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  • Hanemaaijer, Evelyn S.; Panahi, Mahmod; Swaddiwudhipong, Nol; Tikka, Saara; Winblad, Bengt; Viitanen, Matti; Piras, Antonio; Behbahani, Homira (2018)
    Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a familial progressive degenerative disorder and is caused by mutations in NOTCH3 gene. Previous study reported that mutant NOTCH3 is more prone to form aggregates than wild-type NOTCH3 and the mutant aggregates are resistant to degradation. We hypothesized that aggregation or accumulation of NOTCH3 could be due to impaired lysosomal-autophagy machinery in VSMC. Here, we investigated the possible cause of accumulation/aggregation of NOTCH3 in CADASIL using cerebral VSMCs derived from control and CADASIL patients carrying NOTCH3(RI33C) mutation. Thioflavin-S-staining confirmed the increased accumulation of aggregated NOTCH3 in VSMCR133C compared to VSMCWT. Increased levels of the lysosomal marker, Lamp2, were detected in VSMCR133C, which also showed co-localization with NOTCH3 using double-immunohistochemistry. Increased level of LC3-II/LC3-I ratio was observed in VSMCR133C suggesting an accumulation of autophagosomes. This was coupled with the decreased co-localization of NOTCH3 with LC3, and Lamp2 and, further, increase of p62/SQSTM1 levels in VSMCR133C compared to the VSMCWT. In addition, Western blot analysis indicated phosphorylation of p-ERK, p-S6RP, and p-P70 S6K. Altogether, these results suggested a dysfunction in the autophagy-lysosomal pathway in VSMCR133C. The present study provides an interesting avenue of the research investigating the molecular mechanism of CADASIL.
  • Rajani, Rikesh M.; Ratelade, Julien; Domenga-Denier, Valerie; Hase, Yoshiki; Kalimo, Hannu; Kalaria, Raj N.; Joutel, Anne (2019)
    Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a genetic paradigm of small vessel disease (SVD) caused by NOTCH3 mutations that stereotypically lead to the vascular accumulation of NOTCH3 around smooth muscle cells and pericytes. White matter (WM) lesions (WMLs) are the earliest and most frequent abnormalities, and can be associated with lacunar infarcts and enlarged perivascular spaces (ePVS). The prevailing view is that blood brain barrier (BBB) leakage, possibly mediated by pericyte deficiency, plays a pivotal role in the formation of WMLs. Herein, we investigated the involvement of BBB leakage and pericyte loss in CADASIL WMLs. Using post-mortem brain tissue from 12 CADASIL patients and 10 age-matched controls, we found that WMLs are heterogeneous, and that BBB leakage reflects the heterogeneity. Specifically, while fibrinogen extravasation was significantly increased in WMLs surrounding ePVS and lacunes, levels of fibrinogen leakage were comparable in WMLs without other pathology ("pure" WMLs) to those seen in the normal appearing WM of patients and controls. In a mouse model of CADASIL, which develops WMLs but no lacunes or ePVS, we detected no extravasation of endogenous fibrinogen, nor of injected small or large tracers in WMLs. Moreover, there was no evidence of pericyte coverage modification in any type of WML in either CADASIL patients or mice. These data together indicate that WMLs in CADASIL encompass distinct classes of WM changes and argue against the prevailing hypothesis that pericyte coverage loss and BBB leakage are the primary drivers of WMLs. Our results also have important implications for the interpretation of studies on the BBB in living patients, which may misinterpret evidence of BBB leakage within WM hyperintensities as suggesting a BBB related mechanism for all WMLs, when in fact this may only apply to a subset of these lesions.
  • Tikka, Saara; Baumann, Marc; Siitonen, Maija; Pasanen, Petra; Poyhonen, Minna; Myllykangas, Liisa; Viitanen, Matti; Fukutake, Toshio; Cognat, Emmanuel; Joutel, Anne; Kalimo, Hannu (2014)
  • Kofler, Natalie M.; Cuervo, Henar; Uh, Minji K.; Murtomäki, Aino; Kitajewski, Jan (2015)
    Pericytes regulate vessel stability and pericyte dysfunction contributes to retinopathies, stroke, and cancer. Here we define Notch as a key regulator of pericyte function during angiogenesis. In Notch1(+/-); Notch3(-/-) mice, combined deficiency of Notch1 and Notch3 altered pericyte interaction with the endothelium and reduced pericyte coverage of the retinal vasculature. Notch1 and Notch3 were shown to cooperate to promote proper vascular basement membrane formation and contribute to endothelial cell quiescence. Accordingly, loss of pericyte function due to Notch deficiency exacerbates endothelial cell activation caused by Notch1 haploinsufficiency. Mice mutant for Notch1 and Notch3 develop arteriovenous malformations and display hallmarks of the ischemic stroke disease CADASIL. Thus, Notch deficiency compromises pericyte function and contributes to vascular pathologies.
  • Panahi, Mahmod; Mesri, Naeimeh Yousefi; Samuelsson, Eva-Britt; Coupland, Kirsten G.; Forsell, Charlotte; Graff, Caroline; Tikka, Saara; Winblad, Bengt; Viitanen, Matti; Karlström, Helena; Sundström, Erik; Behbahani, Homira (2018)
    Cerebral autosomal-dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a familial fatal progressive degenerative disorder. One of the pathological hallmarks of CADASIL is a dramatic reduction of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in cerebral arteries. Using VSMCs from the vasculature of the human umbilical cord, placenta and cerebrum of CADASIL patients, we found that CADASIL VSMCs had a lower proliferation rate compared to control VSMCs. Exposure of control VSMCs and endothelial cells (ECs) to media derived from CADASIL VSMCs lowered the proliferation rate of all cells examined. By quantitative RT-PCR analysis, we observed increased Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF beta) gene expression in CADASIL VSMCs. Adding TGF beta-neutralizing antibody restored the proliferation rate of CADASIL VSMCs. We assessed proliferation differences in the presence or absence of TGF beta-neutralizing antibody in ECs co-cultured with VSMCs. ECs co-cultured with CADASIL VSMCs exhibited a lower proliferation rate than those co-cultured with control VSMCs, and neutralization of TGF beta normalized the proliferation rate of ECs co-cultured with CADASIL VSMCs. We suggest that increased TGF beta expression in CADASIL VSMCs is involved in the reduced VSMC proliferation in CADASIL and may play a role in situ in altered proliferation of neighbouring cells in the vasculature.
  • Tuominen, Susanna; Miao, Qing; Kurki, Timo; Tuisku, Seppo; Pöyhönen, Minna; Kalimo, Hannu; Viitanen, Matti; Sipila, Hannu T.; Bergman, Jörgen; Rinne, JO (2004)
    Background and Purpose - CADASIL causes repeated ischemic strokes leading to subcortical vascular dementia. The purpose of this study was to assess whether cerebral blood flow (CBF) and regional cerebral metabolic rates of glucose (rCMR(gluc)) in CADASIL patients are affected in early adulthood. Methods - CBF and rCMR(gluc) were examined with positron emission tomography in correlation with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 14 adult ( 19 to 41 years) CADASIL patients with the Notch3 R133C mutation. Seven patients had experienced transient ischemic attack and 3 had experienced greater than or equal to1 strokes. Results - The mean CBF in the CADASIL patients was significantly lower in both frontal (P = 0.019) and occipital (P = 0.009) white matter (WM) than those in the controls. CBF decreased significantly with increased severity of the disease. The patients had lower mean rCMR(gluc) values than the controls, although differences were not statistically significant. Sum scores of semiquantitative MRI rating scale (Scheltens) correlated significantly with WM CBF but not with rCMR(gluc). Conclusions - In CADASIL, there is an early and significant decrease in the CBF of WM associated with simultaneous MRI changes. These are obviously caused by the arteriopathy in long penetrating arteries and indicate early tissue damage, also expressed as impaired rCMR(gluc) in the WM.