Gray matter changes related to microglial activation in Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT: Neuroinflammation is increasingly recognized as playing a key pathogenetic role in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We examined the relationship between in vivo neuroinflammation and gray matter (GM) changes. Twenty-eight subjects with clinically probable AD (n = 14) and amyloid-positive mild cognitive impairment (n = 14) (age 71.9 ± 8.4 years, 46% female) and 24 healthy controls underwent structural 3T brain MRI. AD/mild cognitive impairment participants exhibited GM atrophy and cortical thinning in AD-related temporoparietal regions (false discovery rate-corrected p < 0.05). Patients also showed increased microglial activation in temporal cortices. Higher 11C-PK11195 binding in these regions was associated with reduced volume and cortical thickness in parietal, occipital, and cingulate areas (false discovery rate p < 0.05). Hippocampal GM atrophy and parahippocampal cortical thinning were related to worse cognition (p < 0.05), but these effects were not mediated by microglial activation. This study demonstrates an association between in vivo microglial activation and markers of GM damage in AD, positioning neuroinflammation as a potential target for immunotherapeutic strategies.
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:Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is characterized by alpha-synuclein protein deposition with variable degree of concurrent Alzheimer's pathology. Neuroinflammation is also increasingly recognized as a significant contributor to degeneration. We aimed to examine the relationship between microglial activation as measured with [11C]-PK11195 brain PET, MR diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and grey matter atrophy in DLB. Nineteen clinically probable DLB and 20 similarly aged controls underwent 3T structural MRI (T1-weighted) and diffusion-weighted imaging. Eighteen DLB subjects also underwent [11C]-PK11195 PET imaging and 15 had [11C]-Pittsburgh compound B amyloid PET, resulting in 9/15 being amyloid-positive. We used Computational Anatomy Toolbox (CAT12) for volume-based morphometry (VBM) and Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) for DTI to assess group comparisons between DLB and controls and to identify associations of [11C]-PK11195 binding with grey/white matter changes and cognitive score in DLB patients. VBM analyses showed that DLB had extensive reduction of grey matter volume in superior frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital cortices (family-wise error (FWE)-corrected p < 0.05). TBSS showed widespread changes in DLB for all DTI parameters (reduced fractional anisotropy, increased diffusivity), involving the corpus callosum, corona radiata and superior longitudinal fasciculus (FWE-corrected p < 0.05). Higher [11C]-PK11195 binding in parietal cortices correlated with widespread lower mean and radial diffusivity in DLB patients (FWE-corrected p < 0.05). Furthermore, preserved cognition in DLB (higher Addenbrookes Cognitive Evaluation revised score) also correlated with higher [11C]-PK11195 binding in frontal, temporal, and occipital lobes. However, microglial activation was not significantly associated with grey matter changes. Our study suggests that increased microglial activation is associated with a relative preservation of white matter and cognition in DLB, positioning neuroinflammation as a potential early marker of DLB etio-pathogenesis.
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:The structural connectivity within cortical areas and between cortical and subcortical structures was investigated in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). We hypothesized that white matter (WM) tracts, which are linked to visual, attentional, and mnemonic functions, would be differentially and selectively affected in DLB as compared to AD and age-matched control subjects. Structural tensor imaging and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were performed on 14 DLB patients, 14 AD patients, and 15 controls. DTI metrics related to WM damage were assessed within tracts reconstructed by FreeSurfer's TRActs Constrained by UnderLying Anatomy pipeline. Correlation analysis between WM and gray matter (GM) metrics was performed to assess whether the structural connectivity alteration in AD and DLB could be secondary to GM neuronal loss or a consequence of direct WM injury. Anterior thalamic radiation (ATR) and cingulum-cingulate gyrus were altered in DLB, whereas cingulum-angular bundle (CAB) was disrupted in AD. In DLB patients, secondary axonal degeneration within ATR was found in relation to microstructural damage within medio-dorsal thalamus, whereas axonal degeneration within CAB was related to precuneus thinning. WM alteration within the uncinate fasciculus was present in both groups of patients and was related to frontal and to temporal thinning in DLB and AD, respectively. We found structural connectivity alterations within fronto-thalamic and fronto-parietal (precuneus) network in DLB whereas, in contrast, disruption of structural connectivity of mnemonic pathways was present in AD. Furthermore, the high correlation between GM and WM metrics suggests that the structural connectivity alteration in DLB could be linked to GM neuronal loss rather than by direct WM injury. Thus, this finding supports the key role of cortical and subcortical atrophy in DLB.
Project description: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: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:Lack of clear understanding remains on the overlapping atrophy patterns of aging and early Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology in gray matter (GM) of the brain in vivo.To evaluate the independent and overlapping patterns of GM atrophy in normal aging and AD.A total of 169 cognitively normal subjects and 33 persons with probable AD enrolled in the longitudinal Cardiovascular Health Study-Cognition Study underwent 3-dimensional volumetric MRI scans. Controls remained cognitively normal for at least 5 years after their MRI scans and the probable AD subjects were relatively early in their clinical course with an average modified Mini-Mental State Examination score of 76/100. The scans were analyzed using voxel-based morphometry adjusting for total intracranial volume, gender, education, and race.With older age, GM volume was lower in the sensorimotor and heteromodal association areas in frontal, temporal, occipital, and parietal lobes, as well as in the cerebellum (false discovery rate p = 0.05). Additional atrophy was observed in the posterior hippocampus, thalamus, and middle cingulate gyrus. By contrast, atrophy was seen in subjects with AD in the anterior hippocampal/parahippocampal regions and the precuneus. Normal aging and AD overlapped in the hippocampal body and the entorhinal cortex.Brain atrophy with aging was observed in supratentorial and infratentorial areas, as well in primary motor, sensory, and heteromodal association regions. Age and Alzheimer disease exert independent gray matter atrophy patterns but these effects overlapped substantially in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex.
Project description:Nonamnestic Alzheimer disease (AD) variants, including posterior cortical atrophy and the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia, differ from amnestic AD in distributions of tau aggregates and neurodegeneration. We evaluated whether 18F-flortaucipir (also called 18F-AV-1451) PET, targeting tau aggregates, detects these differences, and we compared the results with MRI measures of gray matter (GM) atrophy. Methods: Five subjects with posterior cortical atrophy, 4 subjects with the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia, 6 age-matched patients with AD, and 6 control subjects underwent 18F-flortaucipir PET and MRI. SUV ratios and GM volumes were compared using regional and voxel-based methods. Results: The subgroups showed the expected 18F-flortaucipir-binding patterns. Group effect sizes were generally stronger with 18F-flortaucipir PET than with MRI volumes. There were moderate-to-high correlations between regional GM atrophy and 18F-flortaucipir uptake. 18F-flortaucipir binding and GM atrophy correlated similarly to cognitive test performance. Conclusion:18F-flortaucipir binding corresponds to the expected neurodegeneration patterns in nonamnestic AD, with potential for earlier detection of pathology than is possible with MRI atrophy measures.
Project description:Introduction:The deposition of neurofibrillary tangles in neurodegenerative disorders is associated with neuronal loss on autopsy; however, their in vivo associations with atrophy across the continuum of Alzheimer's disease (AD) remain unclear. Methods:We estimated cortical thickness, tau ([18F]-AV-1451), and amyloid ? (A?) status ([11C]-PiB) in 47 subjects who were stratified into A?- (14 healthy controls and six mild cognitive impairment-A?-) and A?+ (14 mild cognitive impairment-A?+ and 13 AD) groups. Results:Compared with the A?- group, tau was increased in widespread regions whereas cortical thinning was restricted to the temporal cortices. Increased tau binding was associated with cortical thinning in each A? group. Locally, regional tau was associated with temporoparietal atrophy. Discussion:These findings position tau as a promising therapeutic target. Further studies are needed to elucidate the casual relationships between tau pathology and trajectories of atrophy in AD.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Neuroinflammation is considered a key driver for neurodegeneration in several neurological diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). SOD1 mutations cause about 20% of familial ALS, and related pathology might generate microglial activation triggering neurodegeneration. 11 C-PK11195 is the prototypical and most validated PET radiotracer, targeting the 18-kDa translocator protein which is overexpressed in activated microglia. In this study, we investigated microglia activation in asymptomatic (ASYM) and symptomatic (SYM) SOD1 mutated carriers, by using 11 C-PK11195 and PET imaging. METHODS:We included 20 subjects: 4 ASYM-carriers, neurologically normal, 6 SYM-carriers with probable ALS, and 10 healthy controls. A receptor parametric mapping procedure estimated 11 C-PK11195 binding potentials and voxel-wise statistical comparisons were performed at group and single-subject levels. RESULTS:Both the SYM- and ASYM-carriers showed significant microglia activation in cortical and subcortical structures, with variable patterns at individual level. Clusters of activation were present in occipital and temporal regions, cerebellum, thalamus, and medulla oblongata. Notably, SYM-carriers showed microglia activation also in supplementary and primary motor cortices and in the somatosensory regions. INTERPRETATION:In vivo neuroinflammation occurred in all SOD1 mutated cases since the presymptomatic stages, as shown by a significant cortical and subcortical microglia activation. The involvement of sensorimotor cortex became evident at the symptomatic disease stage. Although our data indicate the role of in vivo PET imaging for assessing resident microglia in the investigation of SOD1-ALS pathophysiology, further studies are needed to clarify the temporal and spatial dynamics of microglia activation and its relationship with neurodegeneration.