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Publications in Clinical Medicine by NOMIS researchers

Published in

January 25, 2024
The limited efficacy of currently approved immunotherapies in EGFR-driven lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) underscores the need to better understand alternative mechanisms governing local immunosuppression to fuel novel therapies. Elevated surfactant and GM-CSF secretion from the transformed epithelium induces tumor-associated alveolar macrophage (TA-AM) proliferation, which supports tumor growth by rewiring inflammatory functions and lipid metabolism. TA-AM properties are driven by increased GM-CSF–PPARγ signaling and inhibition of airway GM-CSF or PPARγ in TA-AMs suppresses cholesterol efflux to tumor cells, which impairs EGFR phosphorylation and restrains LUAD progression. In the absence of TA-AM metabolic support, LUAD cells compensate by increasing cholesterol synthesis, and blocking PPARγ in TA-AMs simultaneous with statin therapy further suppresses tumor progression and increases proinflammatory immune responses. These results reveal new therapeutic combinations for immunotherapy-resistant EGFR-mutant LUADs and demonstrate how cancer cells can metabolically co-opt TA-AMs through GM-CSF–PPARγ signaling to provide nutrients that promote oncogenic signaling and growth.
Significance:

Alternate strategies harnessing anticancer innate immunity are required for lung cancers with poor response rates to T cell–based immunotherapies. This study identifies a targetable, mutually supportive, metabolic relationship between macrophages and transformed epithelium, which is exploited by tumors to obtain metabolic and immunologic support to sustain proliferation and oncogenic signaling.

Research field(s)
Oncology & Carcinogenesis

NOMIS Researcher(s)

January 21, 2024

Importance  Sepsis is a leading cause of death among children worldwide. Current pediatric-specific criteria for sepsis were published in 2005 based on expert opinion. In 2016, the Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3) defined sepsis as life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection, but it excluded children.

Objective  To update and evaluate criteria for sepsis and septic shock in children.

Evidence Review  The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) convened a task force of 35 pediatric experts in critical care, emergency medicine, infectious diseases, general pediatrics, nursing, public health, and neonatology from 6 continents. Using evidence from an international survey, systematic review and meta-analysis, and a new organ dysfunction score developed based on more than 3 million electronic health record encounters from 10 sites on 4 continents, a modified Delphi consensus process was employed to develop criteria.

Findings  Based on survey data, most pediatric clinicians used sepsis to refer to infection with life-threatening organ dysfunction, which differed from prior pediatric sepsis criteria that used systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria, which have poor predictive properties, and included the redundant term, severe sepsis. The SCCM task force recommends that sepsis in children be identified by a Phoenix Sepsis Score of at least 2 points in children with suspected infection, which indicates potentially life-threatening dysfunction of the respiratory, cardiovascular, coagulation, and/or neurological systems. Children with a Phoenix Sepsis Score of at least 2 points had in-hospital mortality of 7.1% in higher-resource settings and 28.5% in lower-resource settings, more than 8 times that of children with suspected infection not meeting these criteria. Mortality was higher in children who had organ dysfunction in at least 1 of 4—respiratory, cardiovascular, coagulation, and/or neurological—organ systems that was not the primary site of infection. Septic shock was defined as children with sepsis who had cardiovascular dysfunction, indicated by at least 1 cardiovascular point in the Phoenix Sepsis Score, which included severe hypotension for age, blood lactate exceeding 5 mmol/L, or need for vasoactive medication. Children with septic shock had an in-hospital mortality rate of 10.8% and 33.5% in higher- and lower-resource settings, respectively.

Conclusions and Relevance  The Phoenix sepsis criteria for sepsis and septic shock in children were derived and validated by the international SCCM Pediatric Sepsis Definition Task Force using a large international database and survey, systematic review and meta-analysis, and modified Delphi consensus approach. A Phoenix Sepsis Score of at least 2 identified potentially life-threatening organ dysfunction in children younger than 18 years with infection, and its use has the potential to improve clinical care, epidemiological assessment, and research in pediatric sepsis and septic shock around the world.

Research field(s)
Emergency & Critical Care Medicine, Pediatrics

NOMIS Researcher(s)

January 21, 2024

Importance  The Society of Critical Care Medicine Pediatric Sepsis Definition Task Force sought to develop and validate new clinical criteria for pediatric sepsis and septic shock using measures of organ dysfunction through a data-driven approach.

Objective  To derive and validate novel criteria for pediatric sepsis and septic shock across differently resourced settings.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Multicenter, international, retrospective cohort study in 10 health systems in the US, Colombia, Bangladesh, China, and Kenya, 3 of which were used as external validation sites. Data were collected from emergency and inpatient encounters for children (aged <18 years) from 2010 to 2019: 3 049 699 in the development (including derivation and internal validation) set and 581 317 in the external validation set.

Exposure  Stacked regression models to predict mortality in children with suspected infection were derived and validated using the best-performing organ dysfunction subscores from 8 existing scores. The final model was then translated into an integer-based score used to establish binary criteria for sepsis and septic shock.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome for all analyses was in-hospital mortality. Model- and integer-based score performance measures included the area under the precision recall curve (AUPRC; primary) and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC; secondary). For binary criteria, primary performance measures were positive predictive value and sensitivity.

Results  Among the 172 984 children with suspected infection in the first 24 hours (development set; 1.2% mortality), a 4-organ-system model performed best. The integer version of that model, the Phoenix Sepsis Score, had AUPRCs of 0.23 to 0.38 (95% CI range, 0.20-0.39) and AUROCs of 0.71 to 0.92 (95% CI range, 0.70-0.92) to predict mortality in the validation sets. Using a Phoenix Sepsis Score of 2 points or higher in children with suspected infection as criteria for sepsis and sepsis plus 1 or more cardiovascular point as criteria for septic shock resulted in a higher positive predictive value and higher or similar sensitivity compared with the 2005 International Pediatric Sepsis Consensus Conference (IPSCC) criteria across differently resourced settings.

Conclusions and Relevance  The novel Phoenix sepsis criteria, which were derived and validated using data from higher- and lower-resource settings, had improved performance for the diagnosis of pediatric sepsis and septic shock compared with the existing IPSCC criteria.

Research field(s)
Emergency & Critical Care Medicine, Pediatrics

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

November 6, 2023

Chromatin conformation reorganization is emerging as an important layer of regulation for gene expression and lineage specification. Yet, how lineage-specific transcription factors contribute to the establishment of cell type-specific 3D chromatin architecture in the immune cells remains unclear, especially for the late stages of T cell subset differentiation and maturation. Regulatory T cells (Treg) are mainly generated in the thymus as a subpopulation of T cells specializing in suppressing excessive immune responses. Here, by comprehensively mapping 3D chromatin organization during Treg cell differentiation, we show that Treg-specific chromatin structures were progressively established during its lineage specification, and highly associated with Treg signature gene expression. Additionally, the binding sites of Foxp3, a Treg lineage specifying transcription factor, were highly enriched at Treg-specific chromatin loop anchors. Further comparison of the chromatin interactions between wide-type Tregs versus Treg cells from Foxp3 knock-in/knockout or newly-generated Foxp3 domain-swap mutant mouse revealed that Foxp3 was essential for the establishment of Treg-specific 3D chromatin architecture, although it was not dependent on the formation of the Foxp3 domain-swapped dimer. These results highlighted an underappreciated role of Foxp3 in modulating Treg-specific 3D chromatin structure formation.

Research field(s)
Genetics & Heredity, Immunology, Oncology & Carcinogenesis

NOMIS Researcher(s)

September 26, 2023

The SARS-CoV2 global pandemic impacted participants in the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer’s Disease (ADAD) clinical trial, who faced three stressors: 1) fear of developing dementia; 2) concerns about missing treatment; and 3) risk of SARS-CoV2 infection. Objective: To describe the frequency of psychological disorders among the participants of the API ADAD Colombia clinical study, treated by a holistic mental health team during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extent of use of mental health team services was explored considering different risk factors, and users and non-users of these services were compared. Methods: Participants had free and optional access to psychology and psychiatry services, outside of the study protocol. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the frequency of the mental health difficulties. A multivariable logistic regression model has been used to assess associations with using this program. Results: 66 participants were treated by the Mental Health Team from March 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Before and after the start of the pandemic, the most common psychological problems were anxiety (36.4% before, 63.6% after) and depression (34.8% before, 37.9% after). 70% of users assisted by psychology and 81.6% of those assisted by psychiatry felt that the services were useful for them. Female sex, depression, and anxiety before the pandemic were positively associated with being assisted by either psychology or psychiatry, while the association with hyperlipidemia was negative. Conclusions: A holistic mental health program, carried out in the context of a study, could mitigate psychopathology during pandemics such as COVID-19. © 2023 – IOS Press. All rights reserved.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Purpose: Early after [18F]PI-2620 PET tracer administration, perfusion imaging has potential for regional assessment of neuronal injury in neurodegenerative diseases. This is while standard late-phase [18F]PI-2620 tau-PET is able to discriminate the 4-repeat tauopathies progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal syndrome (4RTs) from disease controls and healthy controls. Here, we investigated whether early-phase [18F]PI-2620 PET has an additive value for biomarker based evaluation of 4RTs. Methods: Seventy-eight patients with 4RTs (71 ± 7 years, 39 female), 79 patients with other neurodegenerative diseases (67 ± 12 years, 35 female) and twelve age-matched controls (69 ± 8 years, 8 female) underwent dynamic (0–60 min) [18F]PI-2620 PET imaging. Regional perfusion (0.5–2.5 min p.i.) and tau load (20–40 min p.i.) were measured in 246 predefined brain regions [standardized-uptake-value ratios (SUVr), cerebellar reference]. Regional SUVr were compared between 4RTs and controls by an ANOVA including false-discovery-rate (FDR, p < 0.01) correction. Hypoperfusion in resulting 4RT target regions was evaluated at the patient level in all patients (mean value − 2SD threshold). Additionally, perfusion and tau pattern expression levels were explored regarding their potential discriminatory value of 4RTs against other neurodegenerative disorders, including validation in an independent external dataset (n = 37), and correlated with clinical severity in 4RTs (PSP rating scale, MoCA, activities of daily living). Results: Patients with 4RTs had significant hypoperfusion in 21/246 brain regions, most dominant in thalamus, caudate nucleus, and anterior cingulate cortex, fitting to the topology of the 4RT disease spectrum. However, single region hypoperfusion was not specific regarding the discrimination of patients with 4RTs against patients with other neurodegenerative diseases. In contrast, perfusion pattern expression showed promise for discrimination of patients with 4RTs from other neurodegenerative diseases (AUC: 0.850). Discrimination by the combined perfusion-tau pattern expression (AUC: 0.903) exceeded that of the sole tau pattern expression (AUC: 0.864) and the discriminatory power of the combined perfusion-tau pattern expression was replicated in the external dataset (AUC: 0.917). Perfusion but not tau pattern expression was associated with PSP rating scale (R = 0.402; p = 0.0012) and activities of daily living (R = − 0.431; p = 0.0005). Conclusion: [18F]PI-2620 perfusion imaging mirrors known topology of regional hypoperfusion in 4RTs. Single region hypoperfusion is not specific for 4RTs, but perfusion pattern expression may provide an additive value for the discrimination of 4RTs from other neurodegenerative diseases and correlates closer with clinical severity than tau pattern expression. © 2022, The Author(s).

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging

NOMIS Researcher(s)

July 11, 2023

Cytoplasmic aggregation and concomitant nuclear clearance of the RNA-binding protein TDP-43 are found in ~ 90% of cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and ~ 45% of patients living with frontotemporal lobar degeneration, but no disease-modifying therapy is available. Antibody therapy targeting other aggregating proteins associated with neurodegenerative disorders has shown beneficial effects in animal models and clinical trials. The most effective epitopes for safe antibody therapy targeting TDP-43 are unknown. Here, we identified safe and effective epitopes in TDP-43 for active and potential future passive immunotherapy. We prescreened 15 peptide antigens covering all regions of TDP-43 to identify the most immunogenic epitopes and to raise novel monoclonal antibodies in wild-type mice. Most peptides induced a considerable antibody response and no antigen triggered obvious side effects. Thus, we immunized mice with rapidly progressing TDP-43 proteinopathy (“rNLS8” model) with the nine most immunogenic peptides in five pools prior to TDP-43ΔNLS transgene induction. Strikingly, combined administration of two N-terminal peptides induced genetic background-specific sudden lethality in several mice and was therefore discontinued. Despite a strong antibody response, no TDP-43 peptide prevented the rapid body weight loss or reduced phospho-TDP-43 levels as well as the profound astrogliosis and microgliosis in rNLS8 mice. However, immunization with a C-terminal peptide containing the disease-associated phospho-serines 409/410 significantly lowered serum neurofilament light chain levels, indicative of reduced neuroaxonal damage. Transcriptomic profiling showed a pronounced neuroinflammatory signature (IL-1β, TNF-α, NfκB) in rNLS8 mice and suggested modest benefits of immunization targeting the glycine-rich region. Several novel monoclonal antibodies targeting the glycine-rich domain potently reduced phase separation and aggregation of TDP-43 in vitro and prevented cellular uptake of preformed aggregates. Our unbiased screen suggests that targeting the RRM2 domain and the C-terminal region of TDP-43 by active or passive immunization may be beneficial in TDP-43 proteinopathies by inhibiting cardinal processes of disease progression. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]. © 2023, The Author(s).

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

June 24, 2023

Purpose: Whilst survival in paediatric critical care has improved, clinicians lack tools capable of predicting long-term outcomes. We developed a machine learning model to predict poor school outcomes in children surviving intensive care unit (ICU). Methods: Population-based study of children < 16 years requiring ICU admission in Queensland, Australia, between 1997 and 2019. Failure to meet the National Minimum Standard (NMS) in the National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) assessment during primary and secondary school was the primary outcome. Routine ICU information was used to train machine learning classifiers. Models were trained, validated and tested using stratified nested cross-validation. Results: 13,957 childhood ICU survivors with 37,200 corresponding NAPLAN tests after a median follow-up duration of 6 years were included. 14.7%, 17%, 15.6% and 16.6% failed to meet NMS in school grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. The model demonstrated an Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.8 (standard deviation SD, 0.01), with 51% specificity to reach 85% sensitivity [relative Area Under the Precision Recall Curve (rel-AUPRC) 3.42, SD 0.06]. Socio-economic status, illness severity, and neurological, congenital, and genetic disorders contributed most to the predictions. In children with no comorbidities admitted between 2009 and 2019, the model achieved a AUROC of 0.77 (SD 0.03) and a rel-AUPRC of 3.31 (SD 0.42). Conclusions: A machine learning model using data available at time of ICU discharge predicted failure to meet minimum educational requirements at school age. Implementation of this prediction tool could assist in prioritizing patients for follow-up and targeting of rehabilitative measures. © 2023, The Author(s).

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Emergency & Critical Care Medicine

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

June 9, 2023

During political campaigns, candidates use rhetoric to advance competing visions and assessments of their country. Research reveals that the moral language used in this rhetoric can significantly influence citizens’ political attitudes and behaviors; however, the moral language actually used in the rhetoric of elites during political campaigns remains understudied. Using a data set of every tweet (N = 139, 412) published by 39 US presidential candidates during the 2016 and 2020 primary elections, we extracted moral language and constructed network models illustrating how candidates’ rhetoric is semantically connected. These network models yielded two key discoveries. First, we find that party affiliation clusters can be reconstructed solely based on the moral words used in candidates’ rhetoric. Within each party, popular moral values are expressed in highly similar ways, with Democrats emphasizing careful and just treatment of individuals and Republicans emphasizing in-group loyalty and respect for social hierarchies. Second, we illustrate the ways in which outsider candidates like Donald Trump can separate themselves during primaries by using moral rhetoric that differs from their parties’ common language. Our findings demonstrate the functional use of strategic moral rhetoric in a campaign context and show that unique methods of text network analysis are broadly applicable to the study of campaigns and social movements. © The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of National Academy of Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

June 6, 2023

Plasma tau phosphorylated at threonine 217 (P-tau217) and neurofilament light (NfL) have emerged as markers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. Few studies have examined the role of sex in plasma biomarkers in sporadic AD, yielding mixed findings, and none in autosomal dominant AD. METHODS: We examined the effects of sex and age on plasma P-tau217 and NfL, and their association with cognitive performance in a cross-sectional study of 621 Presenilin-1 E280A mutation carriers (PSEN1) and non-carriers. RESULTS: As plasma P-tau217 levels increase, cognitively unimpaired female carriers showed better cognitive performance than cognitively unimpaired male carriers. Yet, as disease progresses, female carriers had a greater plasma NfL increase than male carriers. There were no sex differences in the association between age and plasma biomarkers among non-carriers. DISCUSSION: Our findings suggest that, among PSEN1 mutation carriers, females had a greater rate of neurodegeneration than males, yet it did not predict cognitive performance. HIGHLIGHTS: We examined sex differences in plasma P-tau217 and NfL in Presenilin-1 E280A (PSEN1) mutation carriers and non-carriers. Female carriers had a greater plasma NfL increase, but not P-tau217, than male carriers. As plasma P-tau217 levels increase, cognitively unimpaired female carriers showed better cognitive performance than cognitively unimpaired male carriers. The interaction effect of sex by plasma NfL levels did not predict cognition among carriers. © 2023 the Alzheimer’s Association.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

May 15, 2023

We characterized the world’s second case with ascertained extreme resilience to autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (ADAD). Side-by-side comparisons of this male case and the previously reported female case with ADAD homozygote for the APOE3 Christchurch (APOECh) variant allowed us to discern common features. The male remained cognitively intact until 67 years of age despite carrying a PSEN1-E280A mutation. Like the APOECh carrier, he had extremely elevated amyloid plaque burden and limited entorhinal Tau tangle burden. He did not carry the APOECh variant but was heterozygous for a rare variant in RELN (H3447R, termed COLBOS after the Colombia–Boston biomarker research study), a ligand that like apolipoprotein E binds to the VLDLr and APOEr2 receptors. RELN-COLBOS is a gain-of-function variant showing stronger ability to activate its canonical protein target Dab1 and reduce human Tau phosphorylation in a knockin mouse. A genetic variant in a case protected from ADAD suggests a role for RELN signaling in resilience to dementia. © 2023, The Author(s).

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

March 1, 2023

Emotional states influence bodily physiology, as exemplified in the top-down process by which anxiety causes faster beating of the heart1–3. However, whether an increased heart rate might itself induce anxiety or fear responses is unclear3–8. Physiological theories of emotion, proposed over a century ago, have considered that in general, there could be an important and even dominant flow of information from the body to the brain9. Here, to formally test this idea, we developed a noninvasive optogenetic pacemaker for precise, cell-type-specific control of cardiac rhythms of up to 900 beats per minute in freely moving mice, enabled by a wearable micro-LED harness and the systemic viral delivery of a potent pump-like channelrhodopsin. We found that optically evoked tachycardia potently enhanced anxiety-like behaviour, but crucially only in risky contexts, indicating that both central (brain) and peripheral (body) processes may be involved in the development of emotional states. To identify potential mechanisms, we used whole-brain activity screening and electrophysiology to find brain regions that were activated by imposed cardiac rhythms. We identified the posterior insular cortex as a potential mediator of bottom-up cardiac interoceptive processing, and found that optogenetic inhibition of this brain region attenuated the anxiety-like behaviour that was induced by optical cardiac pacing. Together, these findings reveal that cells of both the body and the brain must be considered together to understand the origins of emotional or affective states. More broadly, our results define a generalizable approach for noninvasive, temporally precise functional investigations of joint organism-wide interactions among targeted cells during behaviour. © 2023, The Author(s).

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

February 15, 2023

The brain of modern humans has evolved remarkable computational abilities that enable higher cognitive functions. These capacities are tightly linked to an increase in the size and connectivity of the cerebral cortex, which is thought to have resulted from evolutionary changes in the mechanisms of cortical development. Convergent progress in evolutionary genomics, developmental biology and neuroscience has recently enabled the identification of genomic changes that act as human-specific modifiers of cortical development. These modifiers influence most aspects of corticogenesis, from the timing and complexity of cortical neurogenesis to synaptogenesis and the assembly of cortical circuits. Mutations of human-specific genetic modifiers of corticogenesis have started to be linked to neurodevelopmental disorders, providing evidence for their physiological relevance and suggesting potential relationships between the evolution of the human brain and its sensitivity to specific diseases. © 2023, Springer Nature Limited.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

February 14, 2023

Background: Recent efforts have described the evolution of glioblastoma from initial diagnosis to post-treatment recurrence on a genomic and transcriptomic level. However, the evolution of the proteomic landscape is largely unknown.

Methods: Sequential window acquisition of all theoretical fragment ion spectra mass spectrometry (SWATH-MS) was used to characterize the quantitative proteomes of two independent cohorts of paired newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastomas. Recurrence-associated proteins were validated using immunohistochemistry and further studied in human glioma cell lines, orthotopic xenograft models, and human organotypic brain slice cultures. External spatial transcriptomic, single-cell, and bulk RNA sequencing data were analyzed to gain mechanistic insights.

Results: Although overall proteomic changes were heterogeneous across patients, we identified BCAS1, INF2, and FBXO2 as consistently upregulated proteins at recurrence and validated these using immunohistochemistry. Knockout of FBXO2 in human glioma cells conferred a strong survival benefit in orthotopic xenograft mouse models and reduced invasive growth in organotypic brain slice cultures. In glioblastoma patient samples, FBXO2 expression was enriched in the tumor infiltration zone and FBXO2-positive cancer cells were associated with synaptic signaling processes.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate a potential role of FBXO2-dependent glioma-microenvironment interactions to promote tumor growth. Furthermore, the published datasets provide a valuable resource for further studies.

Research field(s)
Oncology & Carcinogenesis

NOMIS Researcher(s)

December 26, 2022

Introduction: Plasma-measured tau phosphorylated at threonine 217 (p-tau217) is a potential non-invasive biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We investigated whether plasma p-tau217 predicts subsequent cognition and positron emission tomography (PET) markers of pathology in autosomal dominant AD. Methods: We analyzed baseline levels of plasma p-tau217 and its associations with amyloid PET, tau PET, and word list delayed recall measured 7.61 years later in non-demented age- and education-matched presenilin-1 E280A carriers (n = 24) and non-carrier (n = 20) family members. Results: Carriers had higher plasma p-tau217 levels than non-carriers. Baseline plasma p-tau217 was associated with subsequent amyloid and tau PET pathology levels and cognitive function. Discussion: Our findings suggest that plasma p-tau217 predicts subsequent brain pathological burden and memory performance in presenilin-1 E280A carriers. These results provide support for plasma p-tau217 as a minimally invasive diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for AD, with potential utility in clinical practice and trials. Highlights: Non-demented presenilin-1 E280A carriers have higher plasma tau phosphorylated at threonine 217 (p-tau217) than do age-matched non-carriers. Higher baseline p-tau217 is associated with greater future amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) pathology burden. Higher baseline p-tau217 is associated with greater future tau PET pathology burden. Higher baseline p-tau217 is associated with worse future memory performance. © 2022 the Alzheimer’s Association.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Immunology

The pleiotropic actions of the Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) are required for gut health, and reciprocally, reduced intestinal FXR signaling is seen in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Here, we show that activation of FXR selectively in the intestine is protective in inflammation-driven models of IBD. Prophylactic activation of FXR restored homeostatic levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, most notably IL17. Importantly, these changes were attributed to FXR regulation of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), with both the inflammation-driven increases in ILCs, and ILC3s in particular, and the induction of Il17a and Il17f in ILC3s blocked by FXR activation. Moreover, a population of ILC precursor-like cells increased with treatment, implicating FXR in the maturation/ differentiation of ILC precursors. These findings identify FXR as an intrinsic regulator of intestinal ILCs and a potential therapeutic target in inflammatory intestinal diseases.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Immunology

NOMIS Researcher(s)

December 1, 2022

Frontotemporal dementia is characterized by progressive atrophy of frontal and/or temporal cortices at an early age of onset. The disorder shows considerable clinical, pathological, and genetic heterogeneity. Here we investigated the proteomic signatures of frontal and temporal cortex from brains with frontotemporal dementia due to GRN and MAPT mutations to identify the key cell types and molecular pathways in their pathophysiology. We compared patients with mutations in the GRN gene (n = 9) or with mutations in the MAPT gene (n = 13) with non-demented controls (n = 11). Using quantitative proteomic analysis on laser-dissected tissues we identified brain region-specific protein signatures for both genetic subtypes. Using published single cell RNA expression data resources we deduced the involvement of major brain cell types in driving these different protein signatures. Subsequent gene ontology analysis identified distinct genetic subtype- and cell type-specific biological processes. For the GRN subtype, we observed a distinct role for immune processes related to endothelial cells and for mitochondrial dysregulation in neurons. For the MAPT subtype, we observed distinct involvement of dysregulated RNA processing, oligodendrocyte dysfunction, and axonal impairments. Comparison with an in-house protein signature of Alzheimer’s disease brains indicated that the observed alterations in RNA processing and oligodendrocyte function are distinct for the frontotemporal dementia MAPT subtype. Taken together, our results indicate the involvement of different brain cell types and biological mechanisms in genetic subtypes of frontotemporal dementia. Furthermore, we demonstrate that comparison of proteomic profiles of different disease entities can separate general neurodegenerative processes from disease-specific pathways, which may aid the development of disease subtype-specific treatment strategies.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

December 1, 2022

Introduction: Multiple positron emission tomography (PET) tracers are available for amyloid imaging, posing a significant challenge to consensus interpretation and quantitative analysis. We accordingly developed and validated a deep learning model as a harmonization strategy. Method: A Residual Inception Encoder-Decoder Neural Network was developed to harmonize images between amyloid PET image pairs made with Pittsburgh Compound-B and florbetapir tracers. The model was trained using a dataset with 92 subjects with 10-fold cross validation and its generalizability was further examined using an independent external dataset of 46 subjects. Results: Significantly stronger between-tracer correlations (P <.001) were observed after harmonization for both global amyloid burden indices and voxel-wise measurements in the training cohort and the external testing cohort. Discussion: We proposed and validated a novel encoder-decoder based deep model to harmonize amyloid PET imaging data from different tracers. Further investigation is ongoing to improve the model and apply to additional tracers.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

December 1, 2022

Background: To promote the development of effective therapies, there is an important need to characterize the full spectrum of neuropathological changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In line with this need, this study examined white matter abnormalities in individuals with early-onset autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease, in relation to age and symptom severity. Methods: This is a cross-sectional analysis of data collected in members of a large kindred with a PSEN1 E280A mutation. Participants were recruited between September 2011 and July 2012 from the Colombian Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative registry. The studied cohort comprised 50 participants aged between 20 and 55 years, including 20 cognitively unimpaired mutation carriers, 9 cognitively impaired mutation carriers, and 21 non-carriers. Participants completed an MRI, a lumbar puncture for cerebrospinal fluid collection, a florbetapir PET scan, and neurological and neuropsychological examinations. The volume of white matter hyperintensities (WMH) was compared between cognitively unimpaired carriers, cognitively impaired carriers, and non-carriers. Relationships between WMH, age, and cognitive performance were further examined in mutation carriers. Results: The mean (SD) age of participants was 35.8 (9.6) years and 64% were women. Cardiovascular risk factors were uncommon and did not differ across groups. Cognitively impaired carriers [median, 6.37; interquartile range (IQR), 9.15] had an increased volume of WMH compared to both cognitively unimpaired carriers [median, 0.85; IQR, 0.79] and non-carriers [median, 1.07; IQR, 0.71]. In mutation carriers, the volume of WMH strongly correlated with cognition and age, with evidence for an accelerated rate of changes after the age of 43 years, 1 year earlier than the estimated median age of symptom onset. In multivariable regression models including cortical amyloid retention, superior parietal lobe cortical thickness, and cerebrospinal fluid phospho-tau, the volume of WMH was the only biomarker independently and significantly contributing to the total explained variance in cognitive performance. Conclusions: The volume of WMH is increased among individuals with symptomatic autosomal-dominant Alzheimer’s disease, begins to increase prior to clinical symptom onset, and is an independent determinant of cognitive performance in this group. These findings suggest that WMH are a key component of autosomal-dominant Alzheimer’s disease that is closely related to the progression of clinical symptoms.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery

NOMIS Researcher(s)

December 1, 2022

Objective: The amyloid cascade hypothesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) has been increasingly challenged. Here, we aim to refocus the amyloid cascade hypothesis on its original premise that the accumulation of amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide is the primary and earliest event in AD pathogenesis as based on current evidence, initiating several pathological events and ultimately leading to AD dementia. Background: An ongoing debate about the validity of the amyloid cascade hypothesis for AD has been triggered by clinical trials with investigational disease-modifying drugs targeting Aβ that have not demonstrated consistent clinically meaningful benefits. Updated Hypothesis: It is an open question if monotherapy targeting Aβ pathology could be markedly beneficial at a stage when the brain has been irreversibly damaged by a cascade of pathological changes. Interventions in cognitively unimpaired individuals at risk for dementia, during amyloid-only and pre-amyloid stages, are more appropriate for proving or refuting the amyloid hypothesis. Our updated hypothesis states that anti-Aβ investigational therapies are likely to be most efficacious when initiated in the preclinical (asymptomatic) stages of AD and specifically when the disease is driven primarily by amyloid pathology. Given the young age at symptom onset and the deterministic nature of the mutations, autosomal dominant AD (ADAD) mutation carriers represent the ideal population to evaluate the efficacy of putative disease-modifying Aβ therapies. Major Challenges for the Hypothesis: Key challenges of the amyloid hypothesis include the recognition that disrupted Aβ homeostasis alone is insufficient to produce the AD pathophysiologic process, poor correlation of Aβ with cognitive impairment, and inconclusive data regarding clinical efficacy of therapies targeting Aβ. Challenges of conducting ADAD research include the rarity of the disease and uncertainty of the generalizability of ADAD findings for the far more common “sporadic” late-onset AD. Linkage to Other Major Theories: The amyloid cascade hypothesis, modified here to pertain to the preclinical stage of AD, still needs to be integrated with the development and effects of tauopathy and other co-pathologies, including neuroinflammation, vascular insults, synucleinopathy, and many others.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Neurology & Neurosurgery