bims-tubesc Biomed News
on Molecular mechanisms in tuberous sclerosis
Issue of 2021‒04‒04
twelve papers selected by
Marti Cadena Sandoval

  1. J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Mar 24. pii: S0022-202X(21)01120-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal-dominant disorder characterized by hamartomatous tumors of the skin, kidneys, brain, and lungs. TSC is caused by mutations in the TSC1 and TSC2 genes, which result in hyperactivation of the mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR), leading to dysregulated cell growth and autophagy. Rapamycin (sirolimus) shrinks TSC tumors but clinical benefits of sirolimus are not sustained after its withdrawal. Here, we studied cellular processes critical for tumor formation and growth, including proliferation and cell size. TSC2-/- and TSC2+/- cells were isolated from TSC skin tumors and normal-appearing skin, respectively. Cells were incubated with sirolimus for 72 hours. Withdrawal of sirolimus from TSC2-/- cells resulted in a highly proliferative phenotype and caused cells to enter the S-phase of the cell cycle, with persistent phosphorylation of mTOR, p70 S6 kinase, ribosomal protein S6, and 4EBP1, decreased cyclin D kinase inhibitors and transient hyperactivation of Akt. Sirolimus modulated the estrogen- and autophagy-dependent volume of TSC2-/- cells. These results suggest that sirolimus may decrease the size of TSC tumors by reducing TSC2-/- cell volume, altering cell cycle and reprogramming TSC2-null cells.
    Keywords:  Lymphangioleiomyomatosis; Sirolimus; Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
  2. Epilepsia. 2021 Mar 29.
      OBJECTIVE: To study the association between timing and characteristics of the first electroencephalography (EEG) with epileptiform discharges (ED-EEG) and epilepsy and neurodevelopment at 24 months in infants with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).METHODS: Patients enrolled in the prospective Epileptogenesis in a genetic model of epilepsy - Tuberous sclerosis complex (EPISTOP) trial, had serial EEG monitoring until the age of 24 months. The timing and characteristics of the first ED-EEG were studied in relation to clinical outcome. Epilepsy-related outcomes were analyzed separately in a conventionally followed group (initiation of vigabatrin after seizure onset) and a preventive group (initiation of vigabatrin before seizures, but after appearance of interictal epileptiform discharges [IEDs]).
    RESULTS: Eighty-three infants with TSC were enrolled at a median age of 28 days (interquartile range [IQR] 14-54). Seventy-nine of 83 patients (95%) developed epileptiform discharges at a median age of 77 days (IQR 23-111). Patients with a pathogenic TSC2 variant were significantly younger (P-value .009) at first ED-EEG and more frequently had multifocal IED (P-value .042) than patients with a pathogenic TSC1 variant. A younger age at first ED-EEG was significantly associated with lower cognitive (P-value .010), language (P-value .001), and motor (P-value .013) developmental quotients at 24 months. In the conventional group, 48 of 60 developed seizures. In this group, the presence of focal slowing on the first ED-EEG was predictive of earlier seizure onset (P-value .030). Earlier recording of epileptiform discharges (P-value .019), especially when multifocal (P-value .026) was associated with higher risk of drug-resistant epilepsy. In the preventive group, timing, distribution of IED, or focal slowing, was not associated with the epilepsy outcomes. However, when multifocal IEDs were present on the first ED-EEG, preventive treatment delayed the onset of seizures significantly (P-value <.001).
    SIGNIFICANCE: Early EEG findings help to identify TSC infants at risk of severe epilepsy and neurodevelopmental delay and those who may benefit from preventive treatment with vigabatrin.
    Keywords:  EEG; epilepsy; epileptogenesis; neurodevelopment; tuberous sclerosis complex
  3. BMC Neurol. 2021 Mar 31. 21(1): 139
      BACKGROUND: Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) is occasionally seen in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Two main options are currently available for treating SEGA: surgical resection or pharmacotherapy using mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors (mTORi). We hypothesized that opportunities for surgical resection of SEGA would have reduced with the advent of mTORi.METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients treated between August 1979 and July 2020, divided into a pre-mTORi era group (Pre-group) of patients treated before November 2012, and a post-mTORi era group (Post-group) comprising patients treated from November 2012, when mTORi became available in Japan for SEGA. We compared groups in terms of treatment with surgery or mTORi. We also reviewed SEGA size, rate of acute hydrocephalus, recurrence of SEGA, malignant transformation and adverse effects of mTORi.
    RESULTS: In total, 120 patients with TSC visited our facility, including 24 patients with SEGA. Surgical resection was significantly more frequent in the Pre-group (6 of 7 patients, 86 %) than in the Post-group (2 of 17 patients, 12 %; p = 0.001). Acute hydrocephalus was seen in 1 patient (4 %), and no patients showed malignant transformation of SEGA. The group treated using mTORi showed significantly smaller SEGA compared with the group treated under a wait-and-see policy (p = 0.012). Adverse effects of pharmacotherapy were identified in seven (64 %; 6 oral ulcers, 1 irregular menstruation) of the 11 patients receiving mTORi.
    CONCLUSIONS: The Post-group underwent surgery significantly less often than the Pre-group. Since the treatment option to use mTORi in the treatment of SEGA in TSC became available, opportunities for surgical resection have decreased in our facility.
    Keywords:  Hydrocephalus; Interdisciplinary team; Mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor (mTORi); Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA); Surgery; Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)
  4. Brain Pathol. 2021 Mar 30. e12949
      Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a congenital disorder characterized by cortical malformations and concomitant epilepsy caused by loss-of-function mutations in the mTOR suppressors TSC1 or TSC2. While the underlying molecular changes caused by mTOR activation in TSC have previously been investigated, the drivers of these transcriptional change have not been fully elucidated. A better understanding of the perturbed transcriptional regulation could lead to the identification of novel pathways for therapeutic intervention not only in TSC, but other genetic epilepsies in which mTOR activation plays a key role, such as focal cortical dysplasia 2b (FCD). Here, we analyzed RNA sequencing data from cortical tubers and a tsc2-/- zebrafish. We identified differential expression of the transcription factors (TFs) SPI1/PU.1, IRF8, GBX2, and IKZF1 of which SPI1/PU.1 and IRF8 targets were enriched among the differentially expressed genes. Furthermore, for SPI1/PU.1 these findings were conserved in TSC zebrafish model. Next, we confirmed overexpression of SPI1/PU.1 on the RNA and protein level in a separate cohort of surgically resected TSC tubers and FCD tissue, in fetal TSC tissue, and a Tsc1GFAP-/- mouse model of TSC. Subsequently, we validated the expression of SPI1/PU.1 in dysmorphic cells with mTOR activation in TSC tubers. In fetal TSC, we detected SPI1/PU.1 expression prenatally and elevated RNA Spi1 expression in Tsc1GFAP-/- mice before the development of seizures. Finally, in vitro, we identified that in astrocytes and neurons SPI1 transcription was driven by H2 O2 -induced oxidative stress, independent of mTOR. We identified SPI1/PU.1 as a novel TF involved in the pro-inflammatory gene expression of malformed cells in TSC and FCD 2b. This transcriptional program is activated in response to oxidative stress and already present prenatally. Importantly, SPI1/PU.1 protein appears to be strictly limited to malformed cells, as we did not find SPI1/PU.1 protein expression in mice nor in our in vitro models.
    Keywords:  brain inflammation; epilepsy; focal cortical dysplasia; mTOR; oxidative stress; tuberous sclerosis complex
  5. Radiol Imaging Cancer. 2020 Sep;2(5): e190091
      Purpose: To determine the effect of chronic mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibition on skeletal muscle mass in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).Materials and Methods: In this retrospective study, patients with TSC who were taking mTOR inhibitors and who underwent at least two abdominal CT or MRI examinations between 2005 and 2017 were included (n = 24; 14 males; mean age, 14.5 years ± 7.8 [standard deviation] at first examination). One reviewer drew regions of interest around psoas muscles at L3 to measure cross-sectional area. Multiple linear mixed-effect modeling was performed to evaluate the association between muscle mass and the covariates over time.
    Results: The 24 patients underwent a total of 129 abdominal CT or MRI examinations. Median duration of mTOR inhibition at last examination was 106 months (range, 1310-3717 days). There was no significant association between the duration of mTOR inhibitor therapy and psoas muscle area on multiple linear mixed-effect modeling (P = .055); however, patient height and height squared were significant predictors of psoas area (P = .014 and P < .0001, respectively).
    Conclusion: Duration of mTOR inhibition in TSC was not significantly associated with a decrease in psoas muscle area, suggesting that chronic mTOR inhibition is not associated with sarcopenia.Keywords: CT, MR-Imaging, Pediatrics© RSNA, 2020.
  6. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2021 Apr 01.
      OBJECTIVE: Understanding treatment patterns associated with rare diseases can inform clinical research and guide healthcare policy development. Seizures are a primary and early disease manifestation of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). We aimed to describe the age-stratified patterns of antiseizure drug (ASD) treatments among children, adolescents, and adults with TSC in Germany. Additionally, we reviewed real-world and clinical study evidence regarding ASD utilization in patients with TSC.METHODS: We evaluated the pattern of routine ASD use and everolimus prescriptions based on a 2019 multicenter survey of 268 individuals with TSC-associated epilepsy. We contextualized the results with a structured review of real-world and clinical study evidence from persons with TSC worldwide.
    RESULTS: TSC-associated epilepsy treatment comprises a wide variety of ASDs. In this German sample, the majority of patients were treated with polytherapy, and lamotrigine (34.7%), valproate (32.8%), oxcarbazepine (28.7%), vigabatrin (19.0%), and levetiracetam (17.9%) were identified as the most-commonly used ASDs. In addition, everolimus was used by 32.5% of patients. In adherence to current TSC guidelines, the disease-modifying ASD vigabatrin was widely used in children (58% below the age of 5 years), whereas treatment in adults did not necessarily reflect guideline preference for (partial) GABAergic ASDs.
    CONCLUSIONS: The selection of ASDs for patients with TSC-associated epilepsy follows well-evaluated recommendations, including the guidelines regarding vigabatrin use in children. Several characteristics, such as the comparatively high frequency of valproate use and polytherapy, reflect the severity of TSC-associated epilepsy.
    Keywords:  Epilepsy; antiepileptic drug; mTOR inhibitor; medication; prescription pattern; rare disease; seizure; vigabatrin
  7. Pediatr Rep. 2021 Mar 01. 13(1): 104-112
      Background: Cardiac rhabdomyomas (CRs) are the most common cardiac tumors in newborns. Approximately 80-90% of cases are associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). In selective cases, Everolimus has resulted in a remarkable tumoral regression effect in children with TS. The optimal dosage for neonates is still unknown. Case presentation: We describe the use of Everolimus in a neonate with multiple biventricular CRs, causing subaortic obstruction, in which a low-dose treatment (0.1 mg/die), in an effort to maintain serum trough levels of 3-7 ng/mL, was successfully used off-label, without adverse effects. Conclusions: We showed that a low-dose Everolimus regimen may be an effective and safe treatment for CR regression in TS neonates, when the minimum therapeutic range was maintained.
    Keywords:  cardiac rhabdomyoma; everolimus; low dose; neonate; tuberous sclerosis
  8. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2021 Apr 02.
      AIMS: We understand little of the pathogenesis of developmental cortical lesions, because we understand little of the diversity of the cell types that contribute to the diseases or how those cells interact. We tested the hypothesis that cellular diversity and cell-cell interactions play an important role in these disorders by investigating the signalling molecules in the commonest cortical malformations that lead to childhood epilepsy, Focal Cortical Dysplasia (FCD) and Tuberous Sclerosis (TS).METHODS: Transcriptional profiling clustered cases into molecularly distinct groups. Using gene expression data, we identified the secretory signalling molecules in FCD/TS and characterised the cell types expressing these molecules. We developed a functional model using organotypic cultures.
    RESULTS: We identified 113 up-regulated secretory molecules in FCDIIB/TS. The top 12 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were validated by immunohistochemistry. This highlighted 2 molecules, Chitinase 3-like protein 1 (CHI3L1) and C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) (MCP1) that were expressed in a unique population of small cells in close proximity to balloon cells (BC). We then characterised these cells and developed a functional model in organotypic slice cultures. We found that the number of CHI3L1 and CCL2 expressing cells decreased following inhibition of mTOR, the main aberrant signalling pathway in TS and FCD.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight previously uncharacterised small cell populations in FCD and TS which express specific signalling molecules. These findings indicate a new level of diversity and cellular interactions in cortical malformations and provides a generalisable approach to understanding cell-cell interactions and cellular heterogeneity in developmental neuropathology.
    Keywords:  Balloon cells; CCL2; CHI3L1; Epilepsy; Focal Cortical Dysplasia; Molecular profiling; Tuberous Sclerosis; slice culture
  9. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 30. 11(1): 7170
      Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare destructive lung disease characterized by multiple thin-walled pulmonary cysts. The currently proposed diagnostic algorithm emphasizes the characteristic cystic appearance on high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) so uncommon HRCT appearances present challenges to establishing the proper LAM diagnosis. The objective of this study is to accrue uncommon chest HRCT appearances, determine frequencies in both tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)-associated LAM (TSC-LAM) and sporadic LAM (S-LAM) patients. 311 females referred to our hospital, including 272 S-LAM patients (mean age 39.2 years) and 39 TSC-LAM patients (mean age 38.3 years), were retrospectively evaluated. We found 2 types of radiologic findings likely to make HRCT cyst appearance atypical: characteristics of the cyst itself and uncommon findings in addition to cysts. We found that approximately 80% of LAM patients, whether TSC-associated or sporadic, showed typical HRCT appearance with mild to severe cystic destruction. The remaining 20% displayed unusual profiles in cyst appearance as well as additional findings aside from cyst: the former includes large cyst, thickened walls, and irregularly shaped whereas the latter includes ground glass attenuation and diffuse noncalcified nodules. It is important to be aware of various radiologic findings that make HRCT cystic appearance atypical of LAM.
  10. Neuropharmacology. 2021 Mar 29. pii: S0028-3908(21)00095-2. [Epub ahead of print] 108541
      Autophagy is a catabolic process that collects and degrades damaged or unwanted cellular materials such as protein aggregates. Defective brain autophagy has been linked to diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Autophagy is regulated by the protein kinase mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin). Although already demonstrated in vitro, it remains contentious whether inhibiting mTOR can enhance autophagy in the brain. To address this, mice were intraperitoneally injected with the mTOR inhibitor AZD2014 for seven days. mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) activity was decreased in liver and brain. Autophagic activity was increased by AZD2014 in both organs, as measured by immunoblotting for LC3 (microtubule-associated proteins-1A/1B light chain 3B) and measurement of autophagic flux in the cerebral cortex of transgenic mice expressing the EGFP-mRFP-LC3B transgene. mTOR activity was shown to correlate with changes in LC3. Thus, we show it is possible to promote autophagy in the brain using AZD2014, which will be valuable in tackling conditions associated with defective autophagy, especially neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  AZD2014; Autophagy; HeLa cells; TF-LC3; Vistusertib; brain; lysosome; mTOR; mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase
  11. Autophagy. 2021 Mar 28. 1-2
      ENDOG (endonuclease G), a mitochondrial endonuclease, is known to participate in apoptosis and paternal mitochondria elimination. However, the role and underlying mechanism of ENDOG in regulating macroautophagy remain unclear. We recently reported that ENDOG released from mitochondria promotes autophagy during starvation, which we demonstrated is evolutionarily conserved across species by performing experiments in human cell lines, mice, Drosophila, and C. elegans. This study demonstrates that ENDOG can be phosphorylated by GSK3B, which enhances the interaction between ENDOG with YWHAG and leads to the release of TSC2 and PIK3C3 from YWHAG, followed by MTOR pathway suppression and autophagy initiation. Additionally, the endonuclease activity of ENDOG is essential for activating the DNA damage response and thus inducing autophagy. Consequently, this study uncovered an exciting new role for ENDOG as a crucial regulator of autophagy.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; DNA damage response; ENDOG; MTOR; YWHAG
  12. Urol Oncol. 2021 Mar 25. pii: S1078-1439(20)30638-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVE: Unlike clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC), collecting duct carcinoma (CDC) and renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) are rare tumors that progress rapidly and appear resistant to current systemic therapies. We queried comprehensive genomic profiling to uncover opportunities for targeted therapy and immunotherapy.MATERIAL AND METHODS: DNA was extracted from 40 microns of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimen from relapsed, mCDC (n = 46), mRMC (n = 24), and refractory and metastatic (m) mCCRCC (n = 626). Comprehensive genomic profiling was performed, and Tumor mutational burden (TMB) and microsatellite instability (MSI) were calculated. We analyzed all classes of genomic alterations.
    RESULTS: mCDC had 1.7 versus 2.7 genomic alterations/tumor in mCCRCC ( = 0.04). Mutations in VHL (P < 0.0001) and TSC1 (P = 0.04) were more frequent in mCCRCC. SMARCB1 (P < 0.0001), NF2 (P = 0.0007), RB1 (P = 0.02) and RET (P = 0.0003) alterations were more frequent in mCDC versus mCCRCC. No VHL alterations in mRMC and mCDC were identified. SMARCB1 genomic alterations were significantly more frequent in mRMC than mCDC (P = 0.0002), but were the most common alterations in both subtypes. Mutations to EGFR, RET, NF2, and TSC2 were more frequently identified in mCDC versus mRMC. The median TMB and MSI-High status was low with <1% of mCCRC, mCDC, and mRMC having ≥ 20 mut/Mb.
    CONCLUSION: Genomic alteration patterns in mCDC and mRMC differ significantly from mCCRCC. Targeted therapies for mCDC and mRMC appear limited with rare opportunities to target alterations in receptor tyrosine kinase and MTOR pathways. Similarly, TMB and absence of MSI-High status in mCDC and mRMC suggest resistance to immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  Collecting duct RCC; Deep sequencing; Genetics; Kidney cancer; Medullary RCC