Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health - Research Publications
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Fatal and Nonfatal Events Within 14 days After Early, Intensive Mobilization Poststroke
(LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2021-02-23)
OBJECTIVE: This tertiary analysis from AVERT examined fatal and non-fatal Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) at 14 days. METHOD: AVERT was a prospective, parallel group, assessor blinded, randomized international clinical trial comparing mobility training commenced <24 hours post stroke, termed very early mobilization (VEM) to usual care (UC). Primary outcome was assessed at 3 months. Included: Patients with ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke within 24 hours of onset. Treatment with thrombolytics allowed. Excluded: Patients with severe premorbid disability and/or comorbidities. Interventions continued for 14 days or hospital discharge if less. The primary early safety outcome was fatal SAEs within 14 days. Secondary outcomes were non-fatal SAEs classified as neurologic, immobility-related, and other. Mortality influences were assessed using binary logistic regression adjusted for baseline stroke severity (NIHSS) and age. RESULTS: 2,104 participants were randomized to VEM (n = 1,054) or UC (n = 1,050) with a median age of 72 years (IQR 63-80) and NIHSS 7 (IQR 4-12). By 14 days, 48 had died in VEM, 32 in UC, age and stroke severity adjusted Odds Ratio of 1.76 (95% CI 1.06-2.92, p = 0.029). Stroke progression was more common in VEM. Exploratory subgroup analyses showed higher odds of death in intracerebral haemorrhage and >80 years subgroups, but there was no significant treatment by subgroup interaction. No difference in non-fatal SAEs found. CONCLUSION: While the overall case fatality at 14 days post-stroke was only 3.8%, mortality adjusted for age and stroke severity was increased with high dose, intensive training compared to usual care. Stroke progression was more common in VEM. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class I evidence that very early mobilization increases mortality at 14 days post stroke. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12606000185561.
A homozygous UBA5 pathogenic variant causes a fatal congenital neuropathy
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-12-01)
BACKGROUND: UBA5 is the activating enzyme of UFM1 in the ufmylation post-translational modification system. Different neurological phenotypes have been associated with UBA5 pathogenic variants including epilepsy, intellectual disability, movement disorders and ataxia. METHODS AND RESULTS: We describe a large multigenerational consanguineous family presenting with a severe congenital neuropathy causing early death in infancy. Whole exome sequencing and linkage analysis identified a novel homozygous UBA5 NM_024818.3 c.31C>T (p.Arg11Trp) mutation. Protein expression assays in mouse tissue showed similar levels of UBA5 in peripheral nerves to the central nervous system. CRISPR-Cas9 edited HEK (human embrionic kidney) cells homozygous for the UBA5 p.Arg11Trp mutation showed reduced levels of UBA5 protein compared with the wild-type. The mutant p.Arg11Trp UBA5 protein shows reduced ability to activate UFM1. CONCLUSION: This report expands the phenotypical spectrum of UBA5 mutations to include fatal peripheral neuropathy.
Serotonin-induced vascular permeability is mediated by transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 in the airways and upper gastrointestinal tract of mice
Endothelial and epithelial cells form physical barriers that modulate the exchange of fluid and molecules. The integrity of these barriers can be influenced by signaling through G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and ion channels. Serotonin (5-HT) is an important vasoactive mediator of tissue edema and inflammation. However, the mechanisms that drive 5-HT-induced plasma extravasation are poorly defined. The Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) ion channel is an established enhancer of signaling by GPCRs that promote inflammation and endothelial barrier disruption. Here, we investigated the role of TRPV4 in 5-HT-induced plasma extravasation using pharmacological and genetic approaches. Activation of either TRPV4 or 5-HT receptors promoted significant plasma extravasation in the airway and upper gastrointestinal tract of mice. 5-HT-mediated extravasation was significantly reduced by pharmacological inhibition of the 5-HT2A receptor subtype, or with antagonism or deletion of TRPV4, consistent with functional interaction between 5-HT receptors and TRPV4. Inhibition of receptors for the neuropeptides substance P (SP) or calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) diminished 5-HT-induced plasma extravasation. Supporting studies assessing treatment of HUVEC with 5-HT, CGRP, or SP was associated with ERK phosphorylation. Exposure to the TRPV4 activator GSK1016790A, but not 5-HT, increased intracellular Ca2+ in these cells. However, 5-HT pre-treatment enhanced GSK1016790A-mediated Ca2+ signaling, consistent with sensitization of TRPV4. The functional interaction was further characterized in HEK293 cells expressing 5-HT2A to reveal that TRPV4 enhances the duration of 5-HT-evoked Ca2+ signaling through a PLA2 and PKC-dependent mechanism. In summary, this study demonstrates that TRPV4 contributes to 5-HT2A-induced plasma extravasation in the airways and upper GI tract, with evidence supporting a mechanism of action involving SP and CGRP release.
Predicting Infection Risk in Multiple Sclerosis Patients Treated with Ocrelizumab: A Retrospective Cohort Study
(ADIS INT LTD, 2021-04-13)
BACKGROUND: Ocrelizumab safety outcomes have been well evaluated in clinical trials and open-label extension (OLE) studies. However, risk factors for infection in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) receiving ocrelizumab have not been extensively studied in the real-world setting. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine factors determining risk of self-reported infections and antimicrobial use in patients receiving ocrelizumab for MS. METHODS: A retrospective, observational cohort study was conducted in patients receiving ocrelizumab at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Infection type and number were reported by patients, and the associations of potential clinical and laboratory risk factors with self-reported infection and antimicrobial use were estimated using univariate and multivariable logistic regression models. RESULTS: A total of 185 patients were included in the study; a total of 176 infections were reported in 89 patients (46.1%), and antimicrobial use was identified in 47 patients (25.3%). In univariate analyses, a higher serum IgA was associated with reduced odds of infection (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.25-0.76). In multivariable analyses, older age (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.88-0.99), higher serum IgA (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.17-0.80) and higher serum IgG (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.67-0.99) were associated with reduced odds of infection. Older age (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.75-0.96) and higher serum IgA (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.07-0.79) were associated with reduced odds of antimicrobial use, whilst longer MS disease duration (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.06-1.41) and higher Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.02-3.86) were associated with increased odds of antimicrobial use. CONCLUSIONS: Higher serum IgA and IgG and older age were associated with reduced odds of infection. Our findings highlight that infection risk is not uniform in patients with MS receiving ocrelizumab and substantiate the need to monitor immunoglobulin levels pre-treatment and whilst on therapy.
Endovascular balloon-assisted liquid embolisation of soft tissue vascular malformations: technical feasibility and safety
PURPOSE: Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are abnormal communications between arteries and veins without an intervening capillary system. The best endovascular treatment option for these is unclear and may involve multiple staged procedures using a variety of embolic materials. We report our initial experience using a modified version of a previously published neurointerventional technique to treat soft tissue AVMs with single-stage curative intent. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Soft tissue AVMs treated endovascularly using either sole arterial or combined arterial and venous balloon-assisted techniques with liquid embolic agents were retrospectively identified over a 3.5 year period (January 2017 to June 2020)) at two centres. Clinical, pre-operative radiological, procedural technical and post treatment details were recorded. RESULTS: Seven patients were treated for symptomatic soft tissue arteriovenous malformations. These AVMs were located in the peripheral limbs (five), tongue (one) and uterus (one). Curative treatment was achieved in 6/7 patients with one patient requiring a second treatment approximately 1 year later. A variety of liquid embolisation agents (LEAs) including sclerosants and polymers were used. Clinical success rate was 100% following treatment. One patient experienced expected temporary post-operative tongue swelling requiring tracheostomy occurred following embolisation of the lingual AVM. A minor complication in a second patient was due to an access site haematoma developed following treatment of the hand AVM requiring surgical intervention. No long-term sequelae or additional complications were observed. CONCLUSION: Endovascular arterial and venous balloon assisted LEA embolization of soft tissue AVMs with curative intent is feasible. This technique may provide an alternative treatment option for achieving durable occlusion for complex soft tissue AVMs.
FGF-MAPK signaling regulates human deep-layer corticogenesis
(CELL PRESS, 2021-05-11)
Despite heterogeneity across the six layers of the mammalian cortex, all excitatory neurons are generated from a single founder population of neuroepithelial stem cells. However, how these progenitors alter their layer competence over time remains unknown. Here, we used human embryonic stem cell-derived cortical progenitors to examine the role of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and Notch signaling in influencing cell fate, assessing their impact on progenitor phenotype, cell-cycle kinetics, and layer specificity. Forced early cell-cycle exit, via Notch inhibition, caused rapid, near-exclusive generation of deep-layer VI neurons. In contrast, prolonged FGF2 promoted proliferation and maintained progenitor identity, delaying laminar progression via MAPK-dependent mechanisms. Inhibiting MAPK extended cell-cycle length and led to generation of layer-V CTIP2+ neurons by repressing alternative laminar fates. Taken together, FGF/MAPK regulates the proliferative/neurogenic balance in deep-layer corticogenesis and provides a resource for generating layer-specific neurons for studying development and disease.
Zinc drives vasorelaxation by acting in sensory nerves, endothelium and smooth muscle
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-06-01)
Zinc, an abundant transition metal, serves as a signalling molecule in several biological systems. Zinc transporters are genetically associated with cardiovascular diseases but the function of zinc in vascular tone regulation is unknown. We found that elevating cytoplasmic zinc using ionophores relaxed rat and human isolated blood vessels and caused hyperpolarization of smooth muscle membrane. Furthermore, zinc ionophores lowered blood pressure in anaesthetized rats and increased blood flow without affecting heart rate. Conversely, intracellular zinc chelation induced contraction of selected vessels from rats and humans and depolarized vascular smooth muscle membrane potential. We demonstrate three mechanisms for zinc-induced vasorelaxation: (1) activation of transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 to increase calcitonin gene-related peptide signalling from perivascular sensory nerves; (2) enhancement of cyclooxygenase-sensitive vasodilatory prostanoid signalling in the endothelium; and (3) inhibition of voltage-gated calcium channels in the smooth muscle. These data introduce zinc as a new target for vascular therapeutics.
Bundle-specific associations between white matter microstructure and Ab and tau pathology in preclinical Alzheimer's disease
(ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2021-05-13)
Beta-amyloid (Aβ) and tau proteins, the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD), are believed to spread through connected regions of the brain. Combining diffusion imaging and positron emission tomography, we investigated associations between white matter microstructure specifically in bundles connecting regions where Aβ or tau accumulates and pathology. We focused on free-water-corrected diffusion measures in the anterior cingulum, posterior cingulum, and uncinate fasciculus in cognitively normal older adults at risk of sporadic AD and presymptomatic mutation carriers of autosomal dominant AD. In Aβ-positive or tau-positive groups, lower tissue fractional anisotropy and higher mean diffusivity related to greater Aβ and tau burden in both cohorts. Associations were found in the posterior cingulum and uncinate fasciculus in preclinical sporadic AD, and in the anterior and posterior cingulum in presymptomatic mutation carriers. These results suggest that microstructural alterations accompany pathological accumulation as early as the preclinical stage of both sporadic and autosomal dominant AD.
Human stem cells harboring a suicide gene improve the safety and standardisation of neural transplants in Parkinsonian rats
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-05-27)
Despite advancements in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) differentiation protocols to generate appropriate neuronal progenitors suitable for transplantation in Parkinson's disease, resultant grafts contain low proportions of dopamine neurons. Added to this is the tumorigenic risk associated with the potential presence of incompletely patterned, proliferative cells within grafts. Here, we utilised a hPSC line carrying a FailSafeTM suicide gene (thymidine kinase linked to cyclinD1) to selectively ablate proliferative cells in order to improve safety and purity of neural transplantation in a Parkinsonian model. The engineered FailSafeTM hPSCs demonstrated robust ventral midbrain specification in vitro, capable of forming neural grafts upon transplantation. Activation of the suicide gene within weeks after transplantation, by ganciclovir administration, resulted in significantly smaller grafts without affecting the total yield of dopamine neurons, their capacity to innervate the host brain or reverse motor deficits at six months in a rat Parkinsonian model. Within ganciclovir-treated grafts, other neuronal, glial and non-neural populations (including proliferative cells), were significantly reduced-cell types that may pose adverse or unknown influences on graft and host function. These findings demonstrate the capacity of a suicide gene-based system to improve both the standardisation and safety of hPSC-derived grafts in a rat model of Parkinsonism.
INPP4B promotes PI3K alpha-dependent late endosome formation and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in breast cancer
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-05-25)
INPP4B suppresses PI3K/AKT signaling by converting PI(3,4)P2 to PI(3)P and INPP4B inactivation is common in triple-negative breast cancer. Paradoxically, INPP4B is also a reported oncogene in other cancers. How these opposing INPP4B roles relate to PI3K regulation is unclear. We report PIK3CA-mutant ER+ breast cancers exhibit increased INPP4B mRNA and protein expression and INPP4B increased the proliferation and tumor growth of PIK3CA-mutant ER+ breast cancer cells, despite suppression of AKT signaling. We used integrated proteomics, transcriptomics and imaging to demonstrate INPP4B localized to late endosomes via interaction with Rab7, which increased endosomal PI3Kα-dependent PI(3,4)P2 to PI(3)P conversion, late endosome/lysosome number and cargo trafficking, resulting in enhanced GSK3β lysosomal degradation and activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Mechanistically, Wnt inhibition or depletion of the PI(3)P-effector, Hrs, reduced INPP4B-mediated cell proliferation and tumor growth. Therefore, INPP4B facilitates PI3Kα crosstalk with Wnt signaling in ER+ breast cancer via PI(3,4)P2 to PI(3)P conversion on late endosomes, suggesting these tumors may be targeted with combined PI3K and Wnt/β-catenin therapies.
Protocol for evaluation of enhanced models of primary care in the management of stroke and other chronic disease (PRECISE): A data linkage healthcare evaluation study.
(Swansea University, 2019-08-05)
Introduction: The growing burden of chronic diseases means some governments have been providing financial incentives for multidisciplinary care and self-management support delivered within primary care. Currently, population-based evaluations of the effectiveness of these policies are lacking. Aim: To outline the methodological approach for our study that is designed to evaluate the effectiveness (including cost) of primary care policies for chronic diseases in Australia using stroke as a case study. Methods: Person-level linkages will be undertaken between registrants from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry (AuSCR) and (i) Government-held Medicare Australia claims data, to identify receipt or not of chronic disease management and care coordination primary care items; (ii) state government-held hospital data, to define outcomes; and (iii) government-held pharmaceutical and aged care claims data, to define covariates. N=1500 randomly selected AuSCR registrants will be sent surveys to obtain patient experience information. In Australia, unique identifiers are unavailable. Therefore, personal-identifiers will be submitted to government data linkage units. Researchers will merge the de-identified datasets for analysis using a project identifier. An economic evaluation will also be undertaken. Analysis: The index event will be the first stroke recorded in the AuSCR. Multivariable competing risks Poisson regression for multiple events, adjusted by a propensity score, will be used to test for differences in the rates of hospital presentations and medication adherence for different care (policy) types. Our estimated sample size of 25,000 patients will provide 80% estimated power (ɑ>0.05) to detect a 6-8% difference in rates. The incremental costs per Quality-adjusted life years gained of community-based care following the acute event will be estimated from a health sector perspective. Conclusion: Completion of this study will provide a novel and comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Australian primary care policies. Its success will enable us to highlight the value of data-linkage for this type of research.
Focal Ischemic Injury to the Early Neonatal Rat Brain Models Cognitive and Motor Deficits with Associated Histopathological Outcomes Relevant to Human Neonatal Brain Injury
Neonatal arterial ischemic stroke is one of the more severe birth complications. The injury can result in extensive neurological damage and is robustly associated with later diagnoses of cerebral palsy (CP). An important part of efforts to develop new therapies include the on-going refinement and understanding of animal models that capture relevant clinical features of neonatal brain injury leading to CP. The potent vasoconstrictor peptide, Endothelin-1 (ET-1), has previously been utilised in animal models to reduce local blood flow to levels that mimic ischemic stroke. Our previous work in this area has shown that it is an effective and technically simple approach for modelling ischemic injury at very early neonatal ages, resulting in stable deficits in motor function. Here, we aimed to extend this model to also examine the impact on cognitive function. We show that focal delivery of ET-1 to the cortex of Sprague Dawley rats on postnatal day 0 (P0) resulted in impaired learning in a touchscreen-based test of visual discrimination and correlated with important clinical features of CP including damage to large white matter structures.