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  • TDP-43 expression in mouse models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy.

    24 October 2018

    BACKGROUND: Redistribution of nuclear TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) to the cytoplasm and ubiquitinated inclusions of spinal motor neurons and glial cells is characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pathology. Recent evidence suggests that TDP-43 pathology is common to sporadic ALS and familial ALS without SOD1 mutation, but not SOD1-related fALS cases. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether TDP-43 abnormalities occur in non-ALS forms of motor neuron disease. Here, we characterise TDP-43 localisation, expression levels and post-translational modifications in mouse models of ALS and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). RESULTS: TDP-43 mislocalisation to ubiquitinated inclusions or cytoplasm was notably lacking in anterior horn cells from transgenic mutant SOD1G93A mice. In addition, abnormally phosphorylated or truncated TDP-43 species were not detected in fractionated ALS mouse spinal cord or brain. Despite partial colocalisation of TDP-43 with SMN, depletion of SMN- and coilin-positive Cajal bodies in motor neurons of affected SMA mice did not alter nuclear TDP-43 distribution, expression or biochemistry in spinal cords. CONCLUSION: These results emphasise that TDP-43 pathology characteristic of human sporadic ALS is not a core component of the neurodegenerative mechanisms caused by SOD1 mutation or SMN deficiency in mouse models of ALS and SMA, respectively.

  • Collision lesions of the sella: co-existence of craniopharyngioma with gonadotroph adenoma and of Rathke's cleft cyst with corticotroph adenoma.

    24 October 2018

    Collision lesions of the sellar region are relatively uncommon. Most contributions include a pituitary adenoma or a cyst/cystic tumor, particularly a Rathke cleft cyst. The association of craniopharyngioma with an adenoma is particularly rare. Among reported cases, some have included secondary prolactin cell hyperplasia due to pituitary stalk section effect. Herein, we report two collision lesions, including a gonadotroph adenoma with adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma and a corticotroph adenoma with Rathke's cleft cyst. Clinicopathologic correlation and a review of the literature are undertaken.

  • Acromegaly and anaplastic astrocytoma: coincidence or pathophysiological relation?

    24 October 2018

    Insulin-like growth factor type I (IGF-I) is an important promoter in the tumorigenesis of several extracranial and intracranial neoplasms. In astrocytic-cell tumors, the role of autocrine and paracrine IGF-I expression in enhancing tumoral progression is well established. However, the influence of systemic IGF-I levels on the clinical behavior of astrocytic neoplasms remains an open subject of research. We report the case of a 28-year-old man who presented simultaneously with acromegaly and an anaplastic astrocytoma, which had rapidly progressed from a low-grade astrocytoma. The coexistence of systemic IGF-I hypersecretion with a quick progression in the histopathological grade of the astrocytoma raises the compelling question of whether the clinical behavior of the astrocytic tumor was influenced by the acromegalic status. The role of IGF-I signaling in the pathogenesis of astrocytic-cell tumors and the experience with therapeutic strategies addressing this pathway in astrocytomas are also discussed.

  • Neuronal intranuclear inclusions in SCA2: A genetic, morphological and immunohistochemical study of two cases

    24 October 2018

    Spinocerebellar ataxia 2 (SCA2) belongs to the family of autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias (ADCA), a genetically heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases. The SCA2 gene maps to chromosome 12q24 and the causative mutation involves the expansion of a CAG repeat within the coding region of the gene. Pathologically, SCA2 presents as olivo-ponto-cerebellar atrophy (OPCA). We present the cases of a 41-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman who died after a long illness characterized by severe cerebellar ataxia. Diagnosis of SCA2 was confirmed by genetic analysis. The brains were moderately to severely atrophic and atrophy was particularly obvious in the cerebellum and brainstem. Histological examination revealed extreme loss of pontine and olivary nuclei and Purkinje cells, with preservation of the dentate nuclei, and of the pigmented cells in the substantia nigra. The whole spinal cord was also severely affected, with shrinkage of the dorsal columns and reduction in the number of neurones in the motor pool and Clarke's nuclei. Immunohistochemistry with 1C2 antibody showed granular neuronal cytoplasmic deposits in all the areas examined and widespread intranuclear inclusions, which were particularly numerous in the residual pontine nuclei. Intranuclear inclusions were not considered a feature in SCA2. Our results support the view that intranuclear inclusions are an integral part of the pathology of this mutation.

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 knockout mice develop parathyroid, pancreatic, pituitary and adrenal tumours with hypercalcaemia, hypophosphataemia and hypercorticosteronaemia.

    24 October 2018

    Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized in man by parathyroid, pancreatic, pituitary and adrenal tumours. The MEN1 gene encodes a 610-amino acid protein (menin) which is a tumour suppressor. To investigate the in vivo role of menin, we developed a mouse model, by deleting Men1 exons 1 and 2 and investigated this for MEN1-associated tumours and serum abnormalities. Men1(+/-) mice were viable and fertile, and 220 Men1(+/-) and 94 Men1(+/+) mice were studied between the ages of 3 and 21 months. Survival in Men1(+/-) mice was significantly lower than in Men1(+/+) mice (<68% vs >85%, P<0.01). Men1(+/-) mice developed, by 9 months of age, parathyroid hyperplasia, pancreatic tumours which were mostly insulinomas, by 12 months of age, pituitary tumours which were mostly prolactinomas, and by 15 months parathyroid adenomas and adrenal cortical tumours. Loss of heterozygosity and menin expression was demonstrated in the tumours, consistent with a tumour suppressor role for the Men1 gene. Men1(+/-) mice with parathyroid neoplasms were hypercalcaemic and hypophosphataemic, with inappropriately normal serum parathyroid hormone concentrations. Pancreatic and pituitary tumours expressed chromogranin A (CgA), somatostatin receptor type 2 and vascular endothelial growth factor-A. Serum CgA concentrations in Men1(+/-) mice were not elevated. Adrenocortical tumours, which immunostained for 3-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, developed in seven Men1(+/-) mice, but resulted in hypercorticosteronaemia in one out of the four mice that were investigated. Thus, these Men1(+/-) mice are representative of MEN1 in man, and will help in investigating molecular mechanisms and treatments for endocrine tumours.

  • Alternative splicing events are a late feature of pathology in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy.

    24 October 2018

    Spinal muscular atrophy is a severe motor neuron disease caused by inactivating mutations in the SMN1 gene leading to reduced levels of full-length functional SMN protein. SMN is a critical mediator of spliceosomal protein assembly, and complete loss or drastic reduction in protein leads to loss of cell viability. However, the reason for selective motor neuron degeneration when SMN is reduced to levels which are tolerated by all other cell types is not currently understood. Widespread splicing abnormalities have recently been reported at end-stage in a mouse model of SMA, leading to the proposition that disruption of efficient splicing is the primary mechanism of motor neuron death. However, it remains unclear whether splicing abnormalities are present during early stages of the disease, which would be a requirement for a direct role in disease pathogenesis. We performed exon-array analysis of RNA from SMN deficient mouse spinal cord at 3 time points, pre-symptomatic (P1), early symptomatic (P7), and late-symptomatic (P13). Compared to littermate control mice, SMA mice showed a time-dependent increase in the number of exons showing differential expression, with minimal differences between genotypes at P1 and P7, but substantial variation in late-symptomatic (P13) mice. Gene ontology analysis revealed differences in pathways associated with neuronal development as well as cellular injury. Validation of selected targets by RT-PCR confirmed the array findings and was in keeping with a shift between physiologically occurring mRNA isoforms. We conclude that the majority of splicing changes occur late in SMA and may represent a secondary effect of cell injury, though we cannot rule out significant early changes in a small number of transcripts crucial to motor neuron survival.

  • The neuropathological approach to the diagnosis of brain tumours

    24 October 2018

    This review provides an introduction to the concepts and practical aspects concerning the diagnosis of neoplasms involving the brain. Principles of the WHO classification are described, including concepts of lineage origin of brain tumours and aetiology (environment versus genetic predisposition). The importance of neuroimaging in the context of the intraoperative diagnostic approach and formulation of differential diagnoses is emphasized. A brief overview of immunohistochemical markers is provided. Common cytological and architectural patterns are illustrated with educational case material. © 2011.

  • Adenomas of the pituitary gland: Diagnostic challenges, pitfalls and controversies

    24 October 2018

    Pituitary adenomas account for about 10% of intracranial tumours and 90% of intrasellar lesions. They are classified according to histopathological and ultrastructural features and hormone immunoexpression but a comprehensive diagnosis requires a full knowledge of clinical and neuroimaging features. If the common histotypes can be easily identified at light microscopy, the diagnosis of rare variants can be challenging and may require ultrastructural examination or the use of more sophisticated immunostains. Similarly challenging and source of diagnostic pitfalls can be the changes that may occur during surgery or following medical treatment. Finally, controversies still surround the concept of atypical adenoma and pituitary carcinoma making a histopathological diagnosis of aggressive adenoma very difficult. This review will provide the essential diagnostic criteria to recognise rare adenoma variants and will address the questions of a diagnosis of adenoma with aggressive behaviour. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

  • Silent corticotroph adenomas.

    24 October 2018

    Silent corticotroph pituitary adenomas (SCA) are defined as pituitary adenomas showing positive staining for adrenocorticotrophic hormone in immunohistochemical studies, but not associated with perioperative clinical or laboratory features of hypercortisolaemia. They account for 1.1-6% of surgically removed pituitary adenomas. Currently, two distinct pathologic subtypes of SCA are recognised. Their pathogenesis remains unclear. They present with local mass effects (headache, visual deterioration, cranial nerve palsies, endocrine dysfunction). The lack of manifestations of cortisol excess has not been conclusively explained. In surgical series, most tumours are macroadenomas with suprasellar extension present in 87-100% of the cases; this is in contrast to Cushing's disease, which is mostly attributed to microadenomas. Surgery remains the main therapeutic approach. Attempts to identify predictors of recurrence have not been successful. Management and follow-up protocols should be planned taking into account their potential aggressive behaviour, particularly upon recurrence. The development of florid pituitary Cushing's syndrome and local recurrence followed by metastatic disease (occasionally outside the central nervous system) have been rarely reported.

  • Nelson's syndrome.

    24 October 2018

    Nelson's syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that does not infrequently develop following total bilateral adrenalectomy (TBA) for the treatment of Cushing's disease. In this review article, we discuss some controversial aspects of Nelson's syndrome including diagnosis, predictive factors, aetiology, pathology and management based on data from the existing literature and the experience of our own tertiary centre. Definitive diagnostic criteria for Nelson's syndrome are lacking. We argue in favour of a new set of criteria. We propose that Nelson's syndrome should be diagnosed in any patient with prior TBA for the treatment of Cushing's disease and with at least one of the following criteria: i) an expanding pituitary mass lesion compared with pre-TBA images; ii) an elevated 0800 h plasma level of ACTH (>500 ng/l) in addition to progressive elevations of ACTH (a rise of >30%) on at least three consecutive occasions. Regarding predictive factors for the development of Nelson's syndrome post TBA, current evidence favours the presence of residual pituitary tumour on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) post transsphenoidal surgery (TSS); an aggressive subtype of corticotrophinoma (based on MRI growth rapidity and histology of TSS samples); lack of prophylactic neoadjuvant pituitary radiotherapy at the time of TBA and a rapid rise of ACTH levels in year 1 post TBA. Finally, more studies are needed to assess the efficacy of therapeutic strategies in Nelson's syndrome, including the alkylating agent, temozolomide, which holds promise as a novel and effective therapeutic agent in the treatment of associated aggressive corticotroph tumours. It is timely to review these controversies and to suggest guidelines for future audit.