Centre for Neuroscience - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 62
The HSA21 gene EURL/C21ORF91 controls neurogenesis within the cerebral cortex and is implicated in the pathogenesis of Down Syndrome
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-07-11)
Copy number variations to chromosome 21 (HSA21) cause intellectual disability and Down Syndrome, but our understanding of the HSA21 genetic factors which contribute to fetal brain development remains incomplete. Here, we focussed on the neurodevelopmental functions for EURL (also known as C21ORF91, Refseq Gene ID:54149), a protein-coding gene at the centromeric boundary of the Down Syndrome Critical Region (DSCR) of HSA21. We report that EURL is expressed during human and mouse cerebral cortex development, and we report that alterations to EURL mRNA levels within the human brain underlie Down Syndrome. Our gene perturbation studies in mice demonstrate that disruptions to Eurl impair progenitor proliferation and neuronal differentiation. Also, we find that disruptions to Eurl impair the long-term positioning and dendritic spine densities of cortical projection neurons. We provide evidence that EURL interacts with the coiled-coil domain-containing protein CCDC85B so as to modulate β-catenin levels in cells. Further, we utilised a fluorescent reporter (8xTOPFLASHd2EGFP) to demonstrate that disruptions to Eurl alter β-catenin signalling in vitro as well as in vivo. Together, these studies highlight EURL as an important new player in neuronal development that is likely to impact on the neuropathogenesis of HSA21-related disorders including Down Syndrome.
Optic Nerve Magnetisation Transfer Ratio after Acute Optic Neuritis Predicts Axonal and Visual Outcomes
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-12-18)
Magnetisation transfer ratio (MTR) can reveal the degree of proton exchange between free water and macromolecules and was suggested to be pathological informative. We aimed to investigate changes in optic nerve MTR over 12 months following acute optic neuritis (ON) and to determine whether MTR measurements can predict clinical and paraclinical outcomes at 6 and 12 months. Thirty-seven patients with acute ON were studied within 2 weeks of presentation and at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Assessments included optic nerve MTR, retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness, multifocal visual evoked potential (mfVEP) amplitude and latency and high (100%) and low (2.5%) contrast letter acuity. Eleven healthy controls were scanned twice four weeks apart for comparison with patients. Patient unaffected optic nerve MTR did not significantly differ from controls at any time-point. Compared to the unaffected nerve, affected optic nerve MTR was significantly reduced at 3 months (mean percentage interocular difference = -9.24%, p = 0.01), 6 months (mean = -12.48%, p<0.0001) and 12 months (mean = -7.61%, p = 0.003). Greater reduction in MTR at 3 months in patients was associated with subsequent loss of high contrast letter acuity at 6 (ρ = 0.60, p = 0.0003) and 12 (ρ = 0.44, p = 0.009) months, low contrast letter acuity at 6 (ρ = 0.35, p = 0.047) months, and RNFL thinning at 12 (ρ = 0.35, p = 0.044) months. Stratification of individual patient MTR time courses based on flux over 12 months (stable, putative remyelination and putative degeneration) predicted RNFL thinning at 12 months (F(2,32) = 3.59, p = 0.02). In conclusion, these findings indicate that MTR flux after acute ON is predictive of axonal degeneration and visual disability outcomes.
Parallel Changes in Structural and Functional Measures of Optic Nerve Myelination after Optic Neuritis
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-05-28)
INTRODUCTION: Visual evoked potential (VEP) latency prolongation and optic nerve lesion length after acute optic neuritis (ON) corresponds to the degree of demyelination, while subsequent recovery of latency may represent optic nerve remyelination. We aimed to investigate the relationship between multifocal VEP (mfVEP) latency and optic nerve lesion length after acute ON. METHODS: Thirty acute ON patients were studied at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months using mfVEP and at 1 and 12 months with optic nerve MRI. LogMAR and low contrast visual acuity were documented. By one month, the mfVEP amplitude had recovered sufficiently for latency to be measured in 23 (76.7%) patients with seven patients having no recordable mfVEP in more than 66% of segments in at least one test. Only data from these 23 patients was analysed further. RESULTS: Both latency and lesion length showed significant recovery during the follow-up period. Lesion length and mfVEP latency were highly correlated at 1 (r = 0.94, p = <0.0001) and 12 months (r = 0.75, p < 0.001). Both measures demonstrated a similar trend of recovery. Speed of latency recovery was faster in the early follow-up period while lesion length shortening remained relatively constant. At 1 month, latency delay was worse by 1.76 ms for additional 1mm of lesion length while at 12 months, 1mm of lesion length accounted for 1.94 ms of latency delay. CONCLUSION: A strong association between two putative measures of demyelination in early and chronic ON was found. Parallel recovery of both measures could reflect optic nerve remyelination.
Bim Links ER Stress and Apoptosis in Cells Expressing Mutant SOD1 Associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-04-16)
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is an important pathway to cell death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We previously demonstrated that ER stress is linked to neurotoxicity associated with formation of inclusions of mutant Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). Cells bearing mutant inclusions undergo mitochondrial apoptotic signalling. Here, we demonstrate that the BH3-only protein, Bim, is a direct link between ER stress and mitochondrial apoptosis. In the murine neuroblastoma cell line, Neuro2a, bearing mutant SOD1 inclusions, indicators of both ER stress and apoptosis are expressed. Bim knockdown by siRNA significantly reduced nuclear apoptotic features in these inclusion-bearing cells (but did not affect the proportion of cells overall that bear inclusions). Further, both Bax recruitment to mitochondria and cytochrome c redistribution were also decreased under Bim-depletion conditions. However, upregulation of CHOP, a marker of ER stress, was not reduced by Bim knockdown. Significantly, knockdown of CHOP by siRNA reduced the extent of apoptosis in cells bearing mutant SOD1 inclusions. These sequential links between ER stress, CHOP upregulation, and Bim activation of mitochondrial apoptotic signalling indicate a clear pathway to cell death mediated by mutant SOD1.
High Order W02-Reactive Stable Oligomers of Amyloid-beta are Produced in vivo and in vitro via Dialysis and Filtration of Synthetic Amyloid-beta Monomer
(IOS PRESS, 2015-01-01)
Oligomeric forms of amyloid-β (Aβ) are thought to be responsible for the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. While many oligomers of Aβ are thought to be naturally occurring in the brain of humans and/or transgenic animals, it is well known that Aβ oligomers are also readily produced in vitro in the laboratory. In recent studies, we discovered that synthetic monomeric Aβ (4.7 kDa) could be transformed by microdialysis to higher molecular weight species (approximately 56 kDa, by western blot). Surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry and electron microscopy further identified these species' as potential Aβ oligomers. The production of similar species could also be produced by centrifugal filtration and this formation was concentration and pore-size dependent. These higher order species of Aβ were resistant to dissolution in NaOH, HFIP, formic acid, urea, and guanidine. We postulate that we have identified a novel way of producing a high order species of oligomeric Aβ and we provide evidence to suggest that Aβ oligomers can quite easily be a product of normal laboratory practices. These data suggest that the experimental detection of higher order oligomers in tissues derived from Alzheimer's disease brains or from animal models of disease could, in some cases, be a product the method of analysis.
Variants of ST8SIA1 Are Associated with Risk of Developing Multiple Sclerosis
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2008-07-09)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system of unknown etiology with both genetic and environmental factors playing a role in susceptibility. To date, the HLA DR15/DQ6 haplotype within the major histocompatibility complex on chromosome 6p, is the strongest genetic risk factor associated with MS susceptibility. Additional alleles of IL7 and IL2 have been identified as risk factors for MS with small effect. Here we present two independent studies supporting an allelic association of MS with polymorphisms in the ST8SIA1 gene, located on chromosome 12p12 and encoding ST8 alpha-N-acetyl-neuraminide alpha-2,8-sialyltransferase 1. The initial association was made in a single three-generation family where a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs4762896, was segregating together with HLA DR15/DQ6 in MS patients. A study of 274 family trios (affected child and both unaffected parents) from Australia validated the association of ST8SIA1 in individuals with MS, showing transmission disequilibrium of the paternal alleles for three additional SNPs, namely rs704219, rs2041906, and rs1558793, with p = 0.001, p = 0.01 and p = 0.01 respectively. These findings implicate ST8SIA1 as a possible novel susceptibility gene for MS.
Comparing genotyping algorithms for Illumina's Infinium whole-genome SNP BeadChips
BACKGROUND: Illumina's Infinium SNP BeadChips are extensively used in both small and large-scale genetic studies. A fundamental step in any analysis is the processing of raw allele A and allele B intensities from each SNP into genotype calls (AA, AB, BB). Various algorithms which make use of different statistical models are available for this task. We compare four methods (GenCall, Illuminus, GenoSNP and CRLMM) on data where the true genotypes are known in advance and data from a recently published genome-wide association study. RESULTS: In general, differences in accuracy are relatively small between the methods evaluated, although CRLMM and GenoSNP were found to consistently outperform GenCall. The performance of Illuminus is heavily dependent on sample size, with lower no call rates and improved accuracy as the number of samples available increases. For X chromosome SNPs, methods with sex-dependent models (Illuminus, CRLMM) perform better than methods which ignore gender information (GenCall, GenoSNP). We observe that CRLMM and GenoSNP are more accurate at calling SNPs with low minor allele frequency than GenCall or Illuminus. The sample quality metrics from each of the four methods were found to have a high level of agreement at flagging samples with unusual signal characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: CRLMM, GenoSNP and GenCall can be applied with confidence in studies of any size, as their performance was shown to be invariant to the number of samples available. Illuminus on the other hand requires a larger number of samples to achieve comparable levels of accuracy and its use in smaller studies (50 or fewer individuals) is not recommended.
Genome-wide association study identifies new multiple sclerosis susceptibility loci on chromosomes 12 and 20
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2009-07-01)
To identify multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility loci, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1,618 cases and used shared data for 3,413 controls. We performed replication in an independent set of 2,256 cases and 2,310 controls, for a total of 3,874 cases and 5,723 controls. We identified risk-associated SNPs on chromosome 12q13-14 (rs703842, P = 5.4 x 10(-11); rs10876994, P = 2.7 x 10(-10); rs12368653, P = 1.0 x 10(-7)) and upstream of CD40 on chromosome 20q13 (rs6074022, P = 1.3 x 10(-7); rs1569723, P = 2.9 x 10(-7)). Both loci are also associated with other autoimmune diseases. We also replicated several known MS associations (HLA-DR15, P = 7.0 x 10(-184); CD58, P = 9.6 x 10(-8); EVI5-RPL5, P = 2.5 x 10(-6); IL2RA, P = 7.4 x 10(-6); CLEC16A, P = 1.1 x 10(-4); IL7R, P = 1.3 x 10(-3); TYK2, P = 3.5 x 10(-3)) and observed a statistical interaction between SNPs in EVI5-RPL5 and HLA-DR15 (P = 0.001).
Chronic intermittent toluene inhalation in adolescent rats alters behavioural responses to amphetamine and MK801
(ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2014-03-01)
Abuse of toluene-containing inhalants is common during adolescence, with ongoing chronic misuse associated with adverse outcomes and increased risk for addictive behaviours in adulthood. However, the mechanisms mediating the adaptive processes related to these outcomes are not well defined. To model human abuse patterns we exposed male adolescent Wistar rats (postnatal day 27) to chronic intermittent inhaled toluene (CIT, 10,000 ppm) or air (control) for 1h/day, three times/week for 3 weeks. The effects of CIT on behaviour and recovery were monitored. Locomotor activity was recorded following two consecutive injections of amphetamine (1mg/kg, i.p.) 72 and 96 h after the last exposure. This was followed with injection of the NMDA receptor antagonist MK801 (0.5mg/kg, i.p.) 20 days after the last exposure. CIT resulted in a significant and persistent retardation in weight gain during the exposure period and abstinence (p<0.05). Repeated exposure resulted in tolerance to the onset of toluene-induced behaviours and recovery latency. There was a reduction in the acute stimulant effects of amphetamine in CIT-exposed animals and an increase in the magnitude of locomotor activity (p<0.0125) following a subsequent exposure when compared to the responses observed in controls; this was associated with altered locomotor responses to MK801. Repeated exposure to CIT during adolescence alters parameters of growth, as measured by body weight, and leads to tolerance, indicating that increasing concentrations of the compound may be needed to reach the same behavioural state. Toluene during this period also alters responses to a psychostimulant which may be related to long-term glutamatergic dysfunction.
Maintenance N-acetyl cysteine treatment for bipolar disorder: A double-blind randomized placebo controlled trial
BACKGROUND: N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a glutathione precursor that has been shown to have antidepressant efficacy in a placebo-controlled trial. The current study aimed to investigate the maintenance effects of NAC following eight weeks of open-label treatment for bipolar disorder. METHOD: The efficacy of a double blind randomized placebo controlled trial of 2 g/day NAC as adjunct maintenance treatment for bipolar disorder was examined. Participants (n = 149) had a Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Score of ≥12 at trial entry and, after eight weeks of open-label NAC treatment, were randomized to adjunctive NAC or placebo, in addition to treatment as usual. Participants (primarily outpatients) were recruited through public and private services and through newspaper advertisements. Time to intervention for a mood episode was the primary endpoint of the study, and changes in mood symptoms, functionality and quality of life measures were secondary outcomes. RESULTS: There was a substantial decrease in symptoms during the eight-week open-label NAC treatment phase. During the subsequent double-blind phase, there was minimal further change in outcome measures with scores remaining low. Consequently, from this low plateau, between-group differences did not emerge on recurrence, clinical functioning or quality of life measures. CONCLUSIONS: There were no significant between-group differences in recurrence or symptomatic outcomes during the maintenance phase of the trial; however, these findings may be confounded by limitations. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12607000074493).
Endogenously regulated Dab2 worsens inflammatory injury in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-01-01)
BACKGROUND: Neuroinflammation regulates both disease pathogenesis and repair in multiple sclerosis. In early multiple sclerosis lesion development, neuroinflammation causes demyelination and axonal injury, the likely final common determinant of disability. Here we report the identification of a novel neuroinflammatory mediator, Disabled-2 (Dab2). Dab2 is an intracellular adaptor protein with previously unknown function in the central nervous system. RESULTS: We report that Dab2 is up-regulated in lesional macrophages/microglia in the spinal cord in murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a model of multiple sclerosis. We demonstrate that dab2 expression is positively correlated with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis disease severity during the acute disease phase. Furthermore, dab2-deficient mice have a less severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis disease course and suffer less neuroinflammation and less axonal injury than their wild-type littermates. We demonstrate that dab2 expression is strongly associated with the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase. We further demonstrate that Dab2 is expressed at the protein level by macrophages in early acute human multiple sclerosis lesions and that this correlates with axonal injury. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results suggest that endogenous Dab2 exacerbates central nervous system inflammation, potentially acting to up-regulate reactive oxygen species expression in macrophages and microglia, and that it is of potential pathogenic relevance in Multiple Sclerosis.
Hippocampal shape variations at term equivalent age in very preterm infants compared with term controls: Perinatal predictors and functional significance at age 7
(ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2013-04-15)
The hippocampus undergoes rapid growth and development in the perinatal months. Infants born very preterm (VPT) are vulnerable to hippocampal alterations, and can provide a model of disturbed early hippocampal development. Hippocampal shape alterations have previously been associated with memory impairment, but have never been investigated in infants. The aims of this study were to determine hippocampal shape differences between 184 VPT infants (<30 weeks' gestation or <1250 g at birth) and 32 full-term infants, effects of perinatal factors, and associations between infant hippocampal shape and volume, and 7 year verbal and visual memory (California Verbal Learning Test - Children's Version and Dot Locations). Infants underwent 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging at term equivalent age. Hippocampi were segmented, and spherical harmonics-point distribution model shape analysis was undertaken. VPT infants' hippocampi were less infolded than full-term infants, being less curved toward the midline and less arched superior-inferiorly. Straighter hippocampi were associated with white matter injury and postnatal corticosteroid exposure. There were no significant associations between infant hippocampal shape and 7 year memory measures. However, larger infant hippocampal volumes were associated with better verbal memory scores. Altered hippocampal shape in VPT infants at term equivalent age may reflect delayed or disrupted development. This study provides further insight into early hippocampal development and the nature of hippocampal abnormalities in prematurity.