Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications
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ItemInflammation, ictogenesis, and epileptogenesis: An exploration through human diseaseTan, TH-L ; Perucca, P ; O'Brien, TJ ; Kwan, P ; Monif, M (WILEY, 2020-12-14)Epilepsy is seen historically as a disease of aberrant neuronal signaling manifesting as seizures. With the discovery of numerous auto-antibodies and the subsequent growth in understanding of autoimmune encephalitis, there has been an increasing emphasis on the contribution of the innate and adaptive immune system to ictogenesis and epileptogenesis. Pathogenic antibodies, complement activation, CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, and microglial activation are seen, to various degrees, in different seizure-associated neuroinflammatory and autoimmune conditions. These aberrant immune responses are thought to cause disruptions in neuronal signaling, generation of acute symptomatic seizures, and, in some cases, the development of long-term autoimmune epilepsy. Although early treatment with immunomodulatory therapies improves outcomes in autoimmune encephalitides and autoimmune epilepsies, patient identification and treatment selection are not always clear-cut. This review examines the role of the different components of the immune system in various forms of seizure disorders including autoimmune encephalitis, autoimmune epilepsy, Rasmussen encephalitis, febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES), and new-onset refractory status epilepticus (NORSE). In particular, the pathophysiology and unique cytokine profiles seen in these disorders and their links with diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment decision-making are discussed.
ItemSeizures in autoimmune encephalitis: Kindling the fireWesselingh, R ; Butzkueven, H ; Buzzard, K ; Tarlinton, D ; O'Brien, TJ ; Monif, M (WILEY, 2020-05-13)Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that increases the risk of morbidity and mortality. Autoimmune epilepsy is a subset of epilepsy that occurs in the setting of autoimmunity, such as in autoimmune encephalitis (AIE). AIE is an autoimmune disorder characterized by immune-mediated neuroinflammation resulting in a variety of neurological symptoms, including psychiatric disturbance, cognitive dysfunction, and seizures. Seizures in AIE are thought to be a result of antibodies directed against neuronal cell-surface proteins involved in synaptic transmission. The role of blood-brain barrier dysfunction, myeloid cell infiltration, and the initiation of proinflammatory cascades in epileptogenesis has been shown to be important in animal models and human patients with epilepsy. Epileptogenesis in AIE is likely to arise from the synergistic effect of both innately driven neuroinflammation and antibody-induced hyperexcitability. Together, these processes produce persistent drug-resistant seizures that contribute to the morbidity seen in AIE. Understanding the proinflammatory pathways involved in this process may improve diagnostics and provide alternative treatment targets in AIE.
ItemPotential biomarkers and challenges in glioma diagnosis, therapy and prognosisKan, LK ; Drummond, K ; Hunn, M ; Williams, D ; O'Brien, TJ ; Monif, M (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-08-01)Gliomas are the most common central nervous system malignancies and present with significant morbidity and mortality. Treatment modalities are currently limited to surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Increases in survival rate over the previous decades are negligible, further pinpointing an unmet clinical need in this field. There is a continual struggle with the development of effective glioma diagnostics and therapeutics, largely due to a multitude of factors, including the presence of the blood-brain barrier and significant intertumoural and intratumoural heterogeneity. Importantly, there is a lack of reliable biomarkers for glioma, particularly in aiding tumour subtyping and measuring response to therapy. There is a need for biomarkers that would both overcome the complexity of the disease and allow for a minimally invasive means of detection and analysis. This is a comprehensive review evaluating the potential of current cellular, proteomic and molecular biomarker candidates for glioma. Significant hurdles faced in glioma diagnostics and therapy are also discussed here.
ItemInhibition of purinergic P2X receptor 7 (P2X7R) decreases granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) expression in U251 glioblastoma cellsDrill, M ; Powell, KL ; Kan, LK ; Jones, NC ; O'Brien, TJ ; Hamilton, JA ; Monif, M (NATURE RESEARCH, 2020-09-09)Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of primary brain cancer, with a median survival of 12–15 months. The P2X receptor 7 (P2X7R) is upregulated in glioblastoma and is associated with increased tumor cell proliferation. The cytokine granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is also upregulated in glioblastoma and has been shown to have both pro- and anti-tumor functions. This study investigates the potential mechanism linking P2X7R and GM-CSF in the U251 glioblastoma cell line and the therapeutic potential of P2X7R antagonism in this setting. P2X7R protein and mRNA was demonstrated to be expressed in the U251 cell line as assessed by immunocytochemistry and qPCR. Its channel function was intact as demonstrated by live cell confocal imaging using a calcium indicator Fluo-4 AM. Inhibition of P2X7R using antagonist AZ10606120, decreased both GM-CSF mRNA (P < 0.05) and protein (P < 0.01) measured by qPCR and ELISA respectively. Neutralization of GM-CSF with an anti-GM-CSF antibody did not alter U251 cell proliferation, however, P2X7R antagonism with AZ10606120 significantly reduced U251 glioblastoma cell numbers (P < 0.01). This study describes a novel link between P2X7R activity and GM-CSF expression in a human glioblastoma cell line and highlights the potential therapeutic benefit of P2X7R inhibition with AZ10606120 in glioblastoma.
ItemVitamin D status in an Australian patient population: a large retrospective case series focusing on factors associated with variations in serum 25(OH)DVoo, VTF ; Stankovich, J ; O'Brien, TJ ; Butzkueven, H ; Monif, M (BMJ Journals, 2020-03-01)OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether sex, age, medical specialty and seasonal variations in serum concentration of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) are evident among an Australian patient population. DESIGN: Retrospective study analysing the results of serum 25(OH)D lab tests and vitamin D supplementation from Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) between 2014 and 2017. SETTING: Tertiary healthcare centre in Victoria, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: 30 023 patients (inpatient and outpatient) who had their serum 25(OH)D levels measured at RMH between 2014 and 2017. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Serum 25(OH)D levels stratified according to patients' sex, age and medical specialty admitted to, as well as the season and year (2014 to 2017) 25(OH)D level was measured. RESULTS: Mean serum 25(OH)D level of study population was 69.9 nmol/L (95% CI 69.5 to 70.2). Only 40.2% patients in this cohort were sufficient in vitamin D (>75 nmol/L). On average, 25(OH)D levels in male patients were 6.1 units (95% CI 5.4 to 6.9) lower than in females. Linear regression analysis found that 25(OH)D levels increased by 0.16 unit (95% CI 0.14 to 0.18) for every year increase in age. One-way analysis of variance showed patients from neurology had the highest average 25(OH)D level, 76.8 nmol/L (95% CI 74.2 to 79.3) compared with other medical specialties. Mean 25(OH)D level during winter, 64.9 nmol/L (95% CI 64.2 to 65.6) was significantly lower compared with other seasons despite supplementation. Average 25(OH)D level measured in 2014, 71.5 nmol/L (95 CI% 70.8 to 72.2) was significantly higher than levels measured in 2016-2017. CONCLUSIONS: There is a sex, age, medical specialty, seasonal and yearly variation in vitamin D status in an Australian patient population. The association between low vitamin D status and winter despite supplementation suggests other interventions are required to boost serum 25(OH)D levels.