Hemodynamic control was compared in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild Alzheimer's dementia (AD) as well as in healthy elderly subjects.
Noninvasive, continuous hemodynamic recordings were obtained from 14 patients and 48 controls during supine rest (tilt of 30 and 70°). Cardiac output, end-diastolic volume, total peripheral resistance, heart rate variability (HRV), systolic blood pressure variability (SBPV), and baroreceptor sensitivity were calculated.
At 70° tilt, the HRV indices differed significantly, with higher high-frequency (HF) variability as well as lower low-frequency (LF) variability and LF/HF ratios in the patients. The patients had significantly lower SBPV in the LF range at 30° tilt.
The results indicate a poorer sympathetic response to orthostatic stress in MCI and mild AD.
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel
Autonomic function; Head-up tilt; Mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer's dementia
Neuropeptide S (NPS) is a regulatory peptide with potent pharmacological effects. In rodents, NPS is expressed in a few pontine cell clusters. Its receptor (NPSR1) is, however, widely distributed in the brain. The anxiolytic and arousal-promoting effects of NPS make the NPS–NPSR1 system an interesting potential drug target in mood-related disorders. However, so far possible disease-related mechanisms involving NPS have only been studied in rodents. To validate the relevance of these animal studies for i.a. drug development, we have explored the distribution of NPS-expressing neurons in the human pons using in situ hybridization and stereological methods and we compared the distribution of NPS mRNA expressing neurons in the human and rat brain. The calculation revealed a total number of 22,317 ± 2411 NPS mRNA-positive neurons in human, bilaterally. The majority of cells (84%) were located in the parabrachial area in human: in the extension of the medial and lateral parabrachial nuclei, in the Kölliker-Fuse nucleus and around the adjacent lateral lemniscus. In human, in sharp contrast to the rodents, only very few NPS-positive cells (5%) were found close to the locus coeruleus. In addition, we identified a smaller cell cluster (11% of all NPS cells) in the pontine central gray matter both in human and rat, which has not been described previously even in rodents. We also examined the distribution of NPSR1 mRNA-expressing neurons in the human pons. These cells were mainly located in the rostral laterodorsal tegmental nucleus, the cuneiform nucleus, the microcellular tegmental nucleus region and in the periaqueductal gray. Our results show that both NPS and NPSR1 in the human pons are preferentially localized in regions of importance for integration of visceral autonomic information and emotional behavior. The reported interspecies differences must, however, be considered when looking for targets for new pharmacotherapeutical interventions.
Neuropeptide S (NPS); anxiety; arousal; deep brain stimulation (DBS); human brain; parabrachial; periaqueductal gray; sudden infant death syndrome
The Arctic mutation (p.E693G/p.E22G)fs within the β-amyloid (Aβ) region of the β-amyloid precursor protein gene causes an autosomal dominant disease with clinical picture of typical Alzheimer’s disease. Here we report the special character of Arctic AD neuropathology in four deceased patients.
Aβ deposition in the brains was wide-spread (Thal phase 5) and profuse. Virtually all parenchymal deposits were composed of non-fibrillar, Congo red negative Aβ aggregates. Congo red only stained angiopathic vessels. Mass spectrometric analyses showed that Aβ deposits contained variably truncated and modified wild type and mutated Aβ species. In three of four Arctic AD brains, most cerebral cortical plaques appeared targetoid with centres containing C-terminally (beyond aa 40) and variably N-terminally truncated Aβ surrounded by coronas immunopositive for Aβx-42. In the fourth patient plaque centres contained almost no Aβ making the plaques ring-shaped. The architectural pattern of plaques also varied between different anatomic regions. Tau pathology corresponded to Braak stage VI, and appeared mainly as delicate neuropil threads (NT) enriched within Aβ plaques. Dystrophic neurites were scarce, while neurofibrillary tangles were relatively common. Neuronal perikarya within the Aβ plaques appeared relatively intact.
In Arctic AD brain differentially truncated abundant Aβ is deposited in plaques of variable numbers and shapes in different regions of the brain (including exceptional targetoid plaques in neocortex). The extracellular non-fibrillar Aβ does not seem to cause overt damage to adjacent neurons or to induce formation of neurofibrillary tangles, supporting the view that intracellular Aβ oligomers are more neurotoxic than extracellular Aβ deposits. However, the enrichment of NTs within plaques suggests some degree of intra-plaque axonal damage including accumulation of hp-tau, which may impair axoplasmic transport, and thereby contribute to synaptic loss. Finally, similarly as the cotton wool plaques in AD resulting from exon 9 deletion in the presenilin-1 gene, the Arctic plaques induced only modest glial and inflammatory tissue reaction.
Familial Alzheimer’s disease; Arctic AβPP mutation; β-amyloid peptide; Mass spectrometry; Truncation of Aβ; Topography of Aβ; Hyperphosphorylated tau; Neuronal damage
The functional impact of amyloid peptides (Aβs) on the vascular system is less understood despite these pathologic peptides are substantially deposited in the brain vasculature of Alzheimer's patients. Here we show substantial accumulation of Aβs 40 and 42 in the brain arterioles of Alzheimer's patients and of transgenic Alzheimer's mice. Purified Aβs 1–40 and 1–42 exhibited vascular regression activity in the in vivo animal models and vessel density was reversely correlated with numbers and sizes of amyloid plaques in human patients. A significant high number of vascular cells underwent cellular apoptosis in the brain vasculature of Alzheimer's patients. VEGF significantly prevented Aβ-induced endothelial apoptosis in vitro. Neuronal expression of VEGF in transgenic mice restored memory behavior of Alzheimer's. These findings provide conceptual implication of improvement of vascular functions as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
A proposed key event in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the formation of neurotoxic amyloid β (Aβ) oligomers and amyloid plaques in specific brain regions that are affected by the disease. The main plaque component is the 42 amino acid isoform of Aβ (Aβ1-42), which is thought to initiate plaque formation and AD pathogenesis. Numerous isoforms of Aβ, e.g., Aβ1-42, Aβ1-40 and the 3-pyroglutamate derivate of Aβ3-42 (pGluAβ3-42), have been detected in the brains of sporadic AD (SAD) and familial AD (FAD) subjects. However, the relative importance of these isoforms in the pathogenesis of AD is not fully understood. Here, we report a detailed study using immunoprecipitation in combination with mass spectrometric analysis to determine the Aβ isoform pattern in the cerebellum, cortex and hippocampus in AD, including subjects with a mutation in the presenilin (M146V) or amyloid precursor protein (KM670/671NL) genes, SAD subjects and non-demented controls. We show that the dominating Aβ isoforms in the three different brain regions analyzed from control, SAD, and FAD are Aβ1-42, pGluAβ3-42, Aβ4-42 and Aβ1-40 of which Aβ1-42 and Aβ4-42 are the dominant isoforms in the hippocampus and the cortex in all groups analyzed, controls included. No prominent differences in Aβ isoform patterns between FAD and SAD patients were seen, underscoring the similarity in the amyloid pathology of these two disease entities.
Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid precursor protein; Brain; Immunoprecipitation; Mass spectrometry
It is evident that the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are derived from severe neuronal damage, and especially pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus are affected pathologically. Here, we analysed the proteome of hippocampal neurons, isolated from post-mortem brains by laser capture microdissection. By using 18O labelling and mass spectrometry, the relative expression levels of 150 proteins in AD and controls were estimated. Many of the identified proteins are involved in transcription and nucleotide binding, glycolysis, heat-shock response, microtubule stabilization, axonal transport or inflammation. The proteins showing the most altered expression in AD were selected for immunohistochemical analysis. These analyses confirmed the altered expression levels, and showed in many AD cases a pathological pattern. For comparison, we also analysed hippocampal sections by Western blot. The expression levels found by this method showed poor correlation with the neuron-specific analysis. Hence, we conclude that cell-specific proteome analysis reveals differences in the proteome that cannot be detected by bulk analysis.
Alzheimer's disease; 18O labelling; quantitative proteome; laser capture microdissection; pyramidal neuron; immunohistochemistry
To assess the relative frequency of unique mutations and their associated characteristics in 97 individuals with mutations in progranulin (GRN), an important cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
Participants and Design
A 46-site International Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Collaboration was formed to collect cases of FTLD with TAR DNA-binding protein of 43-kDa (TDP-43)–positive inclusions (FTLD-TDP). We identified 97 individuals with FTLD-TDP with pathogenic GRN mutations (GRN+ FTLD-TDP), assessed their genetic and clinical characteristics, and compared them with 453 patients with FTLD-TDP in which GRN mutations were excluded (GRN− FTLD-TDP). No patients were known to be related. Neuropathologic characteristics were confirmed as FTLD-TDP in 79 of the 97 GRN+ FTLDTDP cases and all of the GRN− FTLD-TDP cases.
Age at onset of FTLD was younger in patients with GRN+ FTLD-TDP vs GRN− FTLD-TDP (median, 58.0 vs 61.0 years; P<.001), as was age at death (median, 65.5 vs 69.0 years; P<.001). Concomitant motor neuron disease was much less common in GRN+ FTLDTDP vs GRN− FTLD-TDP (5.4% vs 26.3%; P<.001). Fifty different GRN mutations were observed, including 2 novel mutations: c.139delG (p.D47TfsX7) and c.378C>A (p.C126X). The 2 most common GRN mutations were c.1477C>T (p.R493X, found in 18 patients, representing 18.6% of GRN cases) and c.26C>A (p.A9D, found in 6 patients, representing 6.2% of cases). Patients with the c.1477C>T mutation shared a haplotype on chromosome 17; clinically, they resembled patients with other GRN mutations. Patients with the c.26C>A mutation appeared to have a younger age at onset of FTLD and at death and more parkinsonian features than those with other GRN mutations.
GRN+ FTLD-TDP differs in key features from GRN− FTLD-TDP.
We previously demonstrated the activation of Caspase-6 in the hippocampus and cortex in cases of mild, moderate, severe and very severe Alzheimer disease (AD). To determine whether Caspase-6 is also activated in familial AD, we performed an immunohistochemical analysis of active Caspase-6 and Tau cleaved by Caspase-6 in temporal cortex and hippocampal tissue sections from cases of familial AD. The cases included 5 carrying the amyloid precursor protein K670N, M671L Swedish mutation, 1 carrying the amyloid precursor protein E693G Arctic mutation, 2 each carrying the Presenilin I M146V, F105L, A431E, V261F, Y115C mutations, and 1 with the Presenilin II N141I mutation. Active Caspase-6 immunoreactivity was found in all cases. Caspase-6 immunoreactivity was observed in neuritic plaques or cotton wool plaques in some cases, neuropil threads and neurofibrillary tangles. These results indicate that Caspase-6 is activated in familial forms of AD, as previously observed in sporadic forms. Since sporadic and familial AD cases have similar pathological features, these results support a fundamental role of Caspase-6 in the pathophysiology of both familial and sporadic AD.
Alzheimer disease; Arctic mutation; Casp6; Familial Alzheimer disease; Presenilin I mutation; Sporadic Alzheimer disease; Swedish mutation; Tau cleaved by Casp6
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is the second most common cause of presenile dementia. The predominant neuropathology is FTLD with TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43) inclusions (FTLD-TDP)1. FTLD-TDP is frequently familial resulting from progranulin (GRN) mutations. We assembled an international collaboration to identify susceptibility loci for FTLD-TDP, using genome-wide association (GWA). We found that FTLD-TDP associates with multiple SNPs mapping to a single linkage disequilibrium (LD) block on 7p21 that contains TMEM106B in a GWA study (GWAS) on 515 FTLD-TDP cases. Three SNPs retained genome-wide significance following Bonferroni correction; top SNP rs1990622 (P=1.08×10−11; odds ratio (OR) minor allele (C) 0.61, 95% CI 0.53-0.71). The association replicated in 89 FTLD-TDP cases (rs1990622; P=2×10−4). TMEM106B variants may confer risk by increasing TMEM106B expression. TMEM106B variants also contribute to genetic risk for FTLD-TDP in patients with GRN mutations. Our data implicate TMEM106B as a strong risk factor for FTLD-TDP suggesting an underlying pathogenic mechanism.
Claudins (Cls) are a multigene family of transmembrane proteins with different tissue distribution, which have an essential role in the formation and sealing capacity of tight junctions (TJs). At the level of the blood–brain barrier (BBB), TJs are the main molecular structures which separate the neuronal milieu from the circulatory space, by a restriction of the paracellular flow of water, ions and larger molecules into the brain. Different studies suggested recently significant BBB alterations in both vascular and degenerative dementia types. In a previous study we found in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) brains an altered expression of occludin, a molecular partner of Cls in the TJs structure. Therefore in this study, using an immunohistochemical approach, we investigated the expression of Cl family proteins (Cl-2, Cl-5 and Cl-11) in frontal cortex of aged control, AD and VaD brains. To estimate the number of Cl-expressing cells, we applied a random systematic sampling and the unbiased optical fractionator method. We found selected neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and endothelial cells expressing Cl-2, Cl-5 and Cl-11 at detectable levels in all cases studied. We report a significant increase in ratio of neurons expressing Cl-2, Cl-5 and Cl-11 in both AD and VaD as compared to aged controls. The ratio of astrocytes expressing Cl-2 and Cl-11 was significantly higher in AD and VaD as compared to aged controls. The ratio of oligodendrocytes expressing Cl-11 was significantly higher in AD and the ratio of oligodendrocytes expressing Cl-2 was significantly higher in VaD as compared to aged controls. Within the cerebral cortex, Cls were selectively expressed by pyramidal neurons, which are the ones responsible for cognitive processes and affected by AD pathology. Our findings suggest a new function of Cl family proteins which might be linked to response to cellular stress.
tight junctions; claudins; Alzheimer’ disease; vascular dementia
A majority of mutations within the amyloid β (Aβ) region of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene cause inherited forms of intracerebral haemorrhage. Most of these mutations may also cause cognitive impairment, but the Arctic APP mutation is the only known intra-Aβ mutation to date causing the more typical clinical picture of Alzheimer's disease (AD).
To describe features of one Swedish and one American family with the previously reported Arctic APP mutation.
Affected and non-affected carriers of the Arctic APP mutation from the Swedish and American families were investigated clinically. In addition, one brain from each family was investigated neuropathologically.
The clinical picture, with age at disease onset in the sixth to seventh decade of life and dysfunction in multiple cognitive areas, is indicative of AD and similar to the phenotype for other AD APP mutations. Several affected mutation carriers displayed general brain atrophy and reduced blood flow of the parietal lobe, as demonstrated by magnetic resonance imaging and single photon emission computed tomography. One Swedish and one American case with the Arctic APP mutation have come to autopsy, neither of which showed any signs of haemorrhage but revealed severe congophilic angiopathy, region-specific neurofibrillary tangle pathology as well as abundant amyloid plaques. Intriguingly, a majority of plaques from both of these cases had a characteristic ring-like character.
Overall, our findings corroborate that the Arctic APP mutation causes a clinical and neuropathological picture compatible with AD.
Familial Alzheimer's disease; APP gene mutations; Arctic mutation; cerebral amyloid angiopathy; dementia; genealogy
It has been recognized that molecular classifications will form the basis for neuropathological diagnostic work in the future. Consequently, in order to reach a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the presence of hyperphosphorylated tau (HP-tau) and β-amyloid protein in brain tissue must be unequivocal. In addition, the stepwise progression of pathology needs to be assessed. This paper deals exclusively with the regional assessment of AD-related HP-tau pathology. The objective was to provide straightforward instructions to aid in the assessment of AD-related immunohistochemically (IHC) detected HP-tau pathology and to test the concordance of assessments made by 25 independent evaluators. The assessment of progression in 7-µm-thick sections was based on assessment of IHC labeled HP-tau immunoreactive neuropil threads (NTs). Our results indicate that good agreement can be reached when the lesions are substantial, i.e., the lesions have reached isocortical structures (stage V–VI absolute agreement 91%), whereas when only mild subtle lesions were present the agreement was poorer (I–II absolute agreement 50%). Thus, in a research setting when the extent of lesions is mild, it is strongly recommended that the assessment of lesions should be carried out by at least two independent observers.
Alzheimer's disease; immunohistochemistry; neurofibrillary pathology; neuropathological diagnosis; BrainNet Europe consortium
β-Amyloid (Aβ) related pathology shows a range of lesions which differ both qualitatively and quantitatively. Pathologists, to date, mainly focused on the assessment of both of these aspects but attempts to correlate the findings with clinical phenotypes are not convincing. It has been recently proposed in the same way as ι and α synuclein related lesions, also Aβ related pathology may follow a temporal evolution, i.e. distinct phases, characterized by a step-wise involvement of different brain-regions. Twenty-six independent observers reached an 81% absolute agreement while assessing the phase of Aβ, i.e. phase 1 = deposition of Aβ exclusively in neocortex, phase 2 = additionally in allocortex, phase 3 = additionally in diencephalon, phase 4 = additionally in brainstem, and phase 5 = additionally in cerebellum. These high agreement rates were reached when at least six brain regions were evaluated. Likewise, a high agreement (93%) was reached while assessing the absence/presence of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) and the type of CAA (74%) while examining the six brain regions. Of note, most of observers failed to detect capillary CAA when it was only mild and focal and thus instead of type 1, type 2 CAA was diagnosed. In conclusion, a reliable assessment of Aβ phase and presence/absence of CAA was achieved by a total of 26 observers who examined a standardized set of blocks taken from only six anatomical regions, applying commercially available reagents and by assessing them as instructed. Thus, one may consider rating of Aβ-phases as a diagnostic tool while analyzing subjects with suspected Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Because most of these blocks are currently routinely sampled by the majority of laboratories, assessment of the Aβ phase in AD is feasible even in large scale retrospective studies.
The tight junctions (TJs) are key players in the control of blood-brain barrier (BBB) properties, the most complex TJs in the vascular system being found in the endothelial cells of brain capillaries. One of the main TJs proteins is occludin, which anchors plasma membranes of neighbour cells and is present in large amounts in the brain endothelia. Previous studies demonstrated that disruption of BBB in various pathological situations associates with changes in occludin expression, and this change could be responsible for malfunction of BBB. Therefore in this study, applying an immunohistochemical approach, we decided to explore the occludin expression in frontal cortex (FC) and basal ganglia in ageing control, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and vascular dementia (VD) brains, as far as all these pathologies associate microangiopathy and disruption of BBB. Strikingly, we found selected neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes expressing occludin, in all cases studied. To estimate the number of occludin-expressing neurons, we applied a stereological approach with random systematic sampling and the unbiased optical fractionator method. We report here a significant increase in ratio of occludin-expressing neurons in FC and basal ganglia regions in both AD and VD as compared to ageing controls. Within the cerebral cortex, occludin was selectively expressed by pyramidal neurons, which are the ones responsible for cognitive processes and affected by AD pathology. Our findings could be important in unravelling new pathogenic pathways in dementia disorders and new functions of occludin and TJs.
occludin; blood brain barrier; intercellular tight junctions; Alzheimer; vascular dementia; cerebral angiopathy; CADASIL quantification/stereology