Objective Intracranial atherosclerosis is a major cause of ischaemic stroke worldwide. A number of studies have shown the effects of statin treatment on coronary and carotid artery plaques, but there is little evidence on the effects of statin treatment on intracranial atherosclerotic plaques. Methods The Intensive Statin Treatment in Acute Ischaemic Stroke Patients with Intracranial Atherosclerosis - High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging (STAMINA-MRI) Trial is a single-arm, prospective, observational study monitoring imaging and clinical outcomes of high-dose statin treatment among statin-naive patients with acute ischaemic stroke caused by symptomatic intracranial atherosclerosis. The primary outcome was the change in vascular remodelling and plaque characteristics before and after 6 months (median: 179 days, IQR 163-189 days) of statin treatment measured by high-resolution MRI (HR-MRI). Results A total of 77 patients (mean age: 62.6 +/- 13.7 years, 61.0% women) were included in this study. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels (mg/dL) at initial and follow-up assessments were 125.81 +/- 35.69 and 60.95 +/- 19.28, respectively. Overall, statin treatment significantly decreased enhancement of plaque volume (mm(3), 32.07 +/- 39.15 vs 17.06 +/- 34.53, p=0.013), the wall area index (7.50 +/- 4.28 vs 5.86 +/- 4.05, p=0.016) and stenosis degree (%, 76.47 +/- 20.23 vs 64.05 +/- 21.29, p<0.001), but not the remodelling index (p=0.195). However, 35% patients showed no change or increased enhancement volume and stenosis degree after statin treatment. Higher reduction of LDL-C and longer duration of statin treatment were associated with decreased enhancement volume after statin treatment. Conclusions High-dose statin treatment effectively stabilised symptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic plaques as documented by HR-MRI. Further study is needed to determine laboratory and genetic factors associated with poor response to statins and alternative therapeutic options, such as proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 inhibitors, for these patients.
Objectives To investigate whether longitudinal structural network efficiency is associated with cognitive decline and whether baseline network efficiency predicts mortality in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). Methods A prospective, single-centre cohort consisting of 277 non-demented individuals with SVD was conducted. In 2011 and 2015, all participants were scanned with MRI and underwent neuropsychological assessment. We computed network properties using graph theory from probabilistic tractography and calculated changes in psychomotor speed and overall cognitive index. Multiple linear regressions were performed, while adjusting for potential confounders. We divided the group into mild-to-moderate white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and severe WMH group based on median split on WMH volume. Results The decline in global efficiency was significantly associated with a decline in psychomotor speed in the group with severe WMH (beta=0.18, p=0.03) and a trend with change in cognitive index (beta=0.14, p=0.068), which diminished after adjusting for imaging markers for SVD. Baseline global efficiency was associated with all-cause mortality (HR per decrease of 1 SD 0.43, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.80, p=0.008, C-statistic 0.76). Conclusion Disruption of the network efficiency, a metric assessing the efficiency of network information transfer, plays an important role in explaining cognitive decline in SVD, which was however not independent of imaging markers of SVD. Furthermore, baseline network efficiency predicts risk of mortality in SVD that may reflect the global health status of the brain in SVD. This emphasises the importance of structural network analysis in the context of SVD research and the use of network measures as surrogate markers in research setting.
Background Hearing impairment may be a modifiable risk factor for dementia. However, it is unclear how hearing associates with pathologies relevant to dementia in preclinical populations. Methods Data from 368 cognitively healthy individuals born during 1 week in 1946 (age range 69.2-71.9 years), who underwent structural MRI, F-18-florbetapir positron emission tomography, pure tone audiometry and cognitive testing as part of a neuroscience substudy the MRC National Survey of Health and Development were analysed. The aim of the analysis was to investigate whether pure tone audiometry performance predicted a range of cognitive and imaging outcomes relevant to dementia in older adults. Results There was some evidence that poorer pure tone audiometry performance was associated with lower primary auditory cortex thickness, but no evidence that it predicted in vivo beta-amyloid deposition, white matter hyperintensity volume, hippocampal volume or Alzheimer's disease-pattern cortical thickness. A negative association between pure tone audiometry and mini-mental state examination score was observed, but this was no longer evident after excluding a test item assessing repetition of a single phrase. Conclusion Pure tone audiometry performance did not predict concurrent beta-amyloid deposition, small vessel disease or Alzheimer's disease-pattern neurodegeneration, and had limited impact on cognitive function, in healthy adults aged approximately 70 years.
Objective Since the first report of CHCHD10 gene mutations in amyotrophiclateral sclerosis (ALS)/frontotemporaldementia (FTD) patients, genetic variation in CHCHD10 has been inconsistently linked to disease. A pathological assessment of the CHCHD10 protein in patient neuronal tissue also remains to be reported. We sought to characterise the genetic and pathological contribution of CHCHD10 to ALS/FTD in Australia. Methods Whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing data from 81 familial and 635 sporadic ALS, and 108 sporadic FTD cases, were assessed for genetic variation in CHCHD10. CHCHD10 protein expression was characterised by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and western blotting in control, ALS and/or FTD postmortem tissues and further in a transgenic mouse model of TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) pathology. Results No causal, novel or disease-associated variants in CHCHD10 were identified in Australian ALS and/or FTD patients. In human brain and spinal cord tissues, CHCHD10 was specifically expressed in neurons. A significant decrease in CHCHD10 protein level was observed in ALS patient spinal cord and FTD patient frontal cortex. In a TDP-43 mouse model with a regulatable nuclear localisation signal (rNLS TDP-43 mouse), CHCHD10 protein levels were unaltered at disease onset and early in disease, but were significantly decreased in cortex in mid-stage disease. Conclusions Genetic variation in CHCHD10 is not a common cause of ALS/FTD in Australia. However, we showed that in humans, CHCHD10 may play a neuron-specific role and a loss of CHCHD10 function may be linked to ALS and/or FTD. Our data from the rNLS TDP-43 transgenic mice suggest that a decrease in CHCHD10 levels is a late event in aberrant TDP-43-induced ALS/FTD pathogenesis.
Background Increased rates of brain atrophy on serial MRI are frequently used as a surrogate marker of disease progression in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. However, the extent to which they are associated with future risk of dementia in asymptomatic subjects is not clear. In this study, we investigated the relationship between the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia (CAIDE) risk score and longitudinal atrophy in middle-aged subjects. Materials and methods A sample of 167 subjects (aged 40-59 at baseline) from the PREVENT-Dementia programme underwent MRI scans on two separate occasions (mean interval 735 days; SD 44 days). We measured longitudinal rates of brain atrophy using the FSL Siena toolbox. Results Annual percentage rates of brain volume and ventricular volume change were greater in those with a high (>6) vs low CAIDE score-absolute brain volume percentage loss 0.17% (CI 0.07 to 0.27) and absolute ventricular enlargement 1.78% (CI 1.14 to 2.92) higher in the at risk group. Atrophy rates did not differ between subjects with and without a parental history of dementia, but were significantly correlated with age. Using linear regression, with covariates of age, sex and education, CAIDE score >6 was the only significant predictor of whole brain atrophy rates (p=0.025) while age (p=0.009), sex (p=0.002) and CAIDE>6 (p=0.017) all predicted ventricular expansion rate. Conclusion Our results show that progressive brain atrophy is associated with increased risk of future dementia in asymptomatic middle-aged subjects, two decades before dementia onset.
Objective Approximately 35% of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) exhibit mild cognitive deficits in executive functions, language and fluency, without dementia. The precise pathology of these extramotor symptoms has remained unknown. This study aimed to determine the pathological correlate of cognitive impairment in patients with non-demented ALS. Methods In-depth neuropathological analysis of 27 patients with non-demented ALS who had undergone cognitive testing (Edinburgh Cognitive and Behaviour ALS Screen (ECAS)) during life. Analysis involved assessing 43 kDa Tar-DNA binding protein (TDP-43) accumulation in brain regions specifically involved in executive functions, language functions and verbal fluency to ascertain whether functional deficits would relate to a specific regional distribution of pathology. Results All patients with cognitive impairment had TDP-43 pathology in extramotor brain regions (positive predictive value of 100%). The ECAS also predicted TDP-43 pathology with 100% specificity in brain regions associated with executive, language and fluency domains. We also detected a subgroup with no cognitive dysfunction, despite having substantial TDP-43 pathology, so called mismatch cases. Conclusions Cognitive impairment as detected by the ECAS is a valid predictor of TDP-43 pathology in non-demented ALS. The profile of mild cognitive deficits specifically predicts regional cerebral involvement. These findings highlight the utility of the ECAS in accurately assessing the pathological burden of disease.
Objective To investigate the immunological characteristics and their clinical relevance in anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-IgG-associated and anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4)-IgG-associated disorders (MOGAD and AQPAD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods We measured peripheral blood helper T cell subsets (Th1, Th2, Th17 and regulatory T cell (Treg)) in patients with MOGAD (n=26), AQPAD (n=32) and MS (n=28) in the attack and remission phases by flow cytometry with intracellular cytokine staining. We also studied their correlation with clinical parameters. Ten normal subjects served as healthy controls. Results In all the three disorders, Th17 significantly increased at attack, and downregulated in the remission phases, although still elevated compare with healthy controls. MOGAD and AQPAD patients shared the common T cell profiles, while the extent of Th17 shift was more prominent in AQPAD. Patients with MS showed decreased Th2 than ones with MOGAD and AQPAD at attack. In terms of clinical correlation, MS patients showed that higher Th1 and Th17 proportion was associated with more frequent relapse and more severe clinical disability, whereas in MOGAD, higher Treg was associated with milder clinical severity. In AQPAD, no obvious correlation of Th profiles with clinical manifestation was found. Conclusions The present study first investigated intracellular cytokine levels among MOGAD, AQPAD and MS. The different patterns and extent of helper T cell profiles could reflect the pathogenesis of each disorders, and may affect disease severity and activity.
Objective Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is a leading cause of epilepsy-related mortality in young adults. It has been suggested that SUDEP may kill over 20 000 people with epilepsy in China yearly. The aetiology of SUDEP is unclear. Little is known about candidate genes for SUDEP in people of Chinese origin as most studies have ascertained this in Caucasians. No candidate genes for SUDEP in Chinese people have been identified. Methods We performed whole exome sequencing (WES) in DNA samples collected from five incident cases of SUDEP identified in a large epilepsy cohort in rural China. We filtered rare variants identified from these cases as well as screened for SUDEP, epilepsy, heart disease or respiratory disease-related genes from previous published reports and compared them with publicly available data, living epilepsy controls and ethnicity-match non-epilepsy controls, to identify potential candidate genes for SUDEP. Results After the filtering process, the five cases carried 168 qualified mutations in 167 genes. Among these genetic anomalies, we identified rare variants in SCN5A (1/5:20% in our cases), KIF6 (1/5:20% in our cases) and TBX18 (1/5:20% in our cases) which were absent in 330 living epilepsy control alleles from the same original cohort and 320 ethnicity-match non-epilepsy control alleles. Conclusions These three genes were previously related to heart disease, providing support to the hypothesis that underlying heart disorder may be a driver of SUDEP risk.