Incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD) is the term used when Lewy bodies are found in the nervous system of subjects without clinically documented parkinsonism or dementia. The prevalence of ILBD in the elderly population has been estimated at between 3.8 and 30%, depending on subject age and anatomical site of sampling. It has been speculated that ILBD represents the preclinical stage of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and/or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Studies of ILBD could potentially identify early diagnostic signs of these disorders. At present, however, it is impossible to know whether ILBD is a precursor to PD or DLB or is just a benign finding of normal aging. We hypothesized that, if ILBD represents an early stage of PD or DLB, it should be associated with depletion of striatal dopaminergic markers. Eleven subjects with ILBD and 27 control subjects were studied. The ILBD subjects ranged in age from 74 to 96 years (mean 86.5) while the control subjects’ age ranged from 75 to 102 years (mean 86.7). Controls and subjects did not differ in terms of age, postmortem interval, gender distribution, medical history conditions, brain weight, neuritic plaque density or Braak neurofibrillary stage. Quantitative ELISA measurement of striatal tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the principal enzyme for dopamine synthesis, showed a 49.8% (P = 0.01) reduction in ILBD cases, as compared with control cases. The finding suggests that ILBD is not a benign condition but is likely a precursor to PD and/or DLB.
Striatum; Dopamine; Parkinson’s disease; Lewy bodies; Pathogenesis; Aging
Next to α-synuclein deposition, microglial activation is a prominent
pathological feature in the substantia nigra (SN) of Parkinson’s disease
(PD) patients. Little is known, however, about the different phenotypes of
microglia and how they change during disease progression, in the SN or in
another brain region, like the hippocampus (HC), which is implicated in
dementia and depression, important non-motor symptoms in PD.
We studied phenotypes and activation of microglia in the SN and HC of
established PD patients (Braak PD stage 4–6), matched controls (Braak PD
stage 0) and of incidental Lewy Body disease (iLBD) cases (Braak PD stage
1–3) that are considered a prodromal state of PD. As recent experimental
studies suggested that toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) mediates α-synuclein
triggered microglial activation, we also studied whether TLR2 expression is
indeed related to pathology in iLBD and PD patients.
A clear α-synuclein pathology-related increase in amoeboid microglia was
present in the HC and SN in PD. Also, morphologically primed/reactive
microglial cells, and a profound increase in microglial TLR2 expression were
apparent in iLBD, but not PD, cases, indicative of an early activational
response to PD pathology. Moreover, TLR2 was differentially expressed
between the SN and HC, consistent with a region-specific pattern of
In conclusion, the regional changes in microglial phenotype and TLR2
expression in primed/reactive microglia in the SN and HC of iLBD cases
indicate that TLR2 may play a prominent role in the microglial-mediated
responses that could be important for PD progression.
Parkinson’s disease; Substantia nigra; Hippocampus; Incidental Lewy body disease; Microglia; Toll-like receptor 2
To explore whether associations of potential risk factors for incidental Lewy Body Disease (iLBD) may be similar to Parkinson Disease (PD).
Design, Setting, and Patients
We identified brain-autopsied residents of Olmsted County, MN and immediate vicinity(1988–2004), age>60, without evidence of neurodegenerative disease or tremor, and evaluated by at least one physician within one year of death. Analysis for “incidental” Lewy pathology was done blinded to clinical abstraction.
Main Outcome Measures
Whether risk factors previously associated with PD in Olmsted County, MN are also associated with iLBD.
Of 235 subjects, 34 had iLBD(14.5%). The overall risk factor profiles for iLBD and PD were fairly similar between the two sets of OR estimates, with 11/16 ORs in the same direction. Prior Olmsted County studies documented 7 risk factors with statistically significant associations with PD; for two of these, the ORs for iLBD were in the same direction and statistically significant (physician, caffeine), whereas for three, they were in the same direction but not significant (education, head injury, number-of-children); they were in the opposite direction but not statistically significant for 2 (depression, anxiety). ILBD was not associated with various end-of-life conditions or causes-of-death, although they were slightly older and more likely cachectic.
Based on this exploratory study, iLBD and PD appear to have similar risk factor profiles. Thus, at least some cases of ILBD might represent preclinical PD, arrested PD or a partial syndrome due to a lesser burden of causative factors. ILBD is not explained by non-specific end-of-life brain insults.
To determine whether evidence of neuronal dysfunction or demise preceded deposition of Lewy pathology in vulnerable neurons in Parkinson disease (PD).
We examined the extent of nigral dysfunction and degeneration among 63 normal, incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD), and PD cases based on tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity and neuron densities, respectively. The relationship between these markers and Lewy pathology (LP) burden in the substantia nigra (SN) and Braak PD stage was assessed.
Compared with normal subjects, ILBD cases displayed a significantly higher percentage of TH-negative cells and lower neuronal densities in the SN as early as Braak PD stages 1 and 2, before LP deposition in the nigrostriatal system. ILBD nigral neuron densities were intermediate between normal subjects and PD cases, and TH-negative percentages were higher in ILBD than either normal or PD cases. Furthermore, neuron density and neuronal dysfunction levels remained relatively constant across Braak PD stages in ILBD.
These results suggest that significant neurodegeneration and cellular dysfunction precede LP in the SN, challenging the pathogenic role of LP in PD and the assumption that ILBD always represents preclinical PD.
Involvement of the olfactory bulb by Lewy-type α-synucleinopathy (LTS) is known to occur at an early stage of Parkinson's disease (PD) and Lewy body disorders and is therefore of potential usefulness diagnostically. An accurate estimate of the specificity and sensitivity of this change has not previously been available. We performed immunohistochemical α-synuclein staining of the olfactory bulb in 328 deceased individuals. All cases had received an initial neuropathological examination that included α-synuclein immunohistochemical staining on sections from brainstem, limbic and neocortical regions, but excluded olfactory bulb. These cases had been classified based on their clinical characteristics and brain regional distribution and density of LTS, as PD, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Alzheimer's disease with LTS (ADLS), Alzheimer's disease without LTS (ADNLS), incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD) and elderly control subjects. The numbers of cases found to be positive and negative, respectively, for olfactory bulb LTS were: PD 55/3; DLB 34/1; ADLS 37/5; ADNLS 19/84; ILBD 14/7; elderly control subjects 5/64. The sensitivities and specificities were, respectively: 95 and 91% for PD versus elderly control; 97 and 91% for DLB versus elderly control; 88 and 91% for ADLS versus elderly control; 88 and 81% for ADLS versus ADNLS; 67 and 91% for ILBD versus elderly control. Olfactory bulb synucleinopathy density scores correlated significantly with synucleinopathy scores in all other brain regions (Spearman R values between 0.46 and 0.78) as well as with scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination and Part 3 of the unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (Spearman R −0.27, 0.35, respectively). It is concluded that olfactory bulb LTS accurately predicts the presence of LTS in other brain regions. It is suggested that olfactory bulb biopsy be considered to confirm the diagnosis in PD subjects being assessed for surgical therapy.
Parkinson's disease, surgery; Deep brain stimulation; Gene therapy; Transplantation; Dementia with Lewy bodies, diagnosis, therapy, clinical trial; α-Synuclein, Lewy bodies, incidental Lewy body disease; Biopsy; Olfactory bulb
Evaluate electrophysiologic findings in incidental Lewy Body disease (ILBD).
ILBD, Control, and Parkinson's disease (PD) subjects had electrophysiological evaluation within two years prior to autopsy. Data analyzed included surface electromyography (EMG) of upper extremity muscles during rest and muscle activation, and electroencephalography (EEG) recording at rest. For EMG, gross tracings and spectral peaks were analyzed. EEG measures analyzed were background frequency and power in delta, theta, alpha, and beta bands.
Three of ten ILBD subjects (30%) showed unilateral rhythmic EMG discharges at rest without a visually apparent rest tremor. The ILBD resting EMG frequency was lower than in the Control group with no overlap (P=0.03) and close to that of the PD group. The ILBD group had significantly lower background rhythm frequency than the Control group (P=0.001) but was greater than the PD group (P=0.01).
The electrophysiologic changes in ILBD cases are between those of Control and PD, suggesting that these findings may reflect changes correlating with ILBD as a possible precursor to PD.
Electrophysiologic changes in ILBD may assist with the identification of a preclinical stage for Lewy body disorders and help the development of a therapeutic agent for modifying Lewy body disease progression.
Lewy body; Electromyography; Electroencephalography; Pathology; Parkinson's disease; Tremor
In Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) α-synuclein (αS) pathology is seen that displays a predictable topographic distribution. There are two staging/categorization systems, i.e. Braak’s and McKeith’s, currently in use for the assessment of αS pathology. The aim of these diagnostic strategies in pathology is, in addition to assess the stage/severity of pathology, to assess the probabilities of the related clinical symptomatology i.e. dementia and extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). Herein, we assessed the applicability of these two staging/categorization systems and the frequency of dementia and EPS in a cohort of 226 αS-positive-subjects. These subject were selected from a large autopsy sample (n = 1,720), irrespective of the clinical presentation, based on the detection of αS-immunoreactivity (IR) in one of the most vulnerable nuclei; in the dorsal motor nucleus of vagus, substantia nigra and basal forebrain. The frequency of αS-IR lesions in this large cohort was 14% (248 out of 1,720). If applicable, each of the 226 subjects with all required material available was assigned a neuropathological stage/category of PD/DLB and finally the neuropathological data was analyzed in relation to dementia and EPS. 83% of subjects showed a distribution pattern of αS-IR that was compatible with the current staging/categorization systems. Around 55% of subjects with widespread αS pathology (Braak’s PD stages 5–6) lacked clinical signs of dementia or EPS. Similarly, in respect to those subjects that fulfilled the McKeith criteria for diffuse neocortical category and displaying only mild concomitant Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology, only 48% were demented and 54% displayed EPS. It is noteworthy that some subjects (17%) deviated from the suggested caudo-rostral propagation suggesting alternative routes of progression, perhaps due to concomitant diseases and genetic predisposition. In conclusion, our results do indeed confirm that current staging/categorization systems can readily be applied to most of the subjects with αS pathology. However, finding that around half of the subjects with abundant αS pathology remain neurologically intact is intriguing and raises the question whether we do assess the actual disease process.
Dementia; Extrapyramidal symptoms; Lewy body dementia; Parkinson disease; α-Synuclein
The relative importance of Lewy- and Alzheimer-type pathologies to dementia in Parkinson’s disease remains unclear. We have examined the combined associations of α-synuclein, tau and amyloid-β accumulation in 56 pathologically confirmed Parkinson’s disease cases, 29 of whom had developed dementia. Cortical and subcortical amyloid-β scores were obtained, while tau and α-synuclein pathologies were rated according to the respective Braak stages. Additionally, cortical Lewy body and Lewy neurite scores were determined and Lewy body densities were generated using morphometry. Non-parametric statistics, together with regression models, receiver-operating characteristic curves and survival analyses were applied. Cortical and striatal amyloid-β scores, Braak tau stages, cortical Lewy body, Lewy neurite scores and Lewy body densities, but not Braak α-synuclein stages, were all significantly greater in the Parkinson’s disease-dementia group (P < 0.05), with all the pathologies showing a significant positive correlation to each other (P < 0.05). A combination of pathologies [area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve = 0.95 (0.88–1.00); P < 0.0001] was a better predictor of dementia than the severity of any single pathology. Additionally, cortical amyloid-β scores (r = −0.62; P = 0.043) and Braak tau stages (r = −0.52; P = 0.028), but not Lewy body scores (r = −0.25; P = 0.41) or Braak α-synuclein stages (r = −0.44; P = 0.13), significantly correlated with mini-mental state examination scores in the subset of cases with this information available within the last year of life (n = 15). High cortical amyloid-β score (P = 0.017) along with an older age at onset (P = 0.001) were associated with a shorter time-to-dementia period. A combination of Lewy- and Alzheimer-type pathologies is a robust pathological correlate of dementia in Parkinson’s disease, with quantitative and semi-quantitative assessment of Lewy pathology being more informative than Braak α-synuclein stages. Cortical amyloid-β and age at disease onset seem to determine the rate to dementia.
lewy bodies; amyloid-β; tau; Parkinson’s disease; dementia
Besides dopamine-deficiency related motor symptoms, nonmotor symptoms, including cognitive changes occur in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, that may relate to accumulation of α-synuclein in the hippocampus (HC). This brain region also contains stem cells that can proliferate. This is a well-regulated process that can, for example, be altered by neurodegenerative conditions. In contrast to proliferation in the substantia nigra and subventricular zone, little is known about the HC in PD. In addition, glial cells contribute to neurodegenerative processes and may proliferate in response to PD pathology. In the present study, we questioned whether microglial cells proliferate in the HC of established PD patients versus control subjects or incidental Lewy body disease (iLBD) cases as a prodromal state of PD. To this end, proliferation was assessed using the immunocytochemical marker minichromosome maintenance protein 2 (MCM2). Colocalization with Iba1 was performed to determine microglial proliferation. MCM2-positive cells were present in the HC of controls and were significantly increased in the presymptomatic iLBD cases, but not in established PD patients. Microglia represented the majority of the proliferating cells in the HC. This suggests an early microglial response to developing PD pathology in the HC and further indicates that neuroinflammatory processes play an important role in the development of PD pathology.
Angiogenesis has not been extensively studied in Parkinson’s disease (PD) despite being associated with other neurodegenerative disorders. Post-mortem human brain tissues were obtained from subjects with pathologically confirmed Parkinson’s disease (PD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rapidly progressing Parkinsonian-like disorder. Tissues were also obtained from subjects with incidental Lewy body disease (iLBD) who had Lewy bodies in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) but had not been diagnosed with PD and age-matched controls without Lewy body pathology. The SNpc, putamen, locus ceruleus (LC) and midfrontal cortex were examined for integrin αvβ3, a marker for angiogenesis, along with vessel number and activated microglia. All parkinsonian syndromes had greater αvβ3 in the LC and the SNpc, while only PD and PSP subjects had elevated αvβ3 in the putamen compared to controls. PD and PSP subjects also had increases in microglia number and activation in the SNpc suggesting a link between inflammation and clinical disease. Microglia activation in iLBD subjects was limited to the LC, an area involved at an early stage of PD. Likewise, iLBD subjects did not differ from controls in αvβ3 staining in the putamen, a late area of involvement in PD. The presence of αvβ3 reactive vessels in PD and its syndromes is indicative of newly created vessels that have not likely developed the restrictive properties of the blood brain barrier. Such angiogenic vessels could contribute to neuroinflammation by failing to protect the parenchyma from peripheral immune cells and inflammatory or toxic factors in the peripheral circulation.
angiogenesis; Parkinson’s disease; incidental Lewy body disease; progressive supranuclear palsy; integrin αvβ3; microglia
Limited clinical information has been published on cases pathologically diagnosed with incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD). Standardized, longitudinal movement and cognitive data was collected on a cohort of subjects enrolled in the Sun Health Research Institute Brain and Body Donation Program. Of 277 autopsied subjects who had antemortem clinical evaluations within the previous 3 years, 76 did not have Parkinson’s disease, a related disorder, or dementia of which 15 (20%) had ILBD. Minor extrapyramidal signs were common in subjects with and without ILBD. Cognitive testing revealed an abnormality in the ILBD group in the Trails B test only. ILBD cases had olfactory dysfunction; however, sample size was very small. This preliminary report revealed ILBD cases have movement and cognitive findings that for the most part were not out of proportion to similarly assessed and age-similar cases without Lewy bodies. Larger sample size is needed to have the power to better assess group differences.
incidental Lewy body disease; Lewy bodies; Parkinson’s disease; demential with Lewy bodies
Modifications of α-synuclein resulting in changes in its conformation are considered to be key pathological events for Lewy body diseases (LBD), which include Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We have previously described a histopathological Unified Staging System for LBD that classifies the spread of α-synuclein phosphorylated at serine 129 (pS129-α-synuclein) from olfactory bulb to brainstem or limbic regions, and finally neocortex. Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites are highly enriched in pS129-α-synuclein. Increased formation of pS129-α-synuclein changes its solubility properties enhancing its tendency to aggregate and disrupt normal function. As in vitro and animal studies have shown that inhibiting formation of pS129-α-synuclein can prevent toxic consequences, this has become one of the therapeutic targets for LBD. However, detailed biochemical descriptions of the changes in pS129-α-synuclein properties in diseased human brains are needed to further our understanding of how these might contribute to molecular pathogenesis. In this study, we used 130 separate brain samples from cingulate cortex (limbic cortex) and 131 from temporal cortex (neocortex) that had been staged according to our Unified Staging System to examine progressive changes in properties of pS129-α-synuclein with the formation of progressively more severe histological Lewy-type pathology. The brain samples from these staged cases had been separated into cytosol-enriched, membrane-enriched (detergent soluble) and insoluble (ureas/SDS soluble) fractions. We also characterized the nature and appearance of higher molecular weight forms of pS129-α-synuclein. The major species was the 16 kD monomeric form; this accumulated with increasing stage with a large increase in Stage IV samples. By comparing two brain regions, we showed higher accumulation of insoluble pS129-α-synuclein in cingulate cortex, where histological deposits occur first, than in temporal cortex in samples with advanced (Stage IV) LB pathology.
Western blots; Parkinson’s disease; antibodies; fractionation; post-translational modification; postmortem brain tissue; dementia with Lewy bodies; incidental Lewy body disease; pathogenesis; aggregation
To determine whether the temporal onset of visual phenomena distinguishes Lewy body disease (LBD) from Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and to characterize the extent Lewy bodies and neurofibrillary tangles are associated with these clinical features.
Consecutive cases of autopsy-confirmed LBD (n=41), AD (n=70), and AD with amygdala-predominant Lewy bodies (AD-ALB) (n=14) with a documented clinical history of dementia were included. We mailed questionnaires to next-of-kin asking about symptoms during life. Lewy pathology and neurofibrillary tangle pathology were assessed.
The occurrence of visual hallucinations, misperceptions and family misidentification did not distinguish LBD from AD or AD-ALB, but the onset was earlier in LBD compared to AD and AD-ALB. When visual hallucinations developed within the first 5 years of dementia, the odds were 4 to 5 times greater for autopsy-confirmed LBD (or intermediate/high likelihood DLB) and not AD or AD-ALB. In LBD, limbic but not cortical Lewy body pathology was related to an earlier onset of visual hallucinations, while limbic and cortical Lewy body pathology were associated with visual misperceptions and misidentification. Cortical neurofibrillary tangle burden was associated with an earlier onset of misidentification and misperceptions in LBD and AD, but only with earlier visual hallucinations in AD/AD-ALB.
When visual hallucinations occur within the first 5 years of the dementia, a diagnosis of DLB was more likely than AD. Visual hallucinations in LBD were associated with limbic Lewy body pathology. Visual misperceptions and misidentification delusions were related to cortical Lewy body and neurofibrillary tangle burden in LBD and AD/AD-ALB.
Dementia with Lewy bodies; Lewy body disease; Alzheimer’s disease
There is limited information on the validity of the pathological criteria of the Third Consortium on Dementia with Lewy bodies (CDLB) and none based upon prospectively diagnosed cases. In this study the core clinical features of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and the suggestive clinical feature of rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder were assessed using a battery of standardized clinical instruments in 76 patients with the clinical diagnosis of either DLB or Alzheimer disease. At autopsy, 29 patients had high-likelihood, 17 had intermediate-likelihood and 6 had low-likelihood DLB pathology. The frequency of core clinical features and the accuracy of the clinical diagnosis of probable DLB were significantly greater in high-likelihood than in low-likelihood cases. This is consistent with the concept that the DLB clinical syndrome is directly related to Lewy body pathology and inversely related to Alzheimer pathology. Thus, the Third CDLB neuropathological criteria scheme performed reasonably well and is useful for estimating the likelihood of the premortem DLB syndrome based upon postmortem findings. In view of differences in the frequency of clinically probable DLB in cases with Braak NFT stages V (90%) and VI (20%) and diffuse cortical Lewy bodies, a possible modification of the scheme considering cases with NFT stage VI to be low-likelihood DLB is suggested.
Alzheimer disease; α-synuclein; Clinicopathologic correlation; Diagnostic criteria; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Prospective study; REM behavior disorder
A sensitive immunohistochemical method for phosphorylated α-synuclein was used to stain sets of sections of spinal cord and tissue from 41 different sites in the bodies of 92 subjects, including 23 normal elderly, 7 with incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD), 17 with Parkinson’s disease (PD), 9 with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), 19 with Alzheimer’s disease with Lewy bodies (ADLB) and 17 with Alzheimer’s disease with no Lewy bodies (AD-NLB). The relative densities and frequencies of occurrence of phosphorylated α-synuclein histopathology (PASH) were tabulated and correlated with diagnostic category. The greatest densities and frequencies of PASH occurred in the spinal cord, followed by the paraspinal sympathetic ganglia, the vagus nerve, the gastrointestinal tract and endocrine organs. The frequency of PASH within other organs and tissue types was much lower. Spinal cord and peripheral PASH was most common in subjects with PD and DLB, where it appears likely that it is universally widespread. Subjects with ILBD had lesser densities of PASH within all regions, but had frequent involvement of the spinal cord and paraspinal sympathetic ganglia, with less-frequent involvement of end-organs. Subjects with ADLB had infrequent involvement of the spinal cord and paraspinal sympathetic ganglia with rare involvement of end-organs. Within the gastrointestinal tract, there was a rostrocaudal gradient of decreasing PASH frequency and density, with the lower esophagus and submandibular gland having the greatest involvement and the colon and rectum the lowest.
Parkinson’s disease; Parkinsonism; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Alzheimer’s disease; Incidental Lewy bodies; α-Synuclein; Spinal cord; Sympathetic nervous system; Peripheral nervous system; Autonomic nervous system; Enteric nervous system; Submandibular gland; Esophagus; Adrenal gland; Heart; Stomach; Gastrointestinal system
Lewy body and Lewy neurite formation are the hallmark neuropathological findings in Parkinson’s disease (PD), Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and other alpha-synucleinopathies. They also have been described in the brains of normal older individuals and referred to as incidental Lewy body disease. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites (Lewy body pathology; LBP) in 139 autopsies from our normal volunteer control group of the University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Center. All subjects were followed longitudinally and were cognitively normal without any type of movement disorder, neuropsychiatric features, or other CNS findings. Thirty-three out of 139 normal subjects contained LBP in various brain regions. The most common regions involved were the medulla (26%), amygdala (24%), pons (20%), and midbrain (20%). No mean statistical differences were found between those with and without LBP on any demographic or cognitive variable, Braak stage, or neurofibrillary tangle and neuritic plaque quantitation. The high prevalence of LBP in our elderly, well educated group is not clear although it does not appear to be related to aging or the presence of AD pathology. Overall, our findings support the concept that incidental Lewy body disease most likely represents preclinical or presymptomatic PD, PDD or DLB.
Aging; Alpha-synucleinopathies; Lewy bodies; Lewy neurites
Lewy body and Alzheimer-type pathologies often co-exist. Several studies suggest a synergistic relationship between amyloid-β (Aβ) and α-synuclein (α-syn) accumulation. We have explored the relationship between Aβ accumulation and the phosphorylation of α-syn at serine-129 (pSer129 α-syn), in post-mortem human brain tissue and in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells transfected to overexpress human α-syn.
We measured levels of Aβ40, Aβ42, α-syn and pSer129 α-syn by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in soluble and insoluble fractions of midfrontal, cingulate and parahippocampal cortex and thalamus, from cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) with (PDD; n = 12) and without dementia (PDND; n = 23), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB; n = 10) and age-matched controls (n = 17). We also examined the relationship of these measurements to cognitive decline, as measured by time-to-dementia and the mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score in the PD patients, and to Braak tangle stage.
In most brain regions, the concentration of insoluble pSer129 α-syn correlated positively, and soluble pSer129 α-syn negatively, with the levels of soluble and insoluble Aβ. Insoluble pSer129 α-syn also correlated positively with Braak stage. In most regions, the levels of insoluble and soluble Aβ and the proportion of insoluble α-syn that was phosphorylated at Ser129 were significantly higher in the PD and DLB groups than the controls, and higher in the PDD and DLB groups than the PDND brains. In PD, the MMSE score correlated negatively with the level of insoluble pSer129 α-syn. Exposure of SH-SY5Y cells to aggregated Aβ42 significantly increased the proportion of α-syn that was phosphorylated at Ser129 (aggregated Aβ40 exposure had a smaller, non-significant effect).
Together, these data show that the concentration of pSer129 α-syn in brain tissue homogenates is directly related to the level of Aβ and Braak tangle stage, and predicts cognitive status in Lewy body diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13195-014-0077-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
In 1976 we reported our first autopsied case with diffuse Lewy body disease (DLBD), the term of which we proposed in 1984. We also proposed the term “Lewy body disease” (LBD) in1980. Subsequently, we classified LBD into three types according to the distribution pattern of Lewy bodies: a brain stem type, a transitional type and a diffuse type. Later, we added the cerebral type. As we have proposed since 1980, LBD has recently been used as a generic term to include Parkinson’s disease (PD), Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), which was proposed in 1996 on the basis of our reports of DLBD.
DLB is now known to be the second most frequent dementia following Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
In this paper we introduce our studies of DLBD and LBD.
Lewy body disease (LBD); diffuse Lewy body disease (DLBD); dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB); Parkinson’s disease (PD); Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD)
Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), composed of hyperphosphorylated tau proteins, are one of the pathologic hallmarks of Alzheimer disease (AD). We aimed to determine whether patterns of gray matter atrophy from antemortem MRI correlate with Braak staging of NFT pathology.
Eighty-three subjects with Braak stage III through VI, a pathologic diagnosis of low- to high-probability AD, and MRI within 4 years of death were identified. Voxel-based morphometry assessed gray matter atrophy in each Braak stage compared with 20 pathologic control subjects (Braak stages 0 through II).
In pairwise comparisons with Braak stages 0 through II, a graded response was observed across Braak stages V and VI, with more severe and widespread loss identified at Braak stage VI. No regions of loss were identified in Braak stage III or IV compared with Braak stages 0 through II. The lack of findings in Braak stages III and IV could be because Braak stage is based on the presence of any NFT pathology regardless of severity. Actual NFT burden may vary by Braak stage. Therefore, tau burden was assessed in subjects with Braak stages 0 through IV. Those with high tau burden showed greater gray matter loss in medial and lateral temporal lobes than those with low tau burden.
Patterns of gray matter loss are associated with neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) pathology, specifically with NFT burden at Braak stages III and IV and with Braak stage itself at higher stages. This validates three-dimensional patterns of atrophy on MRI as an approximate in vivo surrogate indicator of the full brain topographic representation of the neurodegenerative aspect of Alzheimer disease pathology.
= Alzheimer disease;
= argyrophilic grains disease;
= amnestic mild cognitive impairment;
= Clinical Dementia Rating scale sum of boxes;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= false-discovery rate;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= neurofibrillary tangle;
= National Institute on Aging;
= spoiled gradient echo;
= voxel-based morphometry.
Braak and colleagues have proposed that, within the central nervous system, Parkinson’s disease (PD) begins as a synucleinopathy in non-dopaminergic structures of the lower brainstem or in the olfactory bulb. The brainstem synucleinopathy is postulated to progress rostrally to affect the substantia nigra (SN) and cause parkinsonism at a later stage of the disease. In the context of a diagnosis of PD, made on the basis of current clinical criteria, the pattern of lower brainstem involvement accompanying mesencephalic synucleinopathy is often observed. However, outside of that context, the patterns of synucleinopathy described by Braak are often not observed, particularly in dementia with Lewy bodies and when synucleinopathy occurs in the absence of neurological manifestations. The concept that lower brainstem synucleinopathy represents “early PD” rests on the supposition that it has a substantial likelihood of progressing within the human lifetime to involve the mesencephalon and thereby cause the SN pathology and clinical parkinsonism that have heretofore defined the disease. However, the predictive validity of this concept is doubtful, based on numerous observations made in populations of aged individuals who, in spite of the absence of neurologic signs, have brain synucleinopathy ranging up to Braak Stages 4 to 6 at postmortem. Furthermore, there is no relationship between Braak stage and the clinical severity of PD. We conclude that the relationship between patterns of abnormal synuclein immunostaining in the human brain and the disease entity now recognized as PD remains to be determined.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) without (non-demented, PDND) and with dementia (PDD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are subsumed under the umbrella term Lewy body disorders (LBD). The main component of the underlying pathologic substrate, i.e. Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, is misfolded alpha-synuclein (Asyn), and - in particular in demented LBD patients - co-occurring misfolded amyloid-beta (Abeta). Lowered blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of transthyretin (TTR) - a clearance protein mainly produced in the liver and, autonomously, in the choroid plexus - are associated with Abeta accumulation in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, a recent study suggests that TTR is involved in Asyn clearance. We measured TTR protein levels in serum and cerebrospinal fluid of 131 LBD patients (77 PDND, 26 PDD, and 28 DLB) and 72 controls, and compared TTR levels with demographic and clinical data as well as neurodegenerative markers in the CSF. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms of the TTR gene which are considered to influence the ability of the protein to carry its ligands were also analyzed. CSF TTR levels were significantly higher in LBD patients compared to controls. Post-hoc analysis demonstrated that this effect was driven by PDND patients. In addition, CSF TTR levels correlated negatively with CSF Abeta1–42, total tau and phospho-tau levels. Serum TTR levels did not significantly differ among the studied groups. There were no relevant associations between TTR levels and genetic, demographic and clinical data, respectively. These results suggest an involvement of the clearance protein TTR in LBD pathophysiology, and should motivate to elucidate TTR-related mechanisms in LBD in more detail.
To determine the relative contributions of individual pathologic protein deposits associated with parkinson disease (PD).
Autopsied patients were analyzed from February 24, 2005, through July 25, 2010, to determine the distribution and severity of individual pathologic protein deposits (α-synuclein, Aβ, and tau) using routine protocols for histologic and immunohistochemical analysis and established neuropathologic staging criteria. Clinical data were extracted from an electronic medical record system used for all patients with PD.
Thirty-two consecutive autopsied patients treated at the Washington University Movement Disorders Center who had neuropathologic confirmation of PD and a history of dementia, regardless of the timing of the onset of dementia with respect to motor symptoms.
Three pathologic subgroups of dementia associated with PD were identified: (1) predominant synucleinopathy (Braak Lewy body stages 5–6) (12 [38%]), (2) predominant synucleinopathy with Aβ deposition (Braak amyloid stages B–C) but minimal or no cortical tau deposition (19 [99%]), and (3) synucleinopathy and Aβ deposition with at least moderate neocortical tauopathy (Braak tau stages 5–6; 1 [3%]). Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses revealed that patients with synucleinopathy plus Aβ deposition had significantly shorter survival (years from PD onset until death and years from dementia onset until death) than patients with synucleinopathy only.
Dementia associated with PD has 2 major pathologic subgroups: neocortical synucleinopathy and neocortical synucleinopathy with Aβ deposition. Alzheimer disease with neocortical Aβ and tau deposition does not commonly cause dementia with PD. Furthermore, accumulation of Aβ is associated with lower survival rates in PD patients with dementia. Additional studies are needed to prospectively determine the association between α-synuclein and Aβ accumulation and the role of Aβ in the development and progression of cognitive impairment in PD.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), cerebral vascular brain injury (VBI), and isocortical Lewy body (LB) disease (LBD) are the major contributors to dementia in community- or population-based studies: Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS), Nun Study (NS), and Oregon Brain Aging Study (OBAS). However, the prevalence of clinically silent forms of these diseases in cognitively normal (CN) adults is less clear.
DESIGN and SETTING
We evaluated 1672 brain autopsies from ACT, HAAS, NS, and OBAS of which 424 met criteria for CN.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Of these, 336 cases had a comprehensive neuropathologic examination of neuritic plaque (NP) density, Braak stage for neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), Lewy body (LB) distribution, and number of cerebral microinfarcts (CMIs).
47% of CN cases had moderate or frequent NP density; of these 6% also had Braak stage V or VI for NFTs. 15% of CN cases had medullary LBD; 8% also had nigral and 4% isocortical LBD. The presence of any CMIs was identified in 33% and high level CMIs in 10% of CN individuals. Overall burden of lesions in each individual and their co-morbidity varied widely within each study but were similar among studies.
These data show an individually varying complex convergence of subclinical diseases in the brain of older CN adults. Appreciating this ecology should help guide future biomarker or neuroimaging studies as well as clinical trials that focus on community- or population-based cohorts.
Alzheimer’s disease; vascular brain injury; Lewy body disease; cognitive aging
Experimental studies indicate that dopaminergic neurons in the ventral periaqueductal gray matter (PAG) are involved in maintenance of wakefulness. Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is a common manifestation of multiple system atrophy (MSA) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but involvement of these neurons has not yet been explored.
We sought to determine whether there is loss of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral PAG in MSA and DLB. We studied the midbrain obtained at autopsy from 12 patients (9 male, 3 female, age 61 ± 3) with neuropathologically confirmed MSA, 12 patients (11 male, 1 female, age 79 ± 4) with diagnosis of DLB and limbic or neocortical Lewy body disease, and 12 controls (7 male, 5 female, ages 67 ± 4). Fifty-micron sections were immunostained for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or α-synuclein and costained with thionin. Cell counts were performed every 400 μm throughout the ventral PAG using stereologic techniques.
Compared to the total estimated cell numbers in controls (21,488 ± 8,324 cells), there was marked loss of TH neurons in the ventral PAG in both MSA (11,727 ± 5,984; p < 0.01) and DLB (5,163 ± 1,926; p < 0.001) cases. Cell loss was more marked in DLB than in MSA. There were characteristic α-synuclein inclusions in the ventral PAG in both MSA and DLB.
There is loss of putative wake-active ventral periaqueductal gray matter dopaminergic neurons in both multiple system atrophy and dementia with Lewy bodies, which may contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness in these conditions.
= Alzheimer disease;
= Braak and Braak;
= Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease;
= continuous positive airway pressure;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= excessive daytime sleepiness;
= Epworth Sleepiness Scale;
= glial cytoplasmic inclusion;
= Lewy body disease;
= multiple system atrophy;
= MSA with predominant parkinsonism;
= MSA with predominant cerebellar involvement;
= obstructive sleep apnea;
= periaqueductal gray matter;
= REM sleep behavior disorder;
= tyrosine hydroxylase.
Recent advances have been made in defining the genetic and molecular basis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLBs) and related neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) which comprise the spectrum of “Lewy body disorders” (LBDs). The genetic alterations and underlying disease mechanisms in the LBD overlap substantially, suggesting common disease mechanisms. As with the other neurodegenerative dementias, early diagnosis in LBD or even identification prior to symptom onset is key to developing effective therapeutic strategies, but this is dependent upon the development of robust, specific, and sensitive biomarkers as diagnostic tools and therapeutic endpoints. Recently identified mutations in the synucleins and other relevant genes in PD and DLB as well as related biomolecular pathways suggest candidate markers from biological fluids and imaging modalities that reflect the underlying disease mechanisms. In this context, several promising biomarkers for the LBD have already been identified and examined, while other intriguing possible candidates have recently emerged. Challenges remain in defining their correlation with pathological processes and their ability to detect DLB and related disorders, and perhaps a combined array of biomarkers may be needed to distinguish various LBDs.