Publications by authors named "Elio Scarpini"

297 Publications

Distinct patterns of MRI lesions in MOG antibody disease and AQP4 NMOSD: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 Jun 30;54:103118. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Background: the distinct MRI features of MOG-antibody disease (MOG-AD) and AQP4-NMOSD are still poorly defined. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify specific patterns of MRI abnormalities able to discriminate between MOG-AD and AQP4-NMOSD.

Methods: fourteen case-series (1028 patients) were included. Outcomes were MRI lesion patterns in optic nerve (ON), brain and spinal cord (SC) that were selected after a systematic literature review and analysed separately as the event rate for individual MRI lesions in MOG-AD (experimental group) and AQP4-NMOSD (control group) by using a random effect model.

Results: MOG-AD showed a higher number of MRI lesions than AQP4-NMOSD patients in the retrobulbar ON (OR=5.67; 95%CI=2.11-15.24; p=0.0006) with ON head swelling (OR=8.20; 95%CI=4.13-16.28; p<0.00001), corpus callosum (OR=2.30; 95%CI=1.11-4.76; p=0.02), pons (OR=2.87; 95%CI=1.45-5.67; p=0.002), and lumbar/conus SC (OR=3.47; 95%CI=1.66-7.24; p=0.0009). Conversely, lesions in the canalicular (OR=0.42; 95%CI=0.18-0.98; p=0.05) and intracranial ON (OR=0.30; 95%CI=0.11=0.84; p=0.02), area postrema (OR=0.12; 95%CI=0.02-0.61; p=0.01), medulla (OR=0.40; 95%CI=0.20-0.78; p=0.007), and cervical SC (OR=0.29; 95%CI=0.09-0.92; p=0.04) were prominent in patients with AQP4-NMOSD. Participants' age was found to be a source of heterogeneity across studies.

Conclusion: our study provides further evidence that MOG-AD and AQP4-NMOSD have distinct MRI features that may help clinicians for an early differential diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.103118DOI Listing
June 2021

Long-term disability trajectories in relapsing multiple sclerosis patients treated with early intensive or escalation treatment strategies.

Ther Adv Neurol Disord 2021 31;14:17562864211019574. Epub 2021 May 31.

Dipartimento di Neurologia, Neurofisiologia e Neuroriabilitazione, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.

Background And Aims: No consensus exists on how aggressively to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) nor on the timing of the treatment. The objective of this study was to evaluate disability trajectories in RRMS patients treated with an early intensive treatment (EIT) or with a moderate-efficacy treatment followed by escalation to higher-efficacy disease modifying therapy (ESC).

Methods: RRMS patients with ⩾5-year follow-up and ⩾3 visits after disease modifying therapy (DMT) start were selected from the Italian MS Registry. EIT group included patients who received as first DMT fingolimod, natalizumab, mitoxantrone, alemtuzumab, ocrelizumab, cladribine. ESC group patients received the high efficacy DMT after ⩾1 year of glatiramer acetate, interferons, azathioprine, teriflunomide or dimethylfumarate treatment. Patients were 1:1 propensity score (PS) matched for characteristics at the first DMT. The disability trajectories were evaluated by applying a longitudinal model for repeated measures. The effect of early late start of high-efficacy DMT was assessed by the mean annual Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) changes compared with baseline values (delta-EDSS) in EIT and ESC groups.

Results: The study cohort included 2702 RRMS patients. The PS matching procedure produced 363 pairs, followed for a median (interquartile range) of 8.5 (6.5-11.7) years. Mean annual delta-EDSS values were all significantly ( < 0.02) higher in the ESC group compared with the EIT group. In particular, the mean delta-EDSS differences between the two groups tended to increase from 0.1 (0.01-0.19,  = 0.03) at 1 year to 0.30 (0.07-0.53,  = 0.009) at 5 years and to 0.67 (0.31-1.03,  = 0.0003) at 10 years.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that EIT strategy is more effective than ESC strategy in controlling disability progression over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/17562864211019574DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8170278PMC
May 2021

Common variants in Alzheimer's disease and risk stratification by polygenic risk scores.

Nat Commun 2021 06 7;12(1):3417. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Servei de Neurologia, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe, Valencia, Spain.

Genetic discoveries of Alzheimer's disease are the drivers of our understanding, and together with polygenetic risk stratification can contribute towards planning of feasible and efficient preventive and curative clinical trials. We first perform a large genetic association study by merging all available case-control datasets and by-proxy study results (discovery n = 409,435 and validation size n = 58,190). Here, we add six variants associated with Alzheimer's disease risk (near APP, CHRNE, PRKD3/NDUFAF7, PLCG2 and two exonic variants in the SHARPIN gene). Assessment of the polygenic risk score and stratifying by APOE reveal a 4 to 5.5 years difference in median age at onset of Alzheimer's disease patients in APOE ɛ4 carriers. Because of this study, the underlying mechanisms of APP can be studied to refine the amyloid cascade and the polygenic risk score provides a tool to select individuals at high risk of Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22491-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8184987PMC
June 2021

Analysis of C9orf72 Intermediate Alleles in a Retrospective Cohort of Neurological Patients: Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease?

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;81(4):1445-1451

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda, Ospedale Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Background: C9orf72 hexanucleotide GGGGCC (G4C2) large repeat expansions within the first intron of the gene are a major cause of familial frontotemporal dementia, but also of apparently sporadic cases. Alleles with > 30 repeats are often considered pathogenic, but the repeat length threshold is still undefined. It is also unclear if C9orf72 intermediate alleles (9-30 repeats) have clinically significant effects.

Objectives: We correlated the presence of C9orf72 intermediate alleles with clinical diagnoses in a perspective cohort referred to a secondary memory clinic.

Methods: All samples were genotyped with AmplideXPCR/CE C9ORF72 Kit (Asuragen, Inc), an optimized C9orf72 PCR amplification reagent.

Results: We showed that in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) the frequency of the intermediate repeat alleles was significantly increased versus controls (34/54, 63%AD versus 16/39, 41%CTRLs, *p = 0.01, OR 2.91 CI 95%1.230-6.077), whereas no significant differences (p > 0.05) were observed when comparing all other dementias with non-demented individuals.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that C9orf72 intermediate repeat units may represent a genetic risk factor, contributing to the occurrence of AD. Nevertheless, further longitudinal studies, including larger cohort of subjects with intermediate alleles with long-term follow-up, would be needed to confirm these results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-210249DOI Listing
January 2021

The distinct roles of monoamines in multiple sclerosis: A bridge between the immune and nervous systems?

Brain Behav Immun 2021 05 2;94:381-391. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Department of Neuroscience, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, UK; Rita Levi Montalcini Department of Neuroscience, University of Torino, Turin, Italy.

The monoaminergic neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin are pivotal actors of the interplay between the nervous and the immune system due to their ability of binding to cell-receptors of both systems, crucially regulating their function within the central nervous system and the periphery. As monoamines are dysfunctional in many neurological and psychiatric diseases, they have been successfully used as pharmacological targets. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the best examples of neurological disease caused by an altered interaction between the nervous and immune system and emerging evidence supports a dysregulation of monoaminergic systems in the pathogenesis of MS, secondary to both inflammation-induced reduction of monoamines' synthesis and structural damage to monoaminergic pathways within the brain. Here we review the evidence for monoamines being key mediators of neuroimmune interaction, affecting MS pathogenesis and course. Moreover, we discuss how the reduction/dysfunction of monoamines in MS may contribute to some clinical features typical of the disease, particularly fatigue and depression. Finally, we summarize different drugs targeting monoamines that are currently under evaluation for their potential efficacy to treat MS, as well as to alleviate fatigue and depression in MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2021.02.030DOI Listing
May 2021

Disruption of brainstem monoaminergic fibre tracts in multiple sclerosis as a putative mechanism for cognitive fatigue: a fixel-based analysis.

Neuroimage Clin 2021 12;30:102587. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Department of Neuroscience, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, UK; Neuroimaging Laboratory, Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

In multiple sclerosis (MS), monoaminergic systems are altered as a result of both inflammation-dependent reduced synthesis and direct structural damage. Aberrant monoaminergic neurotransmission is increasingly considered a major contributor to fatigue pathophysiology. In this study, we aimed to compare the integrity of the monoaminergic white matter fibre tracts projecting from brainstem nuclei in a group of patients with MS (n = 68) and healthy controls (n = 34), and to investigate its association with fatigue. Fibre tracts integrity was assessed with the novel fixel-based analysis that simultaneously estimates axonal density, by means of 'fibre density', and white matter atrophy, by means of fibre 'cross section'. We focused on ventral tegmental area, locus coeruleus, and raphe nuclei as the main source of dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and serotoninergic fibres within the brainstem, respectively. Fourteen tracts of interest projecting from these brainstem nuclei were reconstructed using diffusion tractography, and compared by means of the product of fibre-density and cross-section (FDC). Finally, correlations of monoaminergic axonal damage with the modified fatigue impact scale scores were evaluated in MS. Fixel-based analysis revealed significant axonal damage - as measured by FDC reduction - within selective monoaminergic fibre-tracts projecting from brainstem nuclei in MS patients, in comparison to healthy controls; particularly within the dopaminergic-mesolimbic pathway, the noradrenergic-projections to prefrontal cortex, and serotoninergic-projections to cerebellum. Moreover, we observed significant correlations between severity of cognitive fatigue and axonal damage within the mesocorticolimbic tracts projecting from ventral tegmental area, as well as within the locus coeruleus projections to prefrontal cortex, suggesting a potential contribution of dopaminergic and noradrenergic pathways to central fatigue in MS. Our findings support the hypothesis that axonal damage along monoaminergic pathways contributes to the reduction/dysfunction of monoamines in MS and add new information on the mechanisms by which monoaminergic systems contribute to MS pathogenesis and fatigue. This supports the need for further research into monoamines as therapeutic targets aiming to combat and alleviate fatigue in MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2021.102587DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7903010PMC
February 2021

Case Report: Efficacy of Rituximab in a Patient With Familial Mediterranean Fever and Multiple Sclerosis.

Front Neurol 2020 6;11:591395. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Foundation Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) Policlinico San Donato, Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Neurology Unit & MS Centre, Milan, Italy.

Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) is a genetic autoinflammatory disease characterized by recurrent episodes of fever and serositis caused by mutations in the MEFV gene, while Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the CNS with genetic and environmental etiology. The two diseases rarely occur in association with relevant implications for clinical management and drug choice. In this paper, we present the case of a 53-year-old male with an autosomal dominant FMF since childhood who presented acute paresthesia at the right part of the body. He performed a brain and spinal cord MRI, which showed multiple brain lesions and a gd-enhancing lesion in the cervical spinal cord, and then received a diagnosis of MS. He then started Interferonβ-1a which was effective but not tolerated and caused hepatotoxicity, and then shifted to Rituximab with 3-month clinical and neuroradiological efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.591395DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7874168PMC
January 2021

Clinical features and disease course of patients with acute ischaemic stroke just before the Italian index case: Was COVID-19 already there?

Intern Emerg Med 2021 Feb 10. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Since the end of February 2020, Italy has suffered one of the most severe outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, what happened just before the Italian index case has not yet been investigated. To answer this question, we evaluated the potential impact of COVID-19 on the clinical features of a cohort of neurological inpatients admitted right before the Italian index case, as compared to the same period of the previous year. Demographic, clinical, treatment and laboratory data were extracted from medical records. The data collected included all inpatients who had been admitted to the Neurology and Stroke Units of the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy, from December 15, 2018 to February 20, 2019 and from December 15, 2019 to February 20, 2020. Of the 248 patients, 97 subjects (39.1%) were admitted for an acute cerebrovascular event: 46 in the 2018/2019 period (mean [SD] age, 72.3 [15.6] years; 22 men [47.8%]), and 51 in the 2019/2020 interval (mean [SD] age, 72.8 [12.4] years; 24 men [47.1%]). The number of cryptogenic strokes has increased during the 2019-2020 year, as compared to the previous year (30 [58.8%] vs. 18 [39.1%], p = 0.05). These patients had a longer hospitalization (mean [SD] day, 15.7 [10.5] days vs. mean [SD] day, 11.7 [7.2] days, p = 0.03) and more frequent cerebrovascular complications (9 [30.0%] vs. 2 [11.1%]), but presented a lower incidence of cardiocerebral risk factors (18 [60.0%] vs. 14 [77.8%]). Right before the Italian index case, an increase in cryptogenic strokes has occurred, possibly due to the concomitant COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-021-02634-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7872881PMC
February 2021

Diogenes syndrome in dementia: a case report.

BJPsych Open 2021 Feb 2;7(2):e43. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Neurodegenerative Diseases Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Background: Diogenes syndrome is a neurobehavioural syndrome characterised by domestic squalor, hoarding and lack of insight. It is an uncommon but high-mortality condition, often associated with dementia.

Aims: To describe the clinical features and treatment of Diogenes syndrome secondary to behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).

Method: We describe a case of bvFTD in a 77-year-old man presenting with Diogenes syndrome.

Results: The patient's medical and psychiatric histories were unremarkable, but in recent years he had begun packing his flat with 'art pieces'. Mental state examination revealed confabulation and more structured delusions. Neuropsychological evaluation outlined an impairment in selective attention and letter verbal fluency, but no semantic impairment, in the context of an overall preserved mental functioning. Brain magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography (PET) with fluorodeoxyglucose showed mild bilateral temporo-insular atrophy and hypometabolism in the left-superior temporal gyrus respectively. An amyloid PET scan and genetic analysis covering the dementia spectrum were normal. A diagnosis of bvFTD was made.

Conclusions: The clinical framing of behavioural symptoms of dementia such as hoarding poses a diagnostic challenge. This case illustrates the importance of a deeper understanding of Diogenes syndrome, leading to timelier diagnosis and effective therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2020.171DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8058863PMC
February 2021

Facing the digital divide into a dementia clinic during COVID-19 pandemic: caregiver age matters.

Neurol Sci 2021 Apr 18;42(4):1247-1251. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Neurodegenerative Diseases Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via Francesco Sforza 35, 20122, Milan, Italy.

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has dramatically stressed the health care system and has provoked changes in population use of digital technologies. Digital divide is any uneven distribution in Information and Communications Technologies between people.

Aims: The purpose of this work was to describe the digital divide of a population of patients with dementia contacted by telemedicine during Italian lockdown for COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: One hundred eight patients with cognitive impairment were contacted by video call to perform a telemedicine neurological evaluation. Information on patients and caregivers attending the televisit were recorded.

Results: Seventy-four patients connected with neurologist (successful televisit, 68.5%) and 34 patients were not able to perform televisit and were contacted by phone (failed televisit, 31.5%). No significant differences were observed among the two groups concerning age, gender, and education, but the prevalence of successful televisit was higher in the presence of younger caregivers: televisits performed in the presence of subjects of younger generation (sons and grandsons) had a successful rate higher (86% successful, 14% failed) than the group without younger generation caregiver (49% successful, 51% failed). This difference is mainly due to the ability of technological use among younger people.

Discussion: The most impacting factors on digital divide in our population are the social support networks and the experience with the technology: the presence of a digital native caregiver. The COVID-19 pandemic is unmasking an emerging form of technology-related social inequalities: political and community interventions are needed to support the most socially vulnerable population and prevent social health inequalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-020-05009-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7811944PMC
April 2021

New Algorithms Improving PML Risk Stratification in MS Patients Treated With Natalizumab.

Front Neurol 2020 17;11:579438. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Department of Neurology, NeuroCure Clinical Research Center, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.

We assessed the role of age and disease activity as new factors contributing to establish the risk of progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy in multiple sclerosis patients treated with natalizumab in 36 University Hospitals in Europe. We performed the study in 1,307 multiple sclerosis patients (70.8% anti-John Cunninghan virus positive antibodies) treated with natalizumab for a median time of 3.28 years. Epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory variables were collected. Lipid-specific IgM oligoclonal band status was available in 277 patients. Factors associated with progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy onset were explored by uni- and multivariate logistic regression. Thirty-five patients developed progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy. The multivariate analysis identified anti-John Cunninghan virus antibody indices and relapse rate as the best predictors for the onset of this serious opportunistic infection in the whole cohort. They allowed to stratify progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy risk before natalizumab initiation in individual patients [area under the curve (AUC) = 0.85]. The risk ranged from <1/3,300 in patients with anti-John Cunninghan virus antibody indices <0.9 and relapse rate >0.5, to 1/50 in the opposite case. In patients with lipid-specific IgM oligoclonal bands assessment, age at natalizumab onset, anti-John Cunninghan virus antibody indices, and lipid-specific IgM oligoclonal band status predicted progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy risk (AUC = 0.92). The absence of lipid-specific IgM oligoclonal bands was the best individual predictor (OR = 40.94). The individual risk ranged from <1/10,000 in patients younger than 45 years at natalizumab initiation, who showed anti John Cunningham virus antibody indices <0.9 and lipid-specific IgM oligoclonal bands to 1/33 in the opposite case. In a perspective of personalized medicine, disease activity, anti-lipid specific IgM oligoclonal bands, anti Jonh Cunninghan virus antibody levels, and age can help tailor natalizumab therapy in multiple sclerosis patients, as predictors of progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.579438DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7780851PMC
December 2020

Detection of the SQSTM1 Mutation in a Patient with Early-Onset Hippocampal Amnestic Syndrome.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;79(2):477-481

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Genetics has a major role in early-onset dementia, but the correspondence between genotype and phenotype is largely tentative. We describe a 54-year-old with familial early-onset slowly-progressive episodic memory impairment with the P392L-variant in SQSTM1. The patient showed cortical atrophy and hypometabolism in the temporal lobes, but no amyloidosis biomarkers. As symptoms/neuroimaging were suggestive for Alzheimer's disease-but biomarkers were not-and considering the family-history, genetic analysis was performed, revealing the P392L-variant in SQSTM1, which encodes for sequestosome-1/p62. Increasing evidence suggests a p62 involvement in neurodegeneration and SQSTM1 mutations have been found to cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/frontotemporal dementia. Our report suggests that the clinical spectrum of SQSTM1 variants is wider.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201231DOI Listing
January 2021

Cerebrospinal fluid glutamate changes in functional movement disorders.

NPJ Parkinsons Dis 2020 Dec 4;6(1):37. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

Dipartimento di Scienze della Salute, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy.

The aim of this study was to assess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of specific amino acids using a high-performance liquid chromatography system in a sample of patients with functional movement disorders (FMDs) and in a sample of controls. CSF levels of glutamate were significantly lower in patients with FMD than in controls. This finding argues in favor of glutamatergic dysfunction in the pathophysiology of FMD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41531-020-00140-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718900PMC
December 2020

Psychiatric Disorders in Alzheimer Disease With the Presenilin-1 L226F Mutation.

Cogn Behav Neurol 2020 12;33(4):278-282

Aldo Ravelli Center for Neurotechnology and Experimental Neurotherapeutics, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

The presenilin-1 (PSEN1) L226F mutation has been linked to very early onset of prominent behavioral and psychiatric disturbances followed by cognitive decline within a few years. We report a novel case of early-onset Alzheimer disease that was originally diagnosed as psychotic depression in a patient with this gene mutation. We also compare our patient's clinical data to those of other cases of this mutation that have been described in the literature. Because atypical behavioral and psychiatric disturbances in young (<40 years) individuals can herald Alzheimer disease, a tight collaboration between psychiatrists and neurologists is crucial for an early diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNN.0000000000000249DOI Listing
December 2020

White Matter Hyperintensities Are No Major Confounder for Alzheimer's Disease Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;79(1):163-175

Department of Geriatrics, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud Alzheimer Centre, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Background: The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers amyloid-β 1-42 (Aβ42), total and phosphorylated tau (t-tau, p-tau) are increasingly used to assist in the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, CSF biomarker levels can be affected by confounding factors.

Objective: To investigate the association of white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) present in the brain with AD CSF biomarker levels.

Methods: We included CSF biomarker and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of 172 subjects (52 controls, 72 mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 48 AD patients) from 9 European Memory Clinics. A computer aided detection system for standardized automated segmentation of WMHs was used on MRI scans to determine WMH volumes. Association of WMH volume with AD CSF biomarkers was determined using linear regression analysis.

Results: A small, negative association of CSF Aβ42, but not p-tau and t-tau, levels with WMH volume was observed in the AD (r2 = 0.084, p = 0.046), but not the MCI and control groups, which was slightly increased when including the distance of WMHs to the ventricles in the analysis (r2 = 0.105, p = 0.025). Three global patterns of WMH distribution, either with 1) a low, 2) a peak close to the ventricles, or 3) a high, broadly-distributed WMH volume could be observed in brains of subjects in each diagnostic group.

Conclusion: Despite an association of WMH volume with CSF Aβ42 levels in AD patients, the occurrence of WMHs is not accompanied by excess release of cellular proteins in the CSF, suggesting that WMHs are no major confounder for AD CSF biomarker assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200496DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7902951PMC
January 2021

Disease-specific plasma levels of mitokines FGF21, GDF15, and Humanin in type II diabetes and Alzheimer's disease in comparison with healthy aging.

Geroscience 2021 04 31;43(2):985-1001. Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine (DIMES), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF21), Growth Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF15), and Humanin (HN) are mitochondrial stress-related mitokines, whose role in health and disease is still debated. In this study, we confirmed that their plasma levels are positively correlated with age in healthy subjects. However, when looking at patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) or Alzheimer's disease (AD), two age-related diseases sharing a mitochondrial impairment, we found that GDF15 is elevated in T2D but not in AD and represents a risk factor for T2D complications, while FGF21 and HN are lower in AD but not in T2D. Moreover, FGF21 reaches the highest levels in centenarian' offspring, a model of successful aging. As a whole, these data indicate that (i) the adaptive mitokine response observed in healthy aging is lost in age-related diseases, (ii) a common expression pattern of mitokines does not emerge in T2D and AD, suggesting an unpredicted complexity and disease-specificity, and (iii) FGF21 emerges as a candidate marker of healthy aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11357-020-00287-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8110619PMC
April 2021

Parieto-occipital sulcus widening differentiates posterior cortical atrophy from typical Alzheimer disease.

Neuroimage Clin 2020 28;28:102453. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, via F. Sforza, 35, 20122 Milan, Italy; Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, Dino Ferrari Center, CRC Molecular Basis of Neuro-Psycho-Geriatrics Diseases, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Objectives: Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) is an atypical presentation of Alzheimer disease (AD) characterized by atrophy of posterior brain regions. This pattern of atrophy is usually evaluated with Koedam visual rating scale, a score developed to enable visual assessment of parietal atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, Koedam scale is complex to assess and its utility in the differential diagnosis between PCA and typical AD has not been demonstrated yet. The aim of this study is therefore to spot a simple and reliable MRI element able to differentiate between PCA and typical AD using visual rating scales.

Methods: 15 patients who presented with progressive complex visual disorders and predominant occipitoparietal hypometabolism on PET-FDG were selected from our centre and compared with 30 typical AD patients and 15 healthy subjects. We used previously validated visual rating scales including Koedam scale, which we divided into three major components: posterior cingulate, precuneus and parieto-occipital. Subsequently we validated the results using the automated software Brainvisa Morphologist and Voxel Based Morphometry (VBM).

Results: Patients with PCA, compared to typical AD, showed higher widening of the parieto-occipital sulcus, assessed both with visual rating scales and Brainvisa. In the corresponding areas, the VBM analysis showed an inverse correlation between the results obtained from the visual evaluation scales with the volume of the grey matter and a direct correlation between the same results with the cerebrospinal fluid volume.

Conclusions: A visually based rating scale for parieto-occipital sulcus can distinguish Posterior Cortical Atrophy from typical Alzheimer disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559336PMC
June 2021

Genetic variation in APOE, GRN, and TP53 are phenotype modifiers in frontotemporal dementia.

Neurobiol Aging 2021 03 2;99:99.e15-99.e22. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Hospital Clínic, Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a clinical, genetic, and pathologic heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we investigated the role of APOƐ4, rs5848 in GRN, and rs1042522 in TP53 gene as disease risk factors and/or phenotype modifiers in 440 FTD patients, including 175 C9orf72 expansion carriers. We found that the C9orf72 expansion carriers showing an earlier age at onset (p < 0.001). Among the clinical groups, the FTD-MND (motoneuron disease) showed the lowest survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 4.12), and the progressive nonfluent aphasia group showed the highest onset age (p = 0.03). In our cohort, the rs1042522 in TP53 was associated with disease onset (p = 0.02) and survival (HR = 1.73) and rs5848 GRN with a significantly shorter survival in CC homozygous patients (HR = 1.98). The frequency of APOƐ4 carriers was significantly increased in the C9orf72 noncarriers (p = 0.022). Although validation of our findings is necessary, our results suggest that TP53, GRN, and APOE genes may act as phenotype modifiers in FTD and should be considered in future clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.08.018DOI Listing
March 2021

, age at onset, and ancestry help discriminate behavioral from language variants in FTLD cohorts.

Neurology 2020 12 17;95(24):e3288-e3302. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

From the Institute of Neurology (B.C., D.A.K., J.H., P.A.L., R.F.), School of Pharmacy (C.M.), and UCL Movement Disorders Centre (J.H.), University College London; School of Pharmacy (C.M., P.A.L.), University of Reading, Whiteknights; Neurogenetics Laboratory (M.B.-Q., C.W., J.M.P.), National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK; Aptima Clinic (Miquel Aguilar), Terrassa; Memory Disorders Unit, Department of Neurology (I.A., M.D.-F., P.P.), University Hospital Mutua de Terrassa, Barcelona; Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias (V.A., M.M.-G.), Oviedo, Spain; NORMENT (O.A.), Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway; Regional Neurogenetic Centre (Maria Anfossi, Livia Bernardi, A.C.B., M.E.C., Chiara Cupidi, F.F., Maura Gallo, R.M., N.S.), ASPCZ, Lamezia Terme; Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health (S.B., B.N., I.P., S.S.), University of Florence; Molecular Markers Laboratory (Luisa Benussi, Giuliano Binetti, R.G.), IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy; Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), Department of Neuroscience (D.B.), University of Sheffield, UK; Research Center and Memory Clinic (M.B., I.H., S.M.-G., Agustín Ruiz), Fundació ACE, Institut Català de Neurociències Aplicades, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC), Barcelona, Spain; Centre for Neurodegenerative Disorders (B.B., A.P.), Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Italy; Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Lucy Bowns, T.E.C., J.B.R.), Cambridge University, UK; Department of Neurology (Geir Bråthen, S.B.S.), University Hospital of Trondheim, Norway; Dept NVS, Division of Neurogeriatrics (H.-H.C., C.G., B.K., L.Ö.), Karolinska Institutet, Bioclinicum Solna, Sweden; Department of Neurology (J.C., O.D.-I., I.I.-G., A.L.), IIB Sant Pau, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain; Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic (S.C., G.J.T.H., S.P.) and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (S.P.), University of Edinburgh, UK; NeuroGenomics and Informatics, Department of Psychiatry (Carlos Cruchaga), Washington University, St. Louis, MO; Cognitive Impairment Center (M.E.D.B., Maurizio Gallucci) and Immunohematology and Transfusional Medicine Service (E.D., A.V.), Local Health Authority n.2 Marca Trevigiana, Treviso, Italy; Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (J.D.-S., C.R.), School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Germany; Department of Neurology (D.F., M.G.K.) and Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics (A.M., B.P.), University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dino Ferrari Center (D.G., Elio Scarpini, M.S.), University of Milan, Italy; Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Think and Speak Lab (J.H.G.), Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, Chicago, IL; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Murray Grossman, EunRan Suh, J.Q.T., V.M.V.D.), Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; UCL Dementia Research Institute (J.H.), London; Reta Lila Weston Institute (J.H.), UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UK; Institute for Advanced Study (J.H.), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China; Royal Edinburgh Hospital (G.J.T.H.), UK; Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain (E.D.H.), Columbia University, New York, NY; Department of Neurology, Memory and Aging Center (A.K., B.M., J.Y.), University of California, San Francisco; UCL Genomics (M.K., G.K.M., Y.P.), UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK; Geriatric Center Frullone ASL Napoli 1 Centro (G.M.), Napoli, Italy; Department of Neurology (M.O.M., J.v.R., J.C.V.S.), Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Rona Holdings (P.M.), Silicon Valley, CA; Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource, Institute of Neuroscience (C.M.M.), Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Department of Neurology (C.N.), Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden; Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS (V.N.), Rome, Italy; Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology (S.P.-B., A.M.T.R., S.R., J.C.T.), University of Manchester, UK; Amsterdam University Medical Center (Y.A.L.P.), VU University Medical Center, the Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Unit (A.A.P.), IRCCS Multimedica, Milan; Neurology I, Department of Neuroscience (I.R., Elisa Rubino), University of Torino; NeurOMICS laboratory (G.M., Antonella Rendina, E.V.), Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (IBBC), CNR Napoli, Italy; Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences (A.M.T.R., J.S., J.C.T.), Salford Royal NHS Trust, Manchester, UK; Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Ekaterina Rogaeva), University of Toronto, Canada; Department of Biotechnology (B.R.), Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Division of Neurology V and Neuropathology (G.R., F.T.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy; Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit (R.S.-V.), Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Spain; Clinical Memory Research Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö (C.N., A.F.S.), and Division of Clinical Sciences Helsingborg, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund (M.L.W.), Lund University, Sweden; Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group (J.V.d.Z., C.V.B.), Center for Molecular Neurology, VIB, Antwerp, Belgium; Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (V.E.-P.), Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences and Dementia Research Institute, Cardiff University, UK; Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Principado de Asturias (V.A.), Oviedo, Asturias; Fundació per la Recerca Biomèdica i Social Mútua Terrassa (I.A., M.D.-F., P.P.), Barcelona; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED) (M.B., J.C., O.D.-I., I.H., I.I.-G., A.L., S.M.-G., Agustín Ruiz), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (Lucy Bowns, T.E.C., J.B.R.), Cambridge University, UK; Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science (Geir Bråthen, S.B.S.), Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; Unit for Hereditary Dementias (H.-H.C., C.G., B.K., L.Ö.), Theme Aging, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Sweden; Medical Faculty (D.F., M.G.K.), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Fondazione IRCCS Ca'Granda (D.G., Elio Scarpini, M.S.), Ospedale Policlinico, Milan, Italy; Penn Center for Frontotemporal Degeneration (Murray Grossman), Philadelphia, PA; Universidad de Oviedo (M.M.-G.), Asturias, Spain; IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi (B.N., S.S.), Florence; Istituto di Medicina Genomica (V.N.), Università Cattolica del sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy; Amsterdam Neuroscience (Y.A.L.P.), the Netherlands; Department of Medicine and Surgery (A.A.P.), University of Salerno, Baronissi (SA), Italy; Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (B.R.), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Institud d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (R.S.-V.), Barcelona, Spain; Department of Biomedical Sciences (J.V.d.Z., C.V.B.), University of Antwerp, Belgium; and Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences (P.A.L.), The Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.

Objective: We sought to characterize expansions in relation to genetic ancestry and age at onset (AAO) and to use these measures to discriminate the behavioral from the language variant syndrome in a large pan-European cohort of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) cases.

Methods: We evaluated expansions frequency in the entire cohort (n = 1,396; behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia [bvFTD] [n = 800], primary progressive aphasia [PPA] [n = 495], and FTLD-motor neuron disease [MND] [n = 101]). We then focused on the bvFTD and PPA cases and tested for association between expansion status, syndromes, genetic ancestry, and AAO applying statistical tests comprising Fisher exact tests, analysis of variance with Tukey post hoc tests, and logistic and nonlinear mixed-effects model regressions.

Results: We found pathogenic expansions in 4% of all cases (56/1,396). Expansion carriers differently distributed across syndromes: 12/101 FTLD-MND (11.9%), 40/800 bvFTD (5%), and 4/495 PPA (0.8%). While addressing population substructure through principal components analysis (PCA), we defined 2 patients groups with Central/Northern (n = 873) and Southern European (n = 523) ancestry. The proportion of expansion carriers was significantly higher in bvFTD compared to PPA (5% vs 0.8% [ = 2.17 × 10; odds ratio (OR) 6.4; confidence interval (CI) 2.31-24.99]), as well as in individuals with Central/Northern European compared to Southern European ancestry (4.4% vs 1.8% [ = 1.1 × 10; OR 2.5; CI 1.17-5.99]). Pathogenic expansions and Central/Northern European ancestry independently and inversely correlated with AAO. Our prediction model (based on expansions status, genetic ancestry, and AAO) predicted a diagnosis of bvFTD with 64% accuracy.

Conclusions: Our results indicate correlation between pathogenic expansions, AAO, PCA-based Central/Northern European ancestry, and a diagnosis of bvFTD, implying complex genetic risk architectures differently underpinning the behavioral and language variant syndromes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010914DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7836664PMC
December 2020

The Role of Amyloid-β in White Matter Damage: Possible Common Pathogenetic Mechanisms in Neurodegenerative and Demyelinating Diseases.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;78(1):13-22

Department of Neuroscience 'Rita Levi Montalcini', University of Torino, Turin, Italy.

Just as multiple sclerosis (MS) has long been primarily considered a white matter (WM) disease, Alzheimer's disease (AD) has for decades been regarded only as a grey matter disorder. However, convergent evidences have suggested that WM abnormalities are also important components of AD, at the same extent as axonal and neuronal loss is critically involved in MS pathophysiology since early clinical stages. These observations have motivated a more thorough investigation about the possible mechanisms that could link neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, focusing on amyloid-β (Aβ). Neuroimaging studies have found that patients with AD have widespread WM abnormalities already at the earliest disease stages and prior to the presence of Aβ plaques. Moreover, a correlation between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ levels and WM lesion load was found. On the other hand, recent studies suggest a predictive role for CSF Aβ levels in MS, possibly due in the first instance to the reduced capacity for remyelination, consequently to a higher risk of WM damage progression, and ultimately to neuronal loss. We undertook a review of the recent findings concerning the involvement of CSF Aβ levels in the MS disease course and of the latest evidence of AD related WM abnormalities, with the aim to discuss the potential causes that may connect WM damage and amyloid pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200868DOI Listing
January 2020

MiRNA Profiling in Plasma Neural-Derived Small Extracellular Vesicles from Patients with Alzheimer's Disease.

Cells 2020 06 10;9(6). Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Neurodegenerative Diseases Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, 20122 Milan, Italy.

Small extracellular vesicles (EVs) are able to pass from the central nervous system (CNS) into peripheral blood and contain molecule markers of their parental origin. The aim of our study was to isolate and characterize total and neural-derived small EVs (NDEVs) and their micro RNA (miRNA) cargo in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Small NDEVs were isolated from plasma in a population consisting of 40 AD patients and 40 healthy subjects (CTRLs) using high throughput Advanced TaqMan miRNA OpenArrays, which enables the simultaneous determination of 754 miRNAs. MiR-23a-3p, miR-223-3p, miR-100-3p and miR-190-5p showed a significant dysregulation in small NDEVs from AD patients as compared with controls (1.16 ± 0.49 versus 7.54 ± 2.5, = 0.026; 9.32 ± 2.27 versus 0.66 ± 0.18, <0.0001; 0.069 ± 0.01 versus 0.5 ± 0.1, < 0.0001 and 2.9 ± 1.2 versus 1.93 ± 0.9, < 0.05, respectively). A further validation analysis confirmed that miR-23a-3p, miR-223-3p and miR-190a-5p levels in small NDEVs from AD patients were significantly upregulated as compared with controls ( = 0.008; = 0.016; = 0.003, respectively) whereas miR-100-3p levels were significantly downregulated ( = 0.008). This is the first study that carries out the comparison between total plasma small EV population and NDEVs, demonstrating the presence of a specific AD NDEV miRNA signature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells9061443DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349735PMC
June 2020

IL-33 and its decoy sST2 in patients with Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment.

J Neuroinflammation 2020 Jun 6;17(1):174. Epub 2020 Jun 6.

IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology, Via Capecelatro, 66, 20148, Milan, Italy.

Background: Interleukin-33 is a cytokine endowed with pro- and anti-inflammatory properties that plays a still poorly defined role in the pathogenesis of a number of central nervous system (CNS) conditions including Alzheimer's disease (AD). We analyzed this cytokine and its decoy receptor sST2 in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Method: IL-33 and sST2 were analyzed in serum and CSF of AD and MCI patients, comparing the results to those obtained in age-matched healthy controls (HC). Because of the ambiguous role of IL-33 in inflammation, the concentration of both inflammatory (IL-1β and IL-6) and anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines was analyzed as well in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the same individuals. Finally, the effect of IL-33 on in vitro Aβ-stimulated monocytes of AD, MCI, and HC individuals was examined.

Results: As compared to HC, (1) IL-33 was significantly decreased in serum and CSF of AD and MCI, (2) sST2 was increased in serum of AD and MCI but was undetectable in CSF, (3) serum and CSF IL-1β concentration was significantly increased and that of IL-10 was reduced in AD and MCI, whereas no differences were observed in IL-6. In vitro addition of IL-33 to LPS+Aβ -stimulated monocytes downregulated IL-1β generation in MCI and HC, but not in AD, and stimulated IL-10 production in HC alone. IL-33 addition also resulted in a significant reduction of NF-kB nuclear translocation in LPS+Aβ-stimulated monocytes of HC alone.

Conclusions: These data support the hypothesis that IL-33 plays a complex anti-inflammatory role that is lost in AD- and MCI-associated neuroinflammation; results herein also suggest a possible use of IL-33 as a novel therapeutic approach in AD and MCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12974-020-01806-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7276088PMC
June 2020

Evidence of retinal anterograde neurodegeneration in the very early stages of multiple sclerosis: a longitudinal OCT study.

Neurol Sci 2020 Nov 30;41(11):3175-3183. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Neurodegenerative Diseases Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via F. Sforza 35, 20122, Milan, Italy.

Background: Neurodegenerative processes are present since the early stages of multiple sclerosis (MS), constituting the primary substrate of disability. As part of the CNS, retinal damage could be considered a reliable prognostic biomarker of neurodegeneration in MS.

Objectives: To characterize longitudinal changes in the retinal layers' thickness and to investigate correlations between retinal atrophy and other prognostic biomarkers, i.e., cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) β-amyloid (Aβ) levels.

Methods: Forty-two eyes without a history of optic neuritis of 23 MS patients were recruited. All patients underwent spectral-domain-OCT scans (SD-OCT), brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and lumbar puncture at baseline. SD-OCT and brain MRI were repeated after 12 months. Ten controls underwent the same OCT procedure.

Results: At baseline, macular ganglion cell/inner plexiform layer (mGCIPL) thickness was reduced in patients compared to controls (p = 0.008), without retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thinning, that was revealed only at follow-up (p = 0.005). Patients with lower CSF Aβ levels displayed reduced RNFL thickness values, both at baseline and follow-up.

Conclusions: At very early clinical stages, mGCIPL thickness values were reduced without a concomitant peripapillary RNFL thinning. The longitudinal assessment demonstrated a RNFL loss in patients compared to HC, together with a plateau of mGCIPL thinning. Aβ subgroup of patients showed a reduction of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-020-04431-4DOI Listing
November 2020

Frontotemporal Dementia: Correlations Between Psychiatric Symptoms and Pathology.

Ann Neurol 2020 06 25;87(6):950-961. Epub 2020 Apr 25.

Department of Pathology, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Location VUmc, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objective: The pathology of frontotemporal dementia, termed frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), is characterized by distinct molecular classes of aggregated proteins, the most common being TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43), tau, and fused in sarcoma (FUS). With a few exceptions, it is currently not possible to predict the underlying pathology based on the clinical syndrome. In this study, we set out to investigate the relationship between pathological and clinical presentation at single symptom level, including neuropsychiatric features.

Methods: The presence or absence of symptoms from the current clinical guidelines, together with neuropsychiatric features, such as hallucinations and delusions, were scored and compared across pathological groups in a cohort of 150 brain donors.

Results: Our cohort consisted of 68.6% FTLD donors (35.3% TDP-43, 28% tau, and 5.3% FUS) and 31.3% non-FTLD donors with a clinical diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and a different pathological substrate, such as Alzheimer's disease (23%). The presence of hyperorality points to FTLD rather than non-FTLD pathology (p < 0.001). Within the FTLD group, hallucinations in the initial years of the disease were related to TDP-43 pathology (p = 0.02), including but not limited to chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) repeat expansion carriers. The presence of perseverative or compulsive behavior was more common in the TDP-B and TDP-C histotypes (p = 0.002).

Interpretation: Our findings indicate that neuropsychiatric features are common in FTLD and form an important indicator of underlying pathology. In order to allow better inclusion of patients in targeted molecular trials, the routine evaluation of patients with frontotemporal dementia should include the presence and nature of neuropsychiatric symptoms. ANN NEUROL 2020;87:950-961.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25739DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318614PMC
June 2020

Recommendations to distinguish behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia from psychiatric disorders.

Brain 2020 06;143(6):1632-1650

Department of Neurology, UCLA Medical Centre, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA.

The behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a frequent cause of early-onset dementia. The diagnosis of bvFTD remains challenging because of the limited accuracy of neuroimaging in the early disease stages and the absence of molecular biomarkers, and therefore relies predominantly on clinical assessment. BvFTD shows significant symptomatic overlap with non-degenerative primary psychiatric disorders including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorders and even personality disorders. To date, ∼50% of patients with bvFTD receive a prior psychiatric diagnosis, and average diagnostic delay is up to 5-6 years from symptom onset. It is also not uncommon for patients with primary psychiatric disorders to be wrongly diagnosed with bvFTD. The Neuropsychiatric International Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia was recently established to determine the current best clinical practice and set up an international collaboration to share a common dataset for future research. The goal of the present paper was to review the existing literature on the diagnosis of bvFTD and its differential diagnosis with primary psychiatric disorders to provide consensus recommendations on the clinical assessment. A systematic literature search with a narrative review was performed to determine all bvFTD-related diagnostic evidence for the following topics: bvFTD history taking, psychiatric assessment, clinical scales, physical and neurological examination, bedside cognitive tests, neuropsychological assessment, social cognition, structural neuroimaging, functional neuroimaging, CSF and genetic testing. For each topic, responsible team members proposed a set of minimal requirements, optimal clinical recommendations, and tools requiring further research or those that should be developed. Recommendations were listed if they reached a ≥ 85% expert consensus based on an online survey among all consortium participants. New recommendations include performing at least one formal social cognition test in the standard neuropsychological battery for bvFTD. We emphasize the importance of 3D-T1 brain MRI with a standardized review protocol including validated visual atrophy rating scales, and to consider volumetric analyses if available. We clarify the role of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET for the exclusion of bvFTD when normal, whereas non-specific regional metabolism abnormalities should not be over-interpreted in the case of a psychiatric differential diagnosis. We highlight the potential role of serum or CSF neurofilament light chain to differentiate bvFTD from primary psychiatric disorders. Finally, based on the increasing literature and clinical experience, the consortium determined that screening for C9orf72 mutation should be performed in all possible/probable bvFTD cases or suspected cases with strong psychiatric features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7849953PMC
June 2020

Low CSF β-amyloid levels predict early regional grey matter atrophy in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2019 Dec 19;39:101899. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy; Dino Ferrari Center, Milan, Italy; University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Background And Purpose: Grey matter (GM) atrophy is present from the earliest stages of multiple sclerosis (MS) and occurs largely in a nonrandom manner. However, the biological mechanisms underlying the progression of regional atrophy are still unclear. Aim of this study is to investigate whether amyloid pathology might be involved in determining the pattern of GM atrophy over time.

Methods: Forty-six subjects were recruited: 31 newly diagnosed relapsing-remitting (RR-) MS patients and 15 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC). Aβ levels were determined in CSF samples from all subjects. All participants underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at baseline, and 23 out of 31 patients at one year follow-up. T1-weighted scans were segmented using the Geodesic Information Flows software. Non-parametric statistical tests were used for between-group comparisons and multiple regression analyses.

Results: CSF Aβ concentration was the best predictor of global GM loss over time after age (β = 0.403; p = 0.024), in particular in the left precuneus (p = 0.045), in the left middle cingulate gyrus (p = 0.009), in the left precentral gyrus (p = 0.021) and in the right angular gyrus (p = 0.029).

Conclusions: CSF Aβ levels seem to be crucial in MS early brain volume loss as GM atrophy manifests in regions particularly vulnerable to early Aβ deposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2019.101899DOI Listing
December 2019

Age at symptom onset and death and disease duration in genetic frontotemporal dementia: an international retrospective cohort study.

Lancet Neurol 2020 02 3;19(2):145-156. Epub 2019 Dec 3.

Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière & Centre de Référence des Démences Rares ou précoces, Institut de la Mémoire et de la Maladie d'Alzheimer, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.

Background: Frontotemporal dementia is a heterogenous neurodegenerative disorder, with about a third of cases being genetic. Most of this genetic component is accounted for by mutations in GRN, MAPT, and C9orf72. In this study, we aimed to complement previous phenotypic studies by doing an international study of age at symptom onset, age at death, and disease duration in individuals with mutations in GRN, MAPT, and C9orf72.

Methods: In this international, retrospective cohort study, we collected data on age at symptom onset, age at death, and disease duration for patients with pathogenic mutations in the GRN and MAPT genes and pathological expansions in the C9orf72 gene through the Frontotemporal Dementia Prevention Initiative and from published papers. We used mixed effects models to explore differences in age at onset, age at death, and disease duration between genetic groups and individual mutations. We also assessed correlations between the age at onset and at death of each individual and the age at onset and at death of their parents and the mean age at onset and at death of their family members. Lastly, we used mixed effects models to investigate the extent to which variability in age at onset and at death could be accounted for by family membership and the specific mutation carried.

Findings: Data were available from 3403 individuals from 1492 families: 1433 with C9orf72 expansions (755 families), 1179 with GRN mutations (483 families, 130 different mutations), and 791 with MAPT mutations (254 families, 67 different mutations). Mean age at symptom onset and at death was 49·5 years (SD 10·0; onset) and 58·5 years (11·3; death) in the MAPT group, 58·2 years (9·8; onset) and 65·3 years (10·9; death) in the C9orf72 group, and 61·3 years (8·8; onset) and 68·8 years (9·7; death) in the GRN group. Mean disease duration was 6·4 years (SD 4·9) in the C9orf72 group, 7·1 years (3·9) in the GRN group, and 9·3 years (6·4) in the MAPT group. Individual age at onset and at death was significantly correlated with both parental age at onset and at death and with mean family age at onset and at death in all three groups, with a stronger correlation observed in the MAPT group (r=0·45 between individual and parental age at onset, r=0·63 between individual and mean family age at onset, r=0·58 between individual and parental age at death, and r=0·69 between individual and mean family age at death) than in either the C9orf72 group (r=0·32 individual and parental age at onset, r=0·36 individual and mean family age at onset, r=0·38 individual and parental age at death, and r=0·40 individual and mean family age at death) or the GRN group (r=0·22 individual and parental age at onset, r=0·18 individual and mean family age at onset, r=0·22 individual and parental age at death, and r=0·32 individual and mean family age at death). Modelling showed that the variability in age at onset and at death in the MAPT group was explained partly by the specific mutation (48%, 95% CI 35-62, for age at onset; 61%, 47-73, for age at death), and even more by family membership (66%, 56-75, for age at onset; 74%, 65-82, for age at death). In the GRN group, only 2% (0-10) of the variability of age at onset and 9% (3-21) of that of age of death was explained by the specific mutation, whereas 14% (9-22) of the variability of age at onset and 20% (12-30) of that of age at death was explained by family membership. In the C9orf72 group, family membership explained 17% (11-26) of the variability of age at onset and 19% (12-29) of that of age at death.

Interpretation: Our study showed that age at symptom onset and at death of people with genetic frontotemporal dementia is influenced by genetic group and, particularly for MAPT mutations, by the specific mutation carried and by family membership. Although estimation of age at onset will be an important factor in future pre-symptomatic therapeutic trials for all three genetic groups, our study suggests that data from other members of the family will be particularly helpful only for individuals with MAPT mutations. Further work in identifying both genetic and environmental factors that modify phenotype in all groups will be important to improve such estimates.

Funding: UK Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, and Alzheimer's Society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(19)30394-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7007771PMC
February 2020

Role for ATXN1, ATXN2, and HTT intermediate repeats in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Neurobiol Aging 2020 03 1;87:139.e1-139.e7. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

Movement Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon, Madrid, Spain.

We analyzed the frequency of intermediate alleles (IAs) in the ATXN1, ATXN2, and HTT genes in several neurodegenerative diseases. The study included 1126 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), 440 patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and 610 patients with Parkinson's disease. In all cohorts, we genotyped ATXN1 and ATXN2 CAG repeats. In addition, in the FTD cohort, we determined the number of HTT CAG repeats. The frequency of HTT IAs was higher in patients with FTD (6.9%) versus controls (2.9%) and in the C9orf72 expansion noncarriers (7.2%) versus controls (2.9%), although the difference was nonsignificant after correction for multiple testing. Compared with controls, progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA) groups showed a significantly higher frequency of HTT IAs (13.6% vs. 2.9% controls). For the ATXN2 gene, we observed an increase in IA frequency in AD cases (AD 4.1% vs. controls 1.8%) and in the behavioral FTD group (4.8% vs. 1.8%). For the ATXN1 gene, we found a significant increase of IAs in patients with PNFA (18.6%) versus controls (6.7%). In conclusion, our work suggests that the HTT and ATXN1 IAS may contribute to PNFA pathogenesis and point to a link between ATXN2 IAS and AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.10.017DOI Listing
March 2020

CSF β-amyloid predicts early cerebellar atrophy and is associated with a poor prognosis in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2020 Jan 21;37:101462. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Neurodegenerative Diseases Unit, Milan, Italy; University of Milan, Milan, Italy; Dino Ferrari Center, Milan, Italy.

Background: Neurodegeneration is present from the earliest stages of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is critically involved in MS related clinical disability. Aim of the present study was to assess the connection between amyloid burden and early cerebellar grey matter (GM) atrophy compared to early brain GM atrophy in MS patients.

Methods: Forty newly diagnosed relapsing-remitting (RR-) MS patients were recruited. β-amyloid1-42 (Aβ) levels were determined in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from all subjects. All participants underwent neurological examination and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at baseline. Twenty-nine out of 40 patients repeated a brain MRI at 1-year follow-up. T1-weighted scans were segmented using the Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) protocol and the Spatially Unbiased Infratentorial Toolbox (SUIT) from Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM12).

Results: Between-group comparison of cerebellar parenchymal fraction (GM+WM/total cerebellar volume%) showed significant differences between Aβ and Aβ at baseline (p < 0.0001) and follow-up (p = 0.02). Similarly, a between-group comparison of cerebellar GM fraction (GMF) showed significant differences between Aβ and Aβ at baseline (p = 0.002) and follow-up (p = 0.04). The multiple regression analysis showed CSF Aβ concentration as the best predictor of GMF both at baseline and over time (β = 0.505, β=0.377; p < 0.05). No significant results were found regarding global brain atrophy and CSF Aβ concentration.

Conclusions: Early cerebellar atrophy seems to be crucial in predicting a poor prognosis in MS, more than early global brain atrophy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2019.101462DOI Listing
January 2020