The contribution of cardiovascular disease (CV) and cerebrovascular disease to the risk for late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) has been long debated. Investigations have shown that antecedent CV risk factors increase the risk for LOAD, although other investigations have failed to validate this association.
To study the contribution of CV risk factors (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease) and the history of stroke to LOAD in a data set of large families multiply affected by LOAD.
Design, Setting, and Participants
The National Institute on Aging Late-Onset Alzheimer Disease/National Cell Repository for Alzheimer Disease family study (hereinafter referred to as NIA-LOAD study) is a longitudinal study of families with multiple members affected with LOAD. A multiethnic community-based longitudinal study (Washington Heights–Inwood Columbia Aging Project [WHICAP]) was used to replicate findings. The 6553 participants in the NIA-LOAD study were recruited from 23 US Alzheimer disease centers with ongoing data collection since 2003; the 5972 WHICAP participants were recruited at Columbia University with ongoing data collection since 1992. Data analysis was performed from 2003 to 2015.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Generalized mixed logistic regression models tested the association of CV risk factors (primary association) with LOAD. History of stroke was used for the secondary association. A secondary model adjusted for the presence of an apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele. A genetic risk score, based on common variants associated with LOAD, was used to account for LOAD genetic risk beyond the APOE ε4 effect. Mediation analyses evaluated stroke as a mediating factor between the primary association and LOAD.
A total of 6553 NIA-LOAD participants were included in the analyses (4044 women [61.7%]; 2509 men [38.3%]; mean [SD] age, 77.0  years), with 5972 individuals from the WHICAP study included in the replication sample (4072 women [68.2%]; 1900 men [31.8%]; mean [SD] age, 76.5 [7.0] years). Hypertension was associated with decreased LOAD risk (odds ratio [OR], 0.63; 95% CI, 0.55-0.72); type 2 diabetes and heart disease were not. History of stroke conferred greater than 2-fold increased risk for LOAD (OR, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.75-2.83). Adjustment for APOE ε4 did not alter results. The genetic risk score was associated with LOAD (OR, 2.85; 95% CI, 2.05-3.97) but did not change the independent association of LOAD with hypertension or stroke. In the WHICAP sample, hypertension was not associated with LOAD (OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.88-1.11), whereas history of stroke increased the risk for LOAD (OR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.56-2.46). The effect of hypertension on LOAD risk was also mediated by stroke in the NIA-LOAD and the WHICAP samples.
Conclusions and Relevance
In familial and sporadic LOAD, a history of stroke was significantly associated with increased disease risk and mediated the association between selected CV risk factors and LOAD, which appears to be independent of the LOAD-related genetic background.
To assess the role of CHCHD2 variants in patients with Parkinson disease (PD) and Lewy body disease (LBD) in Caucasian populations.
All exons of the CHCHD2 gene were sequenced in a US Caucasian patient-control series (878 PD, 610 LBD, and 717 controls). Subsequently, exons 1 and 2 were sequenced in an Irish series (355 PD and 365 controls) and a Polish series (394 PD and 350 controls). Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence studies were performed on pathologic LBD cases with rare CHCHD2 variants.
We identified 9 rare exonic variants of unknown significance. These variants were more frequent in the combined group of PD and LBD patients compared to controls (0.6% vs 0.1%, p = 0.013). In addition, the presence of any rare variant was more common in patients with LBD (2.5% vs 1.0%, p = 0.050) compared to controls. Eight of these 9 variants were located within the gene's mitochondrial targeting sequence.
Although the role of variants of the CHCHD2 gene in PD and LBD remains to be further elucidated, the rare variants in the mitochondrial targeting sequence may be a risk factor for Lewy body disorders, which may link CHCHD2 to other genetic forms of parkinsonism with mitochondrial dysfunction.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder linked to repetitive traumatic brain injury (TBI) and characterized by deposition of hyperphosphorylated tau at the depths of sulci. We sought to determine the presence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) pathology in a brain bank for neurodegenerative disorders for individuals with and without a history of contact sports participation. Available medical records of 1,721 men were reviewed for evidence of past history of injury or participation in contact sports. Subsequently, cerebral cortical samples were processed for tau immunohistochemistry in cases with a documented history of sports exposure as well as age- and disease-matched men and women without such exposure. For cases with available frozen tissue, genetic analysis was performed for variants in APOE, MAPT, and TMEM106B. Immunohistochemistry revealed 21 of 66 former athletes had cortical tau pathology consistent with CTE. CTE pathology was not detected in 198 individuals without exposure to contact sports, including 33 individuals with documented single-incident TBI sustained from falls, motor vehicle accidents, domestic violence, or assaults. Among those exposed to contact sports, those with CTE pathology did not differ from those without CTE pathology with respect to noted clinicopathologic features. There were no significant differences in genetic variants for those with CTE pathology, but we observed a slight increase in MAPT H1 haplotype, and there tended to be fewer homozygous carriers of the protective TMEM106B rs3173615 minor allele in those with sports exposure and CTE pathology compared to those without CTE pathology. In conclusion, this study has identified a small, yet significant, subset of individuals with neurodegenerative disorders and concomitant CTE pathology. CTE pathology was only detected in individuals with documented participation in contact sports. Exposure to contact sports was the greatest risk factor for CTE pathology. Future studies addressing clinical correlates of CTE pathology are needed.
chronic traumatic encephalopathy; traumatic brain injury; sports; microtubule-associated protein tau; brain bank
The loss of chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) expression, associated with C9ORF72 repeat expansions, has not been examined systematically. Three C9ORF72 transcript variants have been described thus far; the GGGGCC repeat is located between two non-coding exons (exon 1a and exon 1b) in the promoter region of transcript variant 2 (NM_018325.4) or in the first intron of variant 1 (NM_145005.6) and variant 3 (NM_001256054.2). We studied C9ORF72 expression in expansion carriers (n = 56) for whom cerebellum and/or frontal cortex was available. Using quantitative real-time PCR and digital molecular barcoding techniques, we assessed total C9ORF72 transcripts, variant 1, variant 2, variant 3, and intron containing transcripts [upstream of the expansion (intron 1a) and downstream of the expansion (intron 1b)]; the latter were correlated with levels of poly(GP) and poly(GA) proteins aberrantly translated from the expansion as measured by immunoassay (n = 50). We detected a decrease in expansion carriers as compared to controls for total C9ORF72 transcripts, variant 1, and variant 2: the strongest association was observed for variant 2 (quantitative real-time PCR cerebellum: median 43 %, p = 1.26e-06, and frontal cortex: median 58 %, p = 1.11e-05; digital molecular barcoding cerebellum: median 31 %, p = 5.23e-10, and frontal cortex: median 53 %, p = 5.07e-10). Importantly, we revealed that variant 1 levels greater than the 25th percentile conferred a survival advantage [digital molecular barcoding cerebellum: hazard ratio (HR) 0.31, p = 0.003, and frontal cortex: HR 0.23, p = 0.0001]. When focusing on intron containing transcripts, analysis of the frontal cortex revealed an increase of potentially truncated transcripts in expansion carriers as compared to controls [digital molecular barcoding frontal cortex (intron 1a): median 272 %, p = 0.003], with the highest levels in patients pathologically diagnosed with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. In the cerebellum, our analysis suggested that transcripts were less likely to be truncated and, excitingly, we discovered that intron containing transcripts were associated with poly(GP) levels [digital molecular barcoding cerebellum (intron 1a): r = 0.33, p = 0.02, and (intron 1b): r = 0.49, p = 0.0004] and poly(GA) levels [digital molecular barcoding cerebellum (intron 1a): r = 0.34, p = 0.02, and (intron 1b): r = 0.38, p = 0.007]. In summary, we report decreased expression of specific C9ORF72 transcripts and provide support for the presence of truncated transcripts as well as pre-mRNAs that may serve as templates for RAN translation. We further show that higher C9ORF72 levels may have beneficial effects, which warrants caution in the development of new therapeutic approaches.
C9ORF72; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Motor neuron disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Disease modifier
To understand how a model of Alzheimer disease pathophysiology based on β-amyloidosis and neurodegeneration predicts the regional anatomic expansion of hypometabolism and atrophy in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
To define the role of β-amyloidosis and neurodegeneration in the subsequent progression of topographic cortical structural and metabolic changes in MCI.
Longitudinal, observational study with serial brain imaging.
Ninety six MCI participants (all >70 years) with serial imaging biomarkers from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging or Mayo Alzheimer Disease Research Center. Participants were characterized initially as having elevated or not elevated brain β-amyloidosis (“A+” or “A−“) based on 11C-Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography (PET). They were further characterized initially by the presence or absence of neurodegeneration (“N+” or “N−“), where presence of neurodegeneration was defined by abnormally low hippocampal volume or hypometabolism in an Alzheimer Disease (AD)-like pattern on 18fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG) PET.
Main Outcome Measures
Regional FDG Standardized Uptake Value ratio (SUVR) and grey matter volumes in medial temporal, lateral temporal, lateral parietal and medial parietal regions.
In the primary regions of interest, the A+N+ group had lower FDG SUVR and grey matter volumes at baseline, and showed large declines in FDG SUVR and grey matter volumes compared to the A−N+ and A−N−, but not the A+N− group. The A+N− group exhibited declines in FDG SUVR over time, which were not significantly different from the A−N+ or A−N− groups. The A−N+ group did not show declines in FDG SUVR or grey matter volume compared to A+N− or A−N− groups.
Conclusions and Relevance
Persons with MCI who were A+N+ demonstrated volumetric and metabolic worsening in temporal and parietal association areas, consistent with the expectation that the MCI stage in the Alzheimer pathway heralds incipient isocortical involvement. The A−N+ group, those with suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology, lacked a distinctive longitudinal volumetric or metabolic profile.
To predict the risk of probable dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) competing with Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia by hippocampal volume (HV) in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with impairments in amnestic or nonamnestic cognitive domains.
Patients with MCI (n = 160) from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, who participated in an MRI study at baseline from 2005 to 2014, were followed with approximately annual clinical evaluations. HVs were analyzed from 3T MRIs using FreeSurfer (5.3). Hippocampal atrophy was determined from the most normal 10th percentile of the measurement distributions in a separate cohort of clinically diagnosed patients with AD dementia. The subdistribution hazard ratios for progression to probable DLB and AD dementia were estimated by taking into account the competing risks.
During a median (range) follow-up of 2.0 (0.7–8.1) years, 20 (13%) patients with MCI progressed to probable DLB, and 61 (38%) progressed to AD dementia. The estimated subdistribution hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for normal HV relative to hippocampal atrophy for progression to AD dementia was 0.56 (0.34–0.91; p = 0.02) after taking into account the competing risks. The estimated hazard ratio for normal HV relative to hippocampal atrophy for progression to probable DLB was 4.22 (1.42–12.6; p = 0.01) after adjusting for age and after including the MCI subtype in the model.
Preserved hippocampal volumes are associated with increased risk of probable DLB competing with AD dementia in patients with MCI. Preservation of HV may support prodromal DLB over AD, particularly in patients with MCI with nonamnestic features.
To assess the importance of MAPT variant p.A152T in the risk of synucleinopathies.
In this case-control study, we screened a large global series of patients and controls, and assessed associations between p.A152T and disease risk. We included 3,229 patients with clinical Parkinson disease (PD), 442 with clinical dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), 181 with multiple system atrophy (MSA), 832 with pathologically confirmed Lewy body disease (LBD), and 2,456 healthy controls.
The minor allele frequencies (MAF) in clinical PD cases (0.28%) and in controls (0.2%) were not found to be significantly different (odds ratio [OR] 1.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.63–2.98, p = 0.42). However, a significant association was observed with clinical DLB (MAF 0.68%, OR 5.76, 95% CI 1.62–20.51, p = 0.007) and LBD (MAF 0.42%, OR 3.55, 95% CI 1.04–12.17, p = 0.04). Additionally, p.A152T was more common in patients with MSA compared to controls (MAF 0.55%, OR 4.68, 95% CI 0.85–25.72, p = 0.08) but this was not statistically significant and therefore should be interpreted with caution.
Overall, our findings suggest that MAPT p.A152T is a rare low penetrance variant likely associated with DLB that may be influenced by coexisting LBD and AD pathology. Given the rare nature of the variant, further studies with greater sample size are warranted and will help to fully explain the role of p.A152T in the pathogenesis of the synucleinopathies.
To understand the neuropsychological basis of dementia risk among persons in the spectrum including cognitive normality and mild cognitive impairment.
We quantitated risk of progression to dementia in elderly persons without dementia from 2 population-based studies, the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA), aged 70 to 89 years at enrollment. Baseline cognitive status was defined by performance in 4 domains derived from batteries of neuropsychological tests (that were similar but not identical for FHS and MCSA) at cut scores corresponding to SDs of ≤−0.5, −1, −1.5, and −2 from normative means. Participants were characterized as having no cognitive impairment (reference group), or single or multiple amnestic or nonamnestic profiles at each cut score. Incident dementia over the following 6 years was determined by consensus committee at each study separately.
The pattern of hazard ratios for incident dementia, rates of incident dementia and positive predictive values across cognitive test cut scores, and number of affected domains was similar although not identical across the FHS and MCSA. Dementia risks were higher for amnestic profiles than for nonamnestic profiles, and for multidomain compared with single-domain profiles.
Cognitive domain subtypes, defined by neuropsychologically derived cut scores and number of low-performing domains, differ substantially in prognosis in a conceptually logical manner that was consistent between FHS and MCSA. Neuropsychological characterization of elderly persons without dementia provides valuable information about prognosis. The heterogeneity of risk of dementia cannot be captured concisely with one test or a single definition or cutpoint.
Late Onset Alzheimer Disease; psychosis; genome-wide linkage analysis; association analysis; Non-Hispanic Caucasian and Caribbean Hispanic ancestry populations
To evaluate the evidence basis of single-domain cognitive tests frequently used by behavioral neurologists in an effort to improve the quality of clinical cognitive assessment.
Behavioral Neurology Section members of the American Academy of Neurology were surveyed about how they conduct clinical cognitive testing, with a particular focus on the Neurobehavioral Status Exam (NBSE). In contrast to general screening cognitive tests, an NBSE consists of tests of individual cognitive domains (e.g., memory or language) that provide a more comprehensive diagnostic assessment. Workgroups for each of 5 cognitive domains (attention, executive function, memory, language, and spatial cognition) conducted evidence-based reviews of frequently used tests. Reviews focused on suitability for office-based clinical practice, including test administration time, accessibility of normative data, disease populations studied, and availability in the public domain.
Demographic and clinical practice data were obtained from 200 respondents who reported using a wide range of cognitive tests. Based on survey data and ancillary information, between 5 and 15 tests in each cognitive domain were reviewed. Within each domain, several tests are highlighted as being well-suited for an NBSE.
We identified frequently used single-domain cognitive tests that are suitable for an NBSE to help make informed choices about clinical cognitive assessment. Some frequently used tests have limited normative data or have not been well-studied in common neurologic disorders. Utilizing standardized cognitive tests, particularly those with normative data based on the individual's age and educational level, can enhance the rigor and utility of clinical cognitive assessment.
Recently, a novel mutation in exon 24 of DNAJC13 gene (p.Asn855Ser, rs387907571) has been reported to cause autosomal dominant Parkinson’s disease (PD) in a multi-incident Mennonite family. In the present study we have sequenced the mutation containing exon of the DNAJC13 gene in a Caucasian series consisting of 1938 patients with clinical PD and 838 pathologically diagnosed Lewy Body Disease (LBD). Our sequence analysis did not identify any coding variants in exon 24 of DNAJC13. Two previously described variants in intron 23 (rs200204728 and rs2369796) were observed. Our results indicate that the region surrounding the DNAJC13 p.Asn855Ser substitution is highly conserved and mutations in this exon are not a common cause of PD or LBD among Caucasian populations.
DNAJC13; Parkinson’s disease; Lewy body disease; genetics
To determine the frequency and topographic distribution of cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) in comparison to CMBs in Alzheimer disease dementia (AD).
Consecutive probable DLB (n= 23) patients who underwent 3-tesla T2* weighted gradient-recalled-echo MRI, and age and gender matched probable Alzheimer’s disease patients (n=46) were compared for the frequency and location of CMBs.
The frequency of one or more CMBs was similar among patients with DLB (30%) and AD (24%). Highest densities of CMBs were found in the occipital lobes of patients with both DLB and AD. Patients with AD had greater densities of CMBs in the temporal lobes and deep or infratentorial regions compared to DLB (p<0.05)
CMBs are as common in patients with DLB as in patients with AD, with highest densities observed in the occipital lobes, suggesting common pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying CMBs in both diseases.
Dementia with Lewy bodies; Cerebral Microbleeds; Alzheimer disease; Cerebral amyloid angiopathy; T2* weighted gradient-recalled-echo MRI
The genetics underlying posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), typically a rare variant of Alzheimer's disease (AD), remain uncertain.
We genotyped 302 PCA patients from 11 centers, calculated risk at 24 loci for AD/DLB and performed an exploratory genome-wide association study.
We confirm that variation in/near APOE/TOMM40 (P = 6 × 10−14) alters PCA risk, but with smaller effect than for typical AD (PCA: odds ratio [OR] = 2.03, typical AD: OR = 2.83, P = .0007). We found evidence for risk in/near CR1 (P = 7 × 10−4), ABCA7 (P = .02) and BIN1 (P = .04). ORs at variants near INPP5D and NME8 did not overlap between PCA and typical AD. Exploratory genome-wide association studies confirmed APOE and identified three novel loci: rs76854344 near CNTNAP5 (P = 8 × 10−10 OR = 1.9 [1.5–2.3]); rs72907046 near FAM46A (P = 1 × 10−9 OR = 3.2 [2.1–4.9]); and rs2525776 near SEMA3C (P = 1 × 10−8, OR = 3.3 [2.1–5.1]).
We provide evidence for genetic risk factors specifically related to PCA. We identify three candidate loci that, if replicated, may provide insights into selective vulnerability and phenotypic diversity in AD.
Posterior cortical atrophy; Alzheimer's disease; Genetics; GWAS; Selective vulnerability; APOE
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second leading cause of neurodegenerative dementia in the elderly and is clinically characterized by the presence of cognitive decline, parkinsonism, REM sleep behavior disorder, and visual hallucinations.1,2 At autopsy, α-synuclein–positive Lewy-related pathology is observed throughout the brain. Concomitant Alzheimer disease–related pathology including amyloid plaques and, to a lesser degree, neurofibrillary tangles are often present.2 The clinical characteristics of DLB share overlapping features with Alzheimer disease dementia (AD) and Parkinson disease (PD). A recent genetic association study examining known hits from PD and AD identified variants at both the α-synuclein (SNCA) and APOE loci as influencing the individual risk to DLB.3 These findings would suggest that DLB may be a distinct disease with shared genetic risk factors with PD and AD.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TAR DNA binding protein 43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP) is the most common pathology associated with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) and mutations in progranulin (GRN) are the major known genetic causes of FTLD-TDP; however, the genetic etiology in the majority of FTLD-TDP remains unexplained.
In this study, we performed whole-genome sequencing in 104 pathologically confirmed FTLD-TDP patients from the Mayo Clinic brain bank negative for C9ORF72 and GRN mutations and report on the contribution of rare single nucleotide and copy-number variants in 21 known neurodegenerative disease genes. Interestingly, we identified 5 patients (4.8%) with variants in optineurin (OPTN) and TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) that are predicted to be highly pathogenic, including two double mutants. Case A was a compound heterozygote for mutations in OPTN, carrying the p.Q235* nonsense and p.A481V missense mutation in trans, while case B carried a deletion of OPTN exons 13–15 (p.Gly538Glufs*27) and a loss-of-function mutation (p.Arg117*) in TBK1. Cases C–E carried heterozygous missense mutations in TBK1, including the p.Glu696Lys mutation which was previously reported in two amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and is located in the OPTN binding domain. Quantitative mRNA expression and protein analysis in cerebellar tissue showed a striking reduction of OPTN and/or TBK1 expression in 4 out of 5 patients supporting pathogenicity in these specific patients and suggesting a loss-of-function disease mechanism. Importantly, neuropathologic examination showed FTLD-TDP type A in the absence of motor neuron disease in 3 pathogenic mutation carriers.
In conclusion, we highlight TBK1 as an important cause of pure FTLD-TDP, identify the first OPTN mutations in FTLD-TDP, and suggest a potential oligogenic basis for at least a subset of FTLD-TDP patients. Our data further adds to the growing body of evidence linking ALS and FTD and suggests a key role for the OPTN/TBK1 pathway in these diseases.
Whole-genome sequencing; FTLD-TDP; OPTN; TBK1; oligogenic mechanism
It is essential to determine the specificity of AV-1451 PET for tau in brain imaging by using pathological comparisons. We performed autoradiography in autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer disease and other neurodegenerative disorders to evaluate the specificity of AV-1451 binding for tau aggregates.
Tissue samples were selected that had a variety of dementia-related neuropathologies including Alzheimer disease, primary age-related tauopathy, tangle predominant dementia, non-Alzheimer disease tauopathies, frontotemporal dementia, parkinsonism, Lewy body disease and multiple system atrophy (n = 38). Brain tissue sections were stained for tau, TAR DNA-binding protein-43, and α-synuclein and compared to AV-1451 autoradiography on adjacent sections.
AV-1451 preferentially localized to neurofibrillary tangles, with less binding to areas enriched in neuritic pathology and less mature tau. The strength of AV-1451 binding with respect to tau isoforms in various neurodegenerative disorders was: 3R + 4R tau (e.g., AD) > 3R tau (e.g., Pick disease) or 4R tau. Only minimal binding of AV-1451 to TAR DNA-binding protein-43 positive regions was detected. No binding of AV-1451 to α-synuclein was detected. “Off-target” binding was seen in vessels, iron-associated regions, substantia nigra, calcifications in the choroid plexus, and leptomeningeal melanin.
Reduced AV-1451 binding in neuritic pathology compared to neurofibrillary tangles suggests that the maturity of tau pathology may affect AV-1451 binding and suggests complexity in AV-1451 binding. Poor association of AV-1451 with tauopathies that have preferential accumulation of either 4R tau or 3R tau suggests limited clinical utility in detecting these pathologies. In contrast, for disorders associated with 3R + 4R tau, such as Alzheimer disease, AV-1451 binds tau avidly but does not completely reflect the early stage tau progression suggested by Braak neurofibrillary tangle staging. AV-1451 binding to TAR DNA-binding protein-43 or TAR DNA-binding protein-43 positive regions can be weakly positive. Clinical use of AV-1451 will require a familiarity with distinct types of “off-target” binding.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40478-016-0315-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
AV-1451; Tau; Alzheimer’s disease; TDP-43; Pick Disease; Corticobasal degeneration; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Tauopathy; Pick’s disease; Atypical Alzheimer’s disease; Frontotemporal dementia
Many patients with dementia with Lewy bodies have overlapping Alzheimer's disease (AD)–related pathology, which may contribute to white matter (WM) diffusivity alterations on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Consecutive patients with DLB (n=30), age and sex matched AD patients (n=30), and cognitively normal controls (CN; n=60) were recruited. All subjects underwent DTI, 18F 2-fluoro-deoxy-d-glucose (FDG) and 11C Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) PET scans. DLB patients had reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) in the parieto-occipital WM but not elsewhere compared to CN, and elevated FA in parahippocampal WM compared to AD patients, which persisted after controlling for Aβ load in DLB. The pattern of WM FA alterations on DTI was consistent with the more diffuse posterior parietal and occipital glucose hypometabolism of FDG PET in the cortex. DLB is characterized by a loss of parieto-occipital WM integrity, independent of concomitant AD-related Aβ load. Cortical glucose hypometabolism accompanies WM FA alterations with a concordant pattern of gray and white matter involvement in the parieto-occipital lobes in DLB.
dementia with Lewy bodies; diffusion tensor imaging; white matter integrity; amyloid-beta load; voxel-based analysis; cortical hypometabolism
To determine risk and protective factors for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) among persons 85 years and older.
Participants in the population-based prospective Mayo Clinic Study of Aging were comprehensively evaluated at baseline and at 15 monthly intervals to determine incident MCI. At baseline, lifestyle factors in midlife and late life were assessed by self-reported questionnaire; vascular and comorbid conditions were abstracted from participants' medical records.
Of 256 participants who were cognitively normal at enrollment (median age 87.3 years, 62% women), 121 developed MCI at a median 4.1 years of follow-up. Predictors of MCI were APOE ε4 allele (hazard ratio [HR] 1.89; p = 0.008), current depressive symptoms (HR 1.78; p = 0.02), midlife onset of hypertension (HR 2.43; p = 0.005), increasing number of vascular diseases (HR 1.13; p = 0.02), and chronic conditions from the Charlson Comorbidity Index (HR 1.08; p = 0.006). Models were adjusted for sex and education, with age as the time variable. The risk of MCI was reduced for participants who reported engagement in artistic (HR 0.27; p = 0.03), craft (HR 0.55; p = 0.02), and social (HR 0.45; p = 0.005) activities in both midlife and late life, and in the use of a computer in late life (HR 0.47; p = 0.008).
Chronic disease burden increases risk of MCI, whereas certain lifestyle factors reduce risk in persons 85 years and older. This implies that preventive strategies for MCI may need to begin in midlife and should persist throughout late life.
To determine the utility of longitudinal MRI measurements as potential biomarkers in the main genetic variants of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), including microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) and progranulin (GRN) mutations, and C9ORF72 repeat expansions, as well as sporadic FTD.
In this longitudinal study, 58 subjects were identified that had at least two MRI and MAPT mutations (n=21), GRN mutations (n=11), C9ORF72 repeat expansions (n=11) or sporadic FTD (n=15). A total of 198 serial MRI were analyzed. Rates of whole brain atrophy were calculated using the boundary-shift integral. Regional rates of atrophy were calculated using tensor-based morphometry. Sample size estimates were calculated.
Progressive brain atrophy was observed in all groups, with fastest rates of whole brain atrophy in GRN, followed by sporadic FTD, C9ORF72 and MAPT. All variants showed greatest rates in frontal and temporal lobes, with parietal lobes also strikingly affected in GRN. Regional rates of atrophy across all lobes were greater in GRN compared to the other groups. C9ORF72 showed greater rates of atrophy in left cerebellum and right occipital lobe than MAPT, and sporadic FTD showed greater rates in anterior cingulate than C9ORF72 and MAPT. Sample size estimates were lowest using temporal lobe rates in GRN, ventricular rates in MAPT and C9ORF72, and whole brain rates in sporadic FTD.
These data support the utility of using rates of atrophy as outcome measures in future drug trials in FTD and show that different imaging biomarkers may offer advantages in the different variants of FTD.
MRI; longitudinal; frontotemporal dementia; genetics; tensor-based morphometry
Biological pathways that significantly contribute to sporadic Alzheimer’s disease are largely unknown and cannot be observed directly. Cognitive symptoms appear only decades after the molecular disease onset, further complicating analyses. As a consequence, molecular research is often restricted to late-stage post-mortem studies of brain tissue. However, the disease process is expected to trigger numerous cellular signaling pathways and modulate the local and systemic environment, and resulting changes in secreted signaling molecules carry information about otherwise inaccessible pathological processes.
To access this information we probed relative levels of close to 600 secreted signaling proteins from patients’ blood samples using antibody microarrays and mapped disease-specific molecular networks. Using these networks as seeds we then employed independent genome and transcriptome data sets to corroborate potential pathogenic pathways.
We identified Growth-Differentiation Factor (GDF) signaling as a novel Alzheimer’s disease-relevant pathway supported by in vivo and in vitro follow-up experiments, demonstrating the existence of a highly informative link between cellular pathology and changes in circulatory signaling proteins.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13024-016-0095-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are overlapping, fatal neurodegenerative disorders in which the molecular and pathogenic basis remains poorly understood. Ubiquitinated protein aggregates, of which TDP-43 is a major component, are a characteristic pathological feature of most ALS and FTD patients. Here we use genome-wide linkage analysis in a large ALS/FTD kindred to identify a novel disease locus on chromosome 16p13.3. Whole-exome sequencing identified a CCNF missense mutation at this locus. Interrogation of international cohorts identified additional novel CCNF variants in familial and sporadic ALS and FTD. Enrichment of rare protein-altering CCNF variants was evident in a large sporadic ALS replication cohort. CCNF encodes cyclin F, a component of an E3 ubiquitin–protein ligase complex (SCFCyclin F). Expression of mutant CCNF in neuronal cells caused abnormal ubiquitination and accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, including TDP-43 and a SCFCyclin F substrate. This implicates common mechanisms, linked to protein homeostasis, underlying neuronal degeneration.
Ian Blair and colleagues use genome-wide linkage analysis and whole exome sequencing to identify mutations in the CCNF gene in large cohorts of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia patients. In addition to validating the mutations in international cohorts, the authors also show that mutant CCNF gene product affects ubiquitination and protein degradation in cultured cells.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder associated with Lewy body disease (LBD) pathology in central and peripheral nervous system structures. While the etiology of PD is not fully understood, recent clinicopathologic analyses by Braak and colleagues have led to the development of a staging system of LBD pathology in the evolution of prototypical PD. This system posits a relatively predictable topography of progression of LBD pathology in the central nervous system, from olfactory structures and the medulla, which then progresses rostrally from the medulla to the pons, then midbrain/substantia nigra, then limbic, and then neocortical structures. If this topography and temporal evolution of LBD pathology indeed occur, one could hypothesize that other manifestations of LBD which reflect degeneration of olfactory and pontomedullary structures may begin many years prior to the development of prominent nigral degeneration and the associated parkinsonian features of classic PD. One such manifestation of prodromal PD is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD), which is a parasomnia manifested by vivid dreams associated with dream enactment behavior during REM sleep. Animal and human studies have implicated lesions or dysfunction in REM sleep and motor control circuitry in the pontomedullary structures cause RBD phenomenology, and degeneration of these structures could explain the presence of RBD years or decades prior to the onset of parkinsonism in those who develop PD. This review incorporates the rapidly growing literature on RBD and other prodromal features of PD as it pertains to the Braak staging system, and presents a framework from which many hypotheses can be (and already are being) tested. An important outcome of this framework will be to determine the natural history of RBD and associated features in the evolution to PD in the current era of no disease-modifying therapies – these natural history data will permit the development of clinical trail methodology with key measures and adequate power to detect if such therapies delay the onset or prevent the development of PD and associated morbidity.
REM sleep behavior disorder; parasomnia; Lewy body disease; Parkinson disease; Lewy body dementia; synucleinopathy; neurodegenerative disease
The clinical and pathological phenotypes of Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) often overlap. We examined whether plasma lipids differed among individuals with autopsy-confirmed Lewy Body pathology or AD pathology.
We identified four groups with available plasma 2 years before death: high (n = 12) and intermediate-likelihood DLB (n = 14) based on the third report of the DLB consortium; dementia with Alzheimer's pathology (AD; n = 18); and cognitively normal with normal aging pathology (n = 21). Lipids were measured using ESI/MS/MS.
There were overall group differences in plasma ceramides C16:0, C18:1, C20:0, and C24:1 and monohexosylceramides C18:1 and C24:1. These lipids did not differ between the high-likelihood DLB and AD groups, but both groups had higher levels than normals. Plasma fatty acid levels did not differ by group.
Plasma ceramides and monohexosylceramides are elevated in people with dementia with either high-likelihood DLB or AD pathology.
Alzheimer's disease; Lewy body; Autopsy; Lipids; Ceramide
Background and Purpose
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) precedes both Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia and with Lewy bodies (DLB). We investigated proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) characteristics of MCI patients who progressed to DLB compared to those who progressed to AD dementia or remained stable.
Consecutive MCI patients who underwent single voxel MRS at baseline and progressed to DLB (n=10) were identified during a median follow-up period of 18 months. From the same cohort, we identified age- and sex-matched MCI patients who progressed to AD dementia (n=27) or remained stable (n=20) during a similar follow-up period. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board and informed consent was from every subject.
MCI patients who progressed to AD dementia were characterized by lower N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/Cr ratio in the posterior cingulate voxel compared to those who progressed to DLB (p=0.001). Decreased NAA/Cr in the posterior cingulate voxel differentiated MCI patients who progressed to DLB from those who progressed to AD with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.85 (p<0.001) on logistic regression analysis.
MRS may be useful in differentiating MCI patients with prodromal AD dementia from those with prodromal DLB for early disease-specific interventions.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS); mild cognitive impairment (MCI); dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB); Alzheimer's disease; MRI