Expanded hexanucleotide repeats in C9ORF72 are a common genetic cause of frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Repeat expansions have also been detected infrequently in other disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsonian disorders.
To assess the incidence of the expanded C9ORF72 repeat in cases of depressive pseudodementia.
An immunohistochemical screen of autopsied brains collected between 1998 and 2013.
Brain bank at Mayo Clinic Florida, a large tertiary care research institution.
Thirty one neuropathologically normal individuals (no atrophy, neuronal loss, or gliosis beyond what would be expected for age) with an antemortem clinical history or diagnosis of depression and/or dementia.
Main Outcome Measures
Presence of the hexanucleotide repeat was established using immunohistochemistry with a highly disease-specific antibody (C9RANT), and was further validated in carriers using repeat-primed polymerase chain reaction and Southern blotting.
Of the 31 cases studied, 2 (6.45%) individuals harbored the C9ORF72 repeat expansion. Both patients were men with refractory depression. One patient experienced drug-induced Parkinsonism and sudden-onset dementia, while the other patient had a more insidious disease course suspected to be Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical and neuropathologic features are described.
Conclusions and Relevance
This report expands the range of clinicopathologic presentations of C9ORF72 expanded hexanucleotide repeat to include psychiatric disorders such as depressive pseudodementia.
The most common cause of familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TAR DNA-binding protein-43 pathology (FTLD-TDP) has been found to be an expansion of a hexanucleotide repeat (GGGGCC) in a noncoding region of the gene C9ORF72. Hippocampal sclerosis (HpScl) is a common finding in FTLD-TDP. Our objective was to screen for the presence of C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansions in a pathologically-confirmed cohort of “pure” hippocampal sclerosis cases (n=33), outside the setting of FTLD-TDP and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Using a recently described repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation (C9RANT) antibody that was found to be highly specific for c9FTD/ALS, we identified a single “pure” HpScl autopsy case with a repeat expansion in C9ORF72 (c9HpScl). Mutation screening was also performed with repeat-primed polymerase chain reaction and further confirmed with southern blotting. The c9HpScl patient had a 14-year history of a slowly progressive amnestic syndrome and a clinical diagnosis of probable AD. Neuropsychological testing revealed memory impairment, but no deficits in other cognitive domains. Autopsy showed hippocampal sclerosis with TDP-43 immunoreactive neuronal inclusions relatively limited to limbic lobe structures. Neuritic pathology immunoreactive for p62 was more frequent than TDP-43 in amygdala and hippocampus. Frequent p62 positive neuronal inclusions were present in cerebellar granule neurons as is typical of C9ORF72 mutation carriers. There was no significant FTLD or motor neuron disease. C9RANT was found to be sensitive and specific in this autopsy-confirmed series of HpScl cases. The findings in this patient suggest that the clinical and pathologic spectrum of C9ORF72 repeat expansion is wider than frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease, including cases of progressive amnestic dementia with restricted TDP-43 pathology associated with HpScl.
Hippocampus; C9ORF72; memory; neuropathology; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; C9RANT
Optineurin (OPTN) is a multifunctional protein involved in cellular morphogenesis, vesicle trafficking, maintenance of the Golgi complex, and transcription activation through its interactions with the Rab8, myosin 6 (MYO6), huntingtin. Recently, OPTN immunoreactivity has been reported in intranuclear inclusions in patients with neuronal intranuclear inclusions disease (NIID). Other studies have shown that the RNA-binding protein, fused in sarcoma (FUS), is a component of intranuclear inclusions in NIID. We aimed to investigate the relationship between OPTN, its binding protein MYO6 and FUS in this study. In control subjects, OPTN (C-terminal) (OPTN-C) and MYO6 immunoreactivity was mainly demonstrated in the cytoplasm of neurons. In NIID patients, both neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII) and glial intranuclear inclusions (GII) were immunopositive for MYO6 as well as OPTN-C. However, the intensity of OPTN-C immunostaining of the neuronal cytoplasm with and without NII was less than that of the control subjects. Double immunofluorescence staining for OPTN-C, ubiquitin (Ub), p62 and FUS revealed co-localization of these proteins within NII. Moreover, Ub positive inclusions were co-localized with MYO6. The percentage of co-localization of Ub with OPTN-C, FUS or MYO6 in NII was 100%, 52% and 92%, respectively. Ultrastructurally, the inclusions consisted of thin and thick filaments. Both filaments were immunopositive for Ub and OPTN-C. These findings suggest that OPTN plays a central role in the disease pathogenesis, and that OPTN may be a major component of NII.
Optineurin; Myosin-6; neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease; FUS; intranuclear inclusion
CBD is a disorder affecting cognition and movement due to a progressive neurodegeneration associated with distinctive neuropathologic features, including abnormal phosphorylated tau protein in neurons and glia in cortex, basal ganglia, diencephalon and brainstem, as well as ballooned neurons and astrocytic plaques. We identified three cases of CBD with olivopontocerebellar atrophy (CBD-OPCA) that did not have α-synuclein-positive glial cytoplasmic inclusions of multiple system atrophy (MSA). Two patients had clinical features suggestive of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and the third case had cerebellar ataxia thought to be due to idiopathic OPCA. Neuropathologic features of CBD-OPCA are compared to typical CBD, as well as MSA and PSP. CBD-OPCA and MSA had marked neuronal loss in pontine nuclei, inferior olivary nucleus, and Purkinje cell layer. Neuronal loss and grumose degeneration in the cerebellar dentate nucleus was comparable in CBD-OPCA and PSP. Image analysis of tau pathology showed greater infratentorial tau burden, especially in pontine base, in CBD-OPCA compared with typical CBD. Additionally, CBD-OPCA had TDP-43 immunoreactive neuronal and glial cytoplasmic inclusions and threads throughout the basal ganglia and in olivopontocerebellar system. CBD-OPCA met neuropathologic research diagnostic criteria for CBD and shared tau biochemical characteristics with typical CBD. These results suggest that CBD-OPCA is a distinct clinicopathologic variant of CBD with olivopontocerebellar TDP-43 pathology.
Corticobasal degeneration; olivopontocerebellar atrophy; tauopathy; multiple system atrophy; progressive supranuclear palsy; TDP-43
We recently reported a missense mutation and four variants in eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4-gamma (EIF4G1) associated with parkinsonism, dementia or both. In those with a positive family history, the mode of inheritance was autosomal dominant. Detailed neuropathologic descriptions of individuals with EIF4G1 genetic variants have not been reported. Herein, we report neuropathologic findings of three individuals from two American families with EIF4G1 variants. The patients had initial clinical presentations of dementia or parkinsonism and all had dementia at the time of autopsy. One family carried an EIF4G1 double variant, c.2056G>T (p.G686C) and c.3589C>T (p.R1197W), and one family carried variant c.1505C>T (p.A502V). All three patients also carried at least one ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E. One individual presented with cognitive impairment without significant parkinsonism; one presented with memory problems followed by bradykinesia; and the third presented with cardinal signs of Parkinson’s disease, followed more than a year later by cognitive dysfunction. Pathological examination showed diffuse cortical Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites in all patients. A small subset of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites were immunopositive for eIF4G1. All patients had moderate to frequent non-neuritic, cortical amyloid plaques, mostly medial temporal neurofibrillary pathology (Braak neurofibrillary tangle stages of II to IV), and minimal or no TDP-43 pathology. The results suggest that in some patients variants in EIF4G1 can be associated with pathology that has a high likelihood of association with clinical features of dementia with Lewy bodies.
APOE; dementia with Lewy bodies; diffuse Lewy body disease; EIF4G1; parkinsonism; α-synuclein; tau
An expanded GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in C9ORF72 is the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration associated with TDP-43 pathology (FTLD-TDP). In addition to TDP-43-positive neuronal and glial inclusions, C9ORF72-linked FTLD-TDP has characteristic TDP-43-negative neuronal cytoplasmic and intranuclear inclusions as well as dystrophic neurites in the hippocampus and cerebellum. These lesions are immunopositive for ubiquitin and ubiquitin-binding proteins, such as sequestosome-1/p62 and ubiquilin-2. Studies examining the frequency of the C9ORF72 mutation in clinically probable Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have found a small proportion of AD cases with the mutation. This prompted us to systematically explore the frequency of Alzheimer type pathology in a series of 17 FTLD-TDP cases with mutations in C9ORF72 (FTLD-C9ORF72). We identified 4 cases with sufficient Alzheimer type pathology to meet criteria for intermediate-to-high likelihood AD. We compared AD pathology in the 17 FTLD-C9ORF72 to 13 cases of FTLD-TDP linked to mutations in the gene for progranulin (FTLD-GRN) and 36 cases of sporadic FTLD (sFTLD). FTLD-C9ORF72 cases had higher Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage than FTLD-GRN. Increased tau pathology in FTLD-C9ORF72 was assessed with thioflavin-S fluorescent microscopy-based neurofibrillary tangle counts and with image analysis of tau burden in temporal cortex and hippocampus. FTLD-C9ORF72 had significantly more neurofibrillary tangles and higher tau burden compared with FTLD-GRN. The differences were most marked in limbic regions. On the other hand, sFTLD and FTLD-C9ORF72 had a similar burden of tau pathology. These results suggest FTLD-C9ORF72 has increased propensity for tau pathology compared to FTLD-GRN, but not sFTLD. The accumulation of tau as well as lesions immunoreactive for ubiquitin and ubiquitin binding proteins (p62 and ubiquilin-2) suggests that mutations in C9ORF72 may involve disrupted protein degradation that favors accumulation of multiple different proteins.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; C9ORF72; ubiquitin; p62; ubiquilin-2; tau
The clinical features of the genetically determined forms of familial Parkinson’s disease (PD) have been described in multiple reports, but there have been few comparative neuropathologic studies. Five familial PD cases, with mutations in SNCA, were matched for age, sex, and Alzheimer type pathology with sporadic PD cases. Immunohistochemistry for phospho-tau and α-synuclein was performed in 8 brain regions. The frequency of tau pathology and the morphologic features of α-synuclein pathology in familial PD were compared with sporadic PD using semi-quantitative methods. In familial PD, there were significantly more tau positive extra-perikaryal spheroid-like and thread-like lesions than in the sporadic PD. There was no significant difference in the amount of α-synuclein positive neuronal perikaryal pathology between familial PD and sporadic PD, but α-synuclein positive oligodendroglial and neuritic lesions were significantly greater in familial PD compared to sporadic PD. In the substantia nigra, familial PD had more marked neuronal loss and fewer residential neurons with Lewy bodies than the sporadic PD, suggesting a close relationship between the severity of neuronal loss and Lewy body formation. The results show a diversity of pathological features of genetically determined familial PD, and they draw attention to the possible role of tau protein in neurodegeneration. Moreover, the presence of oligodendroglial inclusions at the light and electron microscopic levels in familial PD suggests that PD and multiple system atrophy form a continuum of α-synuclein pathology.
Pathological features; Lewy bodies; familial Parkinson’s disease; SNCA mutations
The study investigates the effects of genetic factors on the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Lewy body (LB) diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. A multicenter autopsy series (762 brain samples) with AD, LB or vascular pathology was examined. We assessed the effects of the tau gene (MAPT) H1 haplotype, the H1-specific SNP rs242557, APOE and the α-synuclein gene (SNCA) 3′UTR SNP rs356165 on the burden of AD and LB pathology. We counted neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in four brain regions, senile plaques (SPs) in five and LBs in four. We also documented Braak NFT stage, brain weight and presence of vascular pathology. MAPT H1 associated with lower counts of NFTs in the middle frontal (P<0.001) and inferior parietal (P=0.005) cortices, and also with lower counts of SPs in the motor cortex (P=0.001). Associations of MAPT H1 with increased LB counts in the middle frontal cortex (P=0.011) and inferior parietal cortex (P=0.033) were observed but were not significant after multiple testing adjustment. The APOE ε4 allele was strongly associated with overall Alzheimer type pathology (all P≤0.001). SNCA rs356165 and the MAPT H1-specific SNP rs242557 did not associate with AD or LB pathology. This study shows for the first time that MAPT H1 is associated with reduced Alzheimer type pathology, which could have important implications for the understanding of disease mechanisms and their genetic determinants.
MAPT; SNCA; APOE; Alzheimer pathology; Lewy body
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is characterized by loss of muscle atonia during REM sleep and is associated with dream enactment behaviour. RBD is often associated with α-synuclein pathology, and we examined if there is a relationship of RBD with cholinergic neuronal loss in the pedunculopontine/laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (PPN/LDT), compared to catecholaminergic neurons in a neighbouring nucleus, the locus coeruleus (LC).
This retrospective study, utilized human brain banked tissues of 11 Lewy body disease (LBD) cases with RBD, 10 LBD without RBD, 19 AD and 10 neurologically normal controls. Tissues were stained with choline acetyl transferase immunohistochemistry to label neurons of PPN/LDT and tyrosine hydroxylase for the LC. The burden of tau and α-synuclein pathology was measured in the same regions with immunohistochemistry.
Both the LC and PPN/LDT were vulnerable to α-synuclein pathology in LBD and tau pathology in AD, but significant neuronal loss was only detected in these nuclei in LBD. Greater cholinergic depletion was found in both LBD groups, regardless of RBD status, when compared with normals and AD. There were no differences in either degree of neuronal loss or burden of α-synuclein pathology in LBD with and without RBD.
Whether decreases in brainstem cholinergic neurons in LBD contribute to RBD is uncertain, but our findings indicate these neurons are highly vulnerable to α-synuclein pathology in LBD and tau pathology in AD. The mechanism of selective α-synuclein-mediated neuronal loss in these nuclei remains to be determined.
α-synuclein; cholinergic; Lewy body; laterodorsal tegmentum; locus coeruleus; pedunculopontine nucleus; REM behaviour disorder; tau
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are part of a disease spectrum associated with TDP-43 pathology. Strong evidence supporting this is the existence of kindreds with family members affected by FTD, ALS or mixed features of FTD and ALS, referred to as FTD-MND. Some of these families have linkage to chromosome 9, with hexanucleotide expansion mutation in a noncoding region of C9ORF72. Discovery of the mutation defines c9FTD/ALS. Prior to discovery of mutations in C9ORF72, it was assumed that TDP-43 pathology in c9FTD/ALS was uniform. In this study, we examined the neuropathology and clinical features of 20 cases of c9FTD/ALS from a brain bank for neurodegenerative disorders. Included are six patients clinically diagnosed with ALS, eight FTD, one FTD-MND and four Alzheimer type dementia. Clinical information was unavailable for one patient. Pathologically, the cases all had TDP-43 pathology, but there were three major pathologic groups: ALS, FTLD-MND and FTLD-TDP. The ALS cases were morphologically similar to typical sporadic ALS with almost no extramotor TDP-43 pathology; all had oligodendroglial cytoplasmic inclusions. The FTLD-MND showed predominantly Mackenzie Type 3 TDP-43 pathology, and all had ALS-like pathology in motor neurons, but more extensive extramotor pathology, with oligodendroglial cytoplasmic inclusions and infrequent hippocampal sclerosis. The FTLD-TDP cases had several features similar to FTLD-TDP due to mutations in the gene for progranulin, including Mackenzie Type 1 TDP-43 pathology with neuronal intranuclear inclusions and hippocampal sclerosis. FTLD-TDP patients were older and some were thought to have Alzheimer type dementia. In addition to the FTD and ALS clinical presentations, the present study shows that c9FTD/ALS can have other presentations, possibly related to age of onset and presence of hippocampal sclerosis. Moreover, there is pathologic heterogeneity not only between ALS and FTLD, but within the FTLD group. Further studies are needed to address the molecular mechanism of clinical and pathological heterogeneity of c9FTD/ALS due to mutations in C9ORF72.
A clinically and pathologically heterogeneous type of frontotemporal lobar degeneration has abnormal tau pathology in neurons and glia (FTLD-tau). Familial FTLD-tau is usually due to mutations in the tau gene (MAPT). Even FTLD-tau determined by MAPT mutations ha s clinical and pathologic heterogeneity. Tauopathies are subclassified according to the predominant species of tau that accumulates, with respect to alternative splicing of MAPT, with tau proteins containing 3 (3R) or 4 repeats (4R) of ~ 32 amino acids in the microtubule binding domain. In Pick's disease (PiD), 3R tau predominates, whereas 4R tau is characteristic of corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Depending upon the specific mutation in MAPT, familial FTLD-tau can have 3R, 4R or a combination of 3R and 4R tau. PiD is the least common FTLD-tau characterized by neuronal Pick bodies in a stereotypic neuroanatomical distribution. PSP and CBD are more common than PiD and have extensive clinical and pathologic overlap, with no distinctive clinical syndrome or biomarker that permits their differentiation. Diagnosis rests upon postmortem examination of the brain and demonstration of globose tangles, oligodendroglial coiled bodies and tufted astrocytes in PSP or threads, pretangles and astrocytic plaques in CBD. The anatomical distribution of tau pathology determines the clinical presentation of PSP and CBD, as well as PiD. The basis for this selective cortical vulnerability in FTLD-tau is unknown.
corticobasal degeneration; corticobasal syndrome; frontotemporal lobar degeneration – tau; Pick’s disease; progressive supranuclear palsy; Richardson syndrome
Patients with corticobasal degeneration can present with several different clinical syndromes, making ante-mortem diagnosis a challenge. Corticobasal syndrome is the clinical phenotype originally described for corticobasal degeneration, characterized by asymmetric rigidity and apraxia, cortical sensory deficits, dystonia and myoclonus. Some patients do not develop these features, but instead have clinical features consistent with the Richardson syndrome presentation of progressive supranuclear palsy, characterized by postural instability, early unexplained falls, vertical supranuclear gaze palsy, symmetric motor disability and dysphagia. The aim of this study was to identify differences in corticobasal degeneration presenting with corticobasal syndrome (n = 11) or Richardson syndrome (n = 15) with respect to demographic, clinical and neuropathological features. Corticobasal degeneration cases were also compared with patients with pathologically proven progressive supranuclear palsy with Richardson syndrome (n = 15). Cases with corticobasal degeneration, regardless of presentation, shared histopathological and tau biochemical characteristics, but they had differing densities of tau pathology in neuroanatomical regions that correlated with their clinical presentation. In particular, those with corticobasal syndrome had greater tau pathology in the primary motor and somatosensory cortices and putamen, while those with Richardson syndrome had greater tau pathology in limbic and hindbrain structures. Compared with progressive supranuclear palsy, patients with corticobasal degeneration and Richardson syndrome had less neuronal loss in the subthalamic nucleus, but more severe neuronal loss in the medial substantia nigra and greater atrophy of the anterior corpus callosum. Clinically, they had more cognitive impairment and frontal behavioural dysfunction. The results suggest that Richardson syndrome can be a clinicopathological presentation of corticobasal degeneration. Atrophy of anterior corpus callosum may be a potential neuroimaging marker to differentiate corticobasal degeneration from progressive supranuclear palsy in patients with Richardson syndrome.
pathology; immunocytochemistry; progressive supranuclear palsy; tau protein; corticobasal degeneration
Neurofibrillary pathology has a stereotypic progression in Alzheimer's disease (AD) that is encapsulated in the Braak staging scheme. Some AD cases do not fit the Braak staging scheme and are considered atypical. The purpose of this study was to compare clinical and pathological features of typical AD with atypical AD that had either hippocampal sparing (HpSp) and limbic-predominant (LP) neurofibrillary pathology.
A mathematical algorithm was devised to classify AD cases into typical, HpSp and LP according to the density and distribution of neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) counts from thioflavin S fluorescent microscopy in three cortical regions and two Hp sectors. The algorithm was applied to NFT counts of 889 cases of AD (409 men and 480 women; age at death: 37-103 years). Cases so classified were compared on clinical, demographic, pathological and genetic grounds. An independent series of 113 cases of AD were similarly evaluated to validate findings from the initial cohort.
In comparison to typical AD, HpSp (n=97) had higher NFT densities in cortical areas and lower NFT densities in hippocampus, while LP (n=127) had lower NFT densities in cortical areas and higher NFT densities in the Hp. HpSp had less Hp atrophy than typical AD (11%) and LP (14%). HpSp were younger, with a higher proportion of men, whereas LP was older, with a higher proportion of women. MAPT H1H1 genotype was more frequent in LP compared with HpSp, but not between LP and typical AD. APOE ε4 allele status differed among AD subtypes only when age of onset was considered. Clinical presentation, age of onset, disease duration, and rate of decline differed among the AD subtypes. The findings were confirmed in a replication cohort.
Our data supports the hypothesis of distinct clinicopathologic subtypes of AD. HpSp and LP AD account for about 25% of AD and are important to consider in clinical, genetic, biomarker and treatment studies.
Alzheimer disease; APOE; digital microscopy; hippocampus; MAPT; neurofibrillary tangles; thioflavin S fluorescent microscopy
Genetic studies are transforming the way we diagnose, evaluate and treat patients. The era of genome-wide association studies promised to discover common risk variants in heterogeneous disorders where previous small-scale association studies had on the whole failed. However, as we enter the post-association era a degree of disappoint is felt regarding the lack of risk factors with large effect for a number of disorders including vascular disease. Vascular disorders are sporadic by nature, though a familial component has been observed. This review will focus on vascular dementia, the genetic risk factors for vascular disorders and highlight how new technologies may overcome the limitations of genome-wide association and nominate those genes that influence disease risk.
Background: Fetal transplantation for Parkinson disease (PD) had been considered a promising therapeutic strategy; however, reports of Lewy bodies (LBs) and Lewy neurites (LNs) in engrafted tissue adds to controversy surrounding this treatment for PD. Methods: The brain of a PD patient who had fetal transplantation 14 years before death was evaluated. The graft was studied with routine histologic methods, as well as immunohistochemistry for α-synuclein, neurofilament, synaptophysin and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), as well as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) for astrocytes and ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 (IBA-1) for microglia. Results: On coronal sections of the brain, the graft extended from the putamen to the amygdala, abutting the anterior hippocampus. Microscopically, the graft consisted of neuron-rich and glia-rich portions. Neuron-rich portions, resembling a neuronal heterotopia, were located in the putamen, whereas the glia-rich portion was more ventral near the amygdala. LBs and LNs were detected in the ventral portion of the graft, especially that part of the graft within the amygdala. Areas with LBs and LNs also had astrogliosis and microgliosis. TH positive neurons were rare and their distribution did not overlap with LBs or LNs. Comments: LBs and LNs were detected in the transplanted tissue with α-synuclein immunohistochemistry. Unexpected outgrowth of the graft into the amygdala was accompanied by skewed distribution of LBs and gliosis, more abundant in the graft within the amygdala. The distribution of LBs within the graft may suggest the potential role of the local environment as well as gliosis in formation of α-synuclein pathology.
Fetal transplantation; Parkinson disease (PD); therapy; α-synuclein pathology; gliosis
Previous studies have shown tau pathology in the inferior colliculus (IC) and superior colliculus (SC) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD); however, it has not been compared to other tauopathies, such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), or characterized with respect to progression of tau pathology in AD. The main purpose of this study was to investigate frequency, neuroanatomical selectivity and disease specificity of tau pathology in visual and auditory nuclei (SC and lateral geniculate body (LGB); IC and medial geniculate body (MGB), respectively). We measured phospho-tau burden with immunohistochemistry and image analysis in 26 cases of AD, 37 PSP and 11 normal controls. Tau burden was also assessed in two unrelated brainstem nuclei (substantia nigra (SN) and pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN)) of the same cases. We found tau burden to be greater in the SC of PSP compared to AD and controls. Conversely, tau burden was greater in the IC of AD compared to PSP and controls. The MGB and LGB had sparse tau pathology in both AD and PSP. This disease selectivity parallels known deficits in visual reflexes in PSP and auditory reflexes in AD. Tau burden was greater in the SC, IC, and PPN in both PSP and AD compared to controls, and greater in the SN in PSP compared to AD and controls. Although present at early Braak neurofibrillary tangle stages, the SC, IC, PPN and SN did not accumulate tau consistently until later stages. These findings support a concept of tau pathology affecting the brainstem at mid-to-late stage AD.
colliculi; geniculate bodies; substantia nigra; pedunculopontine nucleus; Alzheimer’s disease; progressive supranuclear palsy; tau
Lewy bodies (LBs), the pathological hallmark of Lewy body disease (LBD), contain α-synuclein, as well as other proteins. In this study, we examined the relationship of α-synuclein to two rate-limiting enzymes in neurotransmitter synthesis, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). Double labeling immunohistochemistry for α-synuclein and TH revealed TH-immunoreactivity within LBs in catecholaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus, but not within LBs in cholinergic neurons in the pedunculopontine nucleus and nucleus basalis of Meynert. In contrast, ChAT-immunoreactivity within LBs was detected in cholinergic, but not within LBs in catecholaminergic neurons. The amygdala was devoid of TH and ChAT positive LBs, although a few Lewy neurites contained ChAT immunoreactivity. Further analysis revealed two distinct patterns of neurotransmitter immunoreactivity within LBs. One pattern had diffuse co-localization of TH or ChAT with α-synuclein as in cortical-type LBs, while the other had intense TH or ChAT immunoreactivity in the LB core surrounded by a peripheral rim of α-synuclein as in brainstem-type LBs. Levels of both TH and ChAT were higher in brainstem-type LBs than in the cytoplasm of the same neuron or in neurons from the same case devoid of LBs. Given the fact that LB-containing neurons have decreases in cytoplasmic TH and ChAT immunoreactivity, these results suggest LBs may disrupt cholinergic and catecholaminergic neurotransmitter production by sequestration of the rate limiting enzymes for acetylcholine and catecholamine synthesis.
α-synuclein; choline acetyltransferase; Lewy bodies; locus coeruleus; nucleus basalis of Meynert; pedunculopontine nucleus; substantia nigra; tyrosine hydroxylase
Microtubule-associated protein tau encoded by the MAPT gene binds to microtubules and is important for maintaining neuronal morphology and function. Alternative splicing of MAPT pre-mRNA generates six major tau isoforms in the adult central nervous system resulting in tau proteins with three or four microtubule-binding repeat domains. In a group of neurodegenerative disorders called tauopathies, tau becomes aberrantly hyperphosphorylated and dissociates from microtubules, resulting in a progressive accumulation of intracellular tau aggregates. The spectrum of sporadic frontotemporal lobar degeneration associated with tau pathology includes progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, and Pick’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is considered the most prevalent tauopathy. This review is divided into two broad sections. In the first section we discuss the molecular classification of sporadic tauopathies, with a focus on describing clinicopathologic relationships. In the second section we discuss the neuroimaging methodologies that are available for measuring tau pathology (directly using tau positron emission tomography ligands) and tau-mediated neuronal injury (magnetic resonance imaging and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography). Both sections have detailed descriptions of the following neurodegenerative dementias – Alzheimer’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration and Pick’s disease.
Hippocampal sclerosis (HpScl) is common in elderly subjects with dementia, either alone or accompanied by other pathologic processes. It is also found in >70% of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions (FTLD-TDP). TDP-43 inclusions are detected in >20% of Alzheimer disease (AD) and >70% of HpScl cases. The most common cause of FTLD-TDP is mutation in the progranulin gene (GRN). Recently, a common genetic variant in the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of GRN (rs5848; c.*78C>T) located in a microRNA binding site regulated progranulin expression, and the T-allele was increased in FTLD-TDP compared to controls.
The goal of this study was to determine if the 3′UTR variant in GRN was associated with TDP-43 immunoreactivity in AD with and without HpScl.
644 cases of pathologically confirmed AD, including 57 with HpScl, were screened for TDP-43 immunoreactivity and were genotyped at the GRN 3′UTR single-nucleotide polymorphism rs5848 using previously published methods.
There was a trend (p = 0.06) for TDP-43 immunoreactivity, but a very significant (p = 0.005) association of HpScl with the variant, with 72% of AD with HpScl carrying a T-allele, compared to 51% of AD without HpScl carrying a T-allele.
The results suggest that a genetic variant in GRN leading to decreased levels of progranulin may be a risk factor for HpScl in AD, while its role in TDP-43 immunoreactivity in AD remains less certain.
Alzheimer's disease; Hippocampal sclerosis; Immunohistochemistry; Progranulin gene
Excessive daytime sleepiness is a commonly reported problem in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We examined the relationship between nighttime sleep continuity and the propensity to fall asleep during the day in clinically probable DLB compared to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia.
A full-night polysomnography was carried out in 61 participants with DLB and 26 with AD dementia. Among this group, 32 participants with DLB and 18 with AD dementia underwent a daytime Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Neuropathologic examinations of 20 participants with DLB were carried out.
Although nighttime sleep efficiency did not differentiate diagnostic groups, the mean MSLT initial sleep latency was significantly shorter in participants with DLB than in those with AD dementia (mean 6.4 ± 5 minutes vs 11 ± 5 minutes, P <0.01). In the DLB group, 81% fell asleep within 10 minutes compared to 39% of the AD dementia group (P <0.01), and 56% in the DLB group fell asleep within 5 minutes compared to 17% in the AD dementia group (P <0.01). Daytime sleepiness in AD dementia was associated with greater dementia severity, but mean MSLT latency in DLB was not related to dementia severity, sleep efficiency the night before, or to visual hallucinations, fluctuations, parkinsonism or rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. These data suggest that abnormal daytime sleepiness is a unique feature of DLB that does not depend on nighttime sleep fragmentation or the presence of the four cardinal DLB features. Of the 20 DLB participants who underwent autopsy, those with transitional Lewy body disease (brainstem and limbic) did not differ from those with added cortical pathology (diffuse Lewy body disease) in dementia severity, DLB core features or sleep variables.
Daytime sleepiness is more likely to occur in persons with DLB than in those with AD dementia. Daytime sleepiness in DLB may be attributed to disrupted brainstem and limbic sleep–wake physiology, and further work is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) can be classified as tau-positive (FTLD-tau) and tau-negative FTLD. The most common form of tau-negative FTLD is associated with neuronal inclusions that are composed of TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) (FTLD-TDP). Recent evidence suggests that FTLD-TDP can be further subdivided into at least three major histologic variants based on patterns of TDP-43 immunoreactive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) and dystrophic neurites (DN) in neocortex and hippocampus. The aim of this study was to extend the histologic analysis to other brain regions and to determine if there were distinct clinical and pathologic characteristics of the FTLD-TDP subtypes. Thirty-nine FTLD-TDP cases were analyzed (Mackenzie type 1, n = 24; Mackenzie type 2, n = 9; Mackenzie type 3, n = 6). There was a highly significant association between clinical syndrome and FTLD-TDP subtype, with progressive non-fluent aphasia associated with type 1, semantic dementia with type 2, and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia with types 1, 2 and 3. Semi-quantitative analysis of NCI and DN demonstrated different patterns of involvement in cortical, subcortical and brainstem areas that were characteristic for each of the three types of FTLD-TDP. Type 1 had a mixture of NCI and DN, as well as intranuclear inclusions in most cases and TDP-43 pathology at all levels of the neuraxis, but less in brainstem than supratentorial structures. Type 2 cases were characterized by predominance of long, thick DN in the cortex, as well as numerous NCI in hippocampus, amygdala and basal ganglia, but virtually no NCI and only sparse DN in diencephalon and brainstem. Type 3 had a paucity of DN at all levels of the neuraxis and significantly more NCI in the hypoglossal nucleus than the other types. These findings extend previously described clinicopathological associations of FTLD-TDP subtypes and support the notion that FTLD-TDP subtypes may be distinct clinicopathologic disorders.
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; immunohistochemistry; progressive non-fluent aphasia; semantic dementia; TDP-43
Transactive response DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43), an RNA and DNA binding protein involved in transcriptional repression, RNA splicing and RNA metabolism during the stress response, is the major component of neuronal inclusions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin inclusions, now referred to as FTLD-TDP. While initially thought to be relatively specific to ALS and FTLD-TDP, TDP-43 pathology has now been detected in a number of other neurodegenerative diseases, many associated with tau pathology, including Guam Parkinson dementia complex and Alzheimer's disease (AD). TDP-43 pathology is detected in 25% to 50% of AD cases, especially those with more severe clinical phenotype and greater Alzheimer type pathology, as well as AD cases with hippocampal sclerosis (HS). HS is characterized by selective neuronal loss affecting CA1 sector of the hippocampus, and most cases of HS, with or without AD, have TDP-43 pathology. Whether TDP-43 pathology is merely an incidental finding in AD or actually contributing to the more severe clinical phenotype remains unresolved. Presence of TDP-43 in normal elderly, who are at increased risk for AD, would strengthen the argument that it is not merely a secondary or incidental finding in end stage AD. Limited studies suggest that TDP-43 pathology is infrequent in neurologically normal elderly (3% or less). We provide an overview of what is known about TDP-43 in AD, normal aging and in other disorders and suggest that TDP-43 proteinopathies be considered in two classes - primary and secondary.
Alzheimer's disease (AD); amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); neurofibrillary tangles (NFT); progranulin; tau; transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43)
Abnormal cytoplasmic accumulation of Fused in Sarcoma (FUS) in neurons defines subtypes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). FUS is a member of the FET protein family that includes Ewing's sarcoma (EWS) and TATA-binding protein-associated factor 2N (TAF15). FET proteins are predominantly localized to the nucleus, where they bind RNA and DNA to modulate transcription, mRNA splicing, and DNA repair. In ALS cases with FUS inclusions (ALS-FUS), mutations in the FUS gene cause disease, whereas FTLD cases with FUS inclusions (FTLD-FUS) do not harbor FUS mutations. Notably, in FTLD-FUS, all FET proteins accumulate with their nuclear import receptor Transportin 1 (TRN1), in contrast ALS-FUS inclusions are exclusively positive for FUS. In the present study, we show that induction of DNA damage replicates several pathologic hallmarks of FTLD-FUS in immortalized human cells and primary human neurons and astrocytes. Treatment with the antibiotic calicheamicin γ1, which causes DNA double-strand breaks, leads to the cytoplasmic accumulation of FUS, TAF15, EWS, and TRN1. Moreover, cytoplasmic translocation of FUS is mediated by phosphorylation of its N terminus by the DNA-dependent protein kinase. Finally, we observed elevated levels of phospho-H2AX in FTLD-FUS brains, indicating that DNA damage occurs in patients. Together, our data reveal a novel regulatory mechanism for FUS localization in cells and suggest that DNA damage may contribute to the accumulation of FET proteins observed in human FTLD-FUS cases, but not in ALS-FUS.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); cytoplasmic translocation; DNA damage; frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); Fused in Sarcoma (FUS); phosphorylation