longitudinally for cognitive testing, and a portion were autopsied in a single center (University of Pennsylvania). Data were analyzed throughout 2016. Exposures:Concentrations of NFL in CSF. Main Outcomes and Measures:Levels of CSF NFL and correlations with cognition scores. Results:A total of 913 participants (mean [SD] age, 68.7 [10.0] years; 456 [49.9%] women) were included: 75 control participants plus 114 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 397 with Alzheimer disease, 96 with frontotemporal dementia, 68 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, 41 with Parkinson disease (PD), 19 with PD with MCI, 29 with PD dementia, 33 with dementia with Lewy bodies, 21 with corticobasal syndrome, and 20 with progressive supranuclear palsy. Cognitive testing follow-up occurred for 1 to 18 years (mean [SD], 0.98 [2.25] years); autopsy-verified diagnoses were available for 120 of 845 participants with diseases (14.2%). There was a stepwise increase in CSF NFL levels between control participants (median [range] score, 536 [398-777] pg/mL), participants with MCI (831 [526-1075] pg/mL), and those with Alzheimer disease (951 [758-1261] pg/mL), indicating that NFL levels increase with increasing cognitive impairment. Levels of NFL correlated inversely with baseline Mini-Mental State Examination scores (?, -0.19; P?<?.001) in the full cohort (n?=?822) and annual score decline in the full cohort (?, 0.36, P?<?.001), participants with AD (?, 0.25; P?<?.001), and participants with FTD (?, 0.46; P?=?.003). Concentrations of NFL were highest in participants with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (median [range], 4185 [2207-7453] pg/mL) and frontotemporal dementia (2094 [230-7744] pg/mL). In individuals with parkinsonian disorders, NFL concentrations were highest in those with progressive supranuclear palsy (median [range], 1578 [1287-3104] pg/mL) and corticobasal degeneration (1281 [828-2713] pg/mL). The NFL concentrations in CSF correlated with TDP-43 load in 13 of 17 brain regions in the full cohort. Adding NFL to ?-amyloid 42, total tau, and phosphorylated tau increased accuracy of discrimination of diseases. Conclusions and Relevance:Levels of CSF NFL are associated with cognitive impairments in patients with Alzheimer disease and frontotemporal dementia. In other neurodegenerative disorders, NFL levels appear to reflect the intensity of the neurodegenerative processes.