Unfolded protein response activation in C9orf72 frontotemporal dementia is associated with dipeptide pathology and granulovacuolar degeneration in granule cells

Priya Gami-Patel, Irene van Dijken, Lieke H. Meeter, Shamiram Melhem, Tjado H.J. Morrema, Wiep Scheper, John C. van Swieten, Annemieke J.M. Rozemuller, Anke A. Dijkstra, Jeroen J.M. Hoozemans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

A repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene is the most prevalent genetic cause of frontotemporal dementia (C9-FTD). Several studies have indicated the involvement of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in C9-FTD. In human neuropathology, UPR markers are strongly associated with granulovacuolar degeneration (GVD). In this study, we aim to assess the presence of UPR markers together with the presence of dipeptide pathology and GVD in post mortem brain tissue from C9-FTD cases and neurologically healthy controls. Using immunohistochemistry we assessed the presence of phosphorylated PERK, IRE1α and eIF2α in the frontal cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum of C9-FTD (n = 18) and control (n = 9) cases. The presence of UPR activation markers was compared with the occurrence of pTDP-43, p62 and dipeptide repeat (DPR) proteins (poly(GA), -(GR) & -(GP)) as well as casein kinase 1 delta (CK1δ), a marker for GVD. Increased presence of UPR markers was observed in the hippocampus and cerebellum in C9-FTD compared to control cases. In the hippocampus, overall levels of pPERK and peIF2α were higher in C9-FTD, including in granule cells of the dentate gyrus (DG). UPR markers were also observed in granule cells of the cerebellum in C9-FTD. In addition, increased levels of CK1δ were observed in granule cells in the DG of the hippocampus and granular layer of the cerebellum in C9-FTD. Double-labelling experiments indicate a strong association between UPR markers and the presence of dipeptide pathology as well as GVD. We conclude that UPR markers are increased in C9-FTD and that their presence is associated with dipeptide pathology and GVD. Increased presence of UPR markers and CK1δ in granule cells in the cerebellum and hippocampus could be a unique feature of C9-FTD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Pathology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

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