To determine the histopathologic bases for the observed incidence of parkinsonism in families with C9ORF72 expansions, which typically cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and/or frontotemporal dementia.
DNA was extracted from 377 brains with the histopathologic diagnosis of idiopathic Parkinson disease or related disorders and analyzed for C9ORF72 expansions. α-Synuclein and p62 immunohistochemistry of the substantia nigra (SN) was undertaken in brains of 17 ALS cases with (C9ORF72+) and 51 without (C9ORF72−) the C9ORF72 expansion.
Only 1 of 338 cases with pathologically confirmed idiopathic Parkinson disease had a C9ORF72 expansion. Similarly, only 1 of 17 C9ORF72+ brains displayed features suggestive of α-synucleinopathy. In contrast, p62-positive, TDP-43–negative neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions within the SN were considerably more frequent in C9ORF72+ brain tissue than in the C9ORF72− brains (p = 0.005). Furthermore, there was a more marked loss of dopaminergic neurons in the SN of C9ORF72+ ALS brains than C9ORF72− ALS brains (p = 0.029).
SN involvement is common in C9ORF72+ ALS but can be clearly distinguished from Parkinson disease–related mechanisms by the presence of p62-positive inclusions and the absence of α-synuclein–positive Lewy bodies or Lewy neurites.
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
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.
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) mutation is the most common cause of genetic-related parkinsonism and is usually associated with Lewy body pathology; however, tau, α-synuclein, and ubiquitin pathologies have also been reported. We report the case of a patient carrying the LRRK2 G2019S mutation and a novel heterozygous variant c.370C>G, p.Q124E in exon 4 of the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT). The patient developed parkinsonism with good levodopa response in her 70s. Neuropathological analysis revealed nigral degeneration and Alzheimer-type tau pathology without Lewy bodies. Immunohistochemical staining using phospho-TDP-43 antibodies identified occasional TDP-43 pathology in the hippocampus, temporal neocortex, striatum, and substantia nigra. However, TDP-43 pathology was not identified in another 4 archival LRRK2 G2019S cases with Lewy body pathology available in the Queen Square Brain Bank. Among other published cases of patients carrying LRRK2 G2019S mutation, only 3 were reportedly evaluated for TDP-43 pathology, and the results were negative. The role of the MAPT variant in the clinical and pathological manifestation in LRRK2 cases remains to be determined.
LRRK2; MAPT; Parkinson's disease; TDP-43; tau
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
MRI-based measurements used to diagnose progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) typically lack pathologic verification and are not easy to use routinely. We aimed to develop in histologically proven disease a simple measure of the midbrain and pons on sagittal MRI to identify PSP.
Measurements of the midbrain and pontine base on midsagittal T1-weighted MRI were performed in confirmed PSP (n = 12), Parkinson disease (n = 2), and multiple system atrophy (MSA) (n = 7), and in controls (n = 8). Using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, cutoff values were applied to a clinically diagnosed cohort of 62 subjects that included PSP (n = 21), Parkinson disease (n = 10), MSA (n = 10), and controls (n = 21).
The mean midbrain measurement of 8.1 mm was reduced in PSP (p < 0.001) with reduction in the midbrain to pons ratio (PSP smaller than MSA; p < 0.001). In controls, the mean midbrain ratio was approximately two-thirds of the pontine base, in PSP it was <52%, and in MSA the ratio was greater than two-thirds. A midbrain measurement of <9.35 mm and ratio of 0.52 had 100% specificity for PSP. In the clinically defined group, 19 of 21 PSP cases (90.5%) had a midbrain measurement of <9.35 mm.
We have developed a simple and reliable measurement in pathologically confirmed disease based on the topography of atrophy in PSP with high sensitivity and specificity that may be a useful tool in the clinic.
An expanded hexanucleotide repeat in the C9orf72 gene is the most common genetic cause of frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (c9FTD/ALS). We now report the first description of a homozygous patient and compare it to a series of heterozygous cases. The patient developed early-onset frontotemporal dementia without additional features. Neuropathological analysis showed c9FTD/ALS characteristics, with abundant p62-positive inclusions in the frontal and temporal cortices, hippocampus and cerebellum, as well as less abundant TDP-43-positive inclusions. Overall, the clinical and pathological features were severe, but did not fall outside the usual disease spectrum. Quantification of C9orf72 transcript levels in post-mortem brain demonstrated expression of all known C9orf72 transcript variants, but at a reduced level. The pathogenic mechanisms by which the hexanucleotide repeat expansion causes disease are unclear and both gain- and loss-of-function mechanisms may play a role. Our data support a gain-of-function mechanism as pure homozygous loss of function would be expected to lead to a more severe, or completely different clinical phenotype to the one described here, which falls within the usual range. Our findings have implications for genetic counselling, highlighting the need to use genetic tests that distinguish C9orf72 homozygosity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-013-1147-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
C9orf72; ALS; FTD
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
To test whether the synucleinopathies Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy (MSA) share a common genetic etiology, we performed a candidate single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) association study of the 384 most associated SNPs in a genome-wide association study of Parkinson’s disease in 413 MSA cases and 3,974 control subjects. The 10 most significant SNPs were then replicated in additional 108 MSA cases and 537 controls. SNPs at the SNCA locus were significantly associated with risk for increased risk for the development of MSA (combined p = 5.5 × 1012; odds ratio 6.2).
Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a disabling condition that is being increasingly recognised. It is unique as a cause of pulmonary hypertension in that it is surgically curable. We wish to highlight the importance of recognition and early referral of any patient who may have CTEPH even in the absence of resting pulmonary hypertension as excellent results can be achieved by restoring pulmonary vascular anatomy, reducing exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension, and reducing dead-space ventilation. We present a case that illustrates these points and discuss our experience as a referral centre for CTEPH.
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
An expanded hexanucleotide repeat in the C9ORF72 gene has recently been identified as a major cause of familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration and motor neuron disease, including cases previously identified as linked to chromosome 9. Here we present a detailed retrospective clinical, neuroimaging and histopathological analysis of a C9ORF72 mutation case series in relation to other forms of genetically determined frontotemporal lobar degeneration ascertained at a specialist centre. Eighteen probands (19 cases in total) were identified, representing 35% of frontotemporal lobar degeneration cases with identified mutations, 36% of cases with clinical evidence of motor neuron disease and 7% of the entire cohort. Thirty-three per cent of these C9ORF72 cases had no identified relevant family history. Families showed wide variation in clinical onset (43–68 years) and duration (1.7–22 years). The most common presenting syndrome (comprising a half of cases) was behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, however, there was substantial clinical heterogeneity across the C9ORF72 mutation cohort. Sixty per cent of cases developed clinical features consistent with motor neuron disease during the period of follow-up. Anxiety and agitation and memory impairment were prominent features (between a half to two-thirds of cases), and dominant parietal dysfunction was also frequent. Affected individuals showed variable magnetic resonance imaging findings; however, relative to healthy controls, the group as a whole showed extensive thinning of frontal, temporal and parietal cortices, subcortical grey matter atrophy including thalamus and cerebellum and involvement of long intrahemispheric, commissural and corticospinal tracts. The neuroimaging profile of the C9ORF72 expansion was significantly more symmetrical than progranulin mutations with significantly less temporal lobe involvement than microtubule-associated protein tau mutations. Neuropathological examination in six cases with C9ORF72 mutation from the frontotemporal lobar degeneration series identified histomorphological features consistent with either type A or B TAR DNA-binding protein-43 deposition; however, p62-positive (in excess of TAR DNA-binding protein-43 positive) neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions in hippocampus and cerebellum were a consistent feature of these cases, in contrast to the similar frequency of p62 and TAR DNA-binding protein-43 deposition in 53 control cases with frontotemporal lobar degeneration–TAR DNA-binding protein. These findings corroborate the clinical importance of the C9ORF72 mutation in frontotemporal lobar degeneration, delineate phenotypic and neuropathological features that could help to guide genetic testing, and suggest hypotheses for elucidating the neurobiology of a culprit subcortical network.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; motor neuron disease; neurodegenerative disorders; neuroimaging; genetics
Amyloid precursor protein gene (APP) duplications have been identified in screens of selected probands with early onset familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). A causal role for copy number variation (CNV) in the prion protein gene (PRNP) in prion dementias is not known. We aimed to determine the prevalence of copy number variation in APP and PRNP in a large referral series, test a screening method for detection of the same, and expand knowledge of clinical phenotype. We used a 3-tiered screening assay for APP and PRNP duplication (exonic real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction [exon-qPCR], fluorescent microsatellite quantitative PCR [fm-q-PCR], and Illumina array [Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA, USA]) for analysis of a heterogeneous referral series comprising 1531 probands. Five of 1531 probands screened showed APP duplication, a similar prevalence to APP missense mutation. Real-time quantitative PCR and fluorescent microsatellite quantitative PCR were similar individually but are theoretically complementary; we used Illumina arrays as our reference assay. Two of 5 probands were from an autosomal dominant early onset Alzheimer's disease (familial Alzheimer's disease) pedigree. One extensive, noncontiguous duplication on chromosome 21 was consistent with an unbalanced translocation not including the Down's syndrome critical region. Seizures were prominent in the other typical APP duplications. A range of imaging, neuropsychological, cerebrospinal fluid, and pathological findings are reported that extend the known phenotype. APP but not PRNP duplication is a significant cause of early onset dementia in the UK. The recognized phenotype may be expanded to include the possibility of early seizures and apparently sporadic disease which, in part, may be due to different mutational mechanisms. The pros and cons of our screening method are discussed.
APP; Duplication; PRNP; Prion; Chromosome 21; Dementia
Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a movement disorder with prominent tau neuropathology. Brain diseases with abnormal tau deposits are called tauopathies, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease. Environmental causes of tauopathies include repetitive head trauma associated with some sports. To identify common genetic variation contributing to risk for tauopathies, we carried out a genome-wide association study of 1,114 PSP cases and 3,247 controls (Stage 1) followed up by a second stage where 1,051 cases and 3,560 controls were genotyped for Stage 1 SNPs that yielded P ≤ 10−3. We found significant novel signals (P < 5 × 10−8) associated with PSP risk at STX6, EIF2AK3, and MOBP. We confirmed two independent variants in MAPT affecting risk for PSP, one of which influences MAPT brain expression. The genes implicated encode proteins for vesicle-membrane fusion at the Golgi-endosomal interface, for the endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response, and for a myelin structural component.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a complex neurodegenerative disease which is clinically heterogeneous and pathologically consists of loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and intracytoplasmic neuronal inclusions containing alpha-synuclein aggregations known as Lewy bodies. Although the majority of PD is idiopathic, pathogenic mutations in several mendelian genes have been successfully identified through linkage analyses. To identify susceptibility loci for idiopathic PD, several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) within different populations have recently been conducted in both idiopathic and familial forms of PD. These analyses have confirmed SNCA and MAPT as loci harboring PD susceptibility. In addition, the GWAS identified several other genetic loci suggestively associated with the risk of PD; among these, only one was replicated by two different studies of European and Asian ancestries. Hence, we investigated this novel locus known as PARK16 for coding mutations in a large series of idiopathic pathologically proven PD cases, and also conducted an association study in a case–control cohort from the United Kingdom. An association between a novel RAB7L1 mutation, c.379-12insT, and disease (P-value=0.0325) was identified. Two novel coding variants present only in the PD cohort were also identified within the RAB7L1 (p.K157R) and SLC41A1 (p.A350V) genes. No copy number variation analyses have yet been performed within this recently identified locus. We concluded that, although both coding variants and risk alleles within the PARK16 locus seem to be rare, further molecular analyses within the PARK16 locus and within different populations are required in order to examine its biochemical role in the disease process.
PARK16 locus; genetics; association studies
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
Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is increasingly recognized as a major contributor of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. To date, vascular deposits and not parenchymal plaques appear more sensitive predictors of dementia. Amyloid deposition in and around cerebral blood vessels plays a central role in a series of response mechanisms that lead to changes in the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, extravasations of plasma proteins, edema formation, release of inflammatory mediators and matrix metalloproteases which, in turn, produce partial degradation of the basal lamina with the potential to develop hemorrhagic complications. The progressive buildup of amyloid deposits in and around blood vessels chronically limits blood supply and causes focal deprivation of oxygen, triggering a secondary cascade of metabolic events several of which involve the generation of nitrogen and oxygen free radicals with consequent oxidative stress and cell toxicity. Many aspects of CAA in early- and late-onset AD –the special preference of Aβ40 to deposit in the vessel walls, the favored vascular compromise associated with many Aβ genetic variants, the puzzling observation that some of these vasculotropic variants solely manifest with recurrent hemorrhagic episodes while others are mainly associated with dementia– await clarification. Non-Aβ cerebral amyloidoses reinforce the viewpoint that plaque burden is not indicative of dementia while highlighting the relevance of nonfibrillar lesions and vascular involvement in the disease pathogenesis. The lessons learned from the comparative study of Aβ and non-Aβ cerebral amyloidosis provide new avenues and alternative models to study the role of amyloid in the molecular basis of neurodegeneration.
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
Urinary frequency, urgency and nocturia are common complaints in Parkinson’s disease (PD). The hypothesis most widely proposed to explain neurogenic bladder symptoms in PD is that cell loss in the substantia nigra may cause detrusor hyperactivity due to a loss in the D1 receptor-mediated tonic inhibition of the micturition reflex, although other causes including anti-parkinsonian medication cortical effects have been considered.1 We present the clinical and pathological findings of a patient with parkinsonism who presented with prominent dysautonomia and a poor response to dopaminergic medications and was considered to have possible multiple system atrophy parkinsonism (MSA-P). Pathological examination revealed that the patient had PD with α-synuclein pathology in the Onuf’s nucleus (ON).
Mutations in the glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA) are associated with Gaucher's disease, the most common lysosomal storage disorder. Parkinsonism is an established feature of Gaucher's disease and an increased frequency of mutations in GBA has been reported in several different ethnic series with sporadic Parkinson's disease. In this study, we evaluated the frequency of GBA mutations in British patients affected by Parkinson's disease. We utilized the DNA of 790 patients and 257 controls, matched for age and ethnicity, to screen for mutations within the GBA gene. Clinical data on all identified GBA mutation carriers was reviewed and analysed. Additionally, in all cases where brain material was available, a neuropathological evaluation was performed and compared to sporadic Parkinson's disease without GBA mutations. The frequency of GBA mutations among the British patients (33/790 = 4.18%) was significantly higher (P = 0.01; odds ratio = 3.7; 95% confidence interval = 1.12–12.14) when compared to the control group (3/257 = 1.17%). Fourteen different GBA mutations were identified, including three previously undescribed mutations, K7E, D443N and G193E. Pathological examination revealed widespread and abundant α-synuclein pathology in all 17 GBA mutation carriers, which were graded as Braak stage of 5–6, and had McKeith's limbic or diffuse neocortical Lewy body-type pathology. Diffuse neocortical Lewy body-type pathology tended to occur more frequently in the group with GBA mutations compared to matched Parkinson's disease controls. Clinical features comprised an early onset of the disease, the presence of hallucinations in 45% (14/31) and symptoms of cognitive decline or dementia in 48% (15/31) of patients. This study demonstrates that GBA mutations are found in British subjects at a higher frequency than any other known Parkinson's disease gene. This is the largest study to date on a non-Jewish patient sample with a detailed genotype/phenotype/pathological analyses which strengthens the hypothesis that GBA mutations represent a significant risk factor for the development of Parkinson's disease and suggest that to date, this is the most common genetic factor identified for the disease.
Parkinson's disease; GBA; Gaucher's disease; neuropathology
In cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), amyloid fibrils deposit in walls of arteries, arterioles and less frequently in veins and capillaries of the central nervous system, often resulting in secondary degenerative vascular changes. Although the amyloid-β peptide is by far the commonest amyloid subunit implicated in sporadic and rarely in hereditary forms of CAA, a number of other proteins may also be involved in rare familial diseases in which CAA is also a characteristic morphological feature. These latter proteins include the ABri and ADan subunits in familial British dementia and familial Danish dementia, respectively, which are also known under the umbrella term BRI2 gene-related dementias, variant cystatin C in hereditary cerebral haemorrhage with amyloidosis of Icelandic-type, variant transthyretins in meningo-vascular amyloidosis, disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) in hereditary prion disease with premature stop codon mutations and mutated gelsolin (AGel) in familial amyloidosis of Finnish type. In this review, the characteristic morphological features of the different CAAs is described and the implication of the biochemical, genetic and transgenic animal data for the pathogenesis of CAA is discussed.
Central nervous system; Cerebral amyloid angiopathy; Amyloid proteins; Amyloid-β; ABri; ADan; Cystatin C; Transthyretin; Prion protein; Gelsolin; Genetics; Biochemistry; Pathogenesis
We identified a case of Alzheimer’s disease with a deletion of the lysine residue at codon 280 (ΔK280) in exon 10-encoded microtubule-binding repeat domain of the tau gene (MAPT). This mutation was originally identified in a sporadic case of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) with a family history of Parkinson’s disease. In the original report, the authors were careful in their assessment of the pathogenicity and suggested one could not be sure whether the mutation was pathogenic or not. The mutation has always presented a conundrum because it is the only known mutation, of assumed pathogenicity, which increases the proportion of 3-repeat tau mRNA in in vitro assays. Here we present the clinical and pathological features of a new case with this mutation and discuss whether the mutation is indeed pathogenic.