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See detailPrevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Luxembourgish population: the CON-VINCE study.
Snoeck, Chantal J.; Vaillant, Michel; Abdelrahman, Tamir et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

BACKGROUND: After the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of coronavirus disease to be a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020, the first SARS-CoV-2 infection ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: After the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of coronavirus disease to be a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020, the first SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected in Luxembourg on February 29, 2020. Representative population-based data, including asymptomatic individuals for assessing the viral spread and immune response were, however, lacking worldwide. METHODS: Using a panel-based method, we implemented a representative sample of the Luxembourgish population based on age, gender and residency for testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection and antibody status in order to define prevalence irrespective of clinical symptoms. Participants were contacted via email to fill an online questionnaire before biosampling at local laboratories. All participants provided information related to clinical symptoms, epidemiology, socioeconomic and psychological assessments and underwent biosampling, rRT-PCR testing and serology for SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: We included a total of 1862 individuals in our representative sample of the general Luxembourgish population. Of these, 5 individuals had a current positive result for infection with SARS-CoV-2 based on rRT-PCR. Four of these individuals were oligosymptomatic and one was asymptomatic. Overall we found a positive IgG antibody status in 35 individuals (1.97%), of which 11 reported to be tested positive by rRT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 previously and showed in addition their IgG positive status also a positive status for IgA. Our data indicate a prevalence of 0.3% for active SARS-CoV-2 infection and an infection rate of 2.15% in the Luxembourgish population between 18 and 79 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Luxembourgish residents show a low rate of acute infections after 7 weeks of confinement and present with an antibody profile indicative of a more recent immune response to SARS-CoV-2. All infected individuals were oligo- or asymptomatic. Bi-weekly follow-up visits over the next 2 months will inform about the viral spread by a- and oligosymptomatic carriers and the individual changes in the immune profile.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Clinical TrialNCT04379297Funding StatementThe CON-VINCE Study is funded by the Research Fund Luxembourg (FNR; CON-VINCE) and the André Losch Foundation (Luxembourg).Author DeclarationsAll relevant ethical guidelines have been followed; any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained and details of the IRB/oversight body are included in the manuscript.YesAll necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesDue to ethical concerns, supporting data cannot be made openly available. [less ▲]

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See detailMissing heritability in Parkinson’s disease: the emerging role of non‑coding genetic variation
Ohnmacht, Jochen UL; May, Patrick UL; Sinkkonen, Lasse UL et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2020)

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical trials, including causative treatments, a better understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of PD is required. Despite substantial efforts, genome-wide association studies have not been able to explain most of the observed heritability. The majority of PD-associated genetic variants are located in non-coding regions of the genome. A systematic assessment of their functional role is hampered by our incomplete understanding of genotype-phenotype correlations, for example through differential regulation of gene expression. Here, the recent progress and remaining challenges for the elucidation of the role of non-coding genetic variants is reviewed with a focus on PD as a complex disease with multifactorial origins. The function of gene regulatory elements and the impact of non-coding variants on them, and the means to map these elements on a genome-wide level, will be delineated. Moreover, examples of how the integration of functional genomic annotations can serve to identify disease-associated pathways and to prioritize disease- and cell type-specific regulatory variants will be given. Finally, strategies for functional validation and considerations for suitable model systems are outlined. Together this emphasizes the contribution of rare and common genetic variants to the complex pathogenesis of PD and points to remaining challenges for the dissection of genetic complexity that may allow for better stratification, improved diagnostics and more targeted treatments for PD in the future. [less ▲]

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See detailInduced pluripotent stem cell line (LCSBi001-A) derived from a patient with Parkinson's disease carrying the p.D620N mutation in VPS35
Larsen, Simone UL; Hanss, Zoé UL; Cruciani, Gérald UL et al

in Stem Cell Research (2020)

Fibroblasts were obtained from a 76 year-old man diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD). The disease is caused by a heterozygous p.D620N mutation in VPS35. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were ... [more ▼]

Fibroblasts were obtained from a 76 year-old man diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD). The disease is caused by a heterozygous p.D620N mutation in VPS35. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were generated using the CytoTune™-iPS 2.0 Sendai Reprogramming Kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific). The presence of the c.1858G > A base exchange in exon 15 of VPS35 was confirmed by Sanger sequencing. The iPSCs are free of genomically integrated reprogramming genes, express pluripotency markers, display in vitro differentiation potential to the three germ layers and have karyotypic integrity. Our iPSC line will be useful for studying the impact of the p.D620N mutation in VPS35 in vitro. [less ▲]

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See detailProgramme Démence Prévention (pdp ): A Nation-Wide Programme for Dementia Prevention in Luxembourg
Schröder, Valerie UL; Kaysen, Anne UL; Fritz, Joëlle UL et al

Poster (2020, April)

Objectives: To implement a multi-year nation-wide programme, by the means of a personalised lifestyle intervention, to prevent or to delay cognitive decline that can contribute to development of dementia ... [more ▼]

Objectives: To implement a multi-year nation-wide programme, by the means of a personalised lifestyle intervention, to prevent or to delay cognitive decline that can contribute to development of dementia in Luxembourg. Methods: Participants with mild cognitive impairment, referred to the programme by their treating physician, undergo an extensive cognitive evaluation by a neuropsychologist on relevant neuropsychological domains as well as a structured dementia risk factor assessment. Based on these assessments, individualised lifestyle interventions are offered by diverse national partners involved in the programme, thus filling a gap of not yet reimbursed services in the Luxemburgish healthcare system. After the personalised lifestyle interventions, each participant will undergo a neuropsychological follow-up in order to re-evaluate his/her health status in terms of cognition. Results: We established a participant-centred national network by presenting the programme on many outreach events and efficient stakeholder communication. The network raises the awareness of dementia prevention in the Luxembourgish population, fosters interdisciplinary communication between individual medical and non-medical healthcare professionals and allows for a successful recruitment of the target population. Moreover, we collect information about adherence to the suggested lifestyle changes, as well as the effectiveness of our interventions in reducing risk factors contributing to the onset of dementia. Conclusions: We provide evidence for the feasibility of the implementation of a nation-wide dementia prevention programme including diverse partners offering personalised lifestyle interventions, which are easily transferrable to other countries. Future results from this programme may also help to integrate prevention interventions into the regular healthcare system. [less ▲]

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See detailGrundlagen und Stellenwert der COMT- und MAO-B-Inhibitoren in der Therapie des idiopathischen Parkinson-Syndroms.
Woitalla, Dirk; Krüger, Rejko UL; Lorenzl, Stefan et al

in Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie (2020)

Inhibitors of COMT and MAO-B are well established in the pharmacotherapy of Parkinson's disease (PD). MAO-B inhibitors are used as monotherapy as well as in combination with levodopa, whereas COMT ... [more ▼]

Inhibitors of COMT and MAO-B are well established in the pharmacotherapy of Parkinson's disease (PD). MAO-B inhibitors are used as monotherapy as well as in combination with levodopa, whereas COMT inhibitors exert their effects only in conjungtion with levodopa. Both classes of compounds prolong the response duration of levodopa and optimise its clinical benefit. As a result, the ON-times are prolonged significantly. In the past, MAO-B inhibitors were also adminstered for neuroprotection; however, despite convincing scientific reasoning in support of neuroprotective effects, these could not be substantiated in clinical studies performed so far. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluating the Use of Circulating MicroRNA Profiles for Lung Cancer Detection in Symptomatic Patients
Fehlmann, Tobias; Kahraman, Mustafa; Backes, Christina et al

in JAMA Oncology (2020)

Importance The overall low survival rate of patients with lung cancer calls for improved detection tools to enable better treatment options and improved patient outcomes. Multivariable molecular ... [more ▼]

Importance The overall low survival rate of patients with lung cancer calls for improved detection tools to enable better treatment options and improved patient outcomes. Multivariable molecular signatures, such as blood-borne microRNA (miRNA) signatures, may have high rates of sensitivity and specificity but require additional studies with large cohorts and standardized measurements to confirm the generalizability of miRNA signatures. Objective To investigate the use of blood-borne miRNAs as potential circulating markers for detecting lung cancer in an extended cohort of symptomatic patients and control participants. Design, Setting, and Participants This multicenter, cohort study included patients from case-control and cohort studies (TREND and COSYCONET) with 3102 patients being enrolled by convenience sampling between March 3, 2009, and March 19, 2018. For the cohort study TREND, population sampling was performed. Clinical diagnoses were obtained for 3046 patients (606 patients with non–small cell and small cell lung cancer, 593 patients with nontumor lung diseases, 883 patients with diseases not affecting the lung, and 964 unaffected control participants). No samples were removed because of experimental issues. The collected data were analyzed between April 2018 and November 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures Sensitivity and specificity of liquid biopsy using miRNA signatures for detection of lung cancer. Results A total of 3102 patients with a mean (SD) age of 61.1 (16.2) years were enrolled. Data on the sex of the participants were available for 2856 participants; 1727 (60.5%) were men. Genome-wide miRNA profiles of blood samples from 3046 individuals were evaluated by machine-learning methods. Three classification scenarios were investigated by splitting the samples equally into training and validation sets. First, a 15-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients diagnosed with lung cancer from all other individuals in the validation set with an accuracy of 91.4% (95% CI, 91.0%-91.9%), a sensitivity of 82.8% (95% CI, 81.5%-84.1%), and a specificity of 93.5% (95% CI, 93.2%-93.8%). Second, a 14-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients with lung cancer from patients with nontumor lung diseases in the validation set with an accuracy of 92.5% (95% CI, 92.1%-92.9%), sensitivity of 96.4% (95% CI, 95.9%-96.9%), and specificity of 88.6% (95% CI, 88.1%-89.2%). Third, a 14-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients with early-stage lung cancer from all individuals without lung cancer in the validation set with an accuracy of 95.9% (95% CI, 95.7%-96.2%), sensitivity of 76.3% (95% CI, 74.5%-78.0%), and specificity of 97.5% (95% CI, 97.2%-97.7%). Conclusions and Relevance The findings of the study suggest that the identified patterns of miRNAs may be used as a component of a minimally invasive lung cancer test, complementing imaging, sputum cytology, and biopsy tests. [less ▲]

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See detailExcess of singleton loss-of-function variants in Parkinson's disease contributes to genetic risk.
Bobbili, Dheeraj Reddy; Banda, Peter UL; Krüger, Rejko UL et al

in Journal of Medical Genetics (2020)

Background Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with complex genetic architecture. Besides rare mutations in high-risk genes related to monogenic familial forms of PD, multiple ... [more ▼]

Background Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with complex genetic architecture. Besides rare mutations in high-risk genes related to monogenic familial forms of PD, multiple variants associated with sporadic PD were discovered via association studies. Methods We studied the whole-exome sequencing data of 340 PD cases and 146 ethnically matched controls from the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) and performed burden analysis for different rare variant classes. Disease prediction models were built based on clinical, non-clinical and genetic features, including both common and rare variants, and two machine learning methods. Results We observed a significant exome-wide burden of singleton loss-of-function variants (corrected p=0.037). Overall, no exome-wide burden of rare amino acid changing variants was detected. Finally, we built a disease prediction model combining singleton loss-of-function variants, a polygenic risk score based on common variants, and family history of PD as features and reached an area under the curve of 0.703 (95% CI 0.698 to 0.708). By incorporating a rare variant feature, our model increased the performance of the state-of-the-art classification model for the PPMI dataset, which reached an area under the curve of 0.639 based on common variants alone. Conclusion The main finding of this study is to highlight the contribution of singleton loss-of-function variants to the complex genetics of PD and that disease risk prediction models combining singleton and common variants can improve models built solely on common variants. [less ▲]

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See detailFibroblast mitochondria in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease display morphological changes and enhanced resistance to depolarization
Krüger, Rejko UL; Balling, Rudolf UL; Antony, Paul UL et al

in Scientific Reports (2020)

Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD). Here, we established screenable phenotypes of mitochondrial morphology and function in primary fibroblasts derived from ... [more ▼]

Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD). Here, we established screenable phenotypes of mitochondrial morphology and function in primary fibroblasts derived from patients with IPD. Upper arm punch skin biopsy was performed in 41 patients with mid-stage IPD and 21 age-matched healthy controls. At the single-cell level, the basal mitochondrial membrane potential (Ψm) was higher in patients with IPD than in controls. Similarly, under carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone (FCCP) stress, the remaining Ψm was increased in patients with IPD. Analysis of mitochondrial morphometric parameters revealed significantly decreased mitochondrial connectivity in patients with IPD, with 9 of 14 morphometric mitochondrial parameters differing from those in controls. Significant morphometric mitochondrial changes included the node degree, mean volume, skeleton size, perimeter, form factor, node count, erosion body count, endpoints, and mitochondria count (all P-values < 0.05). These functional data reveal that resistance to depolarization was increased by treatment with the protonophore FCCP in patients with IPD, whereas morphometric data revealed decreased mitochondrial connectivity and increased mitochondrial fragmentation. [less ▲]

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See detailUnraveling Molecular Mechanisms of THAP1 Missense Mutations in DYT6 Dystonia
Krüger, Rejko UL; Cheng, Fubo; Walter, Michael et al

in Journal of Molecular Neuroscience (2020)

Mutations in THAP1 (THAP domain-containing apoptosis-associated protein 1) are responsible for DYT6 dystonia. Until now, more than eighty differentmutations in THAP1 gene have been found in patientswith ... [more ▼]

Mutations in THAP1 (THAP domain-containing apoptosis-associated protein 1) are responsible for DYT6 dystonia. Until now, more than eighty differentmutations in THAP1 gene have been found in patientswith primary dystonia, and two third of them are missense mutations. The potential pathogeneses of these missense mutations in human are largely elusive. In the present study, we generated stable transfected human neuronal cell lines expressing wild-type or mutated THAP1 proteins found in DYT6 patients. Transcriptional profiling using microarrays revealed a set of 28 common genes dysregulated in two mutated THAP1 (S21T and F81L) overexpression cell lines suggesting a common mechanism of these mutations. ChIP-seq showed that THAP1 can bind to the promoter of one of these genes, superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2). Overexpression of THAP1 in SK-N-AS cells resulted in increased SOD2 protein expression, whereas fibroblasts from THAP1 patients have less SOD2 expression, which indicates that SOD2 is a direct target gene of THAP1. In addition, we show that some THAP1 mutations (C54Y and F81L) decrease the protein stability which might also be responsible for altered transcription regulation due to dosage insufficiency. Taking together, the current study showed different potential pathogenic mechanisms of THAP1 mutations which lead to the same consequence of DYT6 dystonia. [less ▲]

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See detailUsing High-Content Screening to Generate Single-Cell Gene-Corrected Patient-Derived iPS Clones Reveals Excess Alpha-Synuclein with Familial Parkinson's Disease Point Mutation A30P.
Barbuti, Peter UL; Antony, Paul UL; Rodrigues Santos, Bruno UL et al

in Cells (2020), 9(9),

The generation of isogenic induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines using CRISPR-Cas9 technology is a technically challenging, time-consuming process with variable efficiency. Here we use fluorescence ... [more ▼]

The generation of isogenic induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines using CRISPR-Cas9 technology is a technically challenging, time-consuming process with variable efficiency. Here we use fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) to sort biallelic CRISPR-Cas9 edited single-cell iPSC clones into high-throughput 96-well microtiter plates. We used high-content screening (HCS) technology and generated an in-house developed algorithm to select the correctly edited isogenic clones for continued expansion and validation. In our model we have gene-corrected the iPSCs of a Parkinson's disease (PD) patient carrying the autosomal dominantly inherited heterozygous c.88G>C mutation in the SNCA gene, which leads to the pathogenic p.A30P form of the alpha-synuclein protein. Undertaking a PCR restriction-digest mediated clonal selection strategy prior to sequencing, we were able to post-sort validate each isogenic clone using a quadruple screening strategy prior to generating footprint-free isogenic iPSC lines, retaining a normal molecular karyotype, pluripotency and three germ-layer differentiation potential. Directed differentiation into midbrain dopaminergic neurons revealed that SNCA expression is reduced in the gene-corrected clones, which was validated by a reduction at the alpha-synuclein protein level. The generation of single-cell isogenic clones facilitates new insights in the role of alpha-synuclein in PD and furthermore is applicable across patient-derived disease models. [less ▲]

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See detailA patient-based model of RNA mis-splicing uncovers treatment targets in Parkinson's disease.
Boussaad, Ibrahim UL; Obermaier, Carolin D.; Hanss, Zoé et al

in Science translational medicine (2020), 12(560),

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorder with monogenic forms representing prototypes of the underlying molecular pathology and reproducing to variable degrees the sporadic ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorder with monogenic forms representing prototypes of the underlying molecular pathology and reproducing to variable degrees the sporadic forms of the disease. Using a patient-based in vitro model of PARK7-linked PD, we identified a U1-dependent splicing defect causing a drastic reduction in DJ-1 protein and, consequently, mitochondrial dysfunction. Targeting defective exon skipping with genetically engineered U1-snRNA recovered DJ-1 protein expression in neuronal precursor cells and differentiated neurons. After prioritization of candidate drugs, we identified and validated a combinatorial treatment with the small-molecule compounds rectifier of aberrant splicing (RECTAS) and phenylbutyric acid, which restored DJ-1 protein and mitochondrial dysfunction in patient-derived fibroblasts as well as dopaminergic neuronal cell loss in mutant midbrain organoids. Our analysis of a large number of exomes revealed that U1 splice-site mutations were enriched in sporadic PD patients. Therefore, our study suggests an alternative strategy to restore cellular abnormalities in in vitro models of PD and provides a proof of concept for neuroprotection based on precision medicine strategies in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailHuman Dopaminergic Neurons Lacking PINK1 Exhibit Disrupted Dopamine Metabolism Related to Vitamin B6 Co-Factors.
Bus, Christine; Zizmare, Laimdota; Feldkaemper, Marita et al

in iScience (2020), 23(12), 101797

PINK1 loss-of-function mutations cause early onset Parkinson disease. PINK1-Parkin mediated mitophagy has been well studied, but the relevance of the endogenous process in the brain is debated. Here, the ... [more ▼]

PINK1 loss-of-function mutations cause early onset Parkinson disease. PINK1-Parkin mediated mitophagy has been well studied, but the relevance of the endogenous process in the brain is debated. Here, the absence of PINK1 in human dopaminergic neurons inhibits ionophore-induced mitophagy and reduces mitochondrial membrane potential. Compensatory, mitochondrial renewal maintains mitochondrial morphology and protects the respiratory chain. This is paralleled by metabolic changes, including inhibition of the TCA cycle enzyme mAconitase, accumulation of NAD(+), and metabolite depletion. Loss of PINK1 disrupts dopamine metabolism by critically affecting its synthesis and uptake. The mechanism involves steering of key amino acids toward energy production rather than neurotransmitter metabolism and involves cofactors related to the vitamin B6 salvage pathway identified using unbiased multi-omics approaches. We propose that reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential that cannot be controlled by PINK1 signaling initiates metabolic compensation that has neurometabolic consequences relevant to Parkinson disease. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Emerging Role of RHOT1/Miro1 in the Pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease.
Grossmann, Dajana; Berenguer-Escuder, Clara; Chemla, Axel UL et al

in Frontiers in neurology (2020), 11

The expected increase in prevalence of Parkinson's disease (PD) as the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder over the next years underscores the need for a better understanding of the underlying ... [more ▼]

The expected increase in prevalence of Parkinson's disease (PD) as the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder over the next years underscores the need for a better understanding of the underlying molecular pathogenesis. Here, first insights provided by genetics over the last two decades, such as dysfunction of molecular and organellar quality control, are described. The mechanisms involved relate to impaired intracellular calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial dynamics, which are tightly linked to the cross talk between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria. A number of proteins related to monogenic forms of PD have been mapped to these pathways, i.e., PINK1, Parkin, LRRK2, and α-synuclein. Recently, Miro1 was identified as an important player, as several studies linked Miro1 to mitochondrial quality control by PINK1/Parkin-mediated mitophagy and mitochondrial transport. Moreover, Miro1 is an important regulator of mitochondria-ER contact sites (MERCs), where it acts as a sensor for cytosolic calcium levels. The involvement of Miro1 in the pathogenesis of PD was recently confirmed by genetic evidence based on the first PD patients with heterozygous mutations in RHOT1/Miro1. Patient-based cellular models from RHOT1/Miro1 mutation carriers showed impaired calcium homeostasis, structural alterations of MERCs, and increased mitochondrial clearance. To account for the emerging role of Miro1, we present a comprehensive overview focusing on the role of this protein in PD-related neurodegeneration and highlighting new developments in our understanding of Miro1, which provide new avenues for neuroprotective therapies for PD patients. [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired Mitochondrial-Endoplasmic Reticulum Interaction and Mitophagy in Miro1-Mutant Neurons in Parkinson’s Disease
Berenguer-Escuder, Clara; Grossmann, Dajana; Antony, Paul UL et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2020)

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See detailContributing Factors and Evolution of Impulse Control Disorder in the Luxembourg Parkinson Cohort.
Binck, Sylvia UL; Pauly, Claire UL; Vaillant, Michel et al

in Frontiers in neurology (2020), 11

Background: To establish the frequency of impulse control disorder (ICD) in Parkinson's disease (PD). Methods: Within the Luxembourg Parkinson's Study, PD patients were evaluated for ICD presence (score ≥ ... [more ▼]

Background: To establish the frequency of impulse control disorder (ICD) in Parkinson's disease (PD). Methods: Within the Luxembourg Parkinson's Study, PD patients were evaluated for ICD presence (score ≥ 1 on MDS-UPDRS I item 1.6), use of dopamine agonists (DA) and other medications. Results: 470 patients were enrolled. Among 217 patients without DA use, 6.9% scored positive for ICD, vs. 15.4% among 253 patients with DA use (p = 0.005). The regression analysis showed that age at PD diagnosis had only a minor impact on ICD occurrence, while there was no influence by gender or co-medications. The longitudinal study over 2 years in 156 patients demonstrated increasing ICD frequency in DA users (p = 0.005). Conclusion: This large and non-interventional study confirms that PD patients with DA treatment show higher frequency of ICD than patients without DA use. It newly demonstrates that ICD can develop independently from age, gender, or co-medications. [less ▲]

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See detailDie Geschichte des ‚Freezing-of-gait‘ beim Parkinson-Syndrom – vom Phänomen zum Symptom.
Klucken, Jochen; Winkler, Juergen; Krüger, Rejko UL et al

in Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie (2020), 88(9), 573-581

The background of the freezing-of-gait (FOG) phenomenon in Parkinson's syndrome is presented in this review. The following issues are addressed: characterization of the symptom freezing and its subtypes ... [more ▼]

The background of the freezing-of-gait (FOG) phenomenon in Parkinson's syndrome is presented in this review. The following issues are addressed: characterization of the symptom freezing and its subtypes that challenge standardized diagnostic procedures; available assessment methods generating freezing-related parameters that not only support clinical studies but can also be applied in everyday care, and current therapy options. FOG exists in different subtypes, and clinical and diagnostic definitions are limited by subjective characterization and semi-standardized tests. FOG-specific drug options are not existing, apart from the optimization of dopaminergic medication, which may also be due to the poor discriminatory power of standardized diagnostics. This is also true for deep brain stimulation. Both of these therapeutic options may be due not only to the complex neural network alterations as a motor-control correlate of FOG, but also because of challenging diagnostic assessments methodologies. Innovative, wearable, sensor-based diagnostic strategies are currently being developed, and supportive therapies using tools and technologies focusing on 'cueing' are becoming increasingly well accepted. Even though high level evidence is missing, they provide a helpful treatment option for individualized therapy. It can be assumed that these options will become particularly popular due to technological progress and likely alter the everyday treatment challenges faced by doctors and therapists. [less ▲]

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See detailThe atypical chemokine receptor ACKR3/CXCR7 is a broad-spectrum scavenger for opioid peptides.
Meyrath, Max; Szpakowska, Martyna; Zeiner, Julian et al

in Nature communications (2020), 11(1), 3033

Endogenous opioid peptides and prescription opioid drugs modulate pain, anxiety and stress by activating opioid receptors, currently classified into four subtypes. Here we demonstrate that ACKR3/CXCR7 ... [more ▼]

Endogenous opioid peptides and prescription opioid drugs modulate pain, anxiety and stress by activating opioid receptors, currently classified into four subtypes. Here we demonstrate that ACKR3/CXCR7, hitherto known as an atypical scavenger receptor for chemokines, is a broad-spectrum scavenger of opioid peptides. Phylogenetically, ACKR3 is intermediate between chemokine and opioid receptors and is present in various brain regions together with classical opioid receptors. Functionally, ACKR3 is a scavenger receptor for a wide variety of opioid peptides, especially enkephalins and dynorphins, reducing their availability for the classical opioid receptors. ACKR3 is not modulated by prescription opioids, but we show that an ACKR3-selective subnanomolar competitor peptide, LIH383, can restrain ACKR3's negative regulatory function on opioid peptides in rat brain and potentiate their activity towards classical receptors, which may open alternative therapeutic avenues for opioid-related disorders. Altogether, our results reveal that ACKR3 is an atypical opioid receptor with cross-family ligand selectivity. [less ▲]

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See detailMachine learning-assisted neurotoxicity prediction in human midbrain organoids
Monzel, Anna Sophia UL; Hemmer, K; Smits, Lisa UL et al

in Parkinsonism and Related Disorders (2020)

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See detailVariants in Miro1 cause alterations of ER-mitochondria contact sites in fibroblasts from Parkinson's disease patients
Berenguer, Clara UL; Grossmann, Dajana; Massart, François UL et al

in Journal of Clinical Medicine (2019)

Background: Although most cases of Parkinson´s disease (PD) are idiopathic with unknown cause, an increasing number of genes and genetic risk factors have been discovered that play a role in PD ... [more ▼]

Background: Although most cases of Parkinson´s disease (PD) are idiopathic with unknown cause, an increasing number of genes and genetic risk factors have been discovered that play a role in PD pathogenesis. Many of the PD‐associated proteins are involved in mitochondrial quality control, e.g., PINK1, Parkin, and LRRK2, which were recently identified as regulators of mitochondrial‐endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contact sites (MERCs) linking mitochondrial homeostasis to intracellular calcium handling. In this context, Miro1 is increasingly recognized to play a role in PD pathology. Recently, we identified the first PD patients carrying mutations in RHOT1, the gene coding for Miro1. Here, we describe two novel RHOT1 mutations identified in two PD patients and the characterization of the cellular phenotypes. Methods: Using whole exome sequencing we identified two PD patients carrying heterozygous mutations leading to the amino acid exchanges T351A and T610A in Miro1. We analyzed calcium homeostasis and MERCs in detail by live cell imaging and immunocytochemistry in patient‐derived fibroblasts. Results: We show that fibroblasts expressing mutant T351A or T610A Miro1 display impaired calcium homeostasis and a reduced amount of MERCs. All fibroblast lines from patients with pathogenic variants in Miro1, revealed alterations of the structure of MERCs. Conclusion: Our data suggest that Miro1 is important for the regulation of the structure and function of MERCs. Moreover, our study supports the role of MERCs in the pathogenesis of PD and further establishes variants in RHOT1 as rare genetic risk factors for neurodegeneration. [less ▲]

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See detailGene-environment interaction and Mendelian randomisation
Krüger, Rejko UL; Kolber, Pierre Luc UL

in Revue Neurologique (2019)

Genetic factors only account for up to a third of the cases of Parkinson's disease (PD), while the remaining cases are of unknown aetiology. Environmental exposures (such as pesticides or heavy metals ... [more ▼]

Genetic factors only account for up to a third of the cases of Parkinson's disease (PD), while the remaining cases are of unknown aetiology. Environmental exposures (such as pesticides or heavy metals) and the interaction with genetic susceptibility factors (summarized in the concept of impaired xenobiotic metabolism) are believed to play a major role in the mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Beside of the classical association studies (e.g. genome-wide association studies), a novel approach to investigate environmental risk factors are Mendelian randomisation studies. This review explores the gene-environment interaction and the gain of Mendelian randomisation studies in assessing causalities of modifiable risk factors for PD. [less ▲]

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