Pathology - Research Publications

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    The hypoxia imaging agent Cu-II(atsm) is neuroprotective and improves motor and cognitive functions in multiple animal models of Parkinson's disease
    Hung, LW ; Villemagne, VL ; Cheng, L ; Sherratt, NA ; Ayton, S ; White, AR ; Crouch, PJ ; Lim, S ; Leong, SL ; Wilkins, S ; George, J ; Roberts, BR ; Pham, CLL ; Liu, X ; Chiu, FCK ; Shackleford, DM ; Powell, AK ; Masters, CL ; Bush, AI ; O'Keefe, G ; Culvenor, JG ; Cappai, R ; Cherny, RA ; Donnelly, PS ; Hill, AF ; Finkelstein, DI ; Barnham, KJ (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2012-04-09)
    Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, chronic disease characterized by dyskinesia, rigidity, instability, and tremors. The disease is defined by the presence of Lewy bodies, which primarily consist of aggregated α-synuclein protein, and is accompanied by the loss of monoaminergic neurons. Current therapeutic strategies only give symptomatic relief of motor impairment and do not address the underlying neurodegeneration. Hence, we have identified Cu(II)(atsm) as a potential therapeutic for PD. Drug administration to four different animal models of PD resulted in improved motor and cognition function, rescued nigral cell loss, and improved dopamine metabolism. In vitro, this compound is able to inhibit the effects of peroxynitrite-driven toxicity, including the formation of nitrated α-synuclein oligomers. Our results show that Cu(II)(atsm) is effective in reversing parkinsonian defects in animal models and has the potential to be a successful treatment of PD.
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    Ablation of tau causes an olfactory deficit in a murine model of Parkinson's disease
    Beauchamp, LC ; Chan, J ; Hung, LW ; Padman, BS ; Vella, LJ ; Liu, XM ; Coleman, B ; Bush, AI ; Lazarou, M ; Hill, AF ; Jacobson, L ; Barnham, KJ (BMC, 2018-07-05)
    Parkinson's disease is diagnosed upon the presentation of motor symptoms, resulting from substantial degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. Prior to diagnosis, there is a lengthy prodromal stage in which non-motor symptoms, including olfactory deficits (hyposmia), develop. There is limited information about non-motor impairments and there is a need for directed research into these early pathogenic cellular pathways that precede extensive dopaminergic death in the midbrain. The protein tau has been identified as a genetic risk factor in the development of sporadic PD. Tau knockout mice have been reported as an age-dependent model of PD, and this study has demonstrated that they develop motor deficits at 15-months-old. We have shown that at 7-month-old tau knockout mice present with an overt hyposmic phenotype. This olfactory deficit correlates with an accumulation of α-synuclein, as well as autophagic impairment, in the olfactory bulb. This pathological feature becomes apparent in the striatum and substantia nigra of 15-month-old tau knockout mice, suggesting the potential for a spread of disease. Initial primary cell culture experiments have demonstrated that ablation of tau results in the release of α-synuclein enriched exosomes, providing a potential mechanism for disease spread. These alterations in α-synuclein level as well as a marked autophagy impairment in the tau knockout primary cells recapitulate results seen in the animal model. These data implicate a pathological role for tau in early Parkinson's disease.
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    The novel compound PBT434 prevents iron mediated neurodegeneration and alpha-synuclein toxicity in multiple models of Parkinson's disease
    Finkelstein, DI ; Billings, JL ; Adlard, PA ; Ayton, S ; Sedjahtera, A ; Masters, CL ; Wilkins, S ; Shackleford, DM ; Charman, SA ; Bal, W ; Zawisza, IA ; Kurowska, E ; Gundlach, AL ; Ma, S ; Bush, AI ; Hare, DJ ; Doble, PA ; Crawford, S ; Gautier, ECL ; Parsons, J ; Huggins, P ; Barnham, KJ ; Cherny, RA (BMC, 2017-06-28)
    Elevated iron in the SNpc may play a key role in Parkinson's disease (PD) neurodegeneration since drug candidates with high iron affinity rescue PD animal models, and one candidate, deferirpone, has shown efficacy recently in a phase two clinical trial. However, strong iron chelators may perturb essential iron metabolism, and it is not yet known whether the damage associated with iron is mediated by a tightly bound (eg ferritin) or lower-affinity, labile, iron pool. Here we report the preclinical characterization of PBT434, a novel quinazolinone compound bearing a moderate affinity metal-binding motif, which is in development for Parkinsonian conditions. In vitro, PBT434 was far less potent than deferiprone or deferoxamine at lowering cellular iron levels, yet was found to inhibit iron-mediated redox activity and iron-mediated aggregation of α-synuclein, a protein that aggregates in the neuropathology. In vivo, PBT434 did not deplete tissue iron stores in normal rodents, yet prevented loss of substantia nigra pars compacta neurons (SNpc), lowered nigral α-synuclein accumulation, and rescued motor performance in mice exposed to the Parkinsonian toxins 6-OHDA and MPTP, and in a transgenic animal model (hA53T α-synuclein) of PD. These improvements were associated with reduced markers of oxidative damage, and increased levels of ferroportin (an iron exporter) and DJ-1. We conclude that compounds designed to target a pool of pathological iron that is not held in high-affinity complexes in the tissue can maintain the survival of SNpc neurons and could be disease-modifying in PD.
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    The Copper bis(thiosemicarbazone) Complex Cu-II(atsm) Is Protective Against Cerebral Ischemia Through Modulation of the Inflammatory Milieu
    Huuskonen, MT ; Tuo, Q-Z ; Loppi, S ; Dhungana, H ; Korhonen, P ; McInnes, LE ; Donnelly, PS ; Grubman, A ; Wojciechowski, S ; Lejavova, K ; Pomeshchik, Y ; Periviita, L ; Kosonen, L ; Giordano, M ; Walker, FR ; Liu, R ; Bush, AI ; Koistinaho, J ; Malm, T ; White, AR ; Lei, P ; Kanninen, KM (SPRINGER, 2017-04-01)
    Developing new therapies for stroke is urgently needed, as this disease is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and the existing treatment is only available for a small subset of patients. The interruption of blood flow to the brain during ischemic stroke launches multiple immune responses, characterized by infiltration of peripheral immune cells, the activation of brain microglial cells, and the accumulation of immune mediators. Copper is an essential trace element that is required for many critical processes in the brain. Copper homeostasis is disturbed in chronic neurodegenerative diseases and altered in stroke patients, and targeted copper delivery has been shown to be protective against chronic neurodegeneration. This study was undertaken to assess whether the copper bis(thiosemicarbazone) complex, CuII(atsm), is beneficial in acute brain injury, in preclinical mouse models of ischemic stroke. We demonstrate that the copper complex CuII(atsm) protects neurons from excitotoxicity and N2a cells from OGD in vitro, and is protective in permanent and transient ischemia models in mice as measured by functional outcome and lesion size. Copper delivery in the ischemic brains modulates the inflammatory response, specifically affecting the myeloid cells. It reduces CD45 and Iba1 immunoreactivity, and alters the morphology of Iba1 positive cells in the ischemic brain. CuII(atsm) also protects endogenous microglia against ischemic insult and reduces the proportion of invading monocytes. These results demonstrate that the copper complex CuII(atsm) is an inflammation-modulating compound with high therapeutic potential in stroke and is a strong candidate for the development of therapies for acute brain injury.
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    Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry imaging of white and gray matter iron distribution in Alzheimer's disease frontal cortex
    Hare, DJ ; Raven, EP ; Roberts, BR ; Bogeski, M ; Portbury, SD ; McLean, CA ; Masters, CL ; Connor, JR ; Bush, AI ; Crouch, PJ ; Doble, PA (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2016-08-15)
    Iron deposition in the brain is a feature of normal aging, though in several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, the rate of iron accumulation is more advanced than in age-matched controls. Using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry imaging we present here a pilot study that quantitatively assessed the iron content of white and gray matter in paraffin-embedded sections from the frontal cortex of Alzheimer's and control subjects. Using the phosphorus image as a confirmed proxy for the white/gray matter boundary, we found that increased intrusion of iron into gray matter occurs in the Alzheimer's brain compared to controls, which may be indicative of either a loss of iron homeostasis in this vulnerable brain region, or provide evidence of increased inflammatory processes as a response to chronic neurodegeneration. We also observed a trend of increasing iron within the white matter of the frontal cortex, potentially indicative of disrupted iron metabolism preceding loss of myelin integrity. Considering the known potential toxicity of excessive iron in the brain, our results provide supporting evidence for the continuous development of novel magnetic resonance imaging approaches for assessing white and gray matter iron accumulation in Alzheimer's disease.
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    Zinc affects the proteolytic stability of Apolipoprotein E in an isoform-dependent way
    Xu, H ; Gupta, VB ; Martins, IJ ; Martins, RN ; Fowler, CJ ; Bush, AI ; Finkelstein, DI ; Adlard, PA (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2015-09-01)
    The pathological role of zinc in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is not yet fully elucidated, but there is strong evidence that zinc homeostasis is impaired in the AD brain and that this contributes to disease pathogenesis. In this study we examined the effects of zinc on the proteolysis of synthetic Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), a protein whose allelic variants differentially contribute to the onset/progression of disease. We have demonstrated that zinc promotes the proteolysis (using plasma kallikrein, thrombin and chymotrypsin) of synthetic ApoE in an isoform-specific way (E4>E2 and E3), resulting in more ApoE fragments, particularly for ApoE4. In the absence of exogenous proteases there was no effect of metal modulation on either lipidated or non-lipidated ApoE isoforms. Thus, increased zinc in the complex milieu of the ageing and AD brain could reduce the level of normal full-length ApoE and increase other forms that are involved in neurodegeneration. We further examined human plasma samples from people with different ApoE genotypes. Consistent with previous studies, plasma ApoE levels varied according to different genotypes, with ApoE2 carriers showing the highest total ApoE levels and ApoE4 carriers the lowest. The levels of plasma ApoE were not affected by either the addition of exogenous metals (copper, zinc or iron) or by chelation. Taken together, our study reveals that zinc may contribute to the pathogenesis of AD by affecting the proteolysis of ApoE, which to some extent explains why APOE4 carriers are more susceptible to AD.
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    A comparison of ceruloplasmin to biological polyanions in promoting the oxidation of Fe2+ under physiologically relevant conditions
    Wong, BX ; Ayton, S ; Lam, LQ ; Lei, P ; Adlard, PA ; Bush, AI ; Duce, JA (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2014-12-01)
    BACKGROUND: Iron oxidation is thought to be predominantly handled enzymatically in the body, to minimize spontaneous combustion with oxygen and to facilitate cellular iron export by loading transferrin. This process may be impaired in disease, and requires more accurate analytical assays to interrogate enzymatic- and auto-oxidation within a physiologically relevant environment. METHOD: A new triplex ferroxidase activity assay has been developed that overcomes the previous assay limitations of measuring iron oxidation at a physiologically relevant pH and salinity. RESULTS: Revised enzymatic kinetics for ceruloplasmin (Vmax≈35μMFe(3+)/min/μM; Km≈15μM) are provided under physiological conditions, and inhibition by sodium azide (Ki for Ferric Gain 78.3μM, Ki for transferrin loading 8.1×10(4)μM) is quantified. We also used this assay to characterize the non-enzymatic oxidation of iron that proceeded linearly under physiological conditions. CONCLUSIONS AND GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: These findings indicate that the requirement of an enzyme to oxidize iron may only be necessary under conditions of adverse pH or anionic strength, for example from hypoxia. In a normal physiological environment, Fe(3+) incorporation into transferrin would be sufficiently enabled by the biological polyanions that are prevalent within extracellular fluids.
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    Visualising mouse neuroanatomy and function by metal distribution using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry imaging (vol 6, pg 5383, 2015)
    Paul, B ; Hare, DJ ; Bishop, DP ; Paton, C ; Van, TN ; Cole, N ; Niedzwiecki, MM ; Andreozzi, E ; Vais, A ; Billings, JL ; Bray, L ; Bush, AI ; McColl, G ; Roberts, BR ; Adlard, PA ; Finkelstein, DI ; Hellstrom, J ; Hergt, JM ; Woodhead, JD ; Doble, PA (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2015-01-01)
    [This corrects the article DOI: 10.1039/C5SC02231B.].
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    Phosphorylation of Amyloid Precursor Protein at Threonine 668 Is Essential for Its Copper-responsive Trafficking in SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells
    Acevedo, KM ; Opazo, CM ; Norrish, D ; Challis, LM ; Li, Q-X ; White, AR ; Bush, AI ; Camakaris, J (AMER SOC BIOCHEMISTRY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY INC, 2014-04-18)
    Amyloid precursor protein (APP) undergoes post-translational modification, including O- and N-glycosylation, ubiquitination, and phosphorylation as it traffics through the secretory pathway. We have previously reported that copper promotes a change in the cellular localization of APP. We now report that copper increases the phosphorylation of endogenous APP at threonine 668 (Thr-668) in SH-SY5Y neuronal cells. The level of APPT668-p (detected using a phospho-site-specific antibody) exhibited a copper-dependent increase. Using confocal microscopy imaging we demonstrate that the phospho-deficient mutant, Thr-668 to alanine (T668A), does not exhibit detectable copper-responsive APP trafficking. In contrast, mutating a serine to an alanine at residue 655 does not affect copper-responsive trafficking. We further investigated the importance of the Thr-668 residue in copper-responsive trafficking by treating SH-SY5Y cells with inhibitors for glycogen synthase kinase 3-β (GSK3β) and cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdk), the main kinases that phosphorylate APP at Thr-668 in neurons. Our results show that the GSK3β kinase inhibitors LiCl, SB 216763, and SB 415286 prevent copper-responsive APP trafficking. In contrast, the Cdk inhibitors Purvalanol A and B had no significant effect on copper-responsive trafficking in SH-SY5Y cells. In cultured primary hippocampal neurons, copper promoted APP re-localization to the axon, and this effect was inhibited by the addition of LiCl, indicating that a lithium-sensitive kinase(s) is involved in copper-responsive trafficking in hippocampal neurons. This is consistent with APP axonal transport to the synapse, where APP is involved in a number of functions. We conclude that copper promotes APP trafficking by promoting a GSK3β-dependent phosphorylation in SH-SY5Y cells.
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    The effect of paraformaldehyde fixation and sucrose cryoprotection on metal concentration in murine neurological tissue
    Hare, DJ ; George, JL ; Bray, L ; Volitakis, I ; Vais, A ; Ryan, TM ; Cherny, RA ; Bush, AI ; Masters, CL ; Adlard, PA ; Doble, PA ; Finkelstein, DI (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2014-03-01)