The latest medical research on Motor Neuron Disease

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Managing pregnancy in a spinal muscular atrophy type III patient in Indonesia: a case report.

Motor Neuron Disease

Spinal muscular atrophy is a genetic disorder characterized by degeneration of lower motor neurons, leading to progressive muscular atrophy and even paralysis. Spinal muscular atrophy usually associated with a defect of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN-1) gene. Classification of spinal muscular atrophy is based on the age of onset and maximum motor function milestone achieved. Although spinal muscular atrophy can be screened for in newborns, and even confirmed earlier genetically, this remains difficult in Third World countries such as Indonesia.

A 28-year-old Asian woman in the first trimester of her second pregnancy, was referred to the neurology department from the obstetric department. Her milestone history showed she was developmentally delayed and the ability to walk independently was reached at 26 months old. At 8 years old, she started to stumble and lose balance while walking. At this age, spinal muscular atrophy was suspected because of her clinical presentations, without any molecular genetic testing. She was married at the age of 25 years and was soon pregnant with her first child. At the gestational age of 32 weeks, her first pregnancy was ended by an emergency caesarean section because of premature rupture of the membranes. In this second pregnancy, she was referred early to the general hospital from the district hospital to receive multidisciplinary care. She and her first daughter underwent genetic testing for spinal muscular atrophy, which has been readily available in our institution since 2018, to confirm the diagnosis and prepare for genetic counseling.

Managing pregnancy in a patient with spinal muscular atrophy should be performed collaboratively. In this case, genetic testing of spinal muscular atrophy and the collaborative management of this patient allowed the clinical decision making and genetic counseling throughout her pregnancy and delivery.

Automatic Measurement of Postural Abnormalities With a Pose Estimation Algorithm in Parkinson's Disease.

Journal of Movement Disorders

This study aims to develop an automated and objective tool to evaluate postural abnormalities in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients.

We applied a deep learning-based pose-estimation algorithm to lateral photos of prospectively enrolled PD patients (n = 28). We automatically measured the anterior flexion angle (AFA) and dropped head angle (DHA), which were validated with conventional manual labeling methods.

The automatically measured DHA and AFA were in excellent agreement with manual labeling methods (intraclass correlation coefficient > 0.95) with mean bias equal to or less than 3 degrees.

The deep learning-based pose-estimation algorithm objectively measured postural abnormalities in PD patients.

Murine roseolovirus does not accelerate amyloid-β pathology and human roseoloviruses are not over-represented in Alzheimer disease brains.

Molecular Neurodegeneration

The role of viral infection in Alzheimer Disease (AD) pathogenesis is an area of great interest in recent years. Several studies have suggested an association between the human roseoloviruses, HHV-6 and HHV-7, and AD. Amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques are a hallmark neuropathological finding of AD and were recently proposed to have an antimicrobial function in response to infection. Identifying a causative and mechanistic role of human roseoloviruses in AD has been confounded by limitations in performing in vivo studies. Recent -omics based approaches have demonstrated conflicting associations between human roseoloviruses and AD. Murine roseolovirus (MRV) is a natural murine pathogen that is highly-related to the human roseoloviruses, providing an opportunity to perform well-controlled studies of the impact of roseolovirus on Aβ deposition.

We utilized the 5XFAD mouse model to test whether MRV induces Aβ deposition in vivo. We also evaluated viral load and neuropathogenesis of MRV infection. To evaluate Aβ interaction with MRV, we performed electron microscopy. RNA-sequencing of a cohort of AD brains compared to control was used to investigate the association between human roseolovirus and AD.

We found that 5XFAD mice were susceptible to MRV infection and developed neuroinflammation. Moreover, we demonstrated that Aβ interacts with viral particles in vitro and, subsequent to this interaction, can disrupt infection. Despite this, neither peripheral nor brain infection with MRV increased or accelerated Aβ plaque formation. Moreover, -omics based approaches have demonstrated conflicting associations between human roseoloviruses and AD. Our RNA-sequencing analysis of a cohort of AD brains compared to controls did not show an association between roseolovirus infection and AD.

Although MRV does infect the brain and cause transient neuroinflammation, our data do not support a role for murine or human roseoloviruses in the development of Aβ plaque formation and AD.

Dynamic changes of CSF sPDGFRβ during ageing and AD progression and associations with CSF ATN biomarkers.

Molecular Neurodegeneration

Loss of brain capillary pericyte is involved in the pathologies and cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The role of pericyte in early stage of AD pathogenesis remains unclear.

We investigated the dynamic changes of soluble platelet-derived growth factor receptor β (sPDGFRβ) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a marker of brain pericyte injury, in transition from normal ageing to early AD in a cognitively unimpaired population aged 20 to 90 years. Association between sPDGFRβ and ATN biomarkers were analyzed.

In lifetime, CSF sPDGFRβ continually increased since age of 20 years, followed by the increases of phosphorylated tau-181 (P-tau181) and total tau (T-tau) at the age of 22.2 years and 31.7 years, respectively; CSF Aβ42 began to decline since the age of 39.6 years, indicating Aβ deposition. The natural trajectories of biomarkers suggest that pericyte injury is an early event during transition from normal status to AD, even earlier than Aβ deposition. In AD spectrum, CSF sPDGFRβ was elevated in preclinical stage 2 and participants with suspected non-AD pathophysiologies. Additionally, CSF sPDGFRβ was positively associated with P-tau181 and T-tau independently of Aβ42, and significantly strengthened the effects of Aβ42 on P-tau181, suggesting that pericyte injury accelerates Aβ-mediated tau hyperphosphorylation.

Our results suggest that pericyte injury contributes to AD progression in the early stage in an Aβ-independent pathway. Recovery of pericyte function would be a target for prevention and early intervention of AD.

The Importance of Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarker Identification and Classification Towards Understanding ALS Pathogenesis.

Motor Neuron Disease

ALS is increasingly perceived as a multisystem neurodegenerative disorder, and the identification of a panel of biomarkers that accurately reflect ...

Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis induced by gene mutation of SOD1G142A: a case report.

Motor Neuron Disease

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease involving both upper and lower motor neurons. The total prevalence of ALS is [2-...

Fat-rich versus carbohydrate-rich nutrition in ALS: a randomised controlled study.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

There is growing evidence that the course of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be influenced beneficially by applying high-caloric food supplements (HCSs). However, it is unknown which composition of nutrients offers optimal tolerability and weight gain.

We conducted a randomised controlled study (Safety and Tolerability of Ultra-high-caloric Food Supplements in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); TOLCAL-ALS study) in 64 patients with possible, probable or definite ALS according to El Escorial criteria. Patients were randomised into four groups: a high-caloric fatty supplement (HCFS; 405 kcal/day, 100% fat), an ultra-high-caloric fatty supplement (UHCFS; 810 kcal/day, 100% fat), an ultra-high-caloric, carbohydrate-rich supplement (UHCCS; 900 kcal/day, 49% carbohydrates) and an open control (OC) group without any supplement. The primary endpoint was tolerability. Patients were followed up over 4 weeks.

Gastrointestinal side effects were most frequent in the UHCFS group (75.0%), while loss of appetite was most frequent in the UHCCS group (35.3%). During intervention, patients gained +0.9 kg/month of body weight (IQR -0.9 to 1.5; p=0.03) in the HCFS group and +0.9 kg/month (IQR -0.8 to 2.0; p=0.05) in the UHCFS group. A non-significant trend for weight gain (+0.6 kg/month (IQR -0.3 to 1.9; p=0.08)) was observed in the UHCCS group. Patients in OC group continued to lose body weight (-0.5 kg/month, IQR -1.4 to 1.3; p=0.42).

The findings suggest that HCSs frequently cause mild to moderate tolerability issues in patients with ALS, most notably gastrointestinal symptoms in high-fat supplements, and loss of appetite in high-carbohydrate supplements. All three HCSs tested are suited to increase body weight.

Development of novel clinical examination scales for the measurement of disease severity in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

To use a robust statistical methodology to develop and validate clinical rating scales quantifying longitudinal motor and cognitive dysfunction in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) at the bedside.

Rasch analysis was used to iteratively construct interval scales measuring composite cognitive and motor dysfunction from pooled bedside neurocognitive examinations collected as part of the prospective National Prion Monitoring Cohort study, October 2008-December 2016.A longitudinal clinical examination dataset constructed from 528 patients with sCJD, comprising 1030 Motor Scale and 757 Cognitive Scale scores over 130 patient-years of study, was used to demonstrate scale utility.

The Rasch-derived Motor Scale consists of 8 items, including assessments reliant on pyramidal, extrapyramidal and cerebellar systems. The Cognitive Scale comprises 6 items, and includes measures of executive function, language, visual perception and memory. Both scales are unidimensional, perform independently of age or gender and have excellent inter-rater reliability. They can be completed in minutes at the bedside, as part of a normal neurocognitive examination. A composite Examination Scale can be derived by averaging both scores. Several scale uses, in measuring longitudinal change, prognosis and phenotypic heterogeneity are illustrated.

These two novel sCJD Motor and Cognitive Scales and the composite Examination Scale should prove useful to objectively measure phenotypic and clinical change in future clinical trials and for patient stratification. This statistical approach can help to overcome obstacles to assessing clinical change in rapidly progressive, multisystem conditions with limited longitudinal follow-up.

Edaravone activates the GDNF/RET neurotrophic signaling pathway and protects mRNA-induced motor neurons from iPS cells.

Molecular Neurodegeneration

Spinal cord motor neurons (MNs) from human iPS cells (iPSCs) have wide applications in disease modeling and therapeutic development for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other MN-associated neurodegenerative diseases. We need highly efficient MN differentiation strategies for generating iPSC-derived disease models that closely recapitulate the genetic and phenotypic complexity of ALS. An important application of these models is to understand molecular mechanisms of action of FDA-approved ALS drugs that only show modest clinical efficacy. Novel mechanistic insights will help us design optimal therapeutic strategies together with predictive biomarkers to achieve better efficacy.

We induce efficient MN differentiation from iPSCs in 4 days using synthetic mRNAs coding two transcription factors (Ngn2 and Olig2) with phosphosite modification. These MNs after extensive characterization were applied in electrophysiological and neurotoxicity assays as well as transcriptomic analysis, to study the neuroprotective effect and molecular mechanisms of edaravone, an FDA-approved drug for ALS, for improving its clinical efficacy.

We generate highly pure and functional mRNA-induced MNs (miMNs) from control and ALS iPSCs, as well as embryonic stem cells. Edaravone alleviates H2O2-induced neurotoxicity and electrophysiological dysfunction in miMNs, demonstrating its neuroprotective effect that was also found in the glutamate-induced miMN neurotoxicity model. Guided by the transcriptomic analysis, we show a previously unrecognized effect of edaravone to induce the GDNF receptor RET and the GDNF/RET neurotrophic signaling in vitro and in vivo, suggesting a clinically translatable strategy to activate this key neuroprotective signaling. Notably, edaravone can replace required neurotrophic factors (BDNF and GDNF) to support long-term miMN survival and maturation, further supporting the neurotrophic function of edaravone-activated signaling. Furthermore, we show that edaravone and GDNF combined treatment more effectively protects miMNs from H2O2-induced neurotoxicity than single treatment, suggesting a potential combination strategy for ALS treatment.

This study provides methodology to facilitate iPSC differentiation and disease modeling. Our discoveries will facilitate the development of optimal edaravone-based therapies for ALS and potentially other neurodegenerative diseases.

A novel H129-based anterograde monosynaptic tracer exhibits features of strong labeling intensity, high tracing efficiency, and reduced retrograde labeling.

Molecular Neurodegeneration

Viral tracers are important tools for mapping brain connectomes. The feature of predominant anterograde transneuronal transmission offers herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) strain H129 (HSV1-H129) as a promising candidate to be developed as anterograde viral tracers. In our earlier studies, we developed H129-derived anterograde polysynaptic tracers and TK deficient (H129-dTK) monosynaptic tracers. However, their broad application is limited by some intrinsic drawbacks of the H129-dTK tracers, such as low labeling intensity due to TK deficiency and potential retrograde labeling caused by axon terminal invasion. The glycoprotein K (gK) of HSV-1 plays important roles in virus entry, egress, and virus-induced cell fusion. Its deficiency severely disables virus egress and spread, while only slightly limits viral genome replication and expression of viral proteins. Therefore, we created a novel H129-derived anterograde monosynaptic tracer (H129-dgK) by targeting gK, which overcomes the limitations of H129-dTK.

Using our established platform and pipeline for developing viral tracers, we generated a novel tracer by deleting the gK gene from the H129-G4. The gK-deleted virus (H129-dgK-G4) was reconstituted and propagated in the Vero cell expressing wildtype H129 gK (gKwt) or the mutant gK (gKmut, A40V, C82S, M223I, L224V, V309M), respectively. Then the obtained viral tracers of gKmut pseudotyped and gKwt coated H129-dgK-G4 were tested in vitro and in vivo to characterize their tracing properties.

H129-dgK-G4 expresses high levels of fluorescent proteins, eliminating the requirement of immunostaining for imaging detection. Compared to the TK deficient monosynaptic tracer H129-dTK-G4, H129-dgK-G4 labeled neurons with 1.76-fold stronger fluorescence intensity, and visualized 2.00-fold more postsynaptic neurons in the downstream brain regions. gKmut pseudotyping leads to a 77% decrease in retrograde labeling by reducing axon terminal invasion, and thus dramatically improves the anterograde-specific tracing of H129-dgK-G4. In addition, assisted by the AAV helper trans-complementarily expressing gKwt, H129-dgK-G4 allows for mapping monosynaptic connections and quantifying the circuit connectivity difference in the Alzheimer's disease and control mouse brains.

gKmut pseudotyped H129-dgK-G4, a novel anterograde monosynaptic tracer, overcomes the limitations of H129-dTK tracers, and demonstrates desirable features of strong labeling intensity, high tracing efficiency, and improved anterograde specificity.

Pathological α-synuclein recruits LRRK2 expressing pro-inflammatory monocytes to the brain.

Molecular Neurodegeneration

Leucine rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) and SNCA are genetically linked to late-onset Parkinson's disease (PD). Aggregated α-synuclein pathologically defines PD. Recent studies identified elevated LRRK2 expression in pro-inflammatory CD16+ monocytes in idiopathic PD, as well as increased phosphorylation of the LRRK2 kinase substrate Rab10 in monocytes in some LRRK2 mutation carriers. Brain-engrafting pro-inflammatory monocytes have been implicated in dopaminergic neurodegeneration in PD models. Here we examine how α-synuclein and LRRK2 interact in monocytes and subsequent neuroinflammatory responses.

Human and mouse monocytes were differentiated to distinct transcriptional states resembling macrophages, dendritic cells, or microglia, and exposed to well-characterized human or mouse α-synuclein fibrils. LRRK2 expression and LRRK2-dependent Rab10 phosphorylation were measured with monoclonal antibodies, and myeloid cell responses to α-synuclein fibrils in R1441C-Lrrk2 knock-in mice or G2019S-Lrrk2 BAC mice were evaluated by flow cytometry. Chemotaxis assays were performed with monocyte-derived macrophages stimulated with α-synuclein fibrils and microglia in Boyden chambers.

α-synuclein fibrils robustly stimulate LRRK2 and Rab10 phosphorylation in human and mouse macrophages and dendritic-like cells. In these cells, α-synuclein fibrils stimulate LRRK2 through JAK-STAT activation and intrinsic LRRK2 kinase activity in a feed-forward pathway that upregulates phosphorylated Rab10. In contrast, LRRK2 expression and Rab10 phosphorylation are both suppressed in microglia-like cells that are otherwise highly responsive to α-synuclein fibrils. Corroborating these results, LRRK2 expression in the brain parenchyma occurs in pro-inflammatory monocytes infiltrating from the periphery, distinct from brain-resident microglia. Mice expressing pathogenic LRRK2 mutations G2019S or R1441C have increased numbers of infiltrating pro-inflammatory monocytes in acute response to α-synuclein fibrils. In primary cultured macrophages, LRRK2 kinase inhibition dampens α-synuclein fibril and microglia-stimulated chemotaxis.

Pathologic α-synuclein activates LRRK2 expression and kinase activity in monocytes and induces their recruitment to the brain. These results predict that LRRK2 kinase inhibition may attenuate damaging pro-inflammatory monocyte responses in the brain.

Pragmatic Approach on Neuroimaging Techniques for the Differential Diagnosis of Parkinsonisms.

"Movement Disorders Clinical Practice

Rapid advances in neuroimaging technologies in the exploration of the living human brain also apply to movement disorders. However, the accurate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and atypical parkinsonian disorders (APDs) still remains a challenge in daily practice.

We review the literature and our own experience as the Movement Disorder Society-Neuroimaging Study Group in Movement Disorders with the aim of providing a practical approach to the use of imaging technologies in the clinical setting.

The enormous amount of articles published so far and our increasing recognition of imaging technologies contrast with a lack of imaging protocols and updated algorithms for differential diagnosis. The distinctive pathological involvement in different brain structures and the correlation with imaging findings obtained with magnetic resonance, positron emission tomography, or single-photon emission computed tomography illustrate what qualitative and quantitative measures may be useful in the clinical setting.

We delineate a pragmatic approach to discuss imaging technologies, updated imaging algorithms, and their implications for differential diagnoses in PD and APDs.