bims-metalz Biomed News
on Metabolic causes of Alzheimer’s disease
Issue of 2023‒04‒30
eight papers selected by
Mikaila Chetty
Goa University

  1. Front Neurosci. 2023 ;17 1153422
      A healthy gut flora contains a diverse and stable commensal group of microorganisms, whereas, in disease conditions, there is a shift toward pathogenic microbes, termed microbial dysbiosis. Many studies associate microbial dysbiosis with neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Multiple sclerosis (MS), and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Although, an overall comparative analysis of microbes and their metabolic involvement in these diseases is still lacking. In this study, we have performed a comparative analysis of microbial composition changes occurring in these four diseases. Our research showed a high resemblance of microbial dysbiosis signatures between AD, PD, and MS. However, ALS appeared dissimilar. The most common population of microbes to show an increase belonged to the phyla, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Firmicutes. Although, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes were the only phyla that showed a decrease in their population. The functional analysis of these dysbiotic microbes showed several potential metabolic links which can be involved in the altered microbiome-gut-brain axis in neurodegenerative diseases. For instance, the microbes with elevated populations lack pathways for synthesizing SCFA acetate and butyrate. Also, these microbes have a high capacity for producing L-glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter and precursor of GABA. Contrastingly, Tryptophan and histamine have a lower representation in the annotated genome of elevated microbes. Finally, the neuroprotective compound spermidine was less represented in elevated microbes' genomes. Our study provides a comprehensive catalog of potential dysbiotic microbes and their metabolic involvement in neurodegenerative disorders, including AD, PD, MS, and ALS.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Multiple sclerosis; Parkinson's disease; microbial dysbiosis; neuro-immunomodulatory compound; neuroprotective compound; neurotransmitter
  2. Toxics. 2023 Mar 29. pii: 322. [Epub ahead of print]11(4):
      Heavy metals play an important endocrine-disrupting role in the health consequences. However, the endocrine-disrupting mechanism of heavy metals is unclear. There are long-term and low-level metal/element exposure scenes for the human body in real life. Therefore, animal models exposed to high doses of heavy metals may not provide key information to elucidate the underlying pathogeny of human diseases. This review collects current knowledge regarding the endocrine-disrupting roles of heavy metals such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and manganese (Mn), summarizes the possible molecular mechanisms of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and briefly evaluates their endocrine toxicity on animals and humans.
    Keywords:  elements; endocrine disruption; estrogen; health; heavy metals; thyroid hormone
  3. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Apr 13. pii: 7178. [Epub ahead of print]24(8):
      Exposure to heavy metals, including cadmium (Cd), can induce neurotoxicity and cell death. Cd is abundant in the environment and accumulates in the striatum, the primary brain region selectively affected by Huntington's disease (HD). We have previously reported that mutant huntingtin protein (mHTT) combined with chronic Cd exposure induces oxidative stress and promotes metal dyshomeostasis, resulting in cell death in a striatal cell model of HD. To understand the effect of acute Cd exposure on mitochondrial health and protein degradation pathways, we hypothesized that expression of mHTT coupled with acute Cd exposure would cooperatively alter mitochondrial bioenergetics and protein degradation mechanisms in striatal STHdh cells to reveal novel pathways that augment Cd cytotoxicity and HD pathogenicity. We report that mHTT cells are significantly more susceptible to acute Cd-induced cell death as early as 6 h after 40 µM CdCl2 exposure compared with wild-type (WT). Confocal microscopy, biochemical assays, and immunoblotting analysis revealed that mHTT and acute Cd exposure synergistically impair mitochondrial bioenergetics by reducing mitochondrial potential and cellular ATP levels and down-regulating the essential pro-fusion proteins MFN1 and MFN2. These pathogenic effects triggered cell death. Furthermore, Cd exposure increases the expression of autophagic markers, such as p62, LC3, and ATG5, and reduces the activity of the ubiquitin-proteasome system to promote neurodegeneration in HD striatal cells. Overall, these results reveal a novel mechanism to further establish Cd as a pathogenic neuromodulator in striatal HD cells via Cd-triggered neurotoxicity and cell death mediated by an impairment in mitochondrial bioenergetics and autophagy with subsequent alteration in protein degradation pathways.
    Keywords:  autophagy; bioenergetics; cadmium; huntington’s disease; mitochondrial dynamics; neurodegeneration; neurotoxicity; ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS)
  4. Nat Aging. 2023 Apr 03.
      Aging is a primary risk factor for neurodegenerative disorders that involve protein aggregation. Because lowering body temperature is one of the most effective mechanisms to extend longevity in both poikilotherms and homeotherms, a better understanding of cold-induced changes can lead to converging modifiers of pathological protein aggregation. Here, we find that cold temperature (15 °C) selectively induces the trypsin-like activity of the proteasome in Caenorhabditis elegans through PSME-3, the worm orthologue of human PA28γ/PSME3. This proteasome activator is required for cold-induced longevity and ameliorates age-related deficits in protein degradation. Moreover, cold-induced PA28γ/PSME-3 diminishes protein aggregation in C. elegans models of age-related diseases such as Huntington's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Notably, exposure of human cells to moderate cold temperature (36 °C) also activates trypsin-like activity through PA28γ/PSME3, reducing disease-related protein aggregation and neurodegeneration. Together, our findings reveal a beneficial role of cold temperature that crosses evolutionary boundaries with potential implications for multi-disease prevention.
  5. Biology (Basel). 2023 Apr 15. pii: 602. [Epub ahead of print]12(4):
      The devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are yet to be ameliorated due to the absence of curative treatment options. AD is an aging-related disease that affects cognition, and molecular imbalance is one of its hallmarks. There is a need to identify common causes of molecular imbalance in AD and their potential mechanisms for continuing research. A narrative synthesis of molecular mechanisms in AD from primary studies that employed single-cell sequencing (scRNA-seq) or spatial genomics was conducted using Embase and PubMed databases. We found that differences in molecular mechanisms in AD could be grouped into four key categories: sex-specific features, early-onset features, aging, and immune system pathways. The reported causes of molecular imbalance were alterations in bile acid (BA) synthesis, PITRM1, TREM2, olfactory mucosa (OM) cells, cholesterol catabolism, NFkB, double-strand break (DSB) neuronal damage, P65KD silencing, tau and APOE expression. What changed from previous findings in contrast to results obtained were explored to find potential factors for AD-modifying investigations.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; molecular mechanisms; single-cell transcriptomics; spatial genomics
  6. STAR Protoc. 2023 Apr 26. pii: S2666-1667(23)00208-3. [Epub ahead of print]4(2): 102250
      Here, we present an olfactory-dependent chemotaxis assay for evaluating changes in memory-like behavior in both wild-type and Alzheimer's-disease-like C. elegans models. We describe steps for synchronizing and preparing C. elegans populations and for performing isoamyl alcohol conditioning during starvation and chemotaxis assaying. We then detail counting and quantification procedures. This protocol is applicable to mechanistic exploration and drug screening in neurodegenerative diseases and brain aging.
    Keywords:  Molecular Biology; Neuroscience
  7. Life (Basel). 2023 Mar 26. pii: 882. [Epub ahead of print]13(4):
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an age-related neurodegenerative disorder characterised by progressive loss of memory. In the AD brain, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are involved in the disruption of the blood-brain barrier resulting in a neuroinflammatory response. The objective of our investigation was to assess the association of MMP2 rs243866 and rs2285053 polymorphisms with susceptibility to AD, to assess the interaction of MMP2 variants with APOE ε4 risk allele, and to evaluate their influence on the age at disease onset and MoCA score. A total of 215 late-onset AD patients and 373 control subjects from Slovakia were genotyped for MMP2 rs243866 and rs2285053 polymorphisms. The MMP2 association with AD risk and clinical parameters was evaluated by logistic and linear regression analyses. No statistically significant differences in either MMP2 rs243866 and rs2285053 allele or genotype frequencies between AD patients and the control group have been observed (p > 0.05). However, the correlation with clinical findings revealed a higher age at disease onset in MMP2 rs243866 GG carriers in the dominant model as compared to other MMP2 genotype carriers (p = 0.024). Our results suggest that MMP2 rs243866 promoter polymorphism may have an impact on the age at AD onset in the patients.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; genotyping; matrix metalloproteinase 2; polymorphism
  8. Int J Biol Macromol. 2023 Apr 21. pii: S0141-8130(23)01364-8. [Epub ahead of print] 124470
      Aggregation of the human islets amyloid polypeptide, or hIAPP, is linked to β-cell death in type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Different pancreatic β-cell environmental variables such as pH, insulin and metal ions play a key role in controlling the hIAPP aggregation. Since insulin and hIAPP are co-secreted, it is known from numerous studies that insulin suppresses hIAPP fibrillation by preventing the initial dimerization process. On the other hand, zinc and copper each have an inhibitory impact on hIAPP fibrillation, but copper promotes the production of toxic oligomers. Interestingly, the insulin oligomeric equilibrium is controlled by the concentration of zinc ions when the effect of insulin and zinc has been tested together. Lower zinc concentrations cause the equilibrium to shift towards the monomer and dimer states of insulin, which bind to monomeric hIAPP and stop it from developing into a fibril. On the other hand, the combined effects of copper and insulin have not yet been done. In this study, we have demonstrated how the presence of copper affects hIAPP aggregation and the toxicity of the resultant conformers with or without insulin. For this purpose, we have used a set of biophysical techniques, including NMR, fluorescence, CD etc., in combination with AFM and cell cytotoxicity assay. In the presence and/or absence of insulin, copper induces hIAPP to form structurally distinct stable toxic oligomers, deterring the fibrillation process. More specifically, the oligomers generated in the presence of insulin have slightly higher toxicity than those formed in the absence of insulin. This research will increase our understanding of the combined modulatory effect of two β-cell environmental factors on hIAPP aggregation.
    Keywords:  Copper; Insulin; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Toxic oligomer; Type II diabetes mellitus; hIAPP