bims-tubesc Biomed News
on Molecular mechanisms in tuberous sclerosis
Issue of 2021‒03‒14
ten papers selected by
Marti Cadena Sandoval

  1. Dev Neurosci. 2021 Mar 11. 1-7
      The tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), focal cortical dysplasia IIB (FCD IIB), and hemimegalencephaly (HME) exhibit similar molecular features that are dependent on the hyperactivation of the mTOR pathway. They are all associated with refractory epilepsy and the need for surgical resection with varying outcomes. The phosphorylated protein S6 (pS6) is a downstream target of mTOR, whose increased expression might indicate mTOR hyperactivation, but which is also present when there is no alteration in the pathway (such as in FCD type I). We have performed immunohistochemical marking and quantification of pS6 in resected brain specimens of 26 patients clinically and histologically diagnosed with TSC, FCD IIB, or HME and compared this data to a control group of 25 patients, to measure the extent of pS6 positivity and its correlation with clinical aspects. Our results suggest that pS6 may serve as a reliable biomarker in epilepsy and that a greater percentage of pS6 marking can relate to more severe forms of mTOR-dependent brain anomalies.
    Keywords:  Biomarker; Epilepsy; Protein S6; Surgery
  2. J Trop Pediatr. 2021 Jan 29. pii: fmab012. [Epub ahead of print]67(1):
      OBJECTIVE: We describe the clinical and genetic features, drug use and neuropsychiatric disorders of infants diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) within 3 months of age at a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to better understand the different outcomes from early screening.METHODS: In this retrospective study, we consisted of 42 infants with a definitive TSC diagnosis by genetic criteria (TSC1 = 8, TSC2 = 34). The different phenotypes and outcomes between patients with TSC1 and TSC2 mutations were analyzed.
    RESULTS: The most common initial presenting features of TSC were cortical tubers on magnetic resonance imaging (50%), hypomelanotic macules on skin (47.61%) and spasm (42.85%), when they were diagnosed. Following disease progression to time of follow-up 1 year later, we found that the rate of epilepsy increased from 42.85% to 75.61% and that of cardiac rhabdomyoma increased from 28.57% to 43.9%. The median age at first presentation was 7.84 ± 1.88 months. We also found that 54.83% of patients on medication were seizure free for over 1 year, and that 43.9% of patients have intellectual disability. In total, 42 variants of TSC were detected, including 12 novel variants. We found no evidence of an association between different clinical features and their outcomes among patients with different gene mutations.
    CONCLUSION: Early diagnosis of TSC in NICU opens a window of opportunity for early, more effective treatment of epilepsy as well as reduces the risk of neurological conditions.
    Keywords:  clinical outcomes; early diagnosis; phenotype-genotype; tuberous sclerosis complex
  3. Eur Radiol. 2021 Mar 10.
      OBJECTIVES: To investigate the usefulness of neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI) in evaluating cortical tubers, especially epileptogenic tubers in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) patients.METHODS: High-resolution conventional MRI and multi-shell diffusion-weighted imaging were performed in 27 TSC patients. Diffusion images were fitted to NODDI and DTI models. Tubers were visually assessed on different image types and scored by two neuroradiologists. For 10 patients who underwent epilepsy surgery, the contrast ratios between lesion and background tissue were measured on different image types, and these were compared between 16 epileptogenic tubers and 92 non-epileptogenic tubers.
    RESULTS: There were significant differences in lesion conspicuity scores and lesion-background contrast ratios across different sequences (both p < 0.001). The post hoc analysis showed that both the conspicuity scores and contrast ratios of intracellular volume fraction (ICVF) derived from NODDI were higher than other image types. For the 16 epileptogenic tubers, lesion visibility on ICVF was better/equal in 4/12 tubers compared with conventional MRI and better/equal in 5/11 tubers compared with DTI. Significant differences were observed between epileptogenic and non-epileptogenic tubers on diffusion maps, especially on orientation dispersion index derived from NODDI (p < 0.0001).
    CONCLUSIONS: ICVF demonstrated higher contrast than conventional MRI and DTI, which helped detection of subtle epileptogenic tubers. Moreover, NODDI parameters showed the potential to identify epileptogenicity.
    KEY POINTS: • The noninvasive localization of epileptogenic cortical tubers is essential for the preparation of epilepsy surgery for TSC patients. • ICVF derived from NODDI showed greater contrast than conventional MRI and DTI in detecting tubers, especially subtle epileptogenic ones. • Diffusion parameters, especially ODI derived from NODDI, can support the identification of epileptogenicity.
    Keywords:  Diffusion; Diffusion tensor imaging; Epilepsy; Magnetic resonance imaging; Tuberous sclerosis complex
  4. EClinicalMedicine. 2021 Feb;32 100715
      Background: Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder characterised by the development of benign tumours secondary to loss of inhibitory regulation of the mTOR (mechanistic Target of Rapamycin) intracellular growth pathway. Metformin inhibits the mTOR pathway. We investigated whether metformin would reduce growth of hamartomas associated with tuberous sclerosis complex.Methods: In this multicentre randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients with a clinical diagnosis of tuberous sclerosis, aged over 10 years and with at least one renal angiomyolipoma of greater than 1 cm in diameter were enrolled. Participants were randomly allocated (1:1) by a secure website to receive metformin or placebo for 12 months. The primary outcome was percentage volume change of renal angiomyolipomas (AML) at 12 months compared to baseline. Secondary outcomes were percentage change at 12 months from baseline in volume of cerebral Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytomas (SEGA); appearance of facial and ungual hamartomas; frequency of epileptic seizures; and adaptive behaviour. The trial is registered with The International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN), number 92545532, and the European Union Drug Regulating Authorities Clinical Trials (EUDRACT), number 2011-001319-30.
    Findings: Between 1 November 2012 and 30 September 2015 72 patients were screened and 55 were randomly assigned to metformin (28) or placebo (27). Four participants withdrew between randomisation and starting treatment. All 51 patients who started therapy completed the trial and were assessed for outcome at 12 months. The median percentage change in angiomyolipoma (AML) volume was +7.6% (IQR -1.8% to +42.6%) for the placebo group and +8.9% (IQR 1.3% to 19.5%) for the metformin group (p = 0.28). Twenty-seven patients had SEGAs: 13 received placebo and 14 metformin. The median percentage change in SEGA volume was +3.0% (IQR -22.8% to +27.7%) for the placebo group and - 20.8% (IQR - 47.1% to - 5.0%) for the metformin group (p = 0.03). Twenty-one patients were assessed for seizure frequency: 9 received placebo and 12 received metformin. In the metformin group, a mean reduction of 43.7% from baseline in seizures was observed and in the placebo group a 3.1% mean reduction was observed, with a difference in response of 40.6% (95% CI -3.1% to +84.2%, p = 0.03). There were no significant differences between metformin and placebo groups for the other secondary outcomes. There were no deaths. Three serious adverse events (SAEs) occurred during the trial (all patients on metformin).
    Interpretation: Metformin did not reduce AML volume. Metformin did reduce SEGA volume and seizure frequency compared with placebo. There may be a role for metformin in slowing or reversing growth of some life-threatening hamartomas in TSC and for reducing seizure frequency. Further study is justified.
    Funding: This study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Research (NIHR) through the The Research for Patient Benefit Programme (RfPB).
  5. Front Genet. 2020 ;11 575750
      Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a rare multisystem autosomal dominant genetic disease that occurs between 1 in 6,000 and 1 in 10,000 live births. Additionally, renal angiomyolipoma is the most common form of renal disease in patients affected by TSC. Although a genetic mutation analysis of TSC is not rare, the correlation between the TSC gene mutation and renal angiomyolipoma phenotype is poorly understood. This study aims to analyze the mutation sites in 261 types of selected TSC patients. The results reveal that: (1) female patients develop more renal angiomyolipoma than male patients [p = 0.008, OR = 2.474, 95%CI (1.258-4.864)]; (2). The missense mutation of TSC1 led to a higher risk of renal angiomyolipoma [p < 0.01, OR = 15, 95%CI (2.859-78.691)], and in contrast, showed a reduced risk in patients with frameshift mutation [p = 0.03, OR = 0.252, 95%CI (0.07-0.912)]; (3). Patients with TSC2 mutations in the transcription activation domain 1 coding genes, had increased renal angiomyolipoma [p = 0.019, OR = 3.519, 95%CI (1.226-10.101)]. Therefore, our genotype-phenotype correlation study might shed light on the early monitoring and evaluation of renal angiomyolipoma in TSC patients.
    Keywords:  correlation assay; genotype; phenotype; renal angiomyolipoma; tuberous sclerosis complex
  6. Epilepsia Open. 2021 Mar;6(1): 160-170
      Objective: Clinical care of rare and complex epilepsies is challenging, because evidence-based treatment guidelines are scarce, the experience of many physicians is limited, and interdisciplinary treatment of comorbidities is required. The pathomechanisms of rare epilepsies are, however, increasingly understood, which potentially fosters novel targeted therapies. The objectives of our survey were to obtain an overview of the clinical practice in European tertiary epilepsy centers treating patients with 5 arbitrarily selected rare epilepsies and to get an estimate of potentially available patients for future studies.Methods: Members of the European Reference Network for rare and complex epilepsies (EpiCARE) were invited to participate in a web-based survey on clinical practice of patients with Dravet syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), autoimmune encephalitis, and progressive myoclonic epilepsies including Unverricht Lundborg and Unverricht-like diseases. A consensus-based questionnaire was generated for each disease.
    Results: Twenty-six of 30 invited epilepsy centers participated. Cohorts were present in most responding centers for TSC (87%), Dravet syndrome (85%), and autoimmune encephalitis (71%). Patients with TSC and Dravet syndrome represented the largest cohorts in these centers. The antiseizure drug treatments were rather consistent across the centers especially with regard to Dravet syndrome, infantile spasms in TSC, and Unverricht Lundborg / Unverricht-like disease. Available, widely used targeted therapies included everolimus in TSC and immunosuppressive therapies in autoimmune encephalitis. Screening for comorbidities was routinely done, but specific treatment protocols were lacking in most centers.
    Significance: The survey summarizes the current clinical practice for selected rare epilepsies in tertiary European epilepsy centers and demonstrates consistency as well as heterogeneity in the treatment, underscoring the need for controlled trials and recommendations. The survey also provides estimates for potential participants of clinical trials recruited via EpiCARE, emphasizing the great potential of Reference Networks for future studies to evaluate new targeted therapies and to identify novel biomarkers.
    Keywords:  Dravet syndrome; autoimmune encephalitis; orphan disease; progressive myoclonic epilepsy; targeted therapies; tuberous sclerosis complex
  7. Cancer Res. 2021 Mar 08. pii: canres.3232.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      PI3Kα inhibitors have shown clinical activity in PIK3CA-mutated estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer patients. Using whole genome CRISPR/Cas9 sgRNA knockout screens, we identified and validated several negative regulators of mTORC1 whose loss confers resistance to PI3Kα inhibition. Among the top candidates were TSC1, TSC2, TBC1D7, AKT1S1, STK11, MARK2, PDE7A, DEPDC5, NPRL2, NPRL3, C12orf66, SZT2 and ITFG2. Loss of these genes invariably results in sustained mTOR signaling under pharmacological inhibition of the PI3K-AKT pathway. Moreover, resistance could be prevented or overcome by mTOR inhibition, confirming the causative role of sustained mTOR activity in limiting the sensitivity to PI3Kα inhibition. Cumulatively, genomic alterations affecting these genes are identified in about 15% of PIK3CA-mutated breast tumors and appear to be mutually exclusive. This study improves our understanding of the role of mTOR signaling restoration in leading to resistance to PI3Kα inhibition and proposes therapeutic strategies to prevent or revert this resistance.
  8. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 633725
      Intracellular deposition of hyperphosphorylated tau has been reported in the brain of epilepsy patients, but its contribution to epileptic seizures and the association with spatial cognitive functions remain unclear. Here, we found that repeated optogenetic stimulation of the excitatory neurons in ventral hippocampal CA1 subset could induce a controllable epileptic seizure in mice. Simultaneously, the mice showed spatial learning and memory deficits with a prominently elevated total tau and phospho-tau levels in the brain. Importantly, selective facilitating tau degradation by using a novel designed proteolysis-targeting chimera named C4 could effectively ameliorate the epileptic seizures with remarkable restoration of neuronal firing activities and improvement of spatial learning and memory functions. These results confirm that abnormal tau accumulation plays a pivotal role in the epileptic seizures and the epilepsy-associated spatial memory impairments, which provides new molecular target for the therapeutics.
    Keywords:  cognitive impairment; epilepsy; mouse model; optogenetics; tau hyperphosphorylation
  9. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdaa149
      Background: Metabolic reprogramming is a common feature in cancer, and it is critical to facilitate cancer cell growth. Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 1/2 (IDH1 and IDH2) mutations (IDHmut) are the most common genetic alteration in glioma grade II and III and secondary glioblastoma and these mutations increase reliance on glutamine metabolism, suggesting a potential vulnerability. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the brain penetrant glutamine antagonist prodrug JHU-083 reduces glioma cell growth.Material and Methods: We performed cell growth, cell cycle, and protein expression in glutamine deprived or Glutaminase (GLS) gene silenced glioma cells. We tested the effect of JHU-083 on cell proliferation, metabolism, and mTOR signaling in cancer cell lines. An orthotopic IDH1R132H glioma model was used to test the efficacy of JHU-083 in vivo.
    Results: Glutamine deprivation and GLS gene silencing reduced glioma cell proliferation in vitro in glioma cells. JHU-083 reduced glioma cell growth in vitro, modulated cell metabolism, and disrupted mTOR signaling and downregulated Cyclin D1 protein expression, through a mechanism independent of TSC2 modulation and glutaminolysis. IDH1R132H isogenic cells preferentially reduced cell growth and mTOR signaling downregulation. In addition, guanine supplementation partially rescued IDHmut glioma cell growth, mTOR signaling, and Cyclin D1 protein expression in vitro. Finally, JHU-083 extended survival in an intracranial IDH1 mut glioma model and reduced intracranial pS6 protein expression.
    Conclusion: Targeting glutamine metabolism with JHU-083 showed efficacy in preclinical models of IDHmut glioma and measurably decreased mTOR signaling.
    Keywords:  IDH mutation; cell cycle; glioma; glutamine metabolism; mTOR signaling