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See detailSingle-cell sequencing of human midbrain reveals glial activation and a Parkinson-specific neuronal state.
Smajic, Semra UL; Prada-Medina, Cesar A.; Landoulsi, Zied UL et al

in Brain : a journal of neurology (2022), 145(3), 964-978

Idiopathic Parkinson's disease is characterized by a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons, but the exact disease etiology remains largely unknown. To date, Parkinson's disease research has mainly ... [more ▼]

Idiopathic Parkinson's disease is characterized by a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons, but the exact disease etiology remains largely unknown. To date, Parkinson's disease research has mainly focused on nigral dopaminergic neurons, although recent studies suggest disease-related changes also in non-neuronal cells and in midbrain regions beyond the substantia nigra. While there is some evidence for glial involvement in Parkinson's disease, the molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to characterize the contribution of all cell types of the midbrain to Parkinson's disease pathology by single-nuclei RNA sequencing and to assess the cell type-specific risk for Parkinson's disease employing the latest genome-wide association study. We profiled >41 000 single-nuclei transcriptomes of postmortem midbrain from six idiopathic Parkinson's disease patients and five age-/sex-matched controls. To validate our findings in a spatial context, we utilized immunolabeling of the same tissues. Moreover, we analyzed Parkinson's disease-associated risk enrichment in genes with cell type-specific expression patterns. We discovered a neuronal cell cluster characterized by CADPS2 overexpression and low TH levels, which was exclusively present in IPD midbrains. Validation analyses in laser-microdissected neurons suggest that this cluster represents dysfunctional dopaminergic neurons. With regard to glial cells, we observed an increase in nigral microglia in Parkinson's disease patients. Moreover, nigral idiopathic Parkinson's disease microglia were more amoeboid, indicating an activated state. We also discovered a reduction in idiopathic Parkinson's disease oligodendrocyte numbers with the remaining cells being characterized by a stress-induced upregulation of S100B. Parkinson's disease risk variants were associated with glia- and neuron-specific gene expression patterns in idiopathic Parkinson's disease cases. Furthermore, astrocytes and microglia presented idiopathic Parkinson's disease-specific cell proliferation and dysregulation of genes related to unfolded protein response and cytokine signaling. While reactive patient astrocytes showed CD44 overexpression, idiopathic Parkinson's disease-microglia revealed a pro-inflammatory trajectory characterized by elevated levels of IL1B, GPNMB, and HSP90AA1. Taken together, we generated the first single-nuclei RNA sequencing dataset from the idiopathic Parkinson's disease midbrain, which highlights a disease-specific neuronal cell cluster as well as 'pan-glial' activation as a central mechanism in the pathology of the movement disorder. This finding warrants further research into inflammatory signaling and immunomodulatory treatments in Parkinson's disease. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome sequencing analysis identifies new loci associated with Lewy body dementia and provides insights into its genetic architecture
Chia, Ruth; Sabir, Marya S.; Bandres-Ciga, Sara et al

in Nature Genetics (2021)

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic ... [more ▼]

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic architecture of this understudied form of dementia, and to generate a resource for the scientific community. Genome-wide association analysis identified five independent risk loci, whereas genome-wide gene-aggregation tests implicated mutations in the gene GBA. Genetic risk scores demonstrate that LBD shares risk profiles and pathways with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, providing a deeper molecular understanding of the complex genetic architecture of this age-related neurodegenerative condition. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome sequencing analysis identifies new loci associated with Lewy body dementia and provides insights into the complex genetic architecture
Chia, Ruth; Sabir, Marya S.; Bandres-Ciga, Sara et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic ... [more ▼]

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic architecture of this understudied form of dementia and to generate a resource for the scientific community. Genome-wide association analysis identified five independent risk loci, whereas genome-wide gene-aggregation tests implicated mutations in the gene GBA. Genetic risk scores demonstrate that LBD shares risk profiles and pathways with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, providing a deeper molecular understanding of the complex genetic architecture of this age-related neurodegenerative condition.Competing Interest StatementThomas G. Beach is a consultant for Prothena, Vivid Genomics and Avid Radiopharmaceuticals. He is a scientific advisory board member for Vivid Genomics. John A. Hardy, Huw R. Morris, Stuart Pickering-Brown, Andrew B. Singleton, and Bryan J. Traynor hold US, EU and Canadian patents on the clinical testing and therapeutic intervention for the hexanucleotide repeat expansion of C9orf72. Michael A. Nalls is supported by a consulting contract between Data Tecnica International and the National Institute on Aging, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA; as a possible conflict of interest Dr. Nalls also consults for Neuron23 Inc., Lysosomal Therapeutics Inc., Illumina Inc., the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Vivid Genomics among others. Jose A. Palma is an editorial board member of Movement Disorders, Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, BMC Neurology, and Clinical Autonomic Research. Bradley F. Boeve, James Leverenz, and Sonja W. Scholz serve on the Scientific Advisory Council of the Lewy Body Dementia Association. Sonja W. Scholz is an editorial board member for the Journal of Parkinson's Disease. Bryan J. Traynor is an editorial board member for JAMA Neurology; Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry; Brain; and Neurobiology of Aging. Zbigniew K. Wszolek serves as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on Abbvie, Inc. (M15-562 and M15-563), Biogen, Inc. (228PD201) grant, and Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BHV4157-206 and BHV3241-301). Zbigniew K. Wszolek serves as the principal investigator of the Mayo Clinic American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Information and Referral Center, and as co-principal investigator of the Mayo Clinic APDA Center for Advanced Research. All other authors report no competing interests. [less ▲]

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See detailSingle-cell sequencing of the human midbrain reveals glial activation and a neuronal state specific to Parkinson’s disease
Smajic, Semra UL; Prada-Medina, Cesar A.; Landoulsi, Zied UL et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) etiology is associated with genetic and environmental factors that lead to a loss of dopaminergic neurons. However, the functional interpretation of PD-associated risk variants ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) etiology is associated with genetic and environmental factors that lead to a loss of dopaminergic neurons. However, the functional interpretation of PD-associated risk variants and how other midbrain cells contribute to this neurodegenerative process are poorly understood. Here, we profiled >41,000 single-nuclei transcriptomes of postmortem midbrain tissue from 6 idiopathic PD (IPD) patients and 5 matched controls. We show that PD-risk variants are associated with glia- and neuron-specific gene expression patterns. Furthermore, Microglia and astrocytes presented IPD-specific cell proliferation and dysregulation of genes related to unfolded protein response and cytokine signalling. IPD-microglia revealed a specific pro-inflammatory trajectory. Finally, we discovered a neuronal cell cluster exclusively present in IPD midbrains characterized by CADPS2 overexpression and a high proportion of cycling cells. We conclude that elevated CADPS2 expression is specific to dysfunctional dopaminergic neurons, which have lost their dopaminergic identity and unsuccessful attempt to re-enter the cell cycle. [less ▲]

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See detailMitochondrial DNA depletion in respiratory chain-deficient Parkinson disease neurons.
Grünewald, Anne UL; Rygiel, Karolina A.; Hepplewhite, Philippa D. et al

in Annals of Neurology (2016), 79(3), 366-378

OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent of respiratory chain abnormalities and investigate the contribution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to the loss of respiratory chain complexes (CI-IV) in the substantia ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent of respiratory chain abnormalities and investigate the contribution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to the loss of respiratory chain complexes (CI-IV) in the substantia nigra (SN) of idiopathic Parkinson disease (IPD) patients at the single-neuron level. METHODS: Multiple-label immunofluorescence was applied to postmortem sections of 10 IPD patients and 10 controls to quantify the abundance of CI-IV subunits (NDUFB8 or NDUFA13, SDHA, UQCRC2 and COXI), and mitochondrial transcription factors (TFAM and TFB2M) relative to mitochondrial mass (Porin and GRP75) in dopaminergic neurons. To assess the involvement of mtDNA in respiratory chain deficiency in IPD, SN neurons, isolated with laser-capture microdissection, were assayed for mtDNA deletions, copy number and presence of transcription/replication-associated 7S DNA employing a triplex real-time PCR assay. RESULTS: While mitochondrial mass was unchanged in single SN neurons from IPD patients, we observed a significant reduction in the abundances of CI and II subunits. At single-cell level, CI and II deficiencies were correlated in patients. The CI deficit concomitantly occurred with low abundances of the mtDNA transcription factors TFAM and TFB2M, which also initiate transcription-primed mtDNA replication. Consistent with this, real-time PCR analysis revealed fewer transcription/replication-associated mtDNA molecules and an overall reduction in mtDNA copy number in patients. This effect was more pronounced in single IPD neurons with severe complex I deficiency. INTERPRETATION: Respiratory chain dysfunction in IPD neurons not only involves CI, but also extends to CII. These deficiencies are possibly a consequence of the interplay between nDNA and mtDNA-encoded factors mechanistically connected via TFAM. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailFrontotemporal dementia and its subtypes: a genome-wide association study.
Ferrari, Raffaele; Hernandez, Dena G.; Nalls, Michael A. et al

in Lancet neurology (2014), 13(7), 686-99

BACKGROUND: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a complex disorder characterised by a broad range of clinical manifestations, differential pathological signatures, and genetic variability. Mutations in three ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a complex disorder characterised by a broad range of clinical manifestations, differential pathological signatures, and genetic variability. Mutations in three genes-MAPT, GRN, and C9orf72-have been associated with FTD. We sought to identify novel genetic risk loci associated with the disorder. METHODS: We did a two-stage genome-wide association study on clinical FTD, analysing samples from 3526 patients with FTD and 9402 healthy controls. To reduce genetic heterogeneity, all participants were of European ancestry. In the discovery phase (samples from 2154 patients with FTD and 4308 controls), we did separate association analyses for each FTD subtype (behavioural variant FTD, semantic dementia, progressive non-fluent aphasia, and FTD overlapping with motor neuron disease [FTD-MND]), followed by a meta-analysis of the entire dataset. We carried forward replication of the novel suggestive loci in an independent sample series (samples from 1372 patients and 5094 controls) and then did joint phase and brain expression and methylation quantitative trait loci analyses for the associated (p<5 x 10(-8)) single-nucleotide polymorphisms. FINDINGS: We identified novel associations exceeding the genome-wide significance threshold (p<5 x 10(-8)). Combined (joint) analyses of discovery and replication phases showed genome-wide significant association at 6p21.3, HLA locus (immune system), for rs9268877 (p=1.05 x 10(-8); odds ratio=1.204 [95% CI 1.11-1.30]), rs9268856 (p=5.51 x 10(-9); 0.809 [0.76-0.86]) and rs1980493 (p value=1.57 x 10(-8), 0.775 [0.69-0.86]) in the entire cohort. We also identified a potential novel locus at 11q14, encompassing RAB38/CTSC (the transcripts of which are related to lysosomal biology), for the behavioural FTD subtype for which joint analyses showed suggestive association for rs302668 (p=2.44 x 10(-7); 0.814 [0.71-0.92]). Analysis of expression and methylation quantitative trait loci data suggested that these loci might affect expression and methylation in cis. INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that immune system processes (link to 6p21.3) and possibly lysosomal and autophagy pathways (link to 11q14) are potentially involved in FTD. Our findings need to be replicated to better define the association of the newly identified loci with disease and to shed light on the pathomechanisms contributing to FTD. FUNDING: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute on Aging, the Wellcome/MRC Centre on Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's Research UK, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. [less ▲]

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See detailSingle-cell expression profiling of dopaminergic neurons combined with association analysis identifies pyridoxal kinase as Parkinson's disease gene.
Elstner, Matthias; Morris, Christopher M.; Heim, Katharina et al

in Annals of neurology (2009), 66(6), 792-8

OBJECTIVE: The etiology of Parkinson disease (PD) is complex and multifactorial, with hereditary and environmental factors contributing. Monogenic forms have provided molecular clues to disease mechanisms ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: The etiology of Parkinson disease (PD) is complex and multifactorial, with hereditary and environmental factors contributing. Monogenic forms have provided molecular clues to disease mechanisms but genetic modifiers of idiopathic PD are still to be determined. METHODS: We carried out whole-genome expression profiling of isolated human substantia nigra (SN) neurons from patients with PD vs. controls followed by association analysis of tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in differentially regulated genes. Association was investigated in a German PD sample and confirmed in Italian and British cohorts. RESULTS: We identified four differentially expressed genes located in PD candidate pathways, ie, MTND2 (mitochondrial, p = 7.14 x 10(-7)), PDXK (vitamin B6/dopamine metabolism, p = 3.27 x 10(-6)), SRGAP3 (axon guidance, p = 5.65 x 10(-6)), and TRAPPC4 (vesicle transport, p = 5.81 x 10(-6)). We identified a DNA variant (rs2010795) in PDXK associated with an increased risk of PD in the German cohort (p = 0.00032). This association was confirmed in the British (p = 0.028) and Italian (p = 0.0025) cohorts individually and reached a combined value of p = 1.2 x 10(-7) (odds ratio [OR], 1.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-1.44). INTERPRETATION: We provide an example of how microgenomic genome-wide expression studies in combination with association analysis can aid to identify genetic modifiers in neurodegenerative disorders. The detection of a genetic variant in PDXK, together with evidence accumulating from clinical studies, emphasize the impact of vitamin B6 status and metabolism on disease risk and therapy in PD. [less ▲]

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