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See detailiPSC-Derived Microglia as a Model to Study Inflammation in Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease.
Badanjak, Katja UL; Mulica, Patrycja UL; Smajic, Semra UL et al

in Frontiers in cell and developmental biology (2021), 9

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease with unknown cause in the majority of patients, who are therefore considered "idiopathic" (IPD). PD predominantly affects dopaminergic neurons in ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease with unknown cause in the majority of patients, who are therefore considered "idiopathic" (IPD). PD predominantly affects dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), yet the pathology is not limited to this cell type. Advancing age is considered the main risk factor for the development of IPD and greatly influences the function of microglia, the immune cells of the brain. With increasing age, microglia become dysfunctional and release pro-inflammatory factors into the extracellular space, which promote neuronal cell death. Accordingly, neuroinflammation has also been described as a feature of PD. So far, studies exploring inflammatory pathways in IPD patient samples have primarily focused on blood-derived immune cells or brain sections, but rarely investigated patient microglia in vitro. Accordingly, we decided to explore the contribution of microglia to IPD in a comparative manner using, both, iPSC-derived cultures and postmortem tissue. Our meta-analysis of published RNAseq datasets indicated an upregulation of IL10 and IL1B in nigral tissue from IPD patients. We observed increased expression levels of these cytokines in microglia compared to neurons using our single-cell midbrain atlas. Moreover, IL10 and IL1B were upregulated in IPD compared to control microglia. Next, to validate these findings in vitro, we generated IPD patient microglia from iPSCs using an established differentiation protocol. IPD microglia were more readily primed as indicated by elevated IL1B and IL10 gene expression and higher mRNA and protein levels of NLRP3 after LPS treatment. In addition, IPD microglia had higher phagocytic capacity under basal conditions-a phenotype that was further exacerbated upon stimulation with LPS, suggesting an aberrant microglial function. Our results demonstrate the significance of microglia as the key player in the neuroinflammation process in IPD. While our study highlights the importance of microglia-mediated inflammatory signaling in IPD, further investigations will be needed to explore particular disease mechanisms in these cells. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Contribution of Microglia to Neuroinflammation in Parkinson's Disease.
Badanjak, Katja UL; Fixemer, Sonja UL; Smajic, Semra UL et al

in International journal of molecular sciences (2021), 22(9),

With the world's population ageing, the incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD) is on the rise. In recent years, inflammatory processes have emerged as prominent contributors to the pathology of PD. There ... [more ▼]

With the world's population ageing, the incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD) is on the rise. In recent years, inflammatory processes have emerged as prominent contributors to the pathology of PD. There is great evidence that microglia have a significant neuroprotective role, and that impaired and over activated microglial phenotypes are present in brains of PD patients. Thereby, PD progression is potentially driven by a vicious cycle between dying neurons and microglia through the instigation of oxidative stress, mitophagy and autophagy dysfunctions, a-synuclein accumulation, and pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Hence, investigating the involvement of microglia is of great importance for future research and treatment of PD. The purpose of this review is to highlight recent findings concerning the microglia-neuronal interplay in PD with a focus on human postmortem immunohistochemistry and single-cell studies, their relation to animal and iPSC-derived models, newly emerging technologies, and the resulting potential of new anti-inflammatory therapies for PD. [less ▲]

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See detailMitochondrial damage-associated inflammation highlights biomarkers in PRKN/PINK1 parkinsonism
Borsche, Max; Koenig, Inke; Delcambre, Sylvie UL et al

in Brain: a Journal of Neurology (2020)

There is increasing evidence for a role of inflammation in Parkinson’s disease. Recent research in murine models suggests that parkin and PINK1 deficiency leads to impaired mitophagy, which causes the ... [more ▼]

There is increasing evidence for a role of inflammation in Parkinson’s disease. Recent research in murine models suggests that parkin and PINK1 deficiency leads to impaired mitophagy, which causes the release of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), thereby triggering inflammation. Specifically, the CGAS (cyclic GMP-AMP synthase)-STING (stimulator of interferon genes) pathway mitigates activation of the innate immune system, quantifiable as increased interleukin-6 (IL6) levels. However, the role of IL6 and circulating cell-free mtDNA in unaffected and affected individuals harbouring mutations in PRKN/PINK1 and idiopathic Parkinson’s disease patients remain elusive. We investigated IL6, C-reactive protein, and circulating cell-free mtDNA in serum of 245 participants in two cohorts from tertiary movement disorder centres. We performed a hypothesis-driven rank-based statistical approach adjusting for multiple testing. We detected (i) elevated IL6 levels in patients with biallelic PRKN/PINK1 mutations compared to healthy control subjects in a German cohort, supporting the concept of a role for inflammation in PRKN/PINK1-linked Parkinson’s disease. In addition, the comparison of patients with biallelic and heterozygous mutations in PRKN/PINK1 suggests a gene dosage effect. The differences in IL6 levels were validated in a second independent Italian cohort; (ii) a correlation between IL6 levels and disease duration in carriers of PRKN/PINK1 mutations, while no such association was observed for idiopathic Parkinson’s disease patients. These results highlight the potential of IL6 as progression marker in Parkinson’s disease due to PRKN/PINK1 mutations; (iii) increased circulating cell-free mtDNA serum levels in both patients with biallelic or with heterozygous PRKN/PINK1 mutations compared to idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, which is in line with previous findings in murine models. By contrast, circulating cell-free mtDNA concentrations in unaffected heterozygous carriers of PRKN/PINK1 mutations were comparable to control levels; and (iv) that circulating cell-free mtDNA levels have good predictive potential to discriminate between idiopathic Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease linked to heterozygous PRKN/PINK1 mutations, providing functional evidence for a role of heterozygous mutations in PRKN or PINK1 as Parkinson’s disease risk factor. Taken together, our study further implicates inflammation due to impaired mitophagy and subsequent mtDNA release in the pathogenesis of PRKN/PINK1-linked Parkinson’s disease. In individuals carrying mutations in PRKN/PINK1, IL6 and circulating cell-free mtDNA levels may serve as markers of Parkinson’s disease state and progression, respectively. Finally, our study suggests that targeting the immune system with anti-inflammatory medication holds the potential to influence the disease course of Parkinson’s disease, at least in this subset of patients. [less ▲]

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