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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/CELLS10030540

Astrocytes in Alzheimer's Disease: Pathological Significance and Molecular Pathways.

04 Mar 2021-Cells (MDPI AG)-Vol. 10, Iss: 3, pp 540
Abstract: Astrocytes perform a wide variety of essential functions defining normal operation of the nervous system and are active contributors to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s among others. Recent data provide compelling evidence that distinct astrocyte states are associated with specific stages of Alzheimer´s disease. The advent of transcriptomics technologies enables rapid progress in the characterisation of such pathological astrocyte states. In this review, we provide an overview of the origin, main functions, molecular and morphological features of astrocytes in physiological as well as pathological conditions related to Alzheimer´s disease. We will also explore the main roles of astrocytes in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer´s disease and summarize main transcriptional changes and altered molecular pathways observed in astrocytes during the course of the disease.

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9 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/BIOMEDICINES9050524
07 May 2021-Biomedicines
Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease associated with human aging. Ten percent of individuals over 65 years have AD and its prevalence continues to rise with increasing age. There are currently no effective disease modifying treatments for AD, resulting in increasingly large socioeconomic and personal costs. Increasing age is associated with an increase in low-grade chronic inflammation (inflammaging) that may contribute to the neurodegenerative process in AD. Although the exact mechanisms remain unclear, aberrant elevation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) levels from several endogenous and exogenous processes in the brain may not only affect cell signaling, but also trigger cellular senescence, inflammation, and pyroptosis. Moreover, a compromised immune privilege of the brain that allows the infiltration of peripheral immune cells and infectious agents may play a role. Additionally, meta-inflammation as well as gut microbiota dysbiosis may drive the neuroinflammatory process. Considering that inflammatory/immune pathways are dysregulated in parallel with cognitive dysfunction in AD, elucidating the relationship between the central nervous system and the immune system may facilitate the development of a safe and effective therapy for AD. We discuss some current ideas on processes in inflammaging that appear to drive the neurodegenerative process in AD and summarize details on a few immunomodulatory strategies being developed to selectively target the detrimental aspects of neuroinflammation without affecting defense mechanisms against pathogens and tissue damage.

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Topics: Neuroinflammation (55%), Immunosenescence (52%), Pyroptosis (51%) ... read more

11 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/CELLS10071600
25 Jun 2021-Cells
Abstract: In the current review, we aim to discuss the principles and the perspectives of using the genetic constructs based on AAV vectors to regulate astrocytes' activity. Practical applications of optogenetic approaches utilizing different genetically encoded opsins to control astroglia activity were evaluated. The diversity of astrocytic cell-types complicates the rational design of an ideal viral vector for particular experimental goals. Therefore, efficient and sufficient targeting of astrocytes is a multiparametric process that requires a combination of specific AAV serotypes naturally predisposed to transduce astroglia with astrocyte-specific promoters in the AAV cassette. Inadequate combinations may result in off-target neuronal transduction to different degrees. Potentially, these constraints may be bypassed with the latest strategies of generating novel synthetic AAV serotypes with specified properties by rational engineering of AAV capsids or using directed evolution approach by searching within a more specific promoter or its replacement with the unique enhancer sequences characterized using modern molecular techniques (ChIP-seq, scATAC-seq, snATAC-seq) to drive the selective transgene expression in the target population of cells or desired brain regions. Realizing these strategies to restrict expression and to efficiently target astrocytic populations in specific brain regions or across the brain has great potential to enable future studies.

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2 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.3233/JAD-215182
Abstract: One of the changes found in the brain in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is increased calpain, derived from calcium dysregulation, oxidative stress, and/or neuroinflammation, which are all assumed to be basic pillars in neurodegenerative diseases. The role of calpain in synaptic plasticity, neuronal death, and AD has been discussed in some reviews. However, astrocytic calpain changes sometimes appear to be secondary and consequent to neuronal damage in AD. Herein, we explore the possibility of calpain-mediated astroglial reactivity in AD, both preceding and during the amyloid phase. We discuss the types of brain calpains but focus the review on calpains 1 and 2 and some important targets in astrocytes. We address the signaling involved in controlling calpain expression, mainly involving p38/mitogen-activated protein kinase and calcineurin, as well as how calpain regulates the expression of proteins involved in astroglial reactivity through calcineurin and cyclin-dependent kinase 5. Throughout the text, we have tried to provide evidence of the connection between the alterations caused by calpain and the metabolic changes associated with AD. In addition, we discuss the possibility that calpain mediates amyloid-β clearance in astrocytes, as opposed to amyloid-β accumulation in neurons.

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Topics: Calpain (65%), Synaptic plasticity (52%), Neuroinflammation (52%) ... read more

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3233/JAD-210730
Yizhi Song1, Zunshu Du1, Xinyue Chen1, Wanning Zhang1  +4 moreInstitutions (1)
Abstract: BACKGROUND Soluble oligomeric amyloid-β (Aβ)-induced synaptic dysfunction is an early event in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. Mounting evidence has suggested N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) play an important role in Aβ-induced synaptotoxicity. Originally NMDARs were believed to be expressed exclusively in neurons; however, recent two decades studies have demonstrated functional NMDARs present on astrocytes. Neuronal NMDARs are modulators of neurodegeneration, while our previous initial study found that astrocytic NMDARs mediated synaptoprotection and identified nerve growth factor (NGF) secreted by astrocytes, as a likely mediator, but how astrocytic NMDARs protect neurons against Aβ-induced synaptotoxicity through regulating NGF remains unclear. OBJECTIVE To achieve further insight into the mechanism of astrocytic NMDARs oppose Aβ-induced synaptotoxicity through regulating NGF. METHODS With the primary hippocampal neuronal and astrocytic co-cultures, astrocytes were pretreated with agonist or antagonist of NMDARs before Aβ142 oligomers application to neuron-astrocyte co-cultures. Western blot, RT-PCR, etc., were used for the related proteins evaluation. RESULTS Activation of astrocytic NMDARs can significantly mitigate Aβ142-induced loss of PSD-95 and synaptophysin through increasing NGF release. Blockade of astrocytic NMDARs inhibited Aβ-induced compensatory protective NGF increase in protein and mRNA levels through modulating NF-κB of astrocytes. Astrocytic NMDARs activation can enhance Aβ-induced Furin increase, and blockade of astrocytic NMDARs inhibited Aβ-induced immunofluorescent intensity elevation of vesicle trafficking protein VAMP3 and NGF double-staining. CONCLUSION Astrocytic NMDARs oppose Aβ-induced synaptotoxicity through modulating the synthesis, maturation, and secretion of NGF in astrocytes. This new information may contribute to the quest for specific targeted strategy of intervention to delay the onset of AD.

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Topics: Nerve growth factor (51%), Neurodegeneration (50%)


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146 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.15252/EMMM.201606210
Dennis J. Selkoe1, John Hardy2Institutions (2)
Abstract: Despite continuing debate about the amyloid β‐protein (or Aβ hypothesis, new lines of evidence from laboratories and clinics worldwide support the concept that an imbalance between production and clearance of Aβ42 and related Aβ peptides is a very early, often initiating factor in Alzheimer9s disease (AD). Confirmation that presenilin is the catalytic site of γ‐secretase has provided a linchpin: all dominant mutations causing early‐onset AD occur either in the substrate (amyloid precursor protein, APP) or the protease (presenilin) of the reaction that generates Aβ. Duplication of the wild‐type APP gene in Down9s syndrome leads to Aβ deposits in the teens, followed by microgliosis, astrocytosis, and neurofibrillary tangles typical of AD. Apolipoprotein E4, which predisposes to AD in > 40% of cases, has been found to impair Aβ clearance from the brain. Soluble oligomers of Aβ42 isolated from AD patients9 brains can decrease synapse number, inhibit long‐term potentiation, and enhance long‐term synaptic depression in rodent hippocampus, and injecting them into healthy rats impairs memory. The human oligomers also induce hyperphosphorylation of tau at AD‐relevant epitopes and cause neuritic dystrophy in cultured neurons. Crossing human APP with human tau transgenic mice enhances tau‐positive neurotoxicity. In humans, new studies show that low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ42 and amyloid‐PET positivity precede other AD manifestations by many years. Most importantly, recent trials of three different Aβ antibodies (solanezumab, crenezumab, and aducanumab) have suggested a slowing of cognitive decline in post hoc analyses of mild AD subjects. Although many factors contribute to AD pathogenesis, Aβ dyshomeostasis has emerged as the most extensively validated and compelling therapeutic target.

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Topics: P3 peptide (60%), Biochemistry of Alzheimer's disease (59%), Presenilin (56%) ... read more

2,864 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/NATURE21029
26 Jan 2017-Nature
Abstract: This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01 AG048814, B.A.B.; RO1 DA15043, B.A.B.; P50 NS38377, V.L.D. and T.M.D.) Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (B.A.B.), the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (B.A.B.), Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation (B.A.B.), the JPB Foundation (B.A.B., T.M.D.), the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (B.A.B.), the Glenn Foundation (B.A.B.), the Esther B O’Keeffe Charitable Foundation (B.A.B.), the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (2013-MSCRFII-0105-00, V.L.D.; 2012-MSCRFII-0268-00, T.M.D.; 2013-MSCRFII-0105-00, T.M.D.; 2014-MSCRFF-0665, M.K.). S.A.L. was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (GNT1052961), and the Glenn Foundation Glenn Award. L.E.C. was funded by a Merck Research Laboratories postdoctoral fellowship (administered by the Life Science Research Foundation). W.-S.C. was supported by a career transition grant from NEI (K99EY024690). C.J.B. was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (DRG-2125-12). L.S. was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG, SCHI 1330/1-1).

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2,721 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1126/SCITRANSLMED.3003748
Jeffrey J. Iliff1, Minghuan Wang2, Minghuan Wang1, Yonghong Liao1  +8 moreInstitutions (4)
Abstract: Because it lacks a lymphatic circulation, the brain must clear extracellular proteins by an alternative mechanism. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) functions as a sink for brain extracellular solutes, but it is not clear how solutes from the brain interstitium move from the parenchyma to the CSF. We demonstrate that a substantial portion of subarachnoid CSF cycles through the brain interstitial space. On the basis of in vivo two-photon imaging of small fluorescent tracers, we showed that CSF enters the parenchyma along paravascular spaces that surround penetrating arteries and that brain interstitial fluid is cleared along paravenous drainage pathways. Animals lacking the water channel aquaporin-4 (AQP4) in astrocytes exhibit slowed CSF influx through this system and a ~70% reduction in interstitial solute clearance, suggesting that the bulk fluid flow between these anatomical influx and efflux routes is supported by astrocytic water transport. Fluorescent-tagged amyloid β, a peptide thought to be pathogenic in Alzheimer's disease, was transported along this route, and deletion of the Aqp4 gene suppressed the clearance of soluble amyloid β, suggesting that this pathway may remove amyloid β from the central nervous system. Clearance through paravenous flow may also regulate extracellular levels of proteins involved with neurodegenerative conditions, its impairment perhaps contributing to the mis-accumulation of soluble proteins.

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Topics: Glymphatic system (67%), Interstitial fluid (55%), Perivascular space (54%) ... read more

2,384 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.CELL.2017.05.018
Hadas Keren-Shaul1, Amit Spinrad1, Assaf Weiner1, Assaf Weiner2  +11 moreInstitutions (3)
15 Jun 2017-Cell
Abstract: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a detrimental neurodegenerative disease with no effective treatments. Due to cellular heterogeneity, defining the roles of immune cell subsets in AD onset and progression has been challenging. Using transcriptional single-cell sorting, we comprehensively map all immune populations in wild-type and AD-transgenic (Tg-AD) mouse brains. We describe a novel microglia type associated with neurodegenerative diseases (DAM) and identify markers, spatial localization, and pathways associated with these cells. Immunohistochemical staining of mice and human brain slices shows DAM with intracellular/phagocytic Aβ particles. Single-cell analysis of DAM in Tg-AD and triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (Trem2)-/- Tg-AD reveals that the DAM program is activated in a two-step process. Activation is initiated in a Trem2-independent manner that involves downregulation of microglia checkpoints, followed by activation of a Trem2-dependent program. This unique microglia-type has the potential to restrict neurodegeneration, which may have important implications for future treatment of AD and other neurodegenerative diseases. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

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Topics: TREM2 (57%), Neurodegeneration (55%), Microglia (53%) ... read more

1,705 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1002/CNE.21974
Abstract: The human brain is often considered to be the most cognitively capable among mammalian brains and to be much larger than expected for a mammal of our body size. Although the number of neurons is generally assumed to be a determinant of computational power, and despite the widespread quotes that the human brain contains 100 billion neurons and ten times more glial cells, the absolute number of neurons and glial cells in the human brain remains unknown. Here we determine these numbers by using the isotropic fractionator and compare them with the expected values for a human-sized primate. We find that the adult male human brain contains on average 86.1 +/- 8.1 billion NeuN-positive cells ("neurons") and 84.6 +/- 9.8 billion NeuN-negative ("nonneuronal") cells. With only 19% of all neurons located in the cerebral cortex, greater cortical size (representing 82% of total brain mass) in humans compared with other primates does not reflect an increased relative number of cortical neurons. The ratios between glial cells and neurons in the human brain structures are similar to those found in other primates, and their numbers of cells match those expected for a primate of human proportions. These findings challenge the common view that humans stand out from other primates in their brain composition and indicate that, with regard to numbers of neuronal and nonneuronal cells, the human brain is an isometrically scaled-up primate brain.

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Topics: Human brain (59%), Brain size (54%), Brain Mass (53%) ... read more

1,585 Citations


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