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See detailCommon diseases alter the physiological age-related blood microRNA profile.
Fehlmann, Tobias; Lehallier, Benoit; Schaum, Nicholas et al

in Nature communications (2020), 11(1), 5958

Aging is a key risk factor for chronic diseases of the elderly. MicroRNAs regulate post-transcriptional gene silencing through base-pair binding on their target mRNAs. We identified nonlinear changes in ... [more ▼]

Aging is a key risk factor for chronic diseases of the elderly. MicroRNAs regulate post-transcriptional gene silencing through base-pair binding on their target mRNAs. We identified nonlinear changes in age-related microRNAs by analyzing whole blood from 1334 healthy individuals. We observed a larger influence of the age as compared to the sex and provide evidence for a shift to the 5' mature form of miRNAs in healthy aging. The addition of 3059 diseased patients uncovered pan-disease and disease-specific alterations in aging profiles. Disease biomarker sets for all diseases were different between young and old patients. Computational deconvolution of whole-blood miRNAs into blood cell types suggests that cell intrinsic gene expression changes may impart greater significance than cell abundance changes to the whole blood miRNA profile. Altogether, these data provide a foundation for understanding the relationship between healthy aging and disease, and for the development of age-specific disease biomarkers. [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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See detailGut microbiome signatures of risk and prodromal markers of Parkinson's disease
Heinzel, Sebastian; Aho, Velma UL; Suenkel, Ulrike et al

in Annals of Neurology (2020)

Objective: Alterations of the gut microbiome in Parkinson disease (PD) have been repeatedly demonstrated. However, little is known about whether such alterations precede disease onset and how they relate ... [more ▼]

Objective: Alterations of the gut microbiome in Parkinson disease (PD) have been repeatedly demonstrated. However, little is known about whether such alterations precede disease onset and how they relate to risk and prodromal markers of PD. We investigated associations of these features with gut microbiome composition. Methods: Established risk and prodromal markers of PD as well as factors related to diet/lifestyle, bowel function, and medication were studied in relation to bacterial α-/β-diversity, enterotypes, and differential abundance in stool samples of 666 elderly TREND (Tübingen Evaluation of Risk Factors for Early Detection of Neurodegeneration) study participants. Results: Among risk and prodromal markers, physical activity, occupational solvent exposure, and constipation showed associations with α-diversity. Physical activity, sex, constipation, possible rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD), and smoking were associated with β-diversity. Subthreshold parkinsonism and physical activity showed an interaction effect. Among other factors, age and urate-lowering medication were associated with α- and β-diversity. Physical inactivity and constipation were highest in individuals with the Firmicutes-enriched enterotype. Constipation was lowest and subthreshold parkinsonism least frequent in individuals with the Prevotella-enriched enterotype. Differentially abundant taxa were linked to constipation, physical activity, possible RBD, smoking, and subthreshold parkinsonism. Substantia nigra hyperechogenicity, olfactory loss, depression, orthostatic hypotension, urinary/erectile dysfunction, PD family history, and the prodromal PD probability showed no significant microbiome associations. Interpretation: Several risk and prodromal markers of PD are associated with gut microbiome composition. However, the impact of the gut microbiome on PD risk and potential microbiome-dependent subtypes in the prodrome of PD need further investigation based on prospective clinical and (multi)omics data in incident PD cases. [less ▲]

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