Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health - Research Publications

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    A beta aggregation and possible implications in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis
    Bharadwaj, PR ; Dubey, AK ; Masters, CL ; Martins, RN ; Macreadie, IG (WILEY, 2009-03-01)
    Amyloid beta protein (Abeta) has been associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) because it is a major component of the extracellular plaque found in AD brains. Increased Abeta levels correlate with the cognitive decline observed in AD. Sporadic AD cases are thought to be chiefly associated with lack of Abeta clearance from the brain, unlike familial AD which shows increased Abeta production. Abeta aggregation leading to deposition is an essential event in AD. However, the factors involved in Abeta aggregation and accumulation in sporadic AD have not been completely characterized. This review summarizes studies that have examined the factors that affect Abeta aggregation and toxicity. By necessity these are studies that are performed with recombinant-derived or chemically synthesized Abeta. The studies therefore are not done in animals but in cell culture, which includes neuronal cells, other mammalian cells and, in some cases, non-mammalian cells that also appear susceptible to Abeta toxicity. An understanding of Abeta oligomerization may lead to better strategies to prevent AD.
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    Family clustering of viliuisk encephalomyelitis in traditional and new geographic regions
    Vladimirtsev, VA ; Nikitina, RS ; Renwick, N ; Ivanova, AA ; Danilova, AP ; Platonov, FA ; Krivoshapkin, VG ; McLean, CA ; Masters, CL ; Gajdusek, C ; Goldfarb, LG (CENTER DISEASE CONTROL, 2007-09-01)
    Viliuisk encephalomyelitis is an acute, often fatal, meningoencephalitis that tends to develop into a prolonged chronically progressive panencephalitis. Clinical, neuropathologic, and epidemiologic data argue for an infectious cause, although multiple attempts at pathogen isolation have been unsuccessful. To assess mechanisms of disease transmission and spread, we studied 6 multiplex families. Secondary cases occurred among genetically related and unrelated persons in a setting of prolonged intrahousehold contact with a patient manifesting the disease. Transmission to unrelated persons was documented in a densely populated region around the city of Yakutsk in which Viliuisk encephalomyelitis had not been previously known. Initially identified in a small Yakut-Evenk population on the Viliui River of eastern Siberia, the disease subsequently spread through human contacts to new geographic areas, thus characterizing Viliuisk encephalomyelitis as an emerging infectious disease.
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    Intracellular amyloid formation in muscle cells of A beta-transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans: determinants and physiological role in copper detoxification
    Minniti, AN ; Rebolledo, DL ; Grez, PM ; Fadic, R ; Aldunate, R ; Volitakis, I ; Cherny, RA ; Opazo, C ; Masters, C ; Bush, AI ; Inestrosa, NC (BMC, 2009-01-06)
    BACKGROUND: The amyloid beta-peptide is a ubiquitous peptide, which is prone to aggregate forming soluble toxic oligomers and insoluble less-toxic aggregates. The intrinsic and external/environmental factors that determine Abeta aggregation in vivo are poorly understood, as well as the cellular meaning of this process itself. Genetic data as well as cell biological and biochemical evidence strongly support the hypothesis that Abeta is a major player in the onset and development of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, it is also known that Abeta is involved in Inclusion Body Myositis, a common myopathy of the elderly in which the peptide accumulates intracellularly. RESULTS: In the present work, we found that intracellular Abeta aggregation in muscle cells of Caenorhabditis elegans overexpressing Abeta peptide is affected by two single amino acid substitutions, E22G (Arctic) and V18A (NIC). Both variations show decrease intracellular amyloidogenesis compared to wild type Abeta. We show that intracellular amyloid aggregation of wild type Abeta is accelerated by Cu2+ and diminished by copper chelators. Moreover, we demonstrate through toxicity and behavioral assays that Abeta-transgenic worms display a higher tolerance to Cu2+ toxic effects and that this resistance may be linked to the formation of amyloid aggregates. CONCLUSION: Our data show that intracellular Abeta amyloid aggregates may trap excess of free Cu2+ buffering its cytotoxic effects and that accelerated intracellular Abeta aggregation may be part of a cell protective mechanism.
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    Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress Causes Hyperphosphorylation of Tau
    Melov, S ; Adlard, PA ; Morten, K ; Johnson, F ; Golden, TR ; Hinerfeld, D ; Schilling, B ; Mavros, C ; Masters, CL ; Volitakis, I ; Li, Q-X ; Laughton, K ; Hubbard, A ; Cherny, RA ; Gibson, B ; Bush, AI ; Khoury, JE (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2007-06-20)
    Age-related neurodegenerative disease has been mechanistically linked with mitochondrial dysfunction via damage from reactive oxygen species produced within the cell. We determined whether increased mitochondrial oxidative stress could modulate or regulate two of the key neurochemical hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD): tau phosphorylation, and beta-amyloid deposition. Mice lacking superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) die within the first week of life, and develop a complex heterogeneous phenotype arising from mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Treatment of these mice with catalytic antioxidants increases their lifespan and rescues the peripheral phenotypes, while uncovering central nervous system pathology. We examined sod2 null mice differentially treated with high and low doses of a catalytic antioxidant and observed striking elevations in the levels of tau phosphorylation (at Ser-396 and other phospho-epitopes of tau) in the low-dose antioxidant treated mice at AD-associated residues. This hyperphosphorylation of tau was prevented with an increased dose of the antioxidant, previously reported to be sufficient to prevent neuropathology. We then genetically combined a well-characterized mouse model of AD (Tg2576) with heterozygous sod2 knockout mice to study the interactions between mitochondrial oxidative stress and cerebral Ass load. We found that mitochondrial SOD2 deficiency exacerbates amyloid burden and significantly reduces metal levels in the brain, while increasing levels of Ser-396 phosphorylated tau. These findings mechanistically link mitochondrial oxidative stress with the pathological features of AD.