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1.  Using autopsy brain tissue to study alcohol-related brain damage in the genomic age 
The New South Wales Tissue Resource Centre (NSW TRC) at the University of Sydney, Australia is one of the few human brain banks dedicated to the study of the effects of chronic alcoholism. The bank was affiliated in 1994 as a member of the National Network of Brain Banks and also focuses on schizophrenia and healthy control tissue. Alcohol abuse is a major problem worldwide, manifesting in such conditions as fetal alcohol syndrome, adolescent binge drinking, alcohol dependency and alcoholic neurodegeneration. The latter is also referred to as alcohol-related brain disease (ARBD). The study of postmortem brain tissue is ideally suited to determining the effects of long-term alcohol abuse, but it also makes an important contribution to understanding pathogenesis across the spectrum of alcohol misuse disorders and potentially other neurodegenerative diseases. Tissue from the bank has contributed to 330 peer-reviewed journal articles including 120 related to alcohol research. Using the results of these articles, this review chronicles advances in alcohol-related brain research since 2003, the so-called genomic age. In particular it concentrates on transcriptomic approaches to the pathogenesis of ARBD and builds on earlier reviews of structural changes (Harper et al. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2003;27:951–61) and proteomics (Matsumoto et al. Expert Rev Proteomics 2007;4:539–52).
doi:10.1111/acer.12243
PMCID: PMC3867579  PMID: 24033426
Alcohol-related brain damage; neurodegeneration; autopsy tissue; brain banking
2.  Classification of FTLD-TDP cases into pathological subtypes using antibodies against phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated TDP43 
Background
Two commercially available TDP43 antibodies (phosphorylated or pTDP43, non-phosphorylated or iTDP43) are currently in use for the neuropathological classification of FTLD-TDP cases into pathological subtypes. To date, no studies have performed direct comparisons between these TDP43 antibodies to determine if they identify the same FTLD-TDP subtypes. The reliability of subtype classification with the use of either of these antibodies has also not been investigated. The present study compares the severity of pathological lesions identified with pTDP43 and iTDP43 in a cohort of 14 FTLD-TDP cases, and assesses the accuracy and inter-observer reliability found with either of these antibodies.
Results
pTDP43 identified a greater severity of pathological inclusions across FTLD-TDP cases in comparison to iTDP43 and a higher inter-observer of subtype classification was found with this antibody.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates a higher consistency across independent observers in the pathological subtyping of FTLD-TDP cases with the use of a pTDP43 antibody in comparison to the iTDP43 antibody, and corroborates the use of pTDP43 for pathological classification of FTLD-TDP cases.
doi:10.1186/2051-5960-1-33
PMCID: PMC4046675  PMID: 24252630
Pathological classification; TDP43; Frontotemporal dementia
3.  The pathogenesis of cingulate atrophy in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease 
Background
Early atrophy of the cingulate cortex is a feature of both behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), with degeneration of the anterior cingulate region increasingly recognized as a strong predictor of bvFTD. The total number of neurons in this region, rather than the density of neurons, is associated with mood disturbance in other dementias, although there are no data on the extent and magnitude of neuronal loss in patients with bvFTD. While the density of small populations of neurons in this region has been assessed, it is unlikely that the degree of atrophy of the cingulate cortex seen in bvFTD can be explained by the loss of these subpopulations. This suggests that there is more generalized degeneration of neurons in this region in bvFTD.
The present study assesses total neuronal number, as well as characteristic pathologies, in the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices of pathologically confirmed bvFTD (N = 11) and AD (N = 9) patients compared with age-matched controls (N = 14). The bvFTD cohort comprised 5 cases with tau pathology (Pick’s disease), and 6 with TDP-43 pathology.
Results
At postmortem, atrophy was detected in the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices of bvFTD cases, but only in the posterior cingulate cortex of AD cases. As predicted, there was a significant reduction in both the density and total number of neurons in the anterior but not the posterior cingulate cortex of bvFTD cases with the opposite observed for the AD cases. Importantly, neuronal loss in the anterior cingulate cortex was only observed in cases with tau pathology.
Conclusions
This study confirms significant neuronal loss in the posterior but not anterior cingulate cortex in AD, and demonstrates that significant neuron loss in bvFTD occurs only in the anterior cingulate cortex but only in cases with tau pathology compared with cases with TDP pathology. We propose that significant neurodegeneration in the anterior cingulate cortex may be useful in differentiating the pathological subtypes in vivo.
doi:10.1186/2051-5960-1-30
PMCID: PMC3893385  PMID: 24252534
Anterior cingulate cortex; Posterior cingulate cortex; Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; Tau; TDP-43
4.  Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology associated with Korsakoff’s Syndrome 
Neuropsychology Review  2012;22(2):72-80.
Although the neuropathology of Korsakoff’s syndrome (KS) was first described well over a century ago and the characteristic brain pathology does not pose a diagnostic challenge to pathologists, there is still controversy over the neuroanatomical substrate of the distinctive memory impairment in these patients. Cohort studies of KS suggest a central role for the mammillary bodies and mediodorsal thalamus, and quantitative studies suggest additional damage to the anterior thalamus is required. Rare cases of KS caused by pathologies other than those of nutritional origin provide support for the role of the anterior thalamus and mammillary bodies. Taken together the evidence to date shows that damage to the thalamus and hypothalamus is required, in particular the anterior thalamic nucleus and the medial mammillary nucleus of the hypothalamus. As these nuclei form part of wider memory circuits, damage to the inter-connecting white matter tracts can also result in a similar deficit as direct damage to the nuclei. Although these nuclei and their connections appear to be the primary site of damage, input from other brain regions within the circuits, such as the frontal cortex and hippocampus, or more distant regions, including the cerebellum and amygdala, may have a modulatory role on memory function. Further studies to confirm the precise site(s) and extend of brain damage necessary for the memory impairment of KS are required.
doi:10.1007/s11065-012-9195-0
PMCID: PMC3371089  PMID: 22528862
Wernicke encephalopathy; thiamin deficiency; alcoholism; diencephalon; memory
5.  Histological assessment of cerebellar granule cell layer in postmortem brain; a useful marker of tissue integrity? 
Cell and tissue banking  2011;13(4):521-527.
Tissue quality control measures are routinely performed in brain banks with the assessment of brain pH being the most common measure. In some brain banks the assessment of the RNA integrity number is also performed, although this requires access to specialised equipment and is more expensive. The aim of this study is to determine if there is a correlation between the visual assessment of cerebellar granule cell integrity and brain pH or RIN. One hundred and five consecutive cases from the NSW Tissue Resource Centre, Sydney, Australia were accessed. The cerebrum was hemisected and one hemisphere sliced parasagittally at approximately 1–2 cm intervals and frozen. The other hemisphere was fixed in 15% buffered formalin for 2–3 weeks. The contralateral cerebellar hemisphere was preserved in the same manner as the cerebral hemisphere. Samples of fixed tissue were embedded in paraffin, 7 μm sections cut and stained routinely with hematoxylin and eosin. The granular cell layer (GCL) was assessed microscopically to determine the degree of autolytic degradation. Degradation was graded as nil, mild, moderate or severe. Brain tissue pH and RIN were measured using standardised protocols. This study showed that both brain pH and RIN significantly correlated with the severity of the degradation of the cerebellar granule cell layer. This additional screening tool can be performed during routine histological review of the cerebellar tissue to assess the suitability for further investigation of tissue quality.
doi:10.1007/s10561-011-9265-1
PMCID: PMC3454866  PMID: 21710172
Postmortem; Brain pH; RIN
6.  Correction: Tau-Mediated Nuclear Depletion and Cytoplasmic Accumulation of SFPQ in Alzheimer's and Pick's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):10.1371/annotation/6650167a-7567-4c65-931f-4be7145a39fc.
doi:10.1371/annotation/6650167a-7567-4c65-931f-4be7145a39fc
PMCID: PMC3440439
7.  Tau-Mediated Nuclear Depletion and Cytoplasmic Accumulation of SFPQ in Alzheimer's and Pick's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35678.
Tau dysfunction characterizes neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Here, we performed an unbiased SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression) of differentially expressed mRNAs in the amygdala of transgenic pR5 mice that express human tau carrying the P301L mutation previously identified in familial cases of FTLD. SAGE identified 29 deregulated transcripts including Sfpq that encodes a nuclear factor implicated in the splicing and regulation of gene expression. To assess the relevance for human disease we analyzed brains from AD, Pick's disease (PiD, a form of FTLD), and control cases. Strikingly, in AD and PiD, both dementias with a tau pathology, affected brain areas showed a virtually complete nuclear depletion of SFPQ in both neurons and astrocytes, along with cytoplasmic accumulation. Accordingly, neurons harboring either AD tangles or Pick bodies were also depleted of SFPQ. Immunoblot analysis of human entorhinal cortex samples revealed reduced SFPQ levels with advanced Braak stages suggesting that the SFPQ pathology may progress together with the tau pathology in AD. To determine a causal role for tau, we stably expressed both wild-type and P301L human tau in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, an established cell culture model of tau pathology. The cells were differentiated by two independent methods, mitomycin C-mediated cell cycle arrest or neuronal differentiation with retinoic acid. Confocal microscopy revealed that SFPQ was confined to nuclei in non-transfected wild-type cells, whereas in wild-type and P301L tau over-expressing cells, irrespective of the differentiation method, it formed aggregates in the cytoplasm, suggesting that pathogenic tau drives SFPQ pathology in post-mitotic cells. Our findings add SFPQ to a growing list of transcription factors with an altered nucleo-cytoplasmic distribution under neurodegenerative conditions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035678
PMCID: PMC3338448  PMID: 22558197
8.  Genetic and Clinical Features of Progranulin-Associated Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
Archives of neurology  2011;68(4):488-497.
Objective
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
GRN+ FTLD-TDP differs in key features from GRN− FTLD-TDP.
doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.53
PMCID: PMC3160280  PMID: 21482928
9.  Cytoplasmic Accumulation and Aggregation of TDP-43 upon Proteasome Inhibition in Cultured Neurons 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22850.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) are characterized by intraneuronal deposition of the nuclear TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) caused by unknown mechanisms. Here, we studied TDP-43 in primary neurons under different stress conditions and found that only proteasome inhibition by MG-132 or lactacystin could induce significant cytoplasmic accumulation of TDP-43, a histopathological hallmark in disease. This cytoplasmic accumulation was accompanied by phosphorylation, ubiquitination and aggregation of TDP-43, recapitulating major features of disease. Proteasome inhibition produced similar effects in both hippocampal and cortical neurons, as well as in immortalized motor neurons. To determine the contribution of TDP-43 to cell death, we reduced TDP-43 expression using small interfering RNA (siRNA), and found that reduced levels of TDP-43 dose-dependently rendered neurons more vulnerable to MG-132. Taken together, our data suggests a role for the proteasome in subcellular localization of TDP-43, and possibly in disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022850
PMCID: PMC3146516  PMID: 21829535
10.  Common variants at 7p21 are associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions 
Van Deerlin, Vivianna M. | Sleiman, Patrick M. A. | Martinez-Lage, Maria | Chen-Plotkin, Alice | Wang, Li-San | Graff-Radford, Neill R | Dickson, Dennis W. | Rademakers, Rosa | Boeve, Bradley F. | Grossman, Murray | Arnold, Steven E. | Mann, David M.A. | Pickering-Brown, Stuart M. | Seelaar, Harro | Heutink, Peter | van Swieten, John C. | Murrell, Jill R. | Ghetti, Bernardino | Spina, Salvatore | Grafman, Jordan | Hodges, John | Spillantini, Maria Grazia | Gilman, Sid' | Lieberman, Andrew P. | Kaye, Jeffrey A. | Woltjer, Randall L. | Bigio, Eileen H | Mesulam, Marsel | al-Sarraj, Safa | Troakes, Claire | Rosenberg, Roger N. | White, Charles L. | Ferrer, Isidro | Lladó, Albert | Neumann, Manuela | Kretzschmar, Hans A. | Hulette, Christine Marie | Welsh-Bohmer, Kathleen A. | Miller, Bruce L | Alzualde, Ainhoa | de Munain, Adolfo Lopez | McKee, Ann C. | Gearing, Marla | Levey, Allan I. | Lah, James J. | Hardy, John | Rohrer, Jonathan D. | Lashley, Tammaryn | Mackenzie, Ian R.A. | Feldman, Howard H. | Hamilton, Ronald L. | Dekosky, Steven T. | van der Zee, Julie | Kumar-Singh, Samir | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Mayeux, Richard | Vonsattel, Jean Paul G. | Troncoso, Juan C. | Kril, Jillian J | Kwok, John B.J. | Halliday, Glenda M. | Bird, Thomas D. | Ince, Paul G. | Shaw, Pamela J. | Cairns, Nigel J. | Morris, John C. | McLean, Catriona Ann | DeCarli, Charles | Ellis, William G. | Freeman, Stefanie H. | Frosch, Matthew P. | Growdon, John H. | Perl, Daniel P. | Sano, Mary | Bennett, David A. | Schneider, Julie A. | Beach, Thomas G. | Reiman, Eric M. | Woodruff, Bryan K. | Cummings, Jeffrey | Vinters, Harry V. | Miller, Carol A. | Chui, Helena C. | Alafuzoff, Irina | Hartikainen, Päivi | Seilhean, Danielle | Galasko, Douglas | Masliah, Eliezer | Cotman, Carl W. | Tuñón, M. Teresa | Martínez, M. Cristina Caballero | Munoz, David G. | Carroll, Steven L. | Marson, Daniel | Riederer, Peter F. | Bogdanovic, Nenad | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Hakonarson, Hakon | Trojanowski, John Q. | Lee, Virginia M.-Y.
Nature genetics  2010;42(3):234-239.
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.
doi:10.1038/ng.536
PMCID: PMC2828525  PMID: 20154673
11.  FUS pathology defines the majority of tau- and TDP-43-negative frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
Acta neuropathologica  2010;120(1):33-41.
Through an international consortium, we have collected 37 tau- and TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43)-negative frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) cases, and present here the first comprehensive analysis of these cases in terms of neuropathology, genetics, demographics and clinical data. 92% (34/37) had fused in sarcoma (FUS) protein pathology, indicating that FTLD-FUS is an important FTLD subtype. This FTLD-FUS collection specifically focussed on aFTLD-U cases, one of three recently defined subtypes of FTLD-FUS. The aFTLD-U subtype of FTLD-FUS is characterised clinically by behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and has a particularly young age of onset with a mean of 41 years. Further, this subtype had a high prevalence of psychotic symptoms (36% of cases) and low prevalence of motor symptoms (3% of cases). We did not find FUS mutations in any aFTLD-U case. To date, the only subtype of cases reported to have ubiquitin-positive but tau-, TDP-43- and FUS-negative pathology, termed FTLD-UPS, is the result of charged multivesicular body protein 2B gene (CHMP2B) mutation. We identified three FTLD-UPS cases, which are negative for CHMP2B mutation, suggesting that the full complement of FTLD pathologies is yet to be elucidated.
doi:10.1007/s00401-010-0698-6
PMCID: PMC2887939  PMID: 20490813
FTLD; FUS; FTLD-UPS; Frontotemporal; FTD
12.  FUS pathology defines the majority of tau- and TDP-43-negative frontotemporal lobar degeneration 
Acta Neuropathologica  2010;120(1):33-41.
Through an international consortium, we have collected 37 tau- and TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43)-negative frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) cases, and present here the first comprehensive analysis of these cases in terms of neuropathology, genetics, demographics and clinical data. 92% (34/37) had fused in sarcoma (FUS) protein pathology, indicating that FTLD-FUS is an important FTLD subtype. This FTLD-FUS collection specifically focussed on aFTLD-U cases, one of three recently defined subtypes of FTLD-FUS. The aFTLD-U subtype of FTLD-FUS is characterised clinically by behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and has a particularly young age of onset with a mean of 41 years. Further, this subtype had a high prevalence of psychotic symptoms (36% of cases) and low prevalence of motor symptoms (3% of cases). We did not find FUS mutations in any aFTLD-U case. To date, the only subtype of cases reported to have ubiquitin-positive but tau-, TDP-43- and FUS-negative pathology, termed FTLD-UPS, is the result of charged multivesicular body protein 2B gene (CHMP2B) mutation. We identified three FTLD-UPS cases, which are negative for CHMP2B mutation, suggesting that the full complement of FTLD pathologies is yet to be elucidated.
doi:10.1007/s00401-010-0698-6
PMCID: PMC2887939  PMID: 20490813
FTLD; FUS; FTLD-UPS; Frontotemporal; FTD

Results 1-12 (12)