To characterize the shape of the trajectories of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) biomarkers as a function of MMSE.
Longitudinal registries from the Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).
Two different samples (n=343 and n=598) were created that spanned the cognitive spectrum from normal to AD dementia. Subgroup analyses were performed in members of both cohorts (n=243 and n=328) who were amyloid positive at baseline.
Main Outcome Measures
The shape of biomarker trajectories as a function of MMSE, adjusted for age, was modeled and described as baseline (cross-sectional) and within-subject longitudinal effects. Biomarkers evaluated were cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) Aβ42 and tau; amyloid and fluoro deoxyglucose position emission tomography (PET) imaging, and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Baseline biomarker values generally worsened (i.e., non-zero slope) with lower baseline MMSE. Baseline hippocampal volume, amyloid PET and FDG PET values plateaued (i.e., non-linear slope) with lower MMSE in one or more analyses. Longitudinally, within-subject rates of biomarker change were associated with worsening MMSE. Non-constant within-subject rates (deceleration) of biomarker change were found in only one model.
Biomarker trajectory shapes by MMSE were complex and were affected by interactions with age and APOE status. Non-linearity was found in several baseline effects models. Non-constant within-subject rates of biomarker change were found in only one model, likely due to limited within-subject longitudinal follow up. Creating reliable models that describe the full trajectories of AD biomarkers will require significant additional longitudinal data in individual participants.
Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; cerebro spinal fluid; amyloid PET imaging; FDG PET imaging
A workgroup commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) recently published research criteria for preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We performed a preliminary assessment of these guidelines.
We employed Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography (PET) imaging as our biomarker of cerebral amyloidosis and 18fluorodeoxyglucose PET imaging and hippocampal volume as biomarkers of neurodegeneration. A group of 42 clinically diagnosed AD subjects was used to create imaging biomarker cut-points. A group of 450 cognitively normal (CN) subjects from a population based sample was used to develop cognitive cut-points and to assess population frequencies of the different preclinical AD stages using different cut-point criteria.
The new criteria subdivide the preclinical phase of AD into stages 1–3. To classify our CN subjects, two additional categories were needed. Stage 0 denotes subjects with normal AD biomarkers and no evidence of subtle cognitive impairment. Suspected Non-AD Pathophysiology (SNAP) denotes subjects with normal amyloid PET imaging, but abnormal neurodegeneration biomarker studies. At fixed cut-points corresponding to 90% sensitivity for diagnosing AD and the 10th percentile of CN cognitive scores, 43% of our sample was classified as stage 0; 16% stage 1; 12 % stage 2; 3% stage 3; and 23% SNAP.
This cross-sectional evaluation of the NIA-AA criteria for preclinical AD indicates that the 1–3 staging criteria coupled with stage 0 and SNAP categories classify 97% of CN subjects from a population-based sample, leaving just 3% unclassified. Future longitudinal validation of the criteria will be important.
To investigate whether demographic (age and education) adjustments for the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) attenuate mean score discrepancies between African American and Caucasian adults, and to determine whether demographically-adjusted MMSE scores improve the diagnostic classification accuracy of dementia in African American adults when compared to unadjusted MMSE scores.
Community-dwelling adults participating in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Registry (ADPR) and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC).
Three thousand two hundred fifty-four adults (2819 Caucasian, 435 African American) aged 60 and older.
MMSE at study entry.
African American adults obtained significantly lower unadjusted MMSE scores (23.0 ± 7.4) compared to Caucasian adults (25.3 ± 5.4). This discrepancy persisted despite adjustment of MMSE scores for age and years of education using established regression weights or newly-derived weights. However, controlling for dementia severity at baseline and adjusting MMSE scores for age and quality of education attenuated this discrepancy. Among African American adults, an age- and education-adjusted MMSE cut score of 23/24 provided optimal dementia classification accuracy, but this represented only a modest improvement over an unadjusted MMSE cut score of 22/23. The posterior probability of dementia in African American adults is presented for various unadjusted MMSE cut scores and prevalence rates of dementia.
Age, dementia severity at study entry, and quality of educational experience are important explanatory factors to understand the existing discrepancies in MMSE performance between Caucasian and African American adults. Our findings support the use of unadjusted MMSE scores when screening African American elders for dementia, with an unadjusted MMSE cut score of 22/23 yielding optimal classification accuracy.
MMSE; African American; ethnicity; dementia; cognition
The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) is an ongoing, longitudinal, multicenter study designed to develop clinical, imaging, genetic and biochemical biomarkers for the early detection and tracking of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study aimed to enroll 400 subjects with early mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 200 subjects with early AD and 200 normal controls and $67 million funding was provided by both the public and private sectors including the National Institutes on Aging, thirteen pharmaceutical companies and two Foundations that provided support through the Foundation for NIH (FNIH). This article reviews all papers published since the inception of the initiative and summarizes the results as of February, 2011. The major accomplishments of ADNI have been 1) the development of standardized methods for clinical, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers in a multi-center setting; 2) elucidation of the patterns and rates of change of imaging and CSF biomarker measurements in control, MCI and AD patients. CSF biomarkers are consistent with disease trajectories predicted by β amyloid (Aβ) cascade  and tau mediated neurodegeneration hypotheses for AD while brain atrophy and hypometabolism levels show predicted patterns but exhibit differing rates of change depending on region and disease severity; 3) the assessment of alternative methods of diagnostic categorization. Currently, the best classifiers combine optimum features from multiple modalities including MRI, FDG-PET, CSF biomarkers and clinical tests; 4) the development of methods for the early detection of AD. CSF biomarkers, Aβ42 and tau as well as amyloid PET may reflect the earliest steps in AD pathology in mildly or even non-symptomatic subjects and are leading candidates for the detection of AD in its preclinical stages; 5) the improvement of clinical trial efficiency through the identification of subjects most likely to undergo imminent future clinical decline and the use of more sensitive outcome measures to reduce sample sizes. Baseline cognitive and/or MRI measures generally predicted future decline better than other modalities whereas MRI measures of change were shown to be the most efficient outcome measures; 6) the confirmation of the AD risk loci CLU, CR1 and PICALM and the identification of novel candidate risk loci; 7) worldwide impact through the establishment of ADNI-like programs in Europe, Asia and Australia; 8) understanding the biology and pathobiology of normal aging, MCI and AD through integration of ADNI biomarker data with clinical data from ADNI to stimulate research that will resolve controversies about competing hypotheses on the etiopathogenesis of AD thereby advancing efforts to find disease modifying drugs for AD; and 9) the establishment of infrastructure to allow sharing of all raw and processed data without embargo to interested scientific investigators throughout the world. The ADNI study was extended by a two year Grand Opportunities grant in 2009 and a renewal of ADNI (ADNI2) in October, 2010 through to 2016, with enrollment of an additional 550 participants.
REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is associated with neurodegenerative disease and particularly with the synucleinopathies. Convenience samples involving subjects with idiopathic RBD have suggested an increased risk of incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia (usually dementia with Lewy bodies) or Parkinson’s disease (PD). There is no data on such risk in a population-based sample.
Cognitively normal subjects aged 70–89 in a population-based study of aging who screened positive for probable RBD using the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire were followed at 15 month intervals. In a Cox Proportional Hazards Model, we measured the risk of developing MCI, dementia, PD among the exposed (pRBD+) and unexposed (pRBD−) cohorts.
Forty-four subjects with pRBD+ at enrollment (median duration of pRBD features was 7.5 years), and 607 pRBD− subjects, were followed prospectively for a median of 3.8 years. Fourteen of the pRBD+ subjects developed MCI and one developed PD (15/44=34% developed MCI / PD); none developed dementia. After adjustment for age, sex, education, and medical comorbidity, pRBD+ subjects were at increased risk of MCI / PD [Hazard Ratio (HR) 2.2, 95% Confidence Interval (95%CI) 1.3 – 3.9; p=0.005]. Inclusion of subjects who withdrew from the study produced similar results, as did exclusion of subjects with medication-associated RBD. Duration of pRBD symptoms did not predict the development of MCI / PD (HR 1.05 per 10 years, 95%CI 0.84 – 1.3; p=0.68).
In this population-based cohort study, we observed that pRBD confers a 2.2-fold increased risk of developing MCI / PD over four years.
sleep disorders; parasomnias; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; dementia with Lewy bodies; parkinsonism; synuclein
High caloric intake has been associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment. Total caloric intake is determined by the calories derived from macronutrients. The objective of the study was to investigate the association between percent of daily energy (calories) from macronutrients and incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. Participants were a population-based prospective cohort of elderly persons who were followed over a median 3.7 years (interquartile range, 2.5–3.9) of follow-up. At baseline and every 15 months, participants (median age, 79.5 years) were evaluated using the Clinical Dementia Rating scale, a neurological evaluation, and neuropsychological testing for a diagnosis of MCI, normal cognition, or dementia. Participants also completed a 128-item food-frequency questionnaire at baseline; total daily caloric and macronutrient intakes were calculated using an established database. The percent of total daily energy from protein (% protein), carbohydrate (% carbohydrate), and total fat (% fat) was computed. Among 937 subjects who were cognitively normal at baseline, 200 developed incident MCI or dementia. The risk of MCI or dementia (hazard ratio [HR], [95% confidence interval]) was elevated in subjects with high % carbohydrate (upper quartile: 1.89 [1.17–3.06]; P for trend=0.004), but was reduced in subjects with high % fat (upper quartile: 0.56 [0.34–0.91]; P for trend=0.03), and high % protein (upper quartile 0.79 [0.52 – 1.20]; P for trend=0.03) in the fully adjusted models. A dietary pattern with relatively high caloric intake from carbohydrates and low caloric intake from fat and proteins may increase the risk of MCI or dementia in elderly persons.
Mild cognitive impairment; dementia; dietary proteins; dietary fats; dietary carbohydrates; caloric intake; energy intake; prospective studies; community-based
To determine if the addition of delayed recall (DR) assessment adds sensitivity to the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog) in clinical trials in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer Disease (AD).
Memory, particularly DR, is the most sensitive test for early detection of AD and MCI. However, it is not clear that assessment of DR adds benefit for measuring change over time after a diagnosis is made or in clinical trials. The ADAS-cog is the most commonly used tool to assess treatment efficacy in AD clinical trials. In an attempt to improve sensitivity to change, assessment of DR after the 3-trial, 10-word list was added to the standard 11-item ADAS-cog. We examined the added value of the DR in participants with MCI and AD followed for at least 1 year.
Data from 111 subjects with AD and 259 subjects with MCI who were randomly assigned to the placebo arm of 2 clinical trials were included. Participants with AD had Mini- Mental State Examination scores of 13 to 27 and those with MCI had 24 to 30. We calculated the ADAS-cog11 score based on the original 11 items (range: best to worse, 0 to 70), the DR item score (range: 0 to 10 words not recalled), and the ADAS-cog12 (range: 0 to 80). We assessed the rate of missing items for DR over time, the change scores, the association between scores and baseline performance, and used longitudinal mixed effects regression models to examine the rate of change.
At baseline AD subjects were near floor on DR (8.93 ± 1.6 SD) and showed little change over 1 year (0.12 ± 1.34); the MCI subjects baseline DR was 6.2 ± 2.2 with 1-year change of 0.20 ± 1.7. We compared standardized change (change/SD) for ADAS-cog11, and 12 in MCI and found a 10% improvement with ADAS-cog12; there was no improvement in the AD group. In a subset of MCI and AD cases with matching Mini-Mental State Examination (23 to 27), the ADAS-cog12 provided an 18% improvement in standardized change in MCI subjects, with no benefit in the AD cohort, primarily owing to increased variance.
The addition of DR to the ADAS-cog score increased the ability to detect change in subjects with MCI over 1 year compared with the ADAS-cog11 but increased the variance in subjects with AD, even in those with mild impairment These findings speak to the need to tailor outcome measures to the specific study population and diagnosis for maximal efficiency and economy when conducting clinical trials.
Alzheimer disease; mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale; delayed recall; clinical trial outcomes
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 most recent late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) genome-wide association study revealed genome-wide significant association of two new loci: rs744373 near BIN1 (p=1.6×10−11) and rs597668 near EXOC3L2/BLOC1S3/MARK4 (p=6.5×10−9). We have genotyped these variants in a large (3,287 LOAD, 4,396 controls), independent dataset comprising eleven case-control series from the USA and Europe. We performed meta-analyses of the association of these variants with LOAD and also tested for association using logistic regression adjusted by age-at-diagnosis, sex and APOE ε4 status. Meta-analysis results showed no evidence of series heterogeneity and logistic regression analysis successfully replicated the association of BIN1 (rs744373) with LOAD with an odds ratio (OR=1.17, p=1.1×10−4) comparable to that previously reported (OR=1.15). The variant near EXOC3L2 (rs597668) showed only suggestive association with LOAD (p=0.09) after correcting for the presence of the APOE ε4 allele. Addition of our follow-up data to the results previously reported increased the strength of evidence for association with BIN1 (11,825 LOAD, 32,570 controls, rs744373 Fisher combined p=3.8×10−20). We also tested for epistatic interaction between these variants and APOEε4 as well as with the previously replicated LOAD GWAS genes (CLU: rs11136000, CR1; rs3818361, and PICALM: rs3851179). No significant interactions between these genes were detected. In summary, we provide additional evidence for the variant near BIN1 (rs744373) as a LOAD risk modifier, but our results indicate that the effect of EXOC3L2 independent of APOE ε4 should be studied further.
Alzheimer Disease; Late Onset; Heterogeneity; Meta-Analysis; Case-Control Studies
Practice effects on cognitive tests have been shown to further characterize patients with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI), and may provide predictive information about cognitive change across time. We tested the hypothesis that a loss of practice effects would portend a worse prognosis in aMCI.
Longitudinal, observational design following participants across one year.
Three groups of older adults: 1. cognitively intact (n=57), 2. aMCI with large practice effects across one week (MCI+PE, n=25), and 3. aMCI with minimal practice effects across one week (MCI−PE, n=26).
After controlling for age and baseline cognitive differences, the MCI−PE group performed significantly worse than the other groups after one year on measures of immediate memory, delayed memory, language, and overall cognition.
Although these results need to be replicated in larger samples, the loss of short-term practice effects portends a worse prognosis in patients with aMCI.
Mild Cognitive Impairment; practice effects; dementia
To examine the association between computer use, physical exercise, aging, and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Patients and Methods
The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging is a population-based study of aging and MCI in Olmsted County, Minnesota. The study sample consists of a random sample of 926 nondemented individuals aged 70 to 93 years who completed self-reported questionnaires on physical exercise, computer use, and caloric intake within 1 year of the date of interview. The study was conducted from April 1, 2006, through November 30, 2008. An expert consensus panel classified each study participant as cognitively normal or having MCI on the basis of published criteria.
Using a multivariable logistic regression model, we examined the impact of the presence during the study period of 2 lifestyle factors (physical exercise and computer use) after adjusting for a third lifestyle factor (caloric intake) on aging and MCI. We also adjusted for age, sex, education, medical comorbidity, and depression. The median daily caloric intake was significantly higher in participants with MCI than in controls (odds ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.06; P=.001). Participants who engaged in both moderate physical exercise and computer use had significantly decreased odds of having MCI (odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 0.36 [0.20-0.68]) compared with the reference group. In the interaction analyses, there was an additive interaction (P=.012) but not multiplicative interaction (P=.780).
In this population-based sample, the presence of both physical exercise and computer use as assessed via survey was associated with decreased odds of having MCI, after adjustment for caloric intake and traditional confounders.
CDR, Clinical Dementia Rating; CI, confidence interval; MCI, mild cognitive impairment; OR, odds ratio
Several families have been reported with autosomal dominant frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), genetically linked to chromosome 9p21. Here we report an expansion of a non-coding GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in the gene C9ORF72 that is strongly associated with disease in a large FTD/ALS kindred, previously reported to be conclusively linked to chromosome 9p. This same repeat expansion was identified in the majority of our families with a combined FTD/ALS phenotype and TDP-43 based pathology. Analysis of extended clinical series found the C9ORF72 repeat expansion to be the most common genetic abnormality in both familial FTD (11.7%) and familial ALS (22.5%). The repeat expansion leads to the loss of one alternatively spliced C9ORF72 transcript and to formation of nuclear RNA foci, suggesting multiple disease mechanisms. Our findings indicate that repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is a major cause of both FTD and ALS.
Previous studies of Aβ plasma as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) obtained conflicting results. We here included 715 subjects with baseline Aβ1–40 and Aβ1–42 plasma measurement (50% with 4 serial annual measurements): 205 cognitively normal controls (CN), 348 patients mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 162 with AD. We assessed the factors that modified their concentrations and correlated these values with PIB PET, MRI and tau and Aβ1–42 measures in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Association between Aβ and diagnosis (baseline and prospective) was assessed. A number of health conditions were associated with altered concentrations of plasma Aβ. The effect of age differed according to AD stage. Plasma Aβ1–42 showed mild correlation with other biomarkers of Aβ pathology and were associated with infarctions in MRI. Longitudinal measurements of Aβ1–40 and Aβ1–42 plasma levels showed modest value as a prognostic factor for clinical progression. Our longitudinal study of complementary measures of Aβ pathology (PIB, CSF and plasma Aβ) and other biomarkers in a cohort with an extensive neuropsychological battery is significant because it shows that plasma Aβ measurements have limited value for disease classification and modest value as prognostic factors over the 3-year follow-up. However, with longer follow-up, within subject plasma Aβ measurements could be used as a simple and minimally invasive screen to identify those at increased risk for AD. Our study emphasizes the need for a better understanding of the biology and dynamics of plasma Aβ as well as the need for longer term studies to determine the clinical utility of measuring plasma Aβ.
Biomarker; Alzheimer disease; Amyloid beta-peptides; Prognosis; Diagnosis; PET; Cerebrospinal fluid
Alzheimer's disease (AD) can present with non-amnestic clinical syndromes. We investigated whether there is an imaging signature of AD pathology in these atypical subjects. We identified 14 subjects that had pathological AD, a non-amnestic presentation (i.e. atypical AD), and MRI. These subjects were matched to 14 with clinical and pathological AD (i.e. typical AD), 14 with the same non-amnestic presentations with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) pathology, and 20 controls. Voxel-based morphometry and region-of-interest (ROI) analysis were used to assess patterns of grey matter loss. Loss was observed in the temporoparietal cortex in both typical and atypical AD, and showed significantly greater loss than FTLD. However, the medial temporal lobes were more severely affected in typical AD and FTLD compared to atypical AD. A ratio of hippocampal and temporoparietal volumes provided excellent discrimination of atypical AD from FTLD subjects. Temporoparietal atrophy may therefore provide a useful marker of the presence of AD pathology even in subjects with atypical clinical presentations, especially in the context of relative sparing of the hippocampus.
Alzheimer's disease; pathology; voxel-based morphometry; atypical presentation; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; temporoparietal cortex; hippocampus
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
Expanded glutamine repeats of the ataxin-2 (ATXN2) protein cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2), a rare neurodegenerative disorder. More recent studies have suggested that expanded ATXN2 repeats are a genetic risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) via an RNA-dependent interaction with TDP-43. Given the phenotypic diversity observed in SCA2 patients, we set out to determine the polymorphic nature of the ATXN2 repeat length across a spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, we genotyped the ATXN2 repeat in 3919 neurodegenerative disease patients and 4877 healthy controls and performed logistic regression analysis to determine the association of repeat length with the risk of disease. We confirmed the presence of a significantly higher number of expanded ATXN2 repeat carriers in ALS patients compared with healthy controls (OR = 5.57; P= 0.001; repeat length >30 units). Furthermore, we observed significant association of expanded ATXN2 repeats with the development of progressive supranuclear palsy (OR = 5.83; P= 0.004; repeat length >30 units). Although expanded repeat carriers were also identified in frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease patients, these were not significantly more frequent than in controls. Of note, our study identified a number of healthy control individuals who harbor expanded repeat alleles (31–33 units), which suggests caution should be taken when attributing specific disease phenotypes to these repeat lengths. In conclusion, our findings confirm the role of ATXN2 as an important risk factor for ALS and support the hypothesis that expanded ATXN2 repeats may predispose to other neurodegenerative diseases, including progressive supranuclear palsy.
Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids (HDLS) is an autosomal dominantly inherited central nervous system white matter disease with variable clinical presentations including personality and behavioral changes, dementia, depression, parkinsonism, seizures, and others1,2. We combined genome-wide linkage analysis with exome sequencing and identified 14 different mutations affecting the tyrosine kinase domain of the colony stimulating factor receptor 1 (encoded by CSF1R) in 14 families affected by HDLS. In one kindred, the de novo occurrence of the mutation was confirmed. Follow-up sequencing analyses identified an additional CSF1R mutation in a patient clinically diagnosed with corticobasal syndrome (CBS). In vitro, CSF-1 stimulation resulted in the rapid autophosphorylation of selected tyrosine-residues in the kinase domain of wild-type but not mutant CSF1R, suggesting that HDLS may result from a partial loss of CSF1R function. Since CSF1R is a critical mediator of microglial proliferation and differentiation in the brain, our findings suggest an important role for microglial dysfunction in HDLS pathogenesis.
TAR DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43) immunoreactive neuronal inclusions are detected in 20–30% of Alzheimer disease (AD) brains, but the distribution of this pathology has not been rigorously studied. In this report we describe region-specific distribution and density of TDP-43 positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs) in clinically demented individuals with high probability AD pathology, all with Braak neurofibrillary tangle stages of V or VI. Sections of hippocampus, amygdala, as well as temporal, frontal and parietal neocortex were analyzed with TDP-43 immunohistochemistry, and the density of NCIs was assessed using a semiquantitative scoring method. Of the 29 cases, 6 had TDP-43 positive NCIs in the amygdala only, and 7 had TDP-43 inclusions restricted to amygdala and hippocampus. In 16 cases TDP-43 immunoreactivity was more widespread, affecting temporal, frontal or parietal neocortex. These findings indicate that medial temporal lobe limbic structures are vulnerable to TDP-43 pathology in advanced AD, and that the amygdala appears to be the most vulnerable region. The distribution of the lesions in this cross-sectional analysis may suggest a progression of TDP-43 pathology in AD, with limbic structures in the medial temporal lobe affected first followed by higher order association cortices.
Amygdala; FTLD-U; FTLD-MND; frontotemporal dementia; motor neuron disease
Pathology underlying behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is heterogeneous, with the most common pathologies being Pick’s disease (PiD), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), and FTLD-TDP type 1. Clinical features are unhelpful in differentiating these pathologies. We aimed to determine whether imaging atrophy patterns differ across these pathologies in bvFTD subjects. We identified 15 bvFTD subjects that had volumetric MRI during life and autopsy: five with PiD, five CBD and five FTLD-TDP type 1. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess atrophy patterns in each bvFTD group compared to 20 age and gender-matched controls. All three pathological groups showed grey matter loss in frontal lobes, although specific patterns of atrophy differed across groups: PiD showed widespread loss in frontal lobes with additional involvement of anterior temporal lobes; CBD showed subtle patterns of loss involving posterior lateral and medial superior frontal lobe; FTLD-TDP type 1 showed widespread loss in frontal, temporal and parietal lobes. Greater parietal loss was observed in FTLD-TDP type 1 compared to both other groups, and greater anterior temporal and medial frontal loss was observed in PiD compared to CBD. Imaging patterns of atrophy in bvFTD vary according to pathological diagnosis and may therefore be helpful in predicting these pathologies in bvFTD.
Frontotemporal dementia; behavioral variant; Pick’s disease; corticobasal degeneration; TDP-43; atrophy; voxel-based morphometry; MRI
To examine default mode and salience network functional connectivity as a function of APOE ε4 status in a group of cognitively normal age, gender and education-matched older adults.
Fifty-six cognitively normal APOE ε4 carriers and 56 age, gender and education-matched cognitively normal APOE ε4 non-carriers.
Main Outcome Measure
Alterations in in-phase default mode and salience network connectivity in APOE ε4 carriers compared to APOE ε4 non-carriers ranging from 63 to 91 years of age.
A posterior cingulate seed revealed decreased in-phase connectivity in regions of the posterior default mode network that included the left inferior parietal lobe, left middle temporal gyrus, and bilateral anterior temporal lobes in the ε4 carriers relative to APOE ε4 non-carriers. An anterior cingulate seed showed greater in-phase connectivity in the salience network, including the cingulate gyrus, medial prefrontal cortex, bilateral insular cortex, striatum, and thalamus in APOE ε4 carriers vs. non-carriers. There were no group-wise differences in brain anatomy.
We found reductions in posterior default mode network connectivity but increased salience network connectivity in elderly cognitively normal APOE ε4 carriers relative to APOE ε4 non-carriers at rest. The observation of functional alterations in connectivity in the absence of structural changes between APOE e4 carriers and non-carriers suggests that alterations in connectivity may have the potential to serve as an early biomarker.
To empirically assess the concept that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarkers significantly depart from normality in a temporally ordered manner.
Multi-site, referral centers
We studied 401 elderly cognitively normal (CN), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and AD dementia subjects from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. We compared the proportions of three AD biomarkers – CSF Aβ42, CSF total tau (t-tau), and hippocampal volume adjusted by intra-cranial volume (HVa) - that were abnormal as cognitive impairment worsened. Cut-points demarcating normal vs. abnormal for each biomarker were established by maximizing diagnostic accuracy in independent autopsy samples.
Main Outcome measures
Within each clinical group in the entire sample (n=401) CSF Aβ42 was abnormal more often than t-tau or HVa. Among the 298 subjects with both baseline and 12 month data, the proportion of subjects with abnormal Aβ42 did not change from baseline to 12 months in any group. The proportion of subjects with abnormal t-tau increased from baseline to 12 months in CN (p=0.05) but not in MCI or dementia. In 209 subjects with abnormal CSF AB42 at baseline, the percent abnormal HVa, but not t-tau, increased from baseline to 12 months in MCI.
Reduction in CSF Aβ42 denotes a pathophysiological process that significantly departs from normality (i.e., becomes dynamic) early, while t-tau and HVa are biomarkers of downstream pathophysiological processes. T-tau becomes dynamic before HVa, but HVa is more dynamic in the clinically symptomatic MCI and dementia phases of the disease than t-tau.
Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; CSF tau; CSF Abeta; Alzheimer’s disease staging
The current study tested the accuracy of primary MRI and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker candidates and neuropsychological tests for predicting the conversion from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia. In a cross-validation paradigm, predictor models were estimated in the training set of AD (N = 81) and elderly control subjects (N = 101). A combination of CSF t-tau/Aβ1-4 ratio and MRI biomarkers or neuropsychological tests (free recall and trail making test B (TMT-B)) showed the best statistical fit in the AD vs. HC comparison, reaching a classification accuracy of up to 64% when applied to the prediction of MCI conversion (3.3-year observation interval, mean = 2.3 years). However, several single-predictor models showed a predictive accuracy of MCI conversion comparable to that of any multipredictor model. The best single predictors were right entorhinal cortex (prediction accuracy = 68.5% (95% CI (59.5, 77.4))) and TMT-B test (prediction accuracy 64.6% (95% CI (55.5, 73.4%))). In conclusion, short-term conversion to AD is predicted by single marker models to a comparable degree as by multimarker models in amnestic MCI subjects.
Alzheimer's disease; Dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; Mild cognitive impairment (MCI); Autopsy-confirmation; Biomarkers; Early detection; Cerebrospinal fluid; Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF); Aβ1-42; Tau; p-tau; MRI; Hippocampus; Volumetry; Entorhinal cortex; Prodromal; ADNI
Task-free functional magnetic resonance imaging (TF-fMRI) has great potential for advancing the understanding and treatment of neurologic illness. However, as with all measures of neural activity, variability is a hallmark of intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs) identified by TF-fMRI. This variability has hampered efforts to define a robust metric of connectivity suitable as a biomarker for neurologic illness. We hypothesized that some of this variability rather than representing noise in the measurement process, is related to a fundamental feature of connectivity within ICNs, which is their non-stationary nature. To test this hypothesis, we used a large (n = 892) population-based sample of older subjects to construct a well characterized atlas of 68 functional regions, which were categorized based on independent component analysis network of origin, anatomical locations, and a functional meta-analysis. These regions were then used to construct dynamic graphical representations of brain connectivity within a sliding time window for each subject. This allowed us to demonstrate the non-stationary nature of the brain’s modular organization and assign each region to a “meta-modular” group. Using this grouping, we then compared dwell time in strong sub-network configurations of the default mode network (DMN) between 28 subjects with Alzheimer’s dementia and 56 cognitively normal elderly subjects matched 1∶2 on age, gender, and education. We found that differences in connectivity we and others have previously observed in Alzheimer’s disease can be explained by differences in dwell time in DMN sub-network configurations, rather than steady state connectivity magnitude. DMN dwell time in specific modular configurations may also underlie the TF-fMRI findings that have been described in mild cognitive impairment and cognitively normal subjects who are at risk for Alzheimer’s dementia.
Genetic variants that modify brain gene expression may also influence risk for human diseases. We measured expression levels of 24,526 transcripts in brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD, cerebellar n = 197, temporal cortex n = 202) and with other brain pathologies (non–AD, cerebellar n = 177, temporal cortex n = 197). We conducted an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) using 213,528 cisSNPs within ±100 kb of the tested transcripts. We identified 2,980 cerebellar cisSNP/transcript level associations (2,596 unique cisSNPs) significant in both ADs and non–ADs (q<0.05, p = 7.70×10−5–1.67×10−82). Of these, 2,089 were also significant in the temporal cortex (p = 1.85×10−5–1.70×10−141). The top cerebellar cisSNPs had 2.4-fold enrichment for human disease-associated variants (p<10−6). We identified novel cisSNP/transcript associations for human disease-associated variants, including progressive supranuclear palsy SLCO1A2/rs11568563, Parkinson's disease (PD) MMRN1/rs6532197, Paget's disease OPTN/rs1561570; and we confirmed others, including PD MAPT/rs242557, systemic lupus erythematosus and ulcerative colitis IRF5/rs4728142, and type 1 diabetes mellitus RPS26/rs1701704. In our eGWAS, there was 2.9–3.3 fold enrichment (p<10−6) of significant cisSNPs with suggestive AD–risk association (p<10−3) in the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium GWAS. These results demonstrate the significant contributions of genetic factors to human brain gene expression, which are reliably detected across different brain regions and pathologies. The significant enrichment of brain cisSNPs among disease-associated variants advocates gene expression changes as a mechanism for many central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. Combined assessment of expression and disease GWAS may provide complementary information in discovery of human disease variants with functional implications. Our findings have implications for the design and interpretation of eGWAS in general and the use of brain expression quantitative trait loci in the study of human disease genetics.
Genetic variants that regulate gene expression levels can also influence human disease risk. Discovery of genomic loci that alter brain gene expression levels (brain expression quantitative trait loci = eQTLs) can be instrumental in the identification of genetic risk underlying both central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. To systematically assess the role of brain eQTLs in human disease and to evaluate the influence of brain region and pathology in eQTL mapping, we performed an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) in 773 brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of ∼200 autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and ∼200 with other brain pathologies (non–AD). We identified ∼3,000 significant associations between cisSNPs near ∼700 genes and their cerebellar transcript levels, which replicate in ADs and non–ADs. More than 2,000 of these associations were reproducible in the temporal cortex. The top cisSNPs are enriched for both CNS and non–CNS disease-associated variants. We identified novel and confirmed previous cisSNP/transcript associations for many disease loci, suggesting gene expression regulation as their mechanism of action. These findings demonstrate the reproducibility of the eQTL approach across different brain regions and pathologies, and advocate the combined use of gene expression and disease GWAS for identification and functional characterization of human disease-associated variants.
To validate a questionnaire focused on REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) among participants in an aging and dementia cohort.
RBD is a parasomnia that can develop in otherwise neurologically-normal adults as well as in those with a neurodegenerative disease. Confirmation of RBD requires polysomnography (PSG). A simple screening measure for RBD would be desirable for clinical and research purposes.
We had previously developed the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire (MSQ), a 16 item measure, to screen for the presence of RBD and other sleep disorders. We assessed the validity of the MSQ by comparing the responses of patients’ bed partners with the findings on PSG. All subjects recruited in the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic Rochester and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville from 1/00 to 7/08 who had also undergone a PSG were the focus of this analysis.
The study sample was comprised of 176 subjects [150 male; median age 71 years (range 39–90)], with the following clinical diagnoses: normal (n=8), mild cognitive impairment (n=44), Alzheimer’s disease (n=23), dementia with Lewy bodies (n=74), as well as other dementia and/or parkinsonian syndromes (n=27). The core question on recurrent dream enactment behavior yielded a sensitivity (SN) of 98% and specificity (SP) of 74% for the diagnosis of RBD. The profile of responses on four additional subquestions on RBD and one on obstructive sleep apnea improved specificity.
These data suggest that among aged subjects with cognitive impairment and/or parkinsonism, the MSQ has adequate SN and SP for the diagnosis of RBD. The utility of this scale in other patient populations will require further study.
sleep disorders; parasomnias; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; dementia with Lewy bodies; parkinsonism