Mutations in the progranulin gene cause frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common age-related dementia after Alzheimer's disease. FTD results in selective degeneration of the frontal and temporal cortices, changes in behavior and personality, and eventual cognitive decline. A mouse model of progranulin depletion is characterized by increased brain inflammation and deficits in social interaction. However, it is unknown how loss of progranulin contributes to these cellular and behavioral deficits in mice or humans. The goals of this proposal are to elucidate the importance of microglia-derived progranulin in promoting proper neuronal function and survival and to determine whether its neuroprotective effect against inflammation is mediated through inhibition of NF?B.
Aim 1 will test the hypothesis that microglial progranulin is essential for protection against inflammation and the associated neuronal injury. A range of experimental approaches, including in vitro co-culture of neurons and microglia from progranulin wildtype or knockout mice, characterization of a conditional progranulin knockout with deletion driven specifically in cells of myeloid origin, and lentiviral replacement therapy of progranulin in progranulin knockout mice, will be employed to address this hypothesis.
Aim 2 will test the hypothesis that progranulin mediates its protective effects by inhibiting NF?B. NF?B activation and release of target genes, such as iNOS, TNF?, IL-1?, and IL-6, in primary cultures and conditional progranulin knockout mice will be measured in Aim 2A.
Aim 2 B will determine whether inhibiting NF?B in progranulin knockout cells or mice rescues neuronal and behavioral deficits. Finally, Aim 2C will employ a genetic approach to conditionally delete IKK? (which leads to activation of NF?B) from cells of myeloid origin in conditional progranulin knock-out mice to determine whether inactivating the NF?B pathway rescues the phenotype observed in progranulin-deficient mice. These studies will employ a range of cellular, biochemical, molecular, and behavioral assays to better understand the mechanisms underlying progranulin-mediated neuronal protection and potentially offer new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of FTD. Moreover, understanding progranulin-mediated neuroprotection may be useful for the treatment of other neurodegenerative diseases that involve inflammation, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Public Health Relevance

The studies outlined in this proposal will explore one possible mechanism by which progranulin mediates neuronal protection against microglial inflammation and will use proof-of-concept approaches to test potential therapies for the treatment of frontotemporal dementia. In addition, elucidating the protective role of microglial progranulin wil contribute towards understanding inflammatory pathways in other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F03A-N (20))
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Sutherland, Margaret L
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J. David Gladstone Institutes
San Francisco
United States
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Krabbe, Grietje; Minami, S Sakura; Etchegaray, Jon I et al. (2017) Microglial NF?B-TNF? hyperactivation induces obsessive-compulsive behavior in mouse models of progranulin-deficient frontotemporal dementia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:5029-5034
Minami, S Sakura; Shen, Vivian; Le, David et al. (2015) Reducing inflammation and rescuing FTD-related behavioral deficits in progranulin-deficient mice with ?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists. Biochem Pharmacol 97:454-462
Minami, S Sakura; Min, Sang-Won; Krabbe, Grietje et al. (2014) Progranulin protects against amyloid ? deposition and toxicity in Alzheimer's disease mouse models. Nat Med 20:1157-64