Mutations in the gene encoding parkin (PARK2) are the most common cause of autosomal recessive juvenile-onset and young-onset parkinsonism. The few available detailed neuropathologic reports suggest that homozygous and compound heterozygous parkin mutations are characterized by severe substantia nigra pars compacta neuronal loss.
To investigate whether parkin -linked parkinsonism is a different clinicopathologic entity to Parkinson disease (PD).
Design, Setting, and Participants
We describe the clinical, genetic, and neuropathologic findings of 5 unrelated cases of parkin disease and compare them with 5 pathologically confirmed PD cases and 4 control subjects. The PD control cases and normal control subjects were matched first for age at death then disease duration (PD only) for comparison.
Presenting signs in the parkin disease cases were hand or leg tremor often combined with dystonia. Mean age at onset was 34 years; all cases were compound heterozygous for mutations of parkin. Freezing of gait, postural deformity, and motor fluctuations were common late features. No patients had any evidence of cognitive impairment or dementia. Neuronal counts in the substantia nigra pars compacta revealed that neuronal loss in the parkin cases was as severe as that seen in PD, but relative preservation of the dorsal tier was seen in comparison with PD (P = .04). Mild neuronal loss was identified in the locus coeruleus and dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, but not in the nucleus basalis of Meynert, raphe nucleus, or other brain regions. Sparse Lewy bodies were identified in 2 cases (brainstem and cortex).
Conclusions and Relevance
These findings support the notion that parkin disease is characterized by a more restricted morphologic abnormality than is found in PD, with predominantly ventral nigral degeneration and absent or rare Lewy bodies.
The current pathological diagnostic criteria for sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM) lack sensitivity. Using immunohistochemical techniques abnormal protein aggregates have been identified in IBM, including some associated with neurodegenerative disorders. Our objective was to investigate the diagnostic utility of a number of markers of protein aggregates together with mitochondrial and inflammatory changes in IBM.
Retrospective cohort study. The sensitivity of pathological features was evaluated in cases of Griggs definite IBM. The diagnostic potential of the most reliable features was then assessed in clinically typical IBM with rimmed vacuoles (n=15), clinically typical IBM without rimmed vacuoles (n=9) and IBM mimics—protein accumulation myopathies containing rimmed vacuoles (n=7) and steroid-responsive inflammatory myopathies (n=11).
Specialist muscle services at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London.
Individual pathological features, in isolation, lacked sensitivity and specificity. However, the morphology and distribution of p62 aggregates in IBM were characteristic and in a myopathy with rimmed vacuoles, the combination of characteristic p62 aggregates and increased sarcolemmal and internal major histocompatibility complex class I expression or endomysial T cells were diagnostic for IBM with a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 100%. In an inflammatory myopathy lacking rimmed vacuoles, the presence of mitochondrial changes was 100% sensitive and 73% specific for IBM; characteristic p62 aggregates were specific (91%), but lacked sensitivity (44%).
We propose an easily applied diagnostic algorithm for the pathological diagnosis of IBM. Additionally our findings support the hypothesis that many of the pathological features considered typical of IBM develop later in the disease, explaining their poor sensitivity at disease presentation and emphasising the need for revised pathological criteria to supplement the clinical criteria in the diagnosis of IBM.
A GGGGCC repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene was recently identified as a major cause of familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. There is suggestion that these expansions may be a rare cause of parkinsonian disorders such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Screening the C9orf72 gene in 37 patients with features of corticobasal syndrome (CBS) detected an expansion in 3 patients, confirmed by Southern blotting. In a series of 22 patients with clinically diagnosed PSP, we found 1 patient with an intermediate repeat length. We also screened for the C9orf72 expansion in a large series of neuropathologically confirmed samples with MSA (n = 96), PSP (n = 177), and CBD (n = 18). Patients were found with no more than 22 GGGGCC repeats. Although these results still need to be confirmed in a larger cohort of CBS and/or CBD patients, these data suggest that in the presence of a family history and/or motor neuron disease features, patients with CBS or clinical PSP should be screened for the C9orf72 repeat expansion. In addition, we confirm that the C9orf72 expansions are not associated with pathologically confirmed MSA, PSP, or CBD in a large series of cases.
C9orf72; Parkinsonism; Multiple system atrophy (MSA); Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP); Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and corticobasal syndrome (CBS)
Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease presenting clinically with parkinsonian, cerebellar, and autonomic features. α-Synuclein (αsyn), encoded by the gene SNCA, is the main constituent of glial cytoplasmic inclusion (GCI) found in oligodendrocytes in MSA, but the methods of its accumulation have not been established. The aim of this study is to investigate alterations in regional and cellular SNCA mRNA expression in MSA as a possible substrate for GCI formation. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed on postmortem brain samples from 15 MSA, 5 IPD, and 5 control cases to investigate regional expression in the frontal and occipital regions, dorsal putamen, pontine base, and cerebellum. For cellular expression analysis, neurons and oligodendrocytes were isolated by laser-capture microdissection from five MSA and five control cases. SNCA mRNA expression was not significantly different between the MSA, IPD and control cases in all regions (multilevel model, P = 0.14). After adjusting for group effect, the highest expression was found in the occipital cortex while the lowest was in the putamen (multilevel model, P < 0.0001). At the cellular level, MSA oligodendrocytes expressed more SNCA than control oligodendrocytes and expression in MSA neurons was slightly lower than that in controls, however, these results did not reach statistical significance. We have demonstrated regional variations in SNCA expression, which is higher in cortical than subcortical regions. This study is the first to demonstrate SNCA mRNA expression by oligodendrocytes in human postmortem tissue using qPCR and, although not statistically significant, could suggest that this may be increased in MSA compared to controls.
α-synuclein; multiple system atrophy; oligodendrocytes; glial cytoplasmic inclusions; laser-capture microdissection
Early onset isolated dystonia (DYT1) is linked to a three base pair deletion (ΔGAG) mutation in the TOR1A gene. Clinical manifestation includes intermittent muscle contraction leading to twisting movements or abnormal postures. Neuropathological studies on DYT1 cases are limited, most showing no significant abnormalities. In one study, brainstem intraneuronal inclusions immunoreactive for ubiquitin, torsinA and lamin A/C were described. Using the largest series reported to date comprising 7 DYT1 cases, we aimed to identify consistent neuropathological features in the disease and determine whether we would find the same intraneuronal inclusions as previously reported.
The pathological changes of brainstem inclusions reported in DYT1 dystonia were not replicated in our case series. Other anatomical regions implicated in dystonia showed no disease-specific pathological intracellular inclusions or evidence of more than mild neuronal loss.
Our findings suggest that the intracellular inclusions described previously in DYT1 dystonia may not be a hallmark feature of the disorder. In isolated dystonia, DYT1 in particular, biochemical changes may be more relevant than the morphological changes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40478-014-0159-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
DYT1; Neuropathology; Isolated dystonia; Inclusions
Sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM) is an acquired muscle disorder associated with ageing, for which there is no effective treatment. Ongoing developments include: genetic studies that may provide insights regarding the pathogenesis of IBM, improved histopathological markers, the description of a new IBM autoantibody, scrutiny of the diagnostic utility of clinical features and biomarkers, the refinement of diagnostic criteria, the emerging use of MRI as a diagnostic and monitoring tool, and new pathogenic insights that have led to novel therapeutic approaches being trialled for IBM, including treatments with the objective of restoring protein homeostasis and myostatin blockers. The effect of exercise in IBM continues to be investigated. However, despite these ongoing developments, the aetiopathogenesis of IBM remains uncertain. A translational and multidisciplinary collaborative approach is critical to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients with IBM.
Inclusion body myositis; Myositis; Myopathy; Neuromuscular; Genetics; Whole-exome sequencing; Aetiopathogenesis; Diagnosis; Treatment; Magnetic resonance imaging; Histology; Autoantibodies; Protein aggregates; Inflammation; Exercise; Disability; Myostatin; Monoclonal antibodies; Gene therapy; Heat shock proteins; Chaperones; Clinical trial
Progressive rostral spread of Lewy body (LB) pathology is thought to reflect the clinical course of Parkinson’s disease (PD) although several studies have suggested that LBs are not the toxic species responsible for cell death. We investigated the relationship between nigral dopaminergic cell loss, distribution and density of α-synuclein-immunoreactive LBs and duration of motor symptoms in 97 patients with PD. Density of pigmented neurons was measured in a single section of one half of the substantia nigra (SN) with delineation of the dorsal and ventral tiers whereas the cortical and nigral LB densities were determined using a morphometric approach. The density of nigral neurons was estimated to decrease by 2% each year after confirmation of the clinical diagnosis of PD but showed marked heterogeneity with some PD patients with longer duration of illness still possessing a significant number of preserved pigmented nigral neurons at the time of death. An average 15% of surviving nigral neurones contained LBs and the age–adjusted proportion of LB-bearing neurons appeared relatively stable throughout the disease duration. No difference was observed in the age at death or duration of disease with respect to Braak PD stages. The nigral neuronal density was unrelated to either the Braak PD stage or to cortical LB densities. We conclude that nigral neuronal loss is slow and shows considerable variation in PD. Our data also provides no support for a primary pathogenic role of LBs as neither their distribution nor density was associated with the severity of nigral cell loss.
Duration; Lewy bodies; neuronal loss; Parkinson’s disease; substantia nigra; α-synuclein
The relative importance of Lewy- and Alzheimer-type pathologies to dementia in Parkinson’s disease remains unclear. We have examined the combined associations of α-synuclein, tau and amyloid-β accumulation in 56 pathologically confirmed Parkinson’s disease cases, 29 of whom had developed dementia. Cortical and subcortical amyloid-β scores were obtained, while tau and α-synuclein pathologies were rated according to the respective Braak stages. Additionally, cortical Lewy body and Lewy neurite scores were determined and Lewy body densities were generated using morphometry. Non-parametric statistics, together with regression models, receiver-operating characteristic curves and survival analyses were applied. Cortical and striatal amyloid-β scores, Braak tau stages, cortical Lewy body, Lewy neurite scores and Lewy body densities, but not Braak α-synuclein stages, were all significantly greater in the Parkinson’s disease-dementia group (P < 0.05), with all the pathologies showing a significant positive correlation to each other (P < 0.05). A combination of pathologies [area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve = 0.95 (0.88–1.00); P < 0.0001] was a better predictor of dementia than the severity of any single pathology. Additionally, cortical amyloid-β scores (r = −0.62; P = 0.043) and Braak tau stages (r = −0.52; P = 0.028), but not Lewy body scores (r = −0.25; P = 0.41) or Braak α-synuclein stages (r = −0.44; P = 0.13), significantly correlated with mini-mental state examination scores in the subset of cases with this information available within the last year of life (n = 15). High cortical amyloid-β score (P = 0.017) along with an older age at onset (P = 0.001) were associated with a shorter time-to-dementia period. A combination of Lewy- and Alzheimer-type pathologies is a robust pathological correlate of dementia in Parkinson’s disease, with quantitative and semi-quantitative assessment of Lewy pathology being more informative than Braak α-synuclein stages. Cortical amyloid-β and age at disease onset seem to determine the rate to dementia.
lewy bodies; amyloid-β; tau; Parkinson’s disease; dementia
Human prion diseases, although variable in clinicopathological phenotype, generally present as neurologic or neuropsychiatric conditions associated with rapid multi-focal central nervous system degeneration that is usually dominated by dementia and cerebellar ataxia. Approximately 15% of cases of recognized prion disease are inherited and associated with coding mutations in the gene encoding prion protein (PRNP). The availability of genetic diagnosis has led to a progressive broadening of the recognized spectrum of disease.
We used longitudinal clinical assessments over a period of 20 years at one hospital combined with genealogical, neuropsychological, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, pathological, molecular genetic, and biochemical studies, as well as studies of animal transmission, to characterize a novel prion disease in a large British kindred. We studied 6 of 11 affected family members in detail, along with autopsy or biopsy samples obtained from 5 family members.
We identified a PRNP Y163X truncation mutation and describe a distinct and consistent phenotype of chronic diarrhea with autonomic failure and a length-dependent axonal, predominantly sensory, peripheral polyneuropathy with an onset in early adulthood. Cognitive decline and seizures occurred when the patients were in their 40s or 50s. The deposition of prion protein amyloid was seen throughout peripheral organs, including the bowel and peripheral nerves. Neuropathological examination during end-stage disease showed the deposition of prion protein in the form of frequent cortical amyloid plaques, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and tauopathy. A unique pattern of abnormal prion protein fragments was seen in brain tissue. Transmission studies in laboratory mice were negative.
Abnormal forms of prion protein that were found in multiple peripheral tissues were associated with diarrhea, autonomic failure, and neuropathy. (Funded by the U.K. Medical Research Council and others.)
Unlike most other cell types, neurons preferentially metabolize glucose via the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) to maintain their antioxidant status. Inhibiting the PPP in neuronal cell models causes cell death. In rodents, inhibition of this pathway causes selective dopaminergic cell death leading to motor deficits resembling parkinsonism. Using postmortem human brain tissue, we characterized glucose metabolism via the PPP in sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and controls. AD brains showed increased nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) production in areas affected by disease. In PD however, increased NADPH production was only seen in the affected areas of late-stage cases. Quantifying PPP NADPH-producing enzymes glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, showed a reduction in the putamen of early-stage PD and interestingly in the cerebellum of early and late-stage PD. Importantly, there was no decrease in enzyme levels in the cortex, putamen, or cerebellum of AD. Our results suggest that down-regulation of PPP enzymes and a failure to increase antioxidant reserve is an early event in the pathogenesis of sporadic PD.
Parkinson's disease; Neurodegeneration; Glucose metabolism; Pentose-phosphate pathway; NADPH
Multiple system atrophy (MSA) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) are progressive neurodegenerative disorders with overlapping clinical, biochemical and genetic features. To test the hypothesis that the Parkinson’s disease genes parkin and PINK1 also play a role in the pathogenesis of MSA, we performed a mutational screening study involving 87 pathology-proven MSA cases. In parkin we identified eight sequence variants and four heterozygous deletions, and in PINK1 we identified nine variants of which two silent mutations have not been previously reported (p.Gly189Gly and p.Arg337Arg). The frequencies of the observed variants were not significantly different from previously published control data and none of the possibly pathogenic variants were found in a homozygous state. Our results indicate that genetic variants at the parkin and PINK1 loci do not play a critical role in the pathogenesis of MSA.
multiple system atrophy; Parkinson’s disease; PINK1; parkin
We report the case of a 75-year-old ex-professional boxer who developed diplopia and eye movement abnormalities in his 60’s followed by memory impairment, low mood and recurrent falls. Examination shortly before death revealed hypomimia, dysarthria, vertical supranuclear gaze palsy and impaired postural reflexes. Pathological examination demonstrated 4-repeat tau neuronal and glial lesions, including tufted astrocytes, consistent with a diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy. In addition, neurofibrillary tangles composed of mixed 3-repeat and 4-repeat tau and astrocytic tangles in a distribution highly suggestive of chronic traumatic encephalopathy were observed together with limbic TDP-43 pathology. Possible mechanisms for the co-occurrence of these two tau pathologies are discussed.
Boxer; Dementia pugilistica; Chronic traumatic encephalopathy; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Tauopathy
Rrecent studies have highlighted a group of 4-repeat (4R) tauopathies that are characterised neuropathologically by widespread, globular glial inclusions (GGIs). Tau immunohistochemistry reveals 4R immunore-active globular oligodendroglial and astrocytic inclusions and the latter are predominantly negative for Gallyas silver staining. These cases are associated with a range of clinical presentations, which correlate with the severity and distribution of underlying tau pathology and neurodegeneration. Their heterogeneous clinicopathological features combined with their rarity and under-recognition have led to cases characterised by GGIs being described in the literature using various and redundant terminologies. In this report, a group of neuropathologists form a consensus on the terminology and classification of cases with GGIs. After studying microscopic images from previously reported cases with suspected GGIs (n = 22), this panel of neuropathologists with extensive experience in the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and a documented record of previous experience with at least one case with GGIs, agreed that (1) GGIs were present in all the cases reviewed; (2) the morphology of globular astrocytic inclusions was different to tufted astrocytes and finally that (3) the cases represented a number of different neuropathological subtypes. They also agreed that the different morphological subtypes are likely to be part of a spectrum of a distinct disease entity, for which they recommend that the overarching term globular glial tauopathy (GGT) should be used. Type I cases typically present with frontotemporal dementia, which correlates with the fronto-temporal distribution of pathology. Type II cases are characterised by pyramidal features reflecting motor cortex involvement and corticospinal tract degeneration. Type III cases can present with a combination of frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease with fronto-temporal cortex, motor cortex and corticospinal tract being severely affected. extrapyramidal features can be present in Type II and III cases and significant degeneration of the white matter is a feature of all GGT subtypes. Improved detection and classification will be necessary for the establishment of neuropathological and clinical diagnostic research criteria in the future.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) consists of a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by behavioural and executive impairment, language disorders and motor dysfunction. About 20–30 % of cases are inherited in a dominant manner. Mutations in the microtubule-associated protein tau gene (MAPT) cause frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17T). Here we report a novel MAPT mutation (K298E) in exon 10 in a patient with FTDP-17T. Neuropathological studies of post-mortem brain showed widespread neuronal loss and gliosis and abundant deposition of hyperphosphorylated tau in neurons and glia. Molecular studies demonstrated that the K298E mutation affects both protein function and alternative mRNA splicing. Fibroblasts from a skin biopsy of the proband taken at post-mortem were directly induced into neurons (iNs) and expressed both 3-repeat and 4-repeat tau isoforms. As well as contributing new knowledge on MAPT mutations in FTDP-17T, this is the first example of the successful generation of iNs from skin cells retrieved post-mortem.
K298E MAPT mutation; Tauopathies; Human induced-neurons
Pediatric normal brachial biceps (14 specimens) and quadriceps muscles (14 specimens) were studied by immunohistochemistry to quantify fiber-type, diameter and distribution, capillary density, presence of inflammatory cells (CD3, CD20, CD68) and expression of neonatal myosin and MHC class 1 proteins. Brachial biceps showed more fast-twitch fibers and lower capillary/fiber ratio than quadriceps. The mean diameter of both fiber types was smaller in biceps than quadriceps. Fast-fibers were smaller than slow-fibers, and capillary/fiber ratio was <1.0 in both muscles. Fiber size and capillary/fiber ratio increased with age. Normal limits for infiltrating haematopoietic cells were <4 T lymphocytes, or CD68+ cells, very few B cells, <6 neonatal myosin positive fibers, and no fibers MHC class 1 positive in one ×20 field, for both muscles. The present comparison of quantitative findings between brachial biceps and quadriceps may allow standardization of the assessment of pathological changes in both pediatric muscles.
Skeletal muscle biopsy; Normal morphometry
We report a British family with young-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD) and a G51D SNCA mutation that segregates with the disease. Family history was consistent with autosomal dominant inheritance as both the father and sister of the proband developed levodopa-responsive parkinsonism with onset in their late thirties. Clinical features show similarity to those seen in families with SNCA triplication and to cases of A53T SNCA mutation. Post-mortem brain examination of the proband revealed atrophy affecting frontal and temporal lobes in addition to the caudate, putamen, globus pallidus and amygdala. There was severe loss of pigmentation in the substantia nigra and pallor of the locus coeruleus. Neuronal loss was most marked in frontal and temporal cortices, hippocampal CA2/3 subregions, substantia nigra, locus coeruleus and dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus. The cellular pathology included widespread and frequent neuronal α-synuclein immunoreactive inclusions of variable morphology and oligodendroglial inclusions similar to the glial cytoplasmic inclusions of multiple system atrophy (MSA). Both inclusion types were ubiquitin and p62 positive and were labelled with phosphorylation-dependent anti-α-synuclein antibodies In addition, TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions were observed in limbic regions and in the striatum. Together the data show clinical and neuropathological similarities to both the A53T SNCA mutation and multiplication cases. The cellular neuropathological features of this case share some characteristics of both PD and MSA with additional unique striatal and neocortical pathology. Greater understanding of the disease mechanism underlying the G51D mutation could aid in understanding of α-synuclein biology and its impact on disease phenotype.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-013-1096-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Parkinson’s disease; Multiple system atrophy; α-Synuclein; SNCA
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease and atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration are rare diseases characterized by ubiquitin-positive inclusions lacking transactive response DNA-binding protein-43 and tau. Recently, mutations in the fused in sarcoma gene have been shown to cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal inclusions have subsequently been demonstrated in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease and atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions. Here we provide clinical, imaging, morphological findings, as well as genetic and biochemical data in 14 fused in sarcoma proteinopathy cases. In this cohort, the age of onset was variable but included cases of young-onset disease. Patients with atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions all presented with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, while the clinical presentation in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease was more heterogeneous, including cases with motor neuron disease and extrapyramidal syndromes. Neuroimaging revealed atrophy of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes as well as the caudate in the cases with atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions, but was more heterogeneous in the cases with neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, often being normal to visual inspection early on in the disease. The distribution and severity of fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, neuronal intranuclear inclusions and neurites were recorded and fused in sarcoma was biochemically analysed in both subgroups. Fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic and intranuclear inclusions were found in the hippocampal granule cell layer in variable numbers. Cortical fused in sarcoma-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions were often ‘Pick body-like’ in neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, and annular and crescent-shaped inclusions were seen in both conditions. Motor neurons contained variable numbers of compact, granular or skein-like cytoplasmic inclusions in all fused in sarcoma-positive cases in which brainstem and spinal cord motor neurons were available for study (five and four cases, respectively). No fused in sarcoma mutations were found in any cases. Biochemically, two major fused in sarcoma species were found and shown to be more insoluble in the atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions subgroup compared with neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease. There is considerable overlap and also significant differences in fused in sarcoma-positive pathology between the two subgroups, suggesting they may represent a spectrum of the same disease. The co-existence of fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in both motor neurons and extramotor cerebral structures is a characteristic finding in sporadic fused in sarcoma proteinopathies, indicating a multisystem disorder.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FUS; clinical presentation; neuropathology; biochemistry
Microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) mutations have been shown to underlie frontotemporal dementia and a variety of additional sporadic tauopathies. We identified a rare p.A152T variant in MAPT exon 7 in two (of eight) patients with clinical presentation of parkinsonism and postmortem finding of neurofibrillary tangle pathology. Two siblings of one patient also carried the p.A152T variant, and both have progressive cognitive impairment. Further screening identified the variant in two other cases: one with pathologically confirmed corticobasal degeneration and another with the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease with dementia. The balance of evidence suggests this variant is associated with disease, but the very varied phenotype of the cases with the mutation is not consistent with it being a fully penetrant pathogenic mutation. Interestingly, this variation results in the creation of a new phosphorylation site that could cause reduced microtubule binding. We suggest that the A152T variant is a risk factor associated with the development of atypical neurodegenerative conditions with abnormal tau accumulation.
MAPT; Parkinsonism; Corticobasal degeneration; Genetics; Postencephalitic parkinsonism
MAPT has been repeatedly linked with Parkinson's disease (PD) in association studies. Although tau deposition may be seen in PD, its relevance to the pathogenesis of the condition remains unclear. The presence of tau-positive inclusions is, however, the defining feature of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), which may often be clinically misdiagnosed as idiopathic PD. On a genetic level, variants in MAPT are the strongest risk factor for PSP. These facts raise the question whether the MAPT association in PD results from contamination with unrecognized cases of PSP. Using only neuropathologically proven PD, we show that the MAPT association remains and is independent of the PSP Association.
Genetics; Association study; Parkinson's disease; MAPT; Tau; Progressive supranuclear palsy; PD; PSP
Relating clinical symptoms to neuroanatomical profiles of brain damage and ultimately to tissue pathology is a key challenge in the field of neurodegenerative disease and particularly relevant to the heterogeneous disorders that comprise the frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum. Here we present a retrospective analysis of clinical, neuropsychological and neuroimaging (volumetric and voxel-based morphometric) features in a pathologically ascertained cohort of 95 cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration classified according to contemporary neuropathological criteria. Forty-eight cases (51%) had TDP-43 pathology, 42 (44%) had tau pathology and five (5%) had fused-in-sarcoma pathology. Certain relatively specific clinicopathological associations were identified. Semantic dementia was predominantly associated with TDP-43 type C pathology; frontotemporal dementia and motoneuron disease with TDP-43 type B pathology; young-onset behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with FUS pathology; and the progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome with progressive supranuclear palsy pathology. Progressive non-fluent aphasia was most commonly associated with tau pathology. However, the most common clinical syndrome (behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia) was pathologically heterogeneous; while pathologically proven Pick's disease and corticobasal degeneration were clinically heterogeneous, and TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with similar clinical features in cases with and without progranulin mutations. Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging, voxel-based morphometry and cluster analyses of the pathological groups here suggested a neuroanatomical framework underpinning this clinical and pathological diversity. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration-associated pathologies segregated based on their cerebral atrophy profiles, according to the following scheme: asymmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (TDP-43 type C); relatively symmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (microtubule-associated protein tau mutations); strongly asymmetric, distributed atrophy (Pick's disease); relatively symmetric, predominantly extratemporal atrophy (corticobasal degeneration, fused-in-sarcoma pathology). TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with substantial individual variation; however, within this group progranulin mutations were associated with strongly asymmetric, distributed hemispheric atrophy. We interpret the findings in terms of emerging network models of neurodegenerative disease: the neuroanatomical specificity of particular frontotemporal lobar degeneration pathologies may depend on an interaction of disease-specific and network-specific factors.
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; voxel-based morphometry; MRI; neural network
Amyloid molecules harboring pyroglutamate (pGlu) residue at the N-termini are considered to be important for the development of cerebral amyloidosis such as Alzheimer’s disease and thought to be either spontaneously generated or being catalyzed by glutaminyl cyclase. Familial British dementia (FBD) is an autosomal dominant form of dementia neuropathologically characterized by parenchymal amyloid and preamyloid deposits, extensive cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and neurofibrillary tangles. FBD is caused by a stop to Arg mutation in the BRI2 gene, generating de novo created amyloid molecule ABri which accumulates in FBD brains but is not present in the normal population. Soluble ABri molecules present in the circulation of carriers of the BRI2 mutation are 34 amino acids long exclusively harboring Glu residue at the N-termini (ABri1-34E), whereas water- and formic acid-soluble ABri molecules extracted from FBD brains have abundant ABri species bearing pGlu residue (ABri1-34pE), suggesting that pyroglutamate formation occurs at the site of deposition. In order to further clarify the mechanism (s) of ABri deposition, we studied whether pyroglutamate formation indeed occurs outside the central nervous system taking advantage that FBD is also a systemic amyloidosis. Soluble and fibrillar ABri molecules extracted from systemic organs and analyzed biochemically using a combination of immunoprecipitation, mass spectrometry, and western blot analysis were oligomeric in size and contained a large proportion of ABri1-34pE. The data indicate that pyroglutamate formation at the N-termini of ABri molecules is an early step in the process of FBD amyloid deposition, and its formation is not restricted to the central nervous system.
familial British dementia; ABri; pyroglutamate; amyloid; post-translational modification
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.
FTLD; FUS; FTLD-UPS; Frontotemporal; FTD