To determine the time of acceleration in white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden, a common indicator of cerebrovascular pathology, in relation to conversion to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the elderly.
A total of 181 cognitively intact elderly volunteers from the longitudinal, prospective, Oregon Brain Aging Study underwent yearly evaluations, including brain MRI, and cognitive testing. MRIs were analyzed for imaging markers of neurodegeneration: WMH and ventricular CSF (vCSF) volumes. The time before MCI, when the changes in WMH and vCSF burden accelerate, was assessed using a mixed-effects model with a change point for subjects who developed MCI during follow-up.
During a follow-up duration of up to 19.6 years, 134 subjects converted to MCI. Acceleration in %WMH volume increase occurred 10.6 years before MCI onset. On average, the annual rate of change in %WMH increased an additional 3.3% after the change point. Acceleration in %vCSF volume increase occurred 3.7 years before the onset of MCI. Out of 63 subjects who converted to MCI and had autopsy, only 28.5% had Alzheimer disease (AD) as the sole etiology of their dementia, while almost just as many (24%) had both AD and significant ischemic cerebrovascular disease present.
Acceleration in WMH burden, a common indicator of cerebrovascular disease in the elderly, is a pathologic change that emerges early in the presymptomatic phase leading to MCI. Longitudinal changes in WMH may thus be useful in determining those at risk for cognitive impairment and for planning strategies for introducing disease-modifying therapies prior to dementia onset.
Transcriptional studies suggest Alzheimer's disease (AD) involves dysfunction of many cellular pathways, including synaptic transmission, cytoskeletal dynamics, energetics, and apoptosis. Despite known progression of AD pathologies, it is unclear how such striking regional vulnerability occurs, or which genes play causative roles in disease progression.
To address these issues, we performed a large-scale transcriptional analysis in the CA1 and relatively less vulnerable CA3 brain regions of individuals with advanced AD and nondemented controls. In our study, we assessed differential gene expression across region and disease status, compared our results to previous studies of similar design, and performed an unbiased co-expression analysis using weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA). Several disease genes were identified and validated using qRT-PCR.
We find disease signatures consistent with several previous microarray studies, then extend these results to show a relationship between disease status and brain region. Specifically, genes showing decreased expression with AD progression tend to show enrichment in CA3 (and vice versa), suggesting transcription levels may reflect a region's vulnerability to disease. Additionally, we find several candidate vulnerability (ABCA1, MT1H, PDK4, RHOBTB3) and protection (FAM13A1, LINGO2, UNC13C) genes based on expression patterns. Finally, we use a systems-biology approach based on WGCNA to uncover disease-relevant expression patterns for major cell types, including pathways consistent with a key role for early microglial activation in AD.
These results paint a picture of AD as a multifaceted disease involving slight transcriptional changes in many genes between regions, coupled with a systemic immune response, gliosis, and neurodegeneration. Despite this complexity, we find that a consistent picture of gene expression in AD is emerging.
Clinicopathologic correlation studies are critically important for the field of Alzheimer disease (AD) research. Studies on human subjects with autopsy confirmation entail numerous potential biases that affect both their general applicability and the validity of the correlations. Many sources of data variability can weaken the apparent correlation between cognitive status and AD neuropathologic changes. Indeed, most persons in advanced old age have significant non-AD brain lesions that may alter cognition independently of AD. Worldwide research efforts have evaluated thousands of human subjects to assess the causes of cognitive impairment in the elderly, and these studies have been interpreted in different ways. We review the literature focusing on the correlation of AD neuropathologic changes (i.e. β-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles) with cognitive impairment. We discuss the various patterns of brain changes that have been observed in elderly individuals to provide a perspective for understanding AD clinicopathologic correlation and conclude that evidence from many independent research centers strongly supports the existence of a specific disease, as defined by the presence of Aβ plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Although Aβ plaques may play a key role in AD pathogenesis, the severity of cognitive impairment correlates best with the burden of neocortical neurofibrillary tangles.
Aging; Alzheimer disease; Amyloid; Dementia; Epidemiology; Neuropathology; MAPT; Neurofibrillary tangles
Many elderly individuals remain dementia-free throughout their life. However, some of these individuals exhibit Alzheimer disease neuropathology on autopsy, evidenced by neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in AD-specific brain regions. We conducted a genome-wide association study to identify genetic mechanisms that distinguish non-demented elderly with a heavy NFT burden from those with a low NFT burden. The study included 344 non-demented subjects with autopsy (201 subjects with low and 143 with high NFT levels). Both a genotype test, using logistic regression, and an allele test provided genome-wide significant evidence that variants in the RELNgene are associated with neuropathology in the context of cognitive health. Immunohistochemical data for reelin expression in AD-related brain regions added support for these findings. Reelin signaling pathways modulate phosphorylation of tau, the major component of NFTs, either directly or through β-amyloid pathways that influence tau phosphorylation. Our findings suggest that up-regulation of reelin may be a compensatory response to tau-related or beta-amyloid stress associated with AD even prior to the onset of dementia.
The prenatal and perinatal periods of brain development are especially vulnerable to insults by environmental agents. Early life exposure to cigarette smoke (CS), which contains both genotoxicants and oxidants, is considered an important risk factor for both neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Yet, little is known regarding the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms. In the present study, neonatal Swiss ICR (CD-1) albino mice were exposed to various concentrations of CS for 4 weeks and the brain examined for lipid peroxides, DNA damage, base-excision repair (BER) enzymes, apoptosis, and levels of the microtubule protein tau. CS induced a dose-dependent increase in both malondialdehyde and various types of DNA damage, including single-strand breaks, double-strand breaks, and DNA-protein cross-links. However, the CS-induced DNA damage in the brain returned to basal levels 1 week after smoking cessation. CS also modulated the activity and distribution of the BER enzymes 8-oxoguanine-DNA-glycosylase (OGG1) and apyrimidinic/apurinic endonuclease (APE1) in several brain regions. Normal tau (i.e., three-repeat tau, 3R tau) and various pathological forms of tau were also measured in the brain of CS-exposed neonatal mice, but only 3R tau and tau phosphorylated at serine 199 were significantly elevated. The oxidative stress, genomic dysregulation, and alterations in tau metabolism caused by CS during a critical period of brain development could explain why CS is an important risk factor for both neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders appearing in later life.
cigarette smoke; brain; neonatal mice; DNA damage; base-excision repair; tau; neurodegenerative disorders
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), cerebral vascular brain injury (VBI), and isocortical Lewy body (LB) disease (LBD) are the major contributors to dementia in community- or population-based studies: Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS), Nun Study (NS), and Oregon Brain Aging Study (OBAS). However, the prevalence of clinically silent forms of these diseases in cognitively normal (CN) adults is less clear.
DESIGN and SETTING
We evaluated 1672 brain autopsies from ACT, HAAS, NS, and OBAS of which 424 met criteria for CN.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Of these, 336 cases had a comprehensive neuropathologic examination of neuritic plaque (NP) density, Braak stage for neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), Lewy body (LB) distribution, and number of cerebral microinfarcts (CMIs).
47% of CN cases had moderate or frequent NP density; of these 6% also had Braak stage V or VI for NFTs. 15% of CN cases had medullary LBD; 8% also had nigral and 4% isocortical LBD. The presence of any CMIs was identified in 33% and high level CMIs in 10% of CN individuals. Overall burden of lesions in each individual and their co-morbidity varied widely within each study but were similar among studies.
These data show an individually varying complex convergence of subclinical diseases in the brain of older CN adults. Appreciating this ecology should help guide future biomarker or neuroimaging studies as well as clinical trials that focus on community- or population-based cohorts.
Alzheimer’s disease; vascular brain injury; Lewy body disease; cognitive aging
Early cognitive impairment in Alzheimer Disease (AD) is thought to result from the dysfunctional effect of amyloid beta (Aβ) oligomers targeting the synapses. Some individuals, however, escape cognitive decline despite the presence of the neuropathologic features of AD (Aβ plaques and neurofibrillary tangles). We term this group Non-Demented with AD Neuropathology or NDAN. The present study illustrates one putative resistance mechanism involved in NDAN cases which may suggest targets for the effective treatment of AD.
Here we describe the localization of Aβ oligomers at the postsynapse in hippocampi from AD cases. Notably, however, we also found that while present in soluble fractions, Aβ oligomers are absent from hippocampal postsynapses in NDAN cases. In addition, levels of phosphorylated (active) CREB, a transcription factor important for synaptic plasticity, are normal in NDAN individuals, suggesting that their synapses are functionally intact. Analysis of Zn2+ showed that levels were increased in both soluble fractions and synaptic vesicles in AD hippocampi, paralleled by a decrease of expression of the synaptic vesicle Zn2+ transporter, ZnT3. Conversely, in NDAN individuals, levels of Zn2+ in soluble fractions were significantly lower than in AD, whereas in synaptic vesicles the levels of Zn2+ were similar to AD, but accompanied by preserved expression of the ZnT3.
Taken together, these data illustrate that despite substantial AD neuropathology, Aβ oligomers, and increased synaptic vesicle Zn2+, susceptible brain tissue in these aged NDAN individuals features, as compared to symptomatic AD subjects, significantly lower total Zn2+ levels and no association of Aβ oligomers with the postsynapse, which collectively may promote the maintenance of intact cognitive function.
Aβ oligomers; Alzheimer’s disease; hippocampus; asymptomatic, zinc, synaptic vesicle
Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration is a form of neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation, characterized by a progressive movement disorder and prominent iron deposition in the globus pallidus. Formerly referred to as Hallervorden–Spatz syndrome, the disorder was renamed pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration after discovery of the causative gene, PANK2. Although the pathological features of clinically characterized Hallervorden–Spatz syndrome have been described, the literature is confounded by the historical use of this term for nearly all conditions with prominent basal ganglia iron accumulation and by the fact that this term encompasses a genetically heterogeneous group of disorders, now referred to as ‘neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation’. As a result, interpreting reports that precede molecular characterization of specific forms of neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation is problematic. In the present studies, we describe neuropathological findings in six cases of molecularly confirmed pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration. We identify prominent ubiquinated deposits in pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration. We also characterize two distinct origins of spheroid bodies and delineate histological features of iron deposition. In so doing, we characterize fundamental features of the disease and redefine its nosological relationship to other neurodegenerative disorders.
pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN); Hallervorden–Spatz; neuropathology; tau; α-synuclein
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.
There is strong evidence that intracellular calcium dysregulation plays an important pathological role in Alzheimer’s disease, and specifically that beta amyloid may induce increases in intracellular calcium and lead to neuronal cell dysfunction and death. Here we investigated the feasibility of modifying Alzheimer’s pathology with the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel blockers verapamil, diltiazem, isradipine and nimodipine. All four compounds protected MC65 neuroblastoma cells from amyloid beta protein precursor C-terminal fragment (APP CTF)-induced neurotoxicity. Isradipine was the most potent blocker, preventing APP CTF neurotoxicity at nanomolar concentrations. Intracellular beta amyloid expression was associated with increased expression of Cav 1.2 calcium channels and increased intracellular calcium influx from the extracellular space. Despite the cytoprotection afforded by calcium channel blockers, amyloid beta oligomer formation was not suppressed. The mechanism of cell death in MC65 cells is appeared to be caspase-3 independent. With the goal of determining if there is sufficient experimental support to move forward with animal trials of isradipine, we determined its bioavailability in the triple transgenic mouse model of AD. Subcutaneous implatation of carrier-bound isradipine (3 µg/g/day) for 60 days resulted in nanomolar concentrations in both the plasma and brain. Taken together, our in vitro results support the theory that calcium blockers exert protective effects downstream of the effects of beta amyloid. Isradipine’s neuroprotective effect at concentrations that are clinically relevant and achievable in vitro and in vivo suggests that this particular calcium blocking agent may have therapeutic value in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Amyloid precursor protein; Beta amyloid oligomers; Calcium channel blocker; Neurotoxicity
A growing body of evidence supports the ‘calcium hypothesis’ of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which postulates that a variety of insults might disrupt the homeostatic regulation of neuronal calcium (Ca2+) in the brain, resulting in the progressive symptoms that typify the disease. However, despite ongoing efforts to develop new methods for testing therapeutic compounds that might be beneficial in AD, no single bioassay permits both rapid screening and in vivo validation of candidate drugs that target specific components of the Ca2+ regulatory machinery. To address this issue, we have integrated four distinct model systems that provide complementary information about a trial compound: the human neuroblastoma MC65 line, which provides an in vitro model of amyloid toxicity; a transgenic Drosophila model, which develops age-dependent pathologies associated with AD; the 3×TgAD transgenic mouse, which recapitulates many of the neuropathological features that typify AD; and the embryonic nervous system of Manduca, which provides a novel in vivo assay for the acute effects of amyloid peptides on neuronal motility. To demonstrate the value of this ‘translational suite’ of bioassays, we focused on a set of clinically approved dihydropyridines (DHPs), a class of well-defined inhibitors of L-type calcium channels that have been suggested to be neuroprotective in AD. Among the DHPs tested in this study, we found that isradipine reduced the neurotoxic consequences of β-amyloid accumulation in all four model systems without inducing deleterious side effects. Our results provide new evidence in support of the Ca2+ hypothesis of AD, and indicate that isradipine represents a promising drug for translation into clinical trials. In addition, these studies also demonstrate that this continuum of bioassays (representing different levels of complexity) provides an effective means of evaluating other candidate compounds that target specific components of the Ca2+ regulatory machinery and that therefore might be beneficial in the treatment of AD.
Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by deposition of amyloid-β, tau, and other specific proteins that accumulate in the brain in detergent-insoluble complexes. AD also involves glutamatergic neurotransmitter system disturbances. Excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2) is the dominant glutamate transporter in cerebral cortex and hippocampus. We investigated whether accumulation of detergent-insoluble EAAT2 is related to cognitive impairment and neuropathologic changes in AD by quantifying detergent-insoluble EAAT2 levels in hippocampus and frontal cortex of cognitively normal patients, patients with clinical dementia rating (CDR) = 0.5 (mildly impaired), and AD patients. Parkinson disease (PD) patients served as neurodegenerative disease controls. We found that Triton X-100-insoluble EAAT2 levels were significantly increased in patients with AD compared to controls, while Triton X-100-insoluble EAAT2 levels in CDR = 0.5 patients were intermediately elevated between control and AD subjects. Detergent-insolubility of Presenilin-1, a structurally similar protein, did not differ among the groups, thus arguing EAAT2 detergent-insolubility was not due to nonspecific cellular injury. These findings demonstrate that detergent-insoluble EAAT2 accumulation is a progressive biochemical lesion that correlates with cognitive impairment and neuropathologic changes in AD. These findings lend further support to the idea that dysregulation of the glutamatergic system may play a significant role in AD pathogenesis.
Glutamate; Alzheimer disease; EAAT2; Excitotoxicity; Mild cognitive impairment; Protein aggregation; Oxidative stress; SLC1A2
Relapsing polychondritis Is a rare disorder that is characterised by recurrent and progressive inflammation of cartilaginous structures. Nervous system involvement in relapsing polychondritis has been described. We describe two cases of relapsing polychondritis with subacute dementia.
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.
Increasing evidence suggests that Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with oxidative damage that is caused in part by mitochondrial dysfunction. Here we investigated the feasibility of modifying Alzheimer pathology with the mitochondrial antioxidant coenzyme Q (CoQ). Exogenous CoQ protected MC65 neuroblastoma cells from amyloid precursor protein C-terminal fragment (APP CTF)-induced neurotoxicity in a concentration dependent manner, with concentrations of 6.25 µM and higher providing near complete protection. Dietary supplementation with CoQ at a dose of 10 g/kg diet to C65/Bl6 mice for one month significantly suppressed brain protein carbonyl levels, which are markers of oxidative damage. Treatment for one month with 2 g lovastatin/kg diet, which interferes with CoQ synthesis, resulted in a significant lowering of brain CoQ10 levels. Mitochondrial energetics (brain ATP levels and mitochondrial membrane potential) were unaffected by either CoQ or lovastatin treatment. Our results suggest that oral CoQ may be a viable antioxidant strategy for neurodegenerative disease. Our data supports a trial of CoQ in an animal model of AD in order to determine whether a clinical trial is warranted.
Alzheimer’s disease; coenzyme Q; lovastatin; Tg2576; MC65
Mutation in the progranulin gene (GRN) can cause frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, it is unclear whether some rare FTD-related GRN variants are pathogenic and whether neurodegenerative disorders other than FTD can also be caused by GRN mutations.
To delineate the range of clinical presentations associated with GRN mutations and to define pathogenic candidacy of rare GRN variants.
Clinical and neuropathology dementia research studies at 8 academic centers.
Four hundred thirty-four patients with FTD, including primary progressive aphasia, semantic dementia, FTD/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), FTD/motor neuron disease, corticobasal syndrome/corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, Pick disease, dementia lacking distinctive histopathology, and pathologically confirmed cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U); and 111 non-FTD cases (controls) in which TDP-43 deposits were a prominent neuropathological feature, including subjects with ALS, Guam ALS and/or parkinsonism dementia complex, Guam dementia, Alzheimer disease, multiple system atrophy, and argyrophilic grain disease.
Main Outcome Measures
Variants detected on sequencing of all 13 GRN exons and at least 80 base pairs of flanking introns, and their pathogenic candidacy determined by in silico and ex vivo splicing assays.
We identified 58 genetic variants that included 26 previously unknown changes. Twenty-four variants appeared to be pathogenic, including 8 novel mutations. The frequency of GRN mutations was 6.9% (30 of 434) of all FTD-spectrum cases, 21.4% (9 of 42) of cases with a pathological diagnosis of FTLD-U, 16.0% (28 of 175) of FTD-spectrum cases with a family history of a similar neurodegenerative disease, and 56.2% (9 of 16) of cases of FTLD-U with a family history.
Pathogenic mutations were found only in FTD-spectrum cases and not in other related neurodegenerative diseases. Haploinsufficiency of GRN is the predominant mechanism leading to FTD.
Accumulation of abnormal protein aggregates, detergent-insoluble (DI) proteins and amyloid in the brain are shared features of many neurodegenerative diseases. Previous studies correlating DI proteins and cognitive performance are limited. We addressed these limitations using two sets of autopsy brains, one selected from our Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the other an unselected series from Adult Changes in Thought (ACT), a population-based study of brain aging. We observed concentrations of 11 proteins and 6 protein variants that can be grouped into three highly correlated clusters: amyloid (A)β, tau and alpha-synuclein (α-syn). While abnormal proteins from each cluster independently correlated with cognitive performance in ACT participants, only increased soluble Aβ oligomers in temporal cortex and increased DI Aβ 42 and DI α-syn in prefrontal cortex were negatively correlated with cognitive performance. These data underscore the therapeutic imperative to suppress processes leading to accumulation of soluble Aβ oligomers, DI Aβ 42 and DI α-syn, highlight an at least partially independent contribution to cognitive impairment and raise the possibility that the priority for therapeutic targets may vary by brain region in a typical elderly US population.
Disturbed glutamate homeostasis may contribute to the pathological processes involved in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Once glutamate is released from synapses or from other intracellular sources, it is rapidly cleared by glutamate transporters. EAAC1 (also called EAAT3 or SLC1A1) is the primary glutamate transporter in forebrain neurons. In addition to transporting glutamate, EAAC1 plays other roles in regulating GABA synthesis, reducing oxidative stress in neurons, and is important in supporting neuron viability. Currently, little is known about EAAC1 in AD. To address whether EAAC1 is disturbed in AD, immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue from hippocampus and frontal cortex of AD and normal control subjects matched for age and gender. While EAAC1 immunostaining in cortex appeared comparable to controls, in the hippocampus, EAAC1 aberrantly accumulated in the cell bodies and proximal neuritic processes of CA2–CA3 pyramidal neurons in AD patients. Biochemical analyses showed that Triton X-100-insoluble EAAC1 was significantly increased in the hippocampus of AD patients compared to both controls and Parkinson’s disease patients. These findings suggest that aberrant glutamate transporter expression is associated with AD-related neuropathology and that intracellular accumulation of detergent-insoluble EAAC1 is a feature of the complex biochemical lesions in AD that include altered protein solubility.
Glutamate Uptake; Glutamate toxicity; Synaptic dysfunction; protein aggregation; neurodegeneration; memantine; excitotoxicity
Diabetes mellitus (DM) increases the risk of dementia in the elderly. However the underlying mechanisms, its connection with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), and effects of therapy remain unclear.
To test the hypothesis that DM promotes specific neuropathologic processes that contribute to dementia and that these processes may be suppressed by antidiabetic therapy.
A comprehensive neuropathologic assessment of all cases from a community-based study of incident dementia (Adult Changes in Thought study) that underwent autopsies (n=259) and had information on DM status (n=196). Biochemical analysis was conducted on a subset of these cases with rapidly frozen brain tissue (n=57).
Autopsy cases were divided into four groups: no DM/no dementia (DM−/dementia−), DM/no dementia (DM+/dementia−), no DM/dementia (DM−/dementia+), and DM/dementia (DM+/ dementia+). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) diagnosis of dementia was assigned through a consensus of experts following biennial cognitive and physical evaluations. Diabetes was diagnosed based on information obtained from participants’ extensive medical records.
In cases without dementia (n=125), neuropathologic or biochemical endpoints did not differ significantly by DM status. However, we observed 2 patterns of injury in patients with dementia (n=71) by their DM status. Individuals without DM, but with dementia (DM−/dementia+) had greater Aβ peptide load and increased F2-isoprostanes in the cerebral cortex, while DM+/dementia+ patients had more microvascular infarcts (MVI) and an increased cortical IL-6 (interleukin 6) concentration. The number of microvascular infarcts was greater in deep cerebral structures in patients with dementia whose diabetes was treated, whereas amyloid plaque load tended to be greater for untreated diabetic patients with dementia.
These novel characterizations of 2 different patterns of cerebral injury in patients with dementia depending on DM status may have etiologic and therapeutic implications.
Lewy related pathology (LRP) is a common pathologic finding at autopsy in dementia patients. Recently criteria for categorizing types of LRP in dementia patients were published, though these criteria have yet to be systematically applied to large dementia samples. We examined a large (N = 208) referral-based autopsy sample for LRP, and applied the published criteria for LRP categorization to these cases. We found almost half (49%) of LRP positive cases from this sample were not classifiable. However, modifying the published criteria by reducing the number of regions requiring examination, allowing more variability in LRP severity scores within specific brain regions, and adding an amygdala predominant category permitted classification of 97% of LRP positive cases from the referral-based sample. Application of the modified criteria to an unrelated community-based autopsy sample (N = 226) allowed classification of 96% of LRP positive cases. Modest modifications in the published criteria permit a significantly greater number of dementia cases with LRP to be classified. In addition, this modification allows for more limited sampling of brain regions for classification of LRP. We propose that these modified criteria for the categorization of LRP be utilized in patients with a history of dementia.
Lewy bodies; dementia; α-synuclein
To characterize the role of BRCA1 in mammary gland development and tumor suppression, a transgenic mouse model of BRCA1 overexpression was developed. Using the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) promoter/enhancer, transgenic mice expressing human BRCA1 or select mutant controls were generated. Transgenic animals examined during adolescence were shown to express the human transgene in their mammary glands. The mammary glands of 13-week-old virgin homozygous MMTV-BRCA1 mice presented the morphology of moderately increased lobulo-alveolar development. The mammary ductal trees of both hemizygous and homozygous MMTV-BRCA1t340 were similar to those of control non-transgenic littermates. Interestingly, both hemi- and homozygous mice expressing a splice variant of BRCA1 lacking the N-terminal RING finger domain (MMTV-BRCA1sv) exhibited marked mammary lobulo-alveolar development, particularly terminal end bud proliferation. Morphometric analyses of mammary gland whole mount preparations were used to measure epithelial staining indices of ~35% for homozygous MMTV-BRCA1 mice and ~60% for both hemizygous and homozygous MMTV-BRCA1sv mice versus ~25% for non-transgenic mice. Homozygous MMTV-BRCA1 mice showed delayed development of tumors when challenged with 7,12 dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA), relative to non-transgenic and homozygous BRCA1t340 expressing mice. In contrast, homozygous MMTV-BRCA1sv transgenic animals were sensitized to DMBA treatment and exhibited a very rapid onset of mammary tumor development and accelerated mortality. MMTV-BRCA1 effects on mortality were restricted to DMBA-induced tumors of the mammary gland. These results demonstrate in vivo roles for BRCA1 in both mammary gland development and in tumor suppression against mutagen-induced mammary gland neoplasia.
BRCA1 gene; transgenic mice; mammary gland development