Imperial College London

DrMariaYanez Lopez

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Medicine

Honorary Research Associate







C3NLBurlington DanesHammersmith Campus





Publication Type

3 results found

Yanez Lopez M, Pardon M-C, Baiker K, Prior M, Yuchun D, Agostini A, Bai L, Auer DP, Faas HMet al., 2019, Myoinositol CEST signal in animals with increased Iba-1 levels in response to an inflammatory challenge-Preliminary findings, PLoS ONE, Vol: 14, ISSN: 1932-6203

Neuroinflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of a range of brain disorders. Non-invasive imaging of neuroinflammation is critical to help improve our understanding of the underlying disease mechanisms, monitor therapies and guide drug development. Generally, MRI lacks specificity to molecular imaging biomarkers, but molecular MR imaging based on chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) can potentially detect changes of myoinositol, a putative glial marker that may index neuroinflammation. In this pilot study we aimed to investigate, through validation with immunohistochemistry and in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), whether CEST imaging can reflect the microglial response to a mild inflammatory challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), in the APPSwe/ PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and wild type controls. The response to the immune challenge was variable and did not align with genotype. Animals with a strong response to LPS (Iba1+, n = 6) showed an increase in CEST contrast compared with those who did not (Iba1-, n = 6). Changes of myoinositol levels after LPS were not significant. We discuss the difficulties of this mild inflammatory model, the role of myoinositol as a glial biomarker, and the technical challenges of CEST imaging at 0.6ppm.


Rossi F, Geiszler PC, Meng W, Barron MR, Prior M, Herd-Smith A, Loreto A, Lopez MY, Faas H, Pardon M-C, Conforti Let al., 2018, NAD-biosynthetic enzyme NMNAT1 reduces early behavioral impairment in the htau mouse model of tauopathy., Behavioural Brain Research, Vol: 339, Pages: 140-152, ISSN: 0166-4328

NAD metabolism and the NAD biosynthetic enzymes nicotinamide nucleotide adenylyltransferases (NMNATs) are thought to play a key neuroprotective role in tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease. Here, we investigated whether modulating the expression of the NMNAT nuclear isoform NMNAT1, which is important for neuronal maintenance, influences the development of behavioral and neuropathological abnormalities in htau mice, which express non-mutant human tau isoforms and represent a model of tauopathy relevant to Alzheimer's disease. Prior to the development of cognitive symptoms, htau mice exhibit tau hyperphosphorylation associated with a selective deficit in food burrowing, a behavior reminiscent to activities of daily living which are impaired early in Alzheimer's disease. We crossed htau mice with Nmnat1 transgenic and knockout mice and tested the resulting offspring until the age of 6 months. We show that overexpression of NMNAT1 ameliorates the early deficit in food burrowing characteristic of htau mice. At 6 months of age, htau mice did not show neurodegenerative changes in both the cortex and hippocampus, and these were not induced by downregulating NMNAT1 levels. Modulating NMNAT1 levels produced a corresponding effect on NMNAT enzymatic activity but did not alter NAD levels in htau mice. Although changes in local NAD levels and subsequent modulation of NAD-dependent enzymes cannot be ruled out, this suggests that the effects seen on behavior may be due to changes in tau phosphorylation. Our results suggest that increasing NMNAT1 levels can slow the progression of symptoms and neuropathological features of tauopathy, but the underlying mechanisms remain to be established.


Pardon M-C, Lopez MY, Ding Y, Marjanska M, Prior M, Brignell C, Parhizkar S, Agostini A, Bai L, Auer DP, Faas HMet al., 2016, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy discriminates the response to microglial stimulation of wild type and Alzheimer's disease models, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2045-2322


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