Publications by authors named "Patricia Rakopoulos"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Epigenetic activation of a RAS/MYC axis in H3.3K27M-driven cancer.

Nat Commun 2020 12 4;11(1):6216. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27M) mutations represent the canonical oncohistone, occurring frequently in midline gliomas but also identified in haematopoietic malignancies and carcinomas. H3K27M functions, at least in part, through widespread changes in H3K27 trimethylation but its role in tumour initiation remains obscure. To address this, we created a transgenic mouse expressing H3.3K27M in diverse progenitor cell populations. H3.3K27M expression drives tumorigenesis in multiple tissues, which is further enhanced by Trp53 deletion. We find that H3.3K27M epigenetically activates a transcriptome, enriched for PRC2 and SOX10 targets, that overrides developmental and tissue specificity and is conserved between H3.3K27M-mutant mouse and human tumours. A key feature of the H3K27M transcriptome is activation of a RAS/MYC axis, which we find can be targeted therapeutically in isogenic and primary DIPG cell lines with H3.3K27M mutations, providing an explanation for the common co-occurrence of alterations in these pathways in human H3.3K27M-driven cancer. Taken together, these results show how H3.3K27M-driven transcriptome remodelling promotes tumorigenesis and will be critical for targeting cancers with these mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19972-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718276PMC
December 2020

PINK1 Is a Negative Regulator of Growth and the Warburg Effect in Glioblastoma.

Cancer Res 2016 08 20;76(16):4708-19. Epub 2016 Jun 20.

The Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumor Research Centre, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. RS McLaughlin, Professor and Chairman, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario, Canada.

Proliferating cancer cells are characterized by high rates of glycolysis, lactate production, and altered mitochondrial metabolism. This metabolic reprogramming provides important metabolites for proliferation of tumor cells, including glioblastoma. These biological processes, however, generate oxidative stress that must be balanced through detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Using an unbiased retroviral loss-of-function screen in nontransformed human astrocytes, we demonstrate that mitochondrial PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) is a regulator of the Warburg effect and negative regulator of glioblastoma growth. We report that loss of PINK1 contributes to the Warburg effect through ROS-dependent stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor-1A and reduced pyruvate kinase muscle isozyme 2 activity, both key regulators of aerobic glycolysis. Mechanistically, PINK1 suppresses ROS and tumor growth through FOXO3a, a master regulator of oxidative stress and superoxide dismutase 2. These findings highlight the importance of PINK1 and ROS balance in normal and tumor cells. PINK1 loss was observed in a significant number of human brain tumors including glioblastoma (n > 900) and correlated with poor patient survival. PINK1 overexpression attenuates in vivo glioblastoma growth in orthotopic mouse xenograft models and a transgenic glioblastoma model in Drosophila Cancer Res; 76(16); 4708-19. ©2016 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-3079DOI Listing
August 2016

UTX inhibition as selective epigenetic therapy against TAL1-driven T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Genes Dev 2016 Mar;30(5):508-21

The Sprott Center for Stem Cell Research, Regenerative Medicine Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L6, Canada; Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L6, Canada; Ottawa Institute for Systems Biology, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L6, Canada;

T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a heterogeneous group of hematological tumors composed of distinct subtypes that vary in their genetic abnormalities, gene expression signatures, and prognoses. However, it remains unclear whether T-ALL subtypes differ at the functional level, and, as such, T-ALL treatments are uniformly applied across subtypes, leading to variable responses between patients. Here we reveal the existence of a subtype-specific epigenetic vulnerability in T-ALL by which a particular subgroup of T-ALL characterized by expression of the oncogenic transcription factor TAL1 is uniquely sensitive to variations in the dosage and activity of the histone 3 Lys27 (H3K27) demethylase UTX/KDM6A. Specifically, we identify UTX as a coactivator of TAL1 and show that it acts as a major regulator of the TAL1 leukemic gene expression program. Furthermore, we demonstrate that UTX, previously described as a tumor suppressor in T-ALL, is in fact a pro-oncogenic cofactor essential for leukemia maintenance in TAL1-positive (but not TAL1-negative) T-ALL. Exploiting this subtype-specific epigenetic vulnerability, we propose a novel therapeutic approach based on UTX inhibition through in vivo administration of an H3K27 demethylase inhibitor that efficiently kills TAL1-positive primary human leukemia. These findings provide the first opportunity to develop personalized epigenetic therapy for T-ALL patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.276790.115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4782046PMC
March 2016

Poly-ADP-Ribose Polymerase as a Therapeutic Target in Pediatric Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma and Pediatric High-Grade Astrocytoma.

Mol Cancer Ther 2015 Nov 8;14(11):2560-8. Epub 2015 Sep 8.

Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Division of Pathology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Pediatric high-grade astrocytomas (pHGA) and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) are devastating malignancies for which no effective therapies exist. We investigated the therapeutic potential of PARP1 inhibition in preclinical models of pHGA and DIPG. PARP1 levels were characterized in pHGA and DIPG patient samples and tumor-derived cell lines. The effects of PARP inhibitors veliparib, olaparib, and niraparib as monotherapy or as radiosensitizers on cell viability, DNA damage, and PARP1 activity were evaluated in a panel of pHGA and DIPG cell lines. Survival benefit of niraparib was examined in an orthotopic xenograft model of pHGA. About 85% of pHGAs and 76% of DIPG tissue microarray samples expressed PARP1. Six of 8 primary cell lines highly expressed PARP1. Interestingly, across multiple cell lines, some PARP1 protein expression was required for response to PARP inhibition; however, there was no correlation between protein level or PARP1 activity and sensitivity to PARP inhibitors. Niraparib was the most effective at reducing cell viability and proliferation (MTT and Ki67). Niraparib induced DNA damage (γH2AX foci) and induced growth arrest. Pretreatment of pHGA cells with a sublethal dose of niraparib (1 μmol/L) before 2 Gy of ionizing radiation (IR) decreased the rate of DNA damage repair, colony growth, and relative cell number. Niraparib (50 mg/kg) inhibited PARP1 activity in vivo and extended survival of mice with orthotopic pHGA xenografts, when administered before IR (20 Gy, fractionated), relative to control mice (40 vs. 25 days). Our data provide in vitro and in vivo evidence that niraparib may be an effective radiosensitizer for pHGA and DIPG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-15-0282DOI Listing
November 2015

High frequency of mismatch repair deficiency among pediatric high grade gliomas in Jordan.

Int J Cancer 2016 Jan 21;138(2):380-5. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

Department of Pathology, King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan.

Biallelic mismatch repair deficiency (bMMRD) is a cancer predisposition syndrome affecting primarily individuals from consanguinous families resulting in multiple childhood cancers including high grade gliomas (HGG). This is the first study to assess the prevalence of bMMRD among patients with HGG in countries where consanguinity is high. We collected molecular and clinical information on all children diagnosed with HGG and supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumors (sPNET) between 2003 and 2013 at King Hussein Cancer Center, Jordan. Comparison was made to a similar cohort from Toronto. Clinical data regarding presence of café au lait macules(CAL), family history of cancer, consanguinity, pathology and treatment were collected. Tumors were centrally reviewed and tested for MMRD by immunohistochemistry of the corresponding proteins. Forty-two patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria, including 36 with HGG. MMRD was observed in 39% of HGG of whom 79% also lost MMR staining in the corresponding normal cells suggestive of bMMRD. P53 dysfunction was highly enriched in MMR deficient tumors (p = 0.0003).The frequency of MMRD was significantly lower in Toronto cohort (23%, p = 0.03). Both evidence of CAL and consanguinity correlated with bMMRD (p = 0.005 and 0.05,respectively) but family history of cancer didn't. HGG with all three bMMRD risk factors had evidence of MMRD and all children affected by multiple bMMRD related cancers had identical gene loss by immunohistochemical staining. In Jordan, the frequency of clinical and immunohistochemical alterations suggestive of bMMRD in pediatric HGG is high. Genetic testing will enable appropriate counseling and cancer screening to improve survival of these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.29724DOI Listing
January 2016

Study of the biodistribution of fluorescein in glioma-infiltrated mouse brain and histopathological correlation of intraoperative findings in high-grade gliomas resected under fluorescein fluorescence guidance.

J Neurosurg 2015 Jun 3;122(6):1360-9. Epub 2015 Apr 3.

7Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine, Department of Neurological Surgery, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Object: Intravenous fluorescein sodium has been used during resection of high-grade gliomas to help the surgeon visualize tumor margins. Several studies have reported improved rates of gross-total resection (GTR) using high doses of fluorescein sodium under white light. The recent introduction of a fluorescein-specific camera that allows for high-quality intraoperative imaging and use of very low dose fluorescein has drawn new attention to this fluorophore. However, the ability of fluorescein to specifically stain glioma cells is not yet well understood.

Methods: The authors designed an in vitro model to assess fluorescein uptake in normal human astrocytes and U251 malignant glioma cells. An in vivo experiment was also subsequently designed to study fluorescein uptake by intracranial U87 malignant glioma xenografts in male nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice. A genetically induced mouse glioma model was used to adjust for the possible confounding effect of an inflammatory response in the xenograft model. To assess the intraoperative application of this technology, the authors prospectively enrolled 12 patients who underwent fluorescein-guided resection of their high-grade gliomas using low-dose intravenous fluorescein and a microscope-integrated fluorescence module. Intraoperative fluorescent and nonfluorescent specimens at the tumor margins were randomly analyzed for histopathological correlation.

Results: The in vitro and in vivo models suggest that fluorescein demarcation of glioma-invaded brain is the result of distribution of fluorescein into the extracellular space, most likely as a result of an abnormal blood-brain barrier. Glioblastoma tumor cell-specific uptake of fluorescein was not observed, and tumor cells appeared to mostly exclude fluorescein. For the 12 patients who underwent resection of their high-grade gliomas, the histopathological analysis of the resected specimens at the tumor margin confirmed the intraoperative fluorescent findings. Fluorescein fluorescence was highly specific (up to 90.9%) while its sensitivity was 82.2%. False negatives occurred due to lack of fluorescence in areas of diffuse, low-density cellular infiltration. Margins of contrast enhancement based on intraoperative MRI-guided StealthStation neuronavigation correlated well with fluorescent tumor margins. GTR of the contrast-enhancing area as guided by the fluorescent signal was achieved in 100% of cases based on postoperative MRI.

Conclusions: Fluorescein sodium does not appear to selectively accumulate in astrocytoma cells but in extracellular tumor cell-rich locations, suggesting that fluorescein is a marker for areas of compromised blood-brain barrier within high-grade astrocytoma. Fluorescein fluorescence appears to correlate intraoperatively with the areas of MR enhancement, thus representing a practical tool to help the surgeon achieve GTR of the enhancing tumor regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2015.2.JNS132507DOI Listing
June 2015

BRAF mutation and CDKN2A deletion define a clinically distinct subgroup of childhood secondary high-grade glioma.

J Clin Oncol 2015 Mar 9;33(9):1015-22. Epub 2015 Feb 9.

Matthew Mistry, Nataliya Zhukova, Daniele Merico, Rahul Krishnatry, Mary Shago, James Stavropoulos, Noa Alon, Peter N. Ray, Vilma Navickiene, Joshua Mangerel, Marc Remke, Vijay Ramaswamy, Ana Guerreiro Stucklin, Martin Li, Edwin J. Young, Cindy Zhang, Pedro Castelo-Branco, Doua Bakry, Suzanne Laughlin, James T. Rutka, Peter B. Dirks, Michael D. Taylor, Mark Greenberg, David Malkin, Annie Huang, Eric Bouffet, Cynthia E. Hawkins, and Uri Tabori; The Hospital for Sick Children; Matthew Mistry, Patricia Rakopoulos, Rahul Krishnatry, Joshua Mangerel, Pawel Buczkowicz, Ana Guerreiro Stucklin, Doua Bakry, Adam Shlien, Mark Greenberg, David Malkin, Annie Huang, Eric Bouffet, Cynthia E. Hawkins, and Uri Tabori, University of Toronto; Jason D. Pole, Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario; Jennifer Chan, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Pedro Castelo-Branco, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal; Keith L. Ligon, Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer Center, Boston, MA.

Purpose: To uncover the genetic events leading to transformation of pediatric low-grade glioma (PLGG) to secondary high-grade glioma (sHGG).

Patients And Methods: We retrospectively identified patients with sHGG from a population-based cohort of 886 patients with PLGG with long clinical follow-up. Exome sequencing and array CGH were performed on available samples followed by detailed genetic analysis of the entire sHGG cohort. Clinical and outcome data of genetically distinct subgroups were obtained.

Results: sHGG was observed in 2.9% of PLGGs (26 of 886 patients). Patients with sHGG had a high frequency of nonsilent somatic mutations compared with patients with primary pediatric high-grade glioma (HGG; median, 25 mutations per exome; P = .0042). Alterations in chromatin-modifying genes and telomere-maintenance pathways were commonly observed, whereas no sHGG harbored the BRAF-KIAA1549 fusion. The most recurrent alterations were BRAF V600E and CDKN2A deletion in 39% and 57% of sHGGs, respectively. Importantly, all BRAF V600E and 80% of CDKN2A alterations could be traced back to their PLGG counterparts. BRAF V600E distinguished sHGG from primary HGG (P = .0023), whereas BRAF and CDKN2A alterations were less commonly observed in PLGG that did not transform (P < .001 and P < .001 respectively). PLGGs with BRAF mutations had longer latency to transformation than wild-type PLGG (median, 6.65 years [range, 3.5 to 20.3 years] v 1.59 years [range, 0.32 to 15.9 years], respectively; P = .0389). Furthermore, 5-year overall survival was 75% ± 15% and 29% ± 12% for children with BRAF mutant and wild-type tumors, respectively (P = .024).

Conclusion: BRAF V600E mutations and CDKN2A deletions constitute a clinically distinct subtype of sHGG. The prolonged course to transformation for BRAF V600E PLGGs provides an opportunity for surgical interventions, surveillance, and targeted therapies to mitigate the outcome of sHGG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2014.58.3922DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4356711PMC
March 2015

Alternative lengthening of telomeres is enriched in, and impacts survival of TP53 mutant pediatric malignant brain tumors.

Acta Neuropathol 2014 Dec 15;128(6):853-62. Epub 2014 Oct 15.

The Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumor Research Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Although telomeres are maintained in most cancers by telomerase activation, a subset of tumors utilize alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) to sustain self-renewal capacity. In order to study the prevalence and significance of ALT in childhood brain tumors we screened 517 pediatric brain tumors using the novel C-circle assay. We examined the association of ALT with alterations in genes found to segregate with specific histological phenotypes and with clinical outcome. ALT was detected almost exclusively in malignant tumors (p = 0.001). ALT was highly enriched in primitive neuroectodermal tumors (12 %), choroid plexus carcinomas (23 %) and high-grade gliomas (22 %). Furthermore, in contrast to adult gliomas, pediatric low grade gliomas which progressed to high-grade tumors did not exhibit the ALT phenotype. Somatic but not germline TP53 mutations were highly associated with ALT (p = 1.01 × 10(-8)). Of the other alterations examined, only ATRX point mutations and reduced expression were associated with the ALT phenotype (p = 0.0005). Interestingly, ALT attenuated the poor outcome conferred by TP53 mutations in specific pediatric brain tumors. Due to very poor prognosis, one year overall survival was quantified in malignant gliomas, while in children with choroid plexus carcinoma, five year overall survival was investigated. For children with TP53 mutant malignant gliomas, one year overall survival was 63 ± 12 and 23 ± 10 % for ALT positive and negative tumors, respectively (p = 0.03), while for children with TP53 mutant choroid plexus carcinomas, 5 years overall survival was 67 ± 19 and 27 ± 13 % for ALT positive and negative tumors, respectively (p = 0.07). These observations suggest that the presence of ALT is limited to a specific group of childhood brain cancers which harbor somatic TP53 mutations and may influence the outcome of these patients. Analysis of ALT may contribute to risk stratification and targeted therapies to improve outcome for these children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-014-1348-1DOI Listing
December 2014

Genomic analysis of diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas identifies three molecular subgroups and recurrent activating ACVR1 mutations.

Nat Genet 2014 May 6;46(5):451-6. Epub 2014 Apr 6.

1] Division of Pathology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [2] Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [3] Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [4].

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a fatal brain cancer that arises in the brainstem of children, with no effective treatment and near 100% fatality. The failure of most therapies can be attributed to the delicate location of these tumors and to the selection of therapies on the basis of assumptions that DIPGs are molecularly similar to adult disease. Recent studies have unraveled the unique genetic makeup of this brain cancer, with nearly 80% found to harbor a p.Lys27Met histone H3.3 or p.Lys27Met histone H3.1 alteration. However, DIPGs are still thought of as one disease, with limited understanding of the genetic drivers of these tumors. To understand what drives DIPGs, we integrated whole-genome sequencing with methylation, expression and copy number profiling, discovering that DIPGs comprise three molecularly distinct subgroups (H3-K27M, silent and MYCN) and uncovering a new recurrent activating mutation affecting the activin receptor gene ACVR1 in 20% of DIPGs. Mutations in ACVR1 were constitutively activating, leading to SMAD phosphorylation and increased expression of the downstream activin signaling targets ID1 and ID2. Our results highlight distinct molecular subgroups and novel therapeutic targets for this incurable pediatric cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.2936DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997489PMC
May 2014

Tissue-specific splicing of a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor is essential for muscle differentiation.

Genes Dev 2013 Jun 30;27(11):1247-59. Epub 2013 May 30.

Sprott Center for Stem Cell Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L6, Canada.

Alternate splicing contributes extensively to cellular complexity by generating protein isoforms with divergent functions. However, the role of alternate isoforms in development remains poorly understood. Mef2 transcription factors are essential transducers of cell signaling that modulate differentiation of many cell types. Among Mef2 family members, Mef2D is unique, as it undergoes tissue-specific splicing to generate a muscle-specific isoform. Since the ubiquitously expressed (Mef2Dα1) and muscle-specific (Mef2Dα2) isoforms of Mef2D are both expressed in muscle, we examined the relative contribution of each Mef2D isoform to differentiation. Using both in vitro and in vivo models, we demonstrate that Mef2D isoforms act antagonistically to modulate differentiation. While chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing analysis shows that the Mef2D isoforms bind an overlapping set of genes, only Mef2Dα2 activates late muscle transcription. Mechanistically, the differential ability of Mef2D isoforms to activate transcription depends on their susceptibility to phosphorylation by protein kinase A (PKA). Phosphorylation of Mef2Dα1 by PKA provokes its association with corepressors. Conversely, exon switching allows Mef2Dα2 to escape this inhibitory phosphorylation, permitting recruitment of Ash2L for transactivation of muscle genes. Thus, our results reveal a novel mechanism in which a tissue-specific alternate splicing event has evolved that permits a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor to escape inhibitory signaling for temporal regulation of gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.215400.113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3690398PMC
June 2013

K27M mutation in histone H3.3 defines clinically and biologically distinct subgroups of pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas.

Acta Neuropathol 2012 Sep 3;124(3):439-47. Epub 2012 Jun 3.

Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Pediatric glioblastomas (GBM) including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) are devastating brain tumors with no effective therapy. Here, we investigated clinical and biological impacts of histone H3.3 mutations. Forty-two DIPGs were tested for H3.3 mutations. Wild-type versus mutated (K27M-H3.3) subgroups were compared for HIST1H3B, IDH, ATRX and TP53 mutations, copy number alterations and clinical outcome. K27M-H3.3 occurred in 71 %, TP53 mutations in 77 % and ATRX mutations in 9 % of DIPGs. ATRX mutations were more frequent in older children (p < 0.0001). No G34V/R-H3.3, IDH1/2 or H3.1 mutations were identified. K27M-H3.3 DIPGs showed specific copy number changes, including all gains/amplifications of PDGFRA and MYC/PVT1 loci. Notably, all long-term survivors were H3.3 wild type and this group of patients had better overall survival. K27M-H3.3 mutation defines clinically and biologically distinct subgroups and is prevalent in DIPG, which will impact future therapeutic trial design. K27M- and G34V-H3.3 have location-based incidence (brainstem/cortex) and potentially play distinct roles in pediatric GBM pathogenesis. K27M-H3.3 is universally associated with short survival in DIPG, while patients wild-type for H3.3 show improved survival. Based on prognostic and therapeutic implications, our findings argue for H3.3-mutation testing at diagnosis, which should be rapidly integrated into the clinical decision-making algorithm, particularly in atypical DIPG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-012-0998-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3422615PMC
September 2012