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
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
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
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
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.
Somatic mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are hypothesized to play a role in Parkinson disease (PD), but large increases in mtDNA mutations have not previously been found in PD, potentially because neurons with high mutation levels degenerate and thus are absent in late-stage tissue. To address this issue, we studied early stage PD cases and cases of incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD), which is thought to represent presymptomatic PD. We show for the first time that mtDNA mutation levels in substantia nigra (SN) neurons are significantly elevated in this group of early PD and ILBD cases.
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
Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are usually associated with loss of dopaminergic neurons. Loss of substantia nigra neurons and presence of Lewy body inclusions in some of the remaining neurons are the hallmark pathology seen in the final stages of the disease. Attempts to correlate Lewy body pathology to either cell death or severity of clinical symptoms, however, have not been successful. While the pathophysiology of the neurodegenerative process can hardly be explained by Lewy bodies, the clinical symptoms do indicate a degenerative process located at the presynapse resulting in a neurotransmitter deficiency. Recently it was shown that 90% or even more of α-synuclein aggregates in DLB cases were located at the presynapses in the form of very small deposits. In parallel, dendritic spines are retracted, whereas the presynapses are relatively preserved, suggesting a neurotransmitter deprivation. The same α-synuclein pathology can be demonstrated for PD. These findings give rise to the notion that not cell death but rather α-synuclein aggregate-related synaptic dysfunction causes the neurodegeneration. This opens new perspectives for understanding PD and DLB. If presynaptic α-synuclein aggregation, not neuronal loss, is the key issue of the neurodegenerative process, then PD and DLB may eventually be treatable in the future. The disease may progress via trans-synaptical spread, suggesting that stem cell transplants are of limited use. Future therapies may focus on the regeneration of synapses.
α-Synuclein; Protein aggregates; Synapse; Neurodegeneration; Dendritic spines
Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites constitute the cardinal neuropathological features of both Parkinson's disease (PD) and Lewy body dementia (LBD). Whereas α-synuclein has been found to be the major component of the Lewy body, the mechanisms by which neurons degenerate, as well as basic mechanisms involved in the formation of α-synuclein-related inclusions, remain obscure. We have suggested previously that potential mechanisms are likely to leave a "molecular signature" or protein adduct within the Lewy body, and have found examples of such signatures in previous studies. In this study, we demonstrate increased FOXO3 in association with Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites in LBD and PD brain tissue. Since FOXO proteins are involved in several pathways responsible for the regulation of cell death, cell proliferation, and cell metabolism, the ectopic localization of FOXO3 to Lewy bodies provides evidence that aberrations in basic cellular biochemistry may contribute to inclusion formation, which is likely more complex than a simple "gain of function" toxicity as is commonly opined. In light of the known interaction of FOXO3 and 14-3-3, basic protein-protein interaction between these proteins and α-synuclein may be key.
Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most prevalent age-related neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized pathologically by the accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and tau-laden neurofibrillary tangles. Interestingly, up to 50% of AD cases exhibit a third prevalent neuropathology: the aggregation of α-synuclein into Lewy bodies. Importantly, the presence of Lewy body pathology in AD is associated with a more aggressive disease course and accelerated cognitive dysfunction. Thus, Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein may interact synergistically to promote the accumulation of each other. In this study, we used a genetic approach to generate a model that exhibits the combined pathologies of AD and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). To achieve this goal, we introduced a mutant human α-synuclein transgene into 3xTg-AD mice. As occurs in human disease, transgenic mice that develop both DLB and AD pathologies (DLB-AD mice) exhibit accelerated cognitive decline associated with a dramatic enhancement of Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein pathologies. Our findings also provide additional evidence that the accumulation of α-synuclein alone can significantly disrupt cognition. Together, our data support the notion that Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein interact in vivo to promote the aggregation and accumulation of each other and accelerate cognitive dysfunction.
Many cognitively normal older adults have underlying neuropathologic changes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular brain injury (VBI), or Lewy body disease (LBD), which confer an increased risk of dementia. The current study focused on the association between multiple neuropathologic indices and performance on specific cognitive domains in a community sample of older adults. Of 438 participants in the Adult Changes in Thought population-based study of brain aging who were autopsied, 363 subjects had cognitive testing at their final study visit and were included. Associations were measured between performance on the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument prior to death and neuropathologic endpoints, including AD neuropathologic changes, LBD, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and measures of VBI. Braak stage for neurofibrillary tangles, lower brain weight, and VBI as measured by cerebral cortical microvascular lesions (μVBI) explained a significant proportion of the variance associated with global cognitive test performance (R2=0.31, p< 0.0001) both in the entire sample and when analysis was restricted to non-demented subjects (R2= 0.23, p< 0.0001). Specific cognitive domains were differentially related to neuropathologic lesion type: memory and executive function with AD pathologic changes and cortical μVBI, executive function with subcortical μVBI, and visuospatial construction with LBD. Thus, neuropathologic lesions of LBD and μVBI are associated with poorer cognitive performance over and above AD neuropathologic changes in subjects without dementia in this cohort. These findings underscore that cognitive impairment is a complex convergent trait that has important implications for clinical investigation and medical management of older adults.
Alzheimer’s disease; brain; cerebrovascular disorders; cognition; dementia; Lewy bodies; pathologic processes
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most prevalent age-related neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized pathologically by the accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and tau-laden neurofibrillary tangles. Interestingly, up to 50% of AD cases exhibit a third prevalent neuropathology: the aggregation of α-synuclein into Lewy bodies. Importantly, the presence of Lewy body pathology in AD is associated with a more aggressive disease course and accelerated cognitive dysfunction. Thus, Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein may interact synergistically to promote the accumulation of each other. In this study, we used a genetic approach to generate a model that exhibits the combined pathologies of AD and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). To achieve this goal, we introduced a mutant human α-synuclein transgene into 3xTg-AD mice. As occurs in human disease, transgenic mice that develop both DLB and AD pathologies (DLB-AD mice) exhibit accelerated cognitive decline associated with a dramatic enhancement of Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein pathologies. Our findings also provide additional evidence that the accumulation of α-synuclein alone can significantly disrupt cognition. Together, our data support the notion that Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein interact in vivo to promote the aggregation and accumulation of each other and accelerate cognitive dysfunction.
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.
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
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
Mutations in the GBA gene occur in 7% of patients with Parkinson disease (PD) and are a well-established susceptibility factor for PD, which is characterized by Lewy body disease (LBD) neuropathologic changes (LBDNCs). We sought to determine whether GBA influences risk of dementia with LBDNCs, Alzheimer disease (AD) neuropathologic changes (ADNCs), or both.
We screened the entire GBA coding region for mutations in controls and in subjects with dementia and LBDNCs and no or low levels of ADNCs (pure dementia with Lewy bodies [pDLB]), LBDNCs and high-level ADNCs (LBD-AD), and high-level ADNCs but without LBDNCs (AD).
Among white subjects, pathogenic GBA mutations were identified in 6 of 79 pDLB cases (7.6%), 8 of 222 LBD-AD cases (3.6%), 2 of 243 AD cases (0.8%), and 3 of 381 controls (0.8%). Subjects with pDLB and LBD-AD were more likely to carry mutations than controls (pDLB: odds ratio [OR] = 7.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.8–31.9; p = 0.006; LBD-AD: OR = 4.6; CI = 1.2–17.6; p = 0.025), but there was no significant difference in frequencies between the AD and control groups (OR = 1.1; CI = 0.2–6.6; p = 0.92). There was a highly significant trend test across groups (χ2(1) = 19.3; p = 1.1 × 10−5), with the likelihood of carrying a GBA mutation increasing in the following direction: control/AD < LBD-AD < pDLB.
GBA is a susceptibility gene across the LBD spectrum, but not in AD, and appears to convey a higher risk for PD and pDLB than for LBD-AD. PD and pDLB might be more similar to one another in genetic determinants and pathophysiology than either disease is to LBD-AD.
Parkinson's disease is characterized by α-synuclein pathology in the form of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites. Braak et al described the spatial and temporal spread of α-synuclein pathology in Parkinson's disease. Recent experimental studies have demonstrated that α-synuclein can transfer from cell to cell. In this review, we highlight the involvement of α-synuclein in Parkinson's disease and in Braak's staging of Parkinson's disease pathology. We discuss whether a prion-like mechanism of α-synuclein spread might contribute to Parkinson's disease pathology. We describe recent studies investigating cell-to-cell transfer of α-synuclein and focus our review on the long-distance axonal transport of α-synuclein along neurons.
α-Synuclein; Lewy pathology; Parkinson's disease; prion disease; prion-like aggregation; templated misfolding
Clinicopathologic studies of Parkinson disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) commonly reveal abnormal β-amyloid deposition in addition to diffuse Lewy bodies (α-synuclein aggregates), but the relationship among these neuropathologic features and the development of dementia in these disorders remains uncertain.
To determine whether amyloid-βdeposition detected by PET imaging with Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB) distinguishes clinical subtypes of Lewy body-associated disorders.
Nine healthy controls (HC), eight PD with no cognitive impairment (PD-noCI), nine PD with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), six dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and fifteen PD with dementia (PDD) patients underwent [11C]-PIB PET imaging, clinical examination, and cognitive testing. The binding potential (BP) of PIB for predefined regions and the mean cortical BP (MCBP) were calculated for each participant. Annual longitudinal follow-up and postmortem examinations were performed on a subset of participants.
Regional PIB BPs and the proportion of individuals with abnormally elevated MCBP were not significantly different across participant groups. Elevated PIB binding was associated with worse global cognitive impairment in participants with Lewy body disorders but was not associated with any other clinical or neuropsychological features, including earlier onset or faster rate of progression of cognitive impairment.
These results suggest that the presence of fibrillar amyloid-βdoes not distinguish between clinical subtypes of Lewy body-associated disorders, although larger numbers are needed to more definitively rule out this association. Amyloid-βmay modify the severity of global cognitive impairment in individuals with Lewy body-associated dementia.
Parkinson’s disease; Parkinson’s disease with dementia; Dementia with Lewy bodies; PET
Microvacuolation is relatively common in the limbic lobe in Lewy body disease (LBD). Similar pathology has also been reported in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Almost all of the studies of microvacuolation in AD, however, antedated the routine application of sensitive immunohistochemical methods to detect Lewy bodies. This raises the possibility that microvacuolation previously reported in AD may have been due to unrecognized LB pathology. To explore this issue, α-synuclein immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate a consecutive series of AD as well as cases with mixed AD and LBD (AD/LBD). Independently, the degree of microvacuolation was graded in the entorhinal cortex and the amygdala of the same cases. The results showed that microvacuolation was more common and more severe in AD/LBD than in pure AD cases. In pure AD cases microvacuolation was related to senile plaque density, especially in the amygdala, where many of the neuropil vacuoles were around dense-cored, neuritic plaques. In contrast, in AD/LBD microvacuolation correlated with LB density in the entorhinal cortex and amygdala. These results suggest that microvacuolation has a different pathogenesis in AD and in AD/LBD. Moreover, when prominent microvacuolation is detected in AD, it is imperative to exclude concurrent LBD.
Alzheimer's disease; Lewy body disease; microvacuolation; spongiosis
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
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is a common neurodegenerative disorder of the aging population characterized by α–synuclein accumulation in cortical and subcortical regions. Although neuropathology in advanced age has been investigated in dementias such as Alzheimer Disease (AD), severity of the neuropathology in the oldest old with DLB remains uncharacterized. For this purpose we compared characteristics of DLB cases divided into three age groups 70–79, 80–89 and ≥90 years (oldest old). Neuropathological indicators and levels of synaptophysin were assessed and correlated with clinical measurements of cognition and dementia severity. These studies showed that frequency and severity of DLB was lower in 80–89 and ≥90 year cases compared to 70–79 year old group but cognitive impairment did not vary with age. The extent of AD neuropathology correlated with dementia severity only in the 70–79 year group, while synaptophysin immunoreactivity more strongly associated with dementia severity in the older age group in both DLB and AD. Taken together these results suggest that the oldest old with DLB might represent a distinct group.
Cognition; Neuropsychological assessment
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