Neurology

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have so far uncovered more than 200 loci for multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, the authors integrate data from various sources for a cell type-specific pathway analysis of MS GWAS results that specifically highlights the involvement of the immune system in disease pathogenesis.

    • Lohith Madireddy
    • , Nikolaos A. Patsopoulos
    •  & Sergio E. Baranzini
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A key challenge is to find/re-purpose approved drugs that could be used in humans to induce autophagy-associated clearance of neurodegenerative proteins. Here, authors demonstrate that felodipine, an anti-hypertensive drug, can induce autophagy and clear a variety of aggregated neurodegenerative disease-associated proteins in mouse brains at plasma concentrations similar to those that would be seen in humans taking the drug.

    • Farah H. Siddiqi
    • , Fiona M. Menzies
    •  & David C. Rubinsztein
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Diagnosis and classification of peripheral neuropathy (PN) is facilitated by nerve conduction (NC) studies. Here, Bjornsdottir et al. find a low-frequency PRPH splice-donor variant that associates with NC amplitude and neurological assessment of recalled PRPH variant carriers reveals increased risk of a mild sensory-negative PN.

    • Gyda Bjornsdottir
    • , Erna V. Ivarsdottir
    •  & Kari Stefansson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Rapid arrival to hospital after stroke is critical for patients to receive effective treatment. Here, the authors examine how stroke patients’ social network structure relates to stroke arrival time, and show that small and close-knit personal networks predict delayed arrival.

    • Amar Dhand
    • , Douglas Luke
    •  & Jin-Moo Lee
  • Article
    | Open Access

    GWAS have identified over 41 susceptibility loci for Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here, the authors integrate PD GWAS summary statistics with transcriptome data from monocytes and DLFPC tissue in a TWAS approach and find 66 significant associations with PD risk highlighting lysosomal and innate immune functions.

    • Yang I. Li
    • , Garrett Wong
    •  & Towfique Raj
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Valyl-tRNA synthetase (VARS) charges valyl-tRNA with the amino acid valine, required for translation. Here, the authors describe a progressive epileptic encephalopathy in individuals from five families carrying biallelic mutations in the VARS gene that leave the enzyme activity partially intact.

    • Jennifer Friedman
    • , Desiree E. Smith
    •  & Joseph G. Gleeson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    tRNAs are linked with their cognate amino acid by aminoacyl tRNA synthetases (ARS). Here, the authors report a developmental encephalopathy associated with biallelic VARS variants (valyl-tRNA synthetase) that lead to loss of function, as determined by several in vitro assays and a vars knockout zebrafish model.

    • Aleksandra Siekierska
    • , Hannah Stamberger
    •  & Peter De Jonghe
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The brain primarily uses glucose to generate energy, but the relationship of neuronal activity to glucose utilization is not necessarily a simple linear one. Here, the authors introduce relative power (rPWR) and relative cost (rCST) as new metrics to quantify how brain activity relates to glucose consumption.

    • Ehsan Shokri-Kojori
    • , Dardo Tomasi
    •  & Nora D. Volkow
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Lifestyle factors such as smoking and exercise contribute to the health of the brain during aging, but previous studies have focused on the effects of single lifestyle variables. Here, the authors examine the combined and individual effects of four lifestyle variables on brain structure and function.

    • Nora Bittner
    • , Christiane Jockwitz
    •  & Svenja Caspers
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons are significantly associated with Parkinson’s disease and yet there is no systematic molecular classification of these heterogenous group of cells. Here authors use single cell RNA sequencing of isolated mouse neurons expressing the transcription factor Pitx3 (broad mDA neuronal marker) to identify and characterize seven neuron subgroups divided in two major branches of developing Pitx3-expressing neurons.

    • Katarína Tiklová
    • , Åsa K. Björklund
    •  & Thomas Perlmann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There are currently no validated methods for the diagnosis of prion disease at the preclinical stage. Here the authors show that serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification and real-time quaking-induced conversion can be used to detect prions in the skin of prion-inoculated hamsters and humanized transgenic mice at early preclinical stages.

    • Zerui Wang
    • , Matteo Manca
    •  & Wen-Quan Zou
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The frontal cortex is involved in cognitive control, e.g. cognitive flexibility and behavioral inhibition, but the roles of frontal subdivisions are unclear. Here, the authors used computational modelling of cognitive control task performance to map lesions responsible for impairments in specific cognitive operations.

    • Jan Gläscher
    • , Ralph Adolphs
    •  & Daniel Tranel
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Optogenetics is a promising alternative approach for restoration of neuromuscular function. Here the authors establish a closed-loop functional optogenetic stimulation for the control of limb joint angle in murine models, which demonstrates improved control and less fatigue than electrical stimulation systems.

    • Shriya S. Srinivasan
    • , Benjamin E. Maimon
    •  & Hugh M. Herr
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Epilepsies are common brain disorders and are classified based on clinical phenotyping, imaging and genetics. Here, the authors perform genome-wide association studies for 3 broad and 7 subtypes of epilepsy and identify 16 loci - 11 novel - that are further annotated by eQTL and partitioned heritability analyses.

    • Bassel Abou-Khalil
    • , Pauls Auce
    •  & Fritz Zimprich
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The diagnosis of sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and insomnia currently requires experts to interpret sleep recordings (polysomnography). Here, the authors introduce a neural network analysis method for polysomnography that could reduce time spent in sleep clinics and automate narcolepsy diagnosis.

    • Jens B. Stephansen
    • , Alexander N. Olesen
    •  & Emmanuel Mignot
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A major goal in neuropharmacology is to develop new tools to effectively test the therapeutic potential of pharmacological agents to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions. Here, authors present an in vivo drug screening system that generates large-scale brain activity maps to be used with machine learning to predict the therapeutic potential of clinically relevant drug leads.

    • Xudong Lin
    • , Xin Duan
    •  & Peng Shi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Myotubular myopathy is a severe muscle disease for which no effective treatment exists. Here, the authors show that tamoxifen ameliorates pathology and extends survival in a mouse model of the disease, and that the effect is mediated via estrogen receptor signaling and involves modulation of DNM2 expression.

    • Nika Maani
    • , Nesrin Sabha
    •  & James J. Dowling
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Olfaction, the sense of smell, may have originally evolved to aid navigation in space, but there is no direct evidence of a link between olfaction and navigation in humans. Here the authors show that olfaction and spatial memory abilities are correlated and rely on similar brain regions in humans.

    • Louisa Dahmani
    • , Raihaan M. Patel
    •  & Véronique D. Bohbot
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Removal of daughter centriole-specific/enriched proteins (DCPs) and assembly of distal appendages (DA) are important for centrosome asymmetry. Here, the authors report that a centriolar distal end protein network regulates DCP removal, DA assembly, and ciliary vesicle docking.

    • Lei Wang
    • , Marion Failler
    •  & Brian D. Dynlacht
  • Article
    | Open Access

    An individual’s social network—their friends, family, and acquaintances—is important for their health, but existing tools for assessing social networks have limitations. Here, the authors introduce a quantitative social network assessment tool on a secure open-source web platform and show its utility in a nation-wide study.

    • Amar Dhand
    • , Charles C. White
    •  & Philip L. De Jager
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Patients with myotonic dystrophy need to undergo invasive muscle biopsies to monitor disease progression and response to therapy. Here, the authors show that extracellular RNAs in human urine can be used as biomarkers to differentiate patients from unaffected controls, and to monitor exon skipping in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy taking the drug eteplirsen.

    • Layal Antoury
    • , Ningyan Hu
    •  & Thurman M. Wheeler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Sortilin-related CNS-expressed receptor 2 (SorCS2)–proneurotrophin signaling system regulates neuronal plasticity and its dysfunction is linked to schizophrenia. Here the authors present the structures of the SorCS2 ectodomain alone and in complex with Nerve Growth Factor, which provides insights into SorCS2 ligand binding and signaling.

    • Nadia Leloup
    • , Lucas M. P. Chataigner
    •  & Bert J. C. Janssen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound with injected microbubbles has been used to temporarily open the blood–brain barrier (BBB) in animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, the authors use this technology to non-invasively open the BBB in 5 patients with mild-to-moderate AD in a phase I trial, and show that the procedure is safe.

    • Nir Lipsman
    • , Ying Meng
    •  & Sandra E. Black
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How toxic aggregated forms of α-synuclein lead to neurodegeneration is unclear. Here authors use biophysical and cellular imaging methods to show that specific oligomers of α-synuclein exert effects on mitochondria to induce opening of the permeability transition pore, leading to cell death in Parkinson’s disease.

    • Marthe H. R. Ludtmann
    • , Plamena R. Angelova
    •  & Sonia Gandhi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Increasing excitability in the peri-infarct area enhances motor recovery after stroke. Here the authors show that expressing CREB, a transcription factor known for its role in synaptic plasticity, or increasing activity of CREB-expressing cells near the stroke site improves recovery in an effect that is strong enough that it can be used to turn on and off motor recovery after stroke.

    • L. Caracciolo
    • , M. Marosi
    •  & S. T. Carmichael
  • Article
    | Open Access

    High frequency oscillations (HFO) are a promising biomarker for identifying epileptogenic zones without the need to monitor spontaneous seizure episodes. Here the authors report that there is much variability in the location of HFOs offering a note of caution toward using HFO locations from short recordings as a guide for surgery.

    • Stephen V. Gliske
    • , Zachary T. Irwin
    •  & William C. Stacey
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Intron retention (IR) can increase protein diversity and function, and yet unregulated IR may be detrimental to cellular health. This study shows that aberrant IR occurs in ALS and finds nuclear loss of an RNA-binding protein called SFPQ as a new molecular hallmark in this devastating condition.

    • Raphaelle Luisier
    • , Giulia E. Tyzack
    •  & Rickie Patani
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Exosomes function as intercellular information transmitters and are candidates for delivery of therapeutic agents. Here the authors present EXOtic, a synthetic biology device for in-situ production of designer exosomes and demonstrate in vivo application in models of Parkinson's disease.

    • Ryosuke Kojima
    • , Daniel Bojar
    •  & Martin Fussenegger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The limited size of some neuronal types and their entangled environment renders it difficult to study their transcription regulation. Here the authors present a comparative analysis of histone modifications and transcription in dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons and embryonic neural progenitors.

    • Erik Södersten
    • , Konstantinos Toskas
    •  & Johan Holmberg
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Endothelial cells release extracellular matrix components that regulate inflammation. Here the authors demonstrate that the extracellular matrix component epidermal growth factor-like protein 7 regulates inflammation in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in the mouse.

    • Catherine Larochelle
    • , Timo Uphaus
    •  & Frauke Zipp
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microrchidia CW-type zinc finger protein 2 (MORC2) is an effector of epigenetic silencing by the human silencing hub (HUSH). Here the authors present the crystal structures of MORC2 and disease-causing MORC2 mutants and give mechanistic insights into how MORC2 mediates HUSH-dependent silencing.

    • Christopher H. Douse
    • , Stuart Bloor
    •  & Yorgo Modis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Though transcranial electric stimulation has been used to influence brain activity, it is debated whether neuronal spiking activity is directly affected by commonly-used protocols. Here, the authors quantify the voltage gradients necessary to instantaneously affect neuronal spiking and show that they are higher than commonly-used protocols.

    • Mihály Vöröslakos
    • , Yuichi Takeuchi
    •  & Antal Berényi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Stimulant drugs are most commonly used to treat ADHD. Here, the authors demonstrate that in adolescents with ADHD who also have genetic variation in genes impacting metabotropic glutamate signaling, the non-stimulant mGluR activator fasoracetam is well tolerated and may be beneficial in alleviating symptoms of this disease.

    • Josephine Elia
    • , Grace Ungal
    •  & Hakon Hakonarson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Repeat-associated non-AUG (RAN) translation contributes to the pathogenic mechanism of several microsatellite expansion diseases. Here the authors delineate the different steps involved in recruiting the ribosome to initiate G4C2 RAN translation to produce poly-Glycine Alanine, poly-Glycine Proline, and poly-Glycine Arginine repeats.

    • Ricardos Tabet
    • , Laure Schaeffer
    •  & Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Hexanucleotide GGGGCC repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is the most frequent cause of both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Here the authors show that (GGGGCC) n translation can initiate without a 5′-cap, and this cap-independent translation is upregulated by stress mediated through eIF2α phosphorylation.

    • Weiwei Cheng
    • , Shaopeng Wang
    •  & Shuying Sun
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Astrocytes in the brain are metabolically dynamic. Here, Ignatenko, Chilov and colleagues delete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in a cell type specific manner, and show that inactivation of mtDNA helicase Twinkle in astrocytes leads to spongiotic encephalopathy.

    • Olesia Ignatenko
    • , Dmitri Chilov
    •  & Anu Suomalainen