Alterations in mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum connectivity in human brain biopsies from idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus patients
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CitationLeal, NS. Dentoni, G. Schreiner, B. Kämäräinen, OP. Partanen, N. Herukka, SK. Koivisto, AM. Hiltunen, M. Rauramaa, T. Leinonen, V. Ankarcrona, M. (2018). Alterations in mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum connectivity in human brain biopsies from idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus patients. Acta neuropathologica communications, 6, 102. 10.1186/s40478-018-0605-2.
Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is a neuropathology with unknown cause characterised by gait impairment, cognitive decline and ventriculomegaly. These patients often present comorbidity with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), including AD pathological hallmarks such as amyloid plaques mainly consisting of amyloid β-peptide and neurofibrillary tangles consisting of hyperphosphorylated tau protein. Even though some of the molecular mechanisms behind AD are well described, little is known about iNPH. Several studies have reported that mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contact sites (MERCS) regulate amyloid β-peptide metabolism and conversely that amyloid β-peptide can influence the number of MERCS. MERCS have also been shown to be dysregulated in several neurological pathologies including AD.
In this study we have used transmission electron microscopy and show, for the first time, several mitochondria contact sites including MERCS in human brain biopsies. These unique human brain samples were obtained during neurosurgery from 14 patients that suffer from iNPH. Three of these 14 patients presented comorbidities with other dementias: one patient with AD, one with AD and vascular dementia and one patient with Lewy body dementia. Furthermore, we report that the numbers of MERCS are increased in biopsies obtained from patients diagnosed with dementia. Moreover, the presence of both amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles correlates with decreased contact length between endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria, while amyloid plaques alone do not seem to affect endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria apposition. Interestingly, we report a significant positive correlation between the number of MERCS and ventricular cerebrospinal fluid amyloid β-peptide levels, as well as with increasing age of iNPH patients.