Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) immunoreactive for transactive response DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) are the pathological hallmark of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP). We studied the spatial patterns of the TDP-43 immunoreactive NCI in the frontal and temporal cortex of 15 cases of FTLD-TDP. The NCI were distributed parallel to the tissue boundary predominantly in regular clusters 50–400 μm in diameter. In five cortical areas, the size of the clusters approximated to the cells of the cortico-cortical pathways. In most regions, cluster size was smaller than 400 μm. There were no significant differences in spatial patterns between familial and sporadic cases. Cluster size of the NCI was not correlated with disease duration, brain weight, Braak stage, or disease subtype. The spatial pattern of the NCI was similar to that of neuronal inclusions in other neurodegenerative diseases and may reflect a common pattern of degeneration involving the cortico-cortical projections.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP); TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43); Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI); Spatial pattern
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) can be classified as tau-positive (FTLD-tau) and tau-negative FTLD. The most common form of tau-negative FTLD is associated with neuronal inclusions that are composed of TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) (FTLD-TDP). Recent evidence suggests that FTLD-TDP can be further subdivided into at least three major histologic variants based on patterns of TDP-43 immunoreactive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) and dystrophic neurites (DN) in neocortex and hippocampus. The aim of this study was to extend the histologic analysis to other brain regions and to determine if there were distinct clinical and pathologic characteristics of the FTLD-TDP subtypes. Thirty-nine FTLD-TDP cases were analyzed (Mackenzie type 1, n = 24; Mackenzie type 2, n = 9; Mackenzie type 3, n = 6). There was a highly significant association between clinical syndrome and FTLD-TDP subtype, with progressive non-fluent aphasia associated with type 1, semantic dementia with type 2, and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia with types 1, 2 and 3. Semi-quantitative analysis of NCI and DN demonstrated different patterns of involvement in cortical, subcortical and brainstem areas that were characteristic for each of the three types of FTLD-TDP. Type 1 had a mixture of NCI and DN, as well as intranuclear inclusions in most cases and TDP-43 pathology at all levels of the neuraxis, but less in brainstem than supratentorial structures. Type 2 cases were characterized by predominance of long, thick DN in the cortex, as well as numerous NCI in hippocampus, amygdala and basal ganglia, but virtually no NCI and only sparse DN in diencephalon and brainstem. Type 3 had a paucity of DN at all levels of the neuraxis and significantly more NCI in the hypoglossal nucleus than the other types. These findings extend previously described clinicopathological associations of FTLD-TDP subtypes and support the notion that FTLD-TDP subtypes may be distinct clinicopathologic disorders.
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; immunohistochemistry; progressive non-fluent aphasia; semantic dementia; TDP-43
To assess the transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) burden in familial forms of Alzheimer disease (FAD) and Down syndrome (DS) to determine whether TDP-43 inclusions are also present.
Using standard immunohistochemical techniques, we examined brain tissue samples from 42 subjects with FAD and 14 with DS.
We found pathological TDP-43 aggregates in 14.0% of participants (6 of 42 and 2 of 14 participants with FAD and DS, respectively). In both FAD and DS, TDP-43 immunoreactivity did not colocalize with neurofibrillary tangles. Occasionally participants with FAD or DS had TDP-43–positive neuropil threads or dots. Overall, the amygdala was most commonly affected, followed by the hippocampus, with no TDP-43 pathology in neocortical regions. A similar distribution of TDP-43 inclusions is seen in sporadic Alzheimer disease, but it differs from that seen in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.
Transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 pathology occurs in FAD and DS, similar to that observed in sporadic Alzheimer disease. Thus, pathological TDP-43 may contribute the cognitive impairments in familial and sporadic forms of Alzheimer disease.
To further characterize the neuropathology of the heterogeneous molecular disorder frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP).
We quantified the neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI), glial inclusions (GI), neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII), dystrophic neurites (DN), surviving neurons, abnormally enlarged neurons (EN), and vacuoles in regions of the frontal and temporal lobe using a phosphorylation independent TDP-43 antibody in thirty-two cases of FTLD-TDP comprising sporadic and familial cases, with associated pathology such as hippocampal sclerosis (HS) or Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and four neuropathological subtypes using TDP-43 immunohistochemistry. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare differences between the various groups of cases.
These data from FTLD-TDP cases demonstrate quantitative differences in pathological features between: (1) regions of the frontal and temporal lobe, (2) upper and lower cortex, (3) sporadic and progranulin (GRN) mutation cases, (4) cases with and without AD or HS, and (5) between assigned subtypes.
The data confirm that the dentate gyrus is a major site of neuropathology in FTLD-TDP and that most laminae of the cerebral cortex are affected. GRN mutation cases are quantitatively different from sporadic cases while cases with associated HS and AD have increased densities of dystrophic neurites (DN) and abnormally enlarged neurons (EN) respectively. There is little correlation between the subjective assessment of subtypes and the more objective quantitative data.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP); Density; Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI); Neuronal intranuclear inclusion (NII)
Mutations of the progranulin (GRN) gene are major cause of familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration with transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP). We studied the spatial patterns of TDP-43 immunoreactive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII) in histological sections of the frontal and temporal lobe in eight cases of FTLD-TDP with GRN mutation using morphometric methods and spatial pattern analysis. In neocortical regions, the NCI were clustered and the clusters were regularly distributed parallel to the pia mater; 58% of regions analysed exhibiting this pattern. The NII were present in regularly distributed clusters in 35% of regions but also randomly distributed in many areas. In neocortical regions, the sizes of the regular clusters of NCI and NII were 400–800 µm, approximating to the size of the modular columns of the cortico-cortical projections, in 31% and 36% of regions respectively. The NCI and NII also exhibited regularly spaced clustering in sectors CA1/2 of the hippocampus and in dentate gyrus. The clusters of NCI and NII were not spatially correlated. The data suggest degeneration of the cortico-cortical and cortico-hippocampal pathways in FTLD-TDP with GRN mutation, the NCI and NII affecting different clusters of neurons.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP); TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43); Progranulin (GRN) mutation; Spatial topography
TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) is a major component of the pathological inclusions of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy, also called FTLD with ubiquitin-positive, tau-negative inclusions (FTLD-U), and motor neuron disease (MND). TDP-43 is predominantly expressed in the nucleus and regulates gene expression and splicing. In FTLD with TDP-43 proteinopathy, neuronal inclusions present variably as cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs), dystrophic neurites (DNs), and intranuclear inclusions (NIIs), leading to a fourfold neuropathological classification correlating with genotype. There have been few fine structural studies of these inclusions. Thus, we undertook an immunoelectron microscopic study of FTLD with TDP-43 proteinopathy, including sporadic and familial cases with progranulin (GRN) mutation. TDP-43-immunoreactive inclusions comprised two components: granular and filamentous. Filament widths, expressed as mean (range) were: NCI, 9 nm (4–16 nm); DN, 10 nm (5–16 nm); NII, 18 nm (9–50 nm). Morphologically distinct inclusion components may reflect the process of TDP-43 aggregation and interaction with other proteins: determining these latter may contribute towards understanding the heterogeneous pathogenesis of FTLD with TDP-43 proteinopathy.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Ubiquitin; TDP-43; TARDBP; Progranulin; Immunoelectron microscopy
Studies suggest that frontotemporal lobar degeneration with transactive response DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP) is heterogeneous with division into four or five subtypes. To determine the degree of heterogeneity and the validity of the subtypes, we studied neuropathological variation within the frontal and temporal lobes of 94 cases of FTLD-TDP using quantitative estimates of density and principal components analysis (PCA). A PCA based on the density of TDP-43 immunoreactive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, oligodendroglial inclusions, neuronal intranuclear inclusions, and dystrophic neurites, surviving neurons, enlarged neurons, and vacuolation suggested that cases were not segregated into distinct subtypes. Variation in the density of the vacuoles was the greatest source of variation between cases. A PCA based on TDP-43 pathology alone suggested that cases of FTLD-TDP with progranulin (GRN) mutation segregated to some degree. The pathological phenotype of all four subtypes overlapped but subtypes 1 and 4 were the most distinctive. Cases with coexisting motor neuron disease (MND) or hippocampal sclerosis (HS) also appeared to segregate to some extent. We suggest: (1) pathological variation in FTLD-TDP is best described as a ‘continuum’ without clearly distinct subtypes, (2) vacuolation was the single greatest source of variation and reflects the ‘stage’ of the disease, and (3) within the FTLD-TDP ‘continuum’ cases with GRN mutation and with coexisting MND or HS may have a more distinctive pathology.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy; FTLD with ubiquitin-positive inclusions; TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa; Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions; Neuropathologic heterogeneity; Principal components analysis
The cellular distribution of TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43) is disrupted in several neurodegenerative disorders, including frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U subtype) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In these conditions, TDP-43 is found in neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, with loss of the normal nuclear expression. The mechanisms leading to TDP-43 redistribution and its role in disease pathophysiology remain unknown. We describe an in vitro neural tissue model that reproduces TDP-43 relocalization and inclusion formation. Two week-old coronal organotypic mouse brain slice cultures were treated with tunicamycin for 7 days. In cortical regions of treated slice cultures, cytoplasmic inclusions of TDP-43 immunoreactivity were observed, with loss of nuclear TDP-43 immunoreactivity. These inclusions were found in both astrocytes and neurons, and were of both skein-like and round morphologies. In contrast, TDP-43 cytoplasmic inclusions were not found in slices treated with staurosporine to induce apoptosis, or with trans-4-carboxy-L-proline (PDC) to induce chronic glutamate excitotoxicity. Furthermore, TDP-43 cytoplasmic inclusions did not co-localize with cleaved caspase-3, suggesting that TDP-43 mislocalization does not generally accompany caspase activation or apoptosis. The induction of TDP-43 cytoplasmic translocation in cerebrocortical slice cultures by tunicamycin provides a platform for further mechanistic investigations of pathological processing of TDP-43.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; tunicamycin; inclusions; caspase-3; apoptosis
TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is one of the major disease proteins in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin immunoreactivity. Approximately 1/4 of subjects with pathologically confirmed Alzheimer's disease (AD) have abnormal TDP-43 (abTDP-43) immunoreactivity. The aim of this study was to determine if subjects with pathologically confirmed AD and abTDP-43 immunoreactivity have distinct clinical, neuropsychological, imaging or pathological features compared to subjects with AD without abTDP-43 immunoreactivity.
Eighty-four subjects were identified that had a pathological diagnosis of AD, neuropsychometric testing, and volumetric MRI. Immunohistochemistry for TDP-43 was performed on sections of hippocampus and medial temporal lobe, and positive cases were classified into one of three types. Neuropsychometric data was collated and compared in subjects with and without abTDP-43 immunoreactivity. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess patterns of gray matter atrophy in subjects with and without abTDP-43 immunoreactivity compared to age and gender matched controls.
Twenty-nine (34%) of the 84 AD subjects had abTDP-43 immunoreactivity. Those with abTDP-43 immunoreactivity were older at onset and death, and performed worse on the Clinical Dementia Rating scale, Mini-Mental State Examination and Boston Naming Test than subjects without abTDP-43 immunoreactivity. Subjects with and without abTDP-43 immunoreactivity had medial temporal and temporoparietal gray matter loss compared to controls; however, those with abTDP-43 immunoreactivity showed greater hippocampal atrophy. Multivariate logistic regression adjusting for age at death demonstrated that hippocampal sclerosis was the only pathological predictor of abTDP-43 immunoreactivity.
The presence of abTDP-43 immunoreactivity is associated with a modified AD clinicopathological and radiological phenotype.
TAR DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43) plays a central role in the neuropathology of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but the relationship between TDP-43 abnormalities and Alzheimer disease (AD) remains unclear. To determine whether TDP-43 can serve as a neuropathological marker of AD, we performed biochemical characterization and quantification of TDP-43 in homogenates from parietal neocortex of subjects with a clinical diagnosis of no cognitive impairment (NCI, n = 12), mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n = 12), or AD (n = 12). Immunoblots revealed increased detergent-insoluble TDP-43 in the cortex of 0/12, 3/12 and 6/12 individuals with NCI, MCI or AD, respectively. Detergent-insoluble TDP-43 was positively correlated with the accumulation of soluble Aβ42, amyloid plaques and paired helical filament tau. In contrast, phospho-TDP-43 was decreased in the cytosolic fraction and detergent-soluble membrane/nuclear fraction from AD patients and correlated with antemortem cognitive function. Immunofluorescence analysis confirmed that the frequencies of individuals with TPD-43 or phospo-TDP-43 cytoplasmic inclusions were higher in AD than in NCI, with MCI at an intermediate level. These data indicate that abnormalities of TDP-43 occur in an important subset of MCI and AD patients and that they correlate with the clinical and neuropathological features of AD.
Alzheimer disease; Amyloid; Human; Immunoblot; Mild cognitive impairment; tau; TDP-43
Pathologic TAR-DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a disease protein in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We studied the presence, frequency, and distribution of TDP-43 pathology by immunohistochemistry and biochemistry in a series of clinically well-characterized tauopathy patient brains, including 182 Alzheimer disease (AD), 39 corticobasal degeneration, 77 progressive supranuclear palsy, and 12 Pick disease cases and investigated the clinical impact of concomitant TDP-43 pathology in these cases. TAR-DNA-binding protein 43 pathology was found in 25.8% of AD cases. It was restricted to the dentate gyrus and entorhinal cortex in approximately 75% of cases; approximately 25% showed more widespread TDP-43 pathology in frontal and temporal cortices, resembling the FTLD-U subtype associated with progranulin mutations. TAR-DNA-binding protein 43 pathology in AD was associated with significantly longer disease duration, but there was no association with the clinical presentation (148 cases diagnosed as AD and 34 cases diagnosed as frontotemporal lobar degeneration). Progressive supranuclear palsy and Pick disease cases showed no TDP-43 inclusions and no biochemical alterations of TDP-43. There was, however, a unique, predominantly glial TDP-43 pathology with staining of astrocytic plaque-like structures and coiled bodies in 15.4% of corticobasal degeneration cases; this was associated with biochemical TDP-43 changes similar to those in FTLD-U. These findings provide further insight into the burden and clinical significance of TDP-43 pathology in disorders other than FTLD-U and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Alzheimer disease; Corticobasal degeneration; Frontotemporal dementia; Tauopathy; TDP-43
Mutations in the gene encoding TDP-43 — the major protein component of neuronal aggregates characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusion bodies (FTLDu) — have been linked to familial forms of both disorders. Aggregates of TDP-43 in cortical and spinal motoneurons in ALS, or in neurons of the frontal and temporal cortices in FTLD, are closely linked to neuron loss and atrophy in these areas. However, the mechanism by which TDP-43 mutations lead to neurodegeneration is unclear. To investigate the pathogenic role of TDP-43 mutations, we established a model of TDP-43 proteinopathies by expressing fluorescently tagged wildtype and mutant TDP-43 in primary rat cortical neurons. Expression of mutant TDP-43 was toxic to neurons, and mutant-specific toxicity was associated with increased cytoplasmic mislocalization of TDP-43. Inclusion bodies were not necessary for the toxicity and did not affect the risk of cell death. Cellular survival was unaffected by the total amount of exogenous TDP-43 in the nucleus, but the amount of cytoplasmic TDP-43 was a strong and independent predictor of neuronal death. These results suggest that mutant TDP-43 is mislocalized to the cytoplasm, where it exhibits a toxic gain-of-function and induces cell death.
TDP43; ALS; FTLD; cytoplasm; neurodegeneration; survival
Using post-embedding immunogold electron microscopy, TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) was localized to neuronal cytoplasmic (NCI) and intranuclear (NII) inclusions, as well as unmyelinated neurites, in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions (FTLD-U), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s (AD), Pick’s disease (PiD) and Lewy body disease (LBD). The TDP-43 immunoreactive structures were morphologically heterogeneous. The most common was characterized by bundles of 10–20 nm diameter straight filaments with electron dense granular material within NCI, NII and neurites. This type of pathology was found in FTLD-U, ALS and some cases of AD. Less often inclusions in neuritic processes of FTLD-U and some cases of AD contained 10–17 nm diameter straight filaments without granular material. A final type of TDP-43 immunoreactivity was labeling of filaments and granular material associated tau filaments in neurofibrillary tangles of AD and Pick bodies of PiD or α-synuclein filaments in Lewy bodies of LBD. The results suggest that TDP-43 is the primary component of the granulofilamentous inclusions in FTLD-U and ALS. Similar inclusions sometimes accompany filamentous aggregates composed of other abnormal proteins in AD, PiD and LBD.
Alzheimer's disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions; immunoelectron microscopy; Lewy body disease; Pick's disease; TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43)
Ubiquitin-immunoreactive neuronal inclusions composed of TAR DNA binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) are a major pathological feature of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP). In vivo studies with TDP-43 knockout mice have suggested that TDP-43 plays a critical, although undefined role in development. In the current report, we generated transgenic mice that conditionally express wild-type human TDP-43 (hTDP-43) in the forebrain and established a paradigm to examine the sensitivity of neurons to TDP-43 overexpression at different developmental stages. Continuous TDP-43 expression during early neuronal development produced a complex phenotype, including aggregation of phospho-TDP-43, increased ubiquitin immunoreactivity, mitochondrial abnormalities, neurodegeneration and early lethality. In contrast, later induction of hTDP-43 in the forebrain of weaned mice prevented early death and mitochondrial abnormalities while yielding salient features of FTLD-TDP, including progressive neurodegeneration and ubiquitinated, phospho-TDP-43 neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions. These results suggest that neurons in the developing forebrain are extremely sensitive to TDP-43 overexpression and that timing of TDP-43 overexpression in transgenic mice must be considered when distinguishing normal roles of TDP-43, particularly as they relate to development, from its pathogenic role in FTLD-TDP and other TDP-43 proteinopathies. Finally, our adult induction of hTDP-43 strategy provides a mouse model that develops critical pathological features that are directly relevant for human TDP-43 proteinopathies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-012-0979-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Apoptosis; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Neurodevelopment; TDP-43; Transgenic mice
TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) proteinopathies are classified based upon the extent of modified TDP-43 inclusions and include a growing number of neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin immunoreactive, tau negative inclusions (FTLD-U) and FTLD with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND). In addition, TDP-43 inclusions have also been identified in a number of other neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, corticobasal degeneration, Lewy body related diseases and Pick's disease. Current understanding suggests that in these diseases, TDP-43 is relocated from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and sequestered into inclusions that contain modified TDP-43. Major modifications of TDP-43 have been identified as being hyperphosphorylation and proteolytic cleavage by caspases. In this review a summary of the major findings regarding the proteolytic modification of TDP-43 will be discussed as well as potential toxic-gain mechanisms these fragments may cause including cytoskeletal disruptions.
Pick's disease; Pick bodies; Caspases; TDP-43; Hirano Bodies; Tau; Review; Alzheimer's disease; FTLD-U; ALS; actin
TDP-43 is characteristically accumulated in TDP-43 proteinopathies such as frontotemporal lobar degeneration and motor neurone disease, but is also present in some tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease, argyrophilic grain disease, and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). However, several studies have suggested that cases of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) lack TDP-43 pathology. We have therefore examined limbic regions of the brain in 19 PSP cases, as well as in 12 CBD cases, using phosphorylation-dependent anti-TDP-43 antibodies. We observed TDP-43-positive inclusions in five PSP cases (26%), as well as in two CBD cases (17%). The amygdala and hippocampal dentate gyrus were most frequently affected in PSP. Regional tau burden tended to be higher in TDP-43-positive PSP cases, and a significant correlation between tau and TDP-43 burden was noted in the occipitotemporal gyrus. Hippocampal sclerosis (HS) was found in 3/5 TDP-43-positive PSP cases, but HS was significantly more frequent in TDP-43-positive than TDP-43 negative PSP cases. Dementia was present in 13/19 (58%) of the PSP cases, in 4/5 TDP-43-positive cases, in all 3 TDP-43-positive cases with HS, in 1/2 TDP-43-positive cases without HS, and 7/14 cases lacking both. TDP-43 and tau were frequently colocalized in the amygdala, but not in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Immunoblotting demonstrated the characteristic (for TDP-43 proteinopathies) 45 and 25 kDa bands and high molecular weight smear in the TDP-43-positive PSP case. These findings suggest that (1) although PSP is nominally a tauopathy, pathological TDP-43 can accumulate in the limbic system in some cases, and (2) TDP-43 pathology may be concurrent with HS.
Argyrophilic grains; Hippocampal sclerosis; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Tau; TDP-43
Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) results from an asymmetric degeneration of the language dominant (usually left) hemisphere and can be associated with the pathology of Alzheimer disease (AD) or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). This study aimed to investigate whether the anatomic distribution of TDP-43 inclusions displayed a corresponding leftward asymmetry in a patient with PPA with a mutation in the progranulin gene and FTLD pathology.
Brain tissue from a 65-year-old patient with PPA and progranulin mutation was analyzed using immunohistochemical methods for TDP-43. Analysis was performed in the superior temporal gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, orbitofrontal cortex, entorhinal cortex, and dentate gyrus. Neuronal intranuclear inclusions, neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, and dystrophic neurites were quantified using modified stereologic analysis. Analysis of variance was used to determine significant effects.
All 3 types of inclusions predominated on the left side of analyzed cortical regions. They were also more frequent in language areas than in memory-related areas.
These results demonstrate a phenotypically concordant distribution of abnormal TDP-43 inclusions in primary progressive aphasia (PPA). This contrasts with PPA cases with Alzheimer pathology where no consistent leftward asymmetry of neurofibrillary degeneration or amyloid deposition has been demonstrated despite the leftward asymmetry of the atrophy, and where neurofibrillary tangles show a greater density in memory than language areas despite the predominantly aphasic phenotype. This case suggests that the TDP-43 inclusions in PPA–frontotemporal lobar degeneration are more tightly linked to neuronal death and dysfunction than neurofibrillary and amyloid deposits in PPA–Alzheimer disease.
= Alzheimer disease;
= anterior part of inferior parietal lobule;
= dentate gyrus;
= dystrophic neurite;
= entorhinal cortex;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= inferior temporal gyrus;
= neuronal cytoplasmic inclusion;
= neuronal intranuclear inclusion;
= orbitofrontal cortex;
= posterior part of inferior parietal lobule;
= primary progressive aphasia;
= superior temporal gyrus.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a neurodegenerative disease of the frontal and temporal neocortex. The single most common pathology underlying FTLD is neuronal degeneration with ubiquitin-positive but tau-negative inclusions consisting of Tar DNA binding proteins (TDP-43). Inclusions containing TDP-43 in neurons are also the most common pathology underlying motor neuron disease (MND). The present study tested the hypothesis that abnormal metabolite patterns within the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) as well as the motor cortex (MC) may be observed in FTLD patients without motor disorders, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS). Twenty-six FTLD patients with cognitive damage and ten controls underwent multivoxel 1H MRS. Absolute concentrations of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), creatine (Cr), choline (Cho) and myo-inositol (mI) were measured from the DLPFC, the MC and the parietal cortex (PC, an internal control). Statistical analyses were performed for group differences between FTLD patients and controls. Comparisons were also made across brain regions (PC and DLPFC; PC and MC) within FTLD patients. Significant reductions in NAA and Cr along with increased Cho and mI were observed in the DLPFC of FTLD patients compared to controls. Significantly lower NAA and higher Cho were also observed in the MCs of patients as compared to controls. Within the FTLD patients, both the MC and the DLPFC exhibited significantly decreased NAA and elevated Cho compared to the PC. However, only the DLPFC had significantly lower Cr and higher mI. Abnormal metabolite pattern from the MC supports the hypothesis that FTLD and MND may be closely linked.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Motor neuron disease; Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy; Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; Motor cortex
To determine whether TDP-43 type is associated with distinct patterns of brain atrophy on MRI in subjects with pathologically confirmed frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
In this case-control study, we identified all subjects with a pathologic diagnosis of FTLD with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions (FTLD-TDP) and at least one volumetric head MRI scan (n = 42). In each case we applied published criteria for subclassification of FTLD-TDP into FTLD-TDP types 1-3. Voxel-based morphometry was used to compare subjects with each of the different FTLD-TDP types to age- and gender-matched normal controls (n = 30). We also assessed different pathologic and genetic variants within, and across, the different types.
Twenty-two subjects were classified as FTLD-TDP type 1, 9 as type 2, and 11 as type 3. We identified different patterns of atrophy across the types with type 1 showing frontotemporal and parietal atrophy, type 2 predominantly anterior temporal lobe atrophy, and type 3 predominantly posterior frontal atrophy. Within the FTLD-TDP type 1 group, those with a progranulin mutation had significantly more lateral temporal lobe atrophy than those without. All type 2 subjects were diagnosed with semantic dementia. Subjects with a pathologic diagnosis of FTLD with motor neuron degeneration had a similar pattern of atrophy, regardless of whether they were type 1 or type 3.
Although there are different patterns of atrophy across the different FTLD-TDP types, it appears that genetic and pathologic factors may also affect the patterns of atrophy.
= Alzheimer disease;
= Alzheimer's Disease Research Center;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= corticobasal syndrome;
= Clinical Dementia Rating scale sum of boxes;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron degeneration;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= neuronal cytoplasmic inclusion;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= semantic dementia;
= Short Test of Mental Status;
= voxel-based morphometry.
In 2006, TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), a highly conserved nuclear protein, was identified as the major disease protein in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and in the most common variant of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), FTLD-U, which is characterized by cytoplasmic inclusions that stain positive for ubiquitin but negative for tau and α-synuclein. Since then, rapid advances have been made in our understanding of the physiological function of TDP-43 and the role of this protein in neurodegeneration. These advances link ALS and FTLD-U (now designated FTLD-TDP) to a shared mechanism of disease. In this Review, we summarize the current evidence regarding the normal function of TDP-43 and the TDP-43 pathology observed in FTLD-TDP, ALS, and other neurodegenerative diseases wherein TDP-43 pathology co-occurs with other disease-specific lesions (for example, with amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer disease). Moreover, we discuss the accumulating data that support our view that FTLD-TDP and ALS represent two ends of a spectrum of primary TDP-43 proteinopathies. Finally, we comment on the importance of recent advances in TDP-43-related research to neurological practice, including the new opportunities to develop better diagnostics and disease-modifying therapies for ALS, FTLD-TDP, and related disorders exhibiting TDP-43 pathology.
Transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is the pathological protein found in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin positive inclusions and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In diseased tissue, TDP-43 translocates from its physiological nuclear location into the cytoplasm, where it accumulates. Additionally, C-terminal fragments of TDP-43 accumulate in affected brain regions and are sufficient to cause TDP-43 mislocalization and cytoplasmic accumulation in vitro. TDP-43 also accumulates in 30% of Alzheimer disease (AD) cases, a finding that has been highly reproducible. The role of TDP-43 in AD and its relation with Aβ and tau pathology, the two neuropathological hallmarks of AD, remains to be elucidated.
Here we show that levels of TDP-43 and its ~35 kDa C-terminal fragment are significantly increased in the 3×Tg-AD mice, an animal model of AD that develops an age-dependent cognitive decline linked to the accumulation of Aβ and tau. We also report that the levels of TDP-43 and its C-terminal fragment correlate with the levels of soluble Aβ oligomers, which play a key role in AD pathogenesis. Notably, genetically reducing Aβ42 production restores the levels of TDP-43 and its ~35 kDa C-terminal fragment to control levels.
These data suggest a possible relation between Aβ oligomers and TDP-43.
Since the identification of phosphorylated and truncated transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) as a primary component of ubiquitinated inclusions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions, much effort has been directed towards ascertaining how TDP-43 contributes to the pathogenesis of disease. As with other protein misfolding disorders, TDP-43-mediated neuronal death is likely caused by both a toxic gain and loss of TDP-43 function. Indeed, the presence of cytoplasmic TDP-43 inclusions is associated with loss of nuclear TDP-43. Moreover, post-translational modifications of TDP-43, including phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and cleavage into C-terminal fragments, may bestow toxic properties upon TDP-43 and cause TDP-43 dysfunction. However, the exact neurotoxic TDP-43 species remain unclear, as do the mechanism(s) by which they cause neurotoxicity. Additionally, given our incomplete understanding of the roles of TDP-43, both in the nucleus and the cytoplasm, it is difficult to truly appreciate the detrimental consequences of aberrant TDP-43 function. The development of TDP-43 transgenic animal models is expected to narrow these gaps in our knowledge. The aim of this review is to highlight the key findings emerging from TDP-43 transgenic animal models and the insight they provide into the mechanisms driving TDP-43-mediated neurodegeneration.
TDP-43; Neurodegeneration; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Transgenic animal models
This study aimed to determine the frequency of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions (FTLD-U) in the setting of hippocampal sclerosis (HpScl) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) using immunohistochemistry for TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43), a putative marker for FTLD-U.
Initially, 21 cases of HpScl associated with a variety of other pathologic processes and 74 cases of AD were screened for FTLD-U with TDP-43 immunohistochemistry. A confirmation study was performed on 93 additional AD cases. Specificity of TDP-43 antibodies was assessed using double immunolabeling confocal microscopy, immunoelectron microscopy and biochemistry.
TDP-43 immunoreactivity was detected in 71% of HpScl and 23% of AD cases. Double immunostaining of AD cases for TDP-43 and phospho-tau showed that the TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions were usually distinct from neurofibrillary tangles. At the ultrastructural level TDP-43 immunoreactivity in AD was associated with granular and filamentous cytosolic material and only occasionally associated with tau filaments. Western blots of AD cases revealed a band that migrated at a higher molecular weight than normal TDP-43 that was not present in AD cases without TDP-43 immunoreactivity.
The present results suggest that as many as 20% of AD cases and more than 70% of HpScl cases have pathology similar to that found in FTLD-U. Whether this represents concomitant FTLD-U or is analogous to colocalization of α-synuclein and tau in AD, reflecting a propensity for co-deposition of abnormal protein conformers, remains to be determined.
Alzheimer's disease; biochemistry; electron microscopy; frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions (FTLD-U); hippocampal sclerosis; immunohistochemistry; TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43)
A 68-year-old man with a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) later developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which was confirmed at autopsy at age 72 years. Because neuronal loss and AD-type pathologies (Braak stage II for neurofibrillary tangles) were scant, TDP-43-positive intracytoplasmic inclusions in hippocampal dentate granular cells and in neurons in the subiculum and amygdala, even though small in amount, may represent the earliest lesions of ALS-related dementia and could be the cause of dementia in this patient. Although the persistent elevation of creatine kinase from the onset could be a pointer to the presence of motor involvement, more accurate characterization of dementia, which may differentiate ALS-related dementia and AD, is necessary.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Dementia; Alzheimer's disease; Creatine kinase
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is clinically, pathologically and genetically heterogeneous. Three major proteins are implicated in its pathogenesis. About half of cases are characterized by depositions of the microtubule associated protein, tau (FTLD-tau). In most of the remaining cases, deposits of the transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein with Mw of 43 kDa, known as TDP-43 (FTLD-TDP), are seen. Lastly, about 5–10 % of cases are characterized by abnormal accumulations of a third protein, fused in sarcoma (FTLD-FUS). Depending on the protein concerned, the signature accumulations can take the form of inclusion bodies (neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions and neuronal intranuclear inclusions) or dystrophic neurites, in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and subcortex. In some instances, glial cells are also affected by inclusion body formation. In motor neurone disease (MND), TDP-43 or FUS inclusions can present within motor neurons of the brain stem and spinal cord. This present paper attempts to critically examine the role of such proteins in the pathogenesis of FTLD and MND as to whether they might exert a direct pathogenetic effect (gain of function), or simply act as relatively innocent witnesses to a more fundamental loss of function effect. We conclude that although there is strong evidence for both gain and loss of function effects in respect of each of the proteins concerned, in reality, it is likely that each is a single face of either side of the coin, and that both will play separate, though complementary, roles in driving the damage which ultimately leads to the downfall of neurons and clinical expression of disease.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Motor neurone disease; Microtubule associated protein; Tau; TDP-43; FUS; Gain of function; Loss of function