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)
An expanded hexanucleotide repeat in the C9orf72 gene is the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (C9ALS/FTD). Although 0–30 hexanucleotide repeats are present in the general population, expansions >500 repeats are associated with C9ALS/FTD. Large C9ALS/FTD expansions share a common haplotype and whether these expansions derive from a single founder or occur more frequently on a predisposing haplotype is yet to be determined and is relevant to disease pathomechanisms. Furthermore, although cases carrying 50–200 repeats have been described, their role and the pathogenic threshold of the expansions remain to be identified and carry importance for diagnostics and genetic counseling. We present clinical and genetic data from a UK ALS cohort and report the detailed molecular study of an atypical somatically unstable expansion of 90 repeats. Our results across different tissues provide evidence for the pathogenicity of this repeat number by showing they can somatically expand in the central nervous system to the well characterized pathogenic range. Our results support the occurrence of multiple expansion events for C9ALS/FTD.
Frontotemporal dementia; Somatic instability; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Clinical and neuropathological similarities between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (PD and AD, respectively) suggest that these disorders may share etiology. To test this hypothesis, we have performed an association study of 54 genomic regions, previously implicated in PD or AD, in a large cohort of DLB cases and controls. The cohort comprised 788 DLB cases and 2624 controls. To minimize the issue of potential misdiagnosis, we have also performed the analysis including only neuropathologically proven DLB cases (667 cases). The results show that the APOE is a strong genetic risk factor for DLB, confirming previous findings, and that the SNCA and SCARB2 loci are also associated after a study-wise Bonferroni correction, although these have a different association profile than the associations reported for the same loci in PD. We have previously shown that the p.N370S variant in GBA is associated with DLB, which, together with the findings at the SCARB2 locus, suggests a role for lysosomal dysfunction in this disease. These results indicate that DLB has a unique genetic risk profile when compared with the two most common neurodegenerative diseases and that the lysosome may play an important role in the etiology of this disorder. We make all these data available.
Lewy body and Alzheimer-type pathologies often co-exist. Several studies suggest a synergistic relationship between amyloid-β (Aβ) and α-synuclein (α-syn) accumulation. We have explored the relationship between Aβ accumulation and the phosphorylation of α-syn at serine-129 (pSer129 α-syn), in post-mortem human brain tissue and in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells transfected to overexpress human α-syn.
We measured levels of Aβ40, Aβ42, α-syn and pSer129 α-syn by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in soluble and insoluble fractions of midfrontal, cingulate and parahippocampal cortex and thalamus, from cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) with (PDD; n = 12) and without dementia (PDND; n = 23), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB; n = 10) and age-matched controls (n = 17). We also examined the relationship of these measurements to cognitive decline, as measured by time-to-dementia and the mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score in the PD patients, and to Braak tangle stage.
In most brain regions, the concentration of insoluble pSer129 α-syn correlated positively, and soluble pSer129 α-syn negatively, with the levels of soluble and insoluble Aβ. Insoluble pSer129 α-syn also correlated positively with Braak stage. In most regions, the levels of insoluble and soluble Aβ and the proportion of insoluble α-syn that was phosphorylated at Ser129 were significantly higher in the PD and DLB groups than the controls, and higher in the PDD and DLB groups than the PDND brains. In PD, the MMSE score correlated negatively with the level of insoluble pSer129 α-syn. Exposure of SH-SY5Y cells to aggregated Aβ42 significantly increased the proportion of α-syn that was phosphorylated at Ser129 (aggregated Aβ40 exposure had a smaller, non-significant effect).
Together, these data show that the concentration of pSer129 α-syn in brain tissue homogenates is directly related to the level of Aβ and Braak tangle stage, and predicts cognitive status in Lewy body diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13195-014-0077-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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
The leukodystrophies comprise a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of progressive hereditary neurological disorders mainly affecting the myelin in the central nervous system. Their onset is variable from childhood to adulthood and presentation can be with a variety of clinical features that include mainly for adult-onset cases cognitive decline, seizures, parkinsonism, muscle weakness, neuropathy, spastic paraplegia, personality/behavioral problems, and dystonia. Recently, Rademakers and colleagues identified mutations in the CSF1R gene as the cause of hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids (HDLS), offering the possibility for an in-life diagnosis. The detection of mutations in this gene in cases diagnosed with different clinical entities further demonstrated the difficulties in the clinical diagnosis of HDLS.
To better understand the genetic role of mutations in this gene, we sequenced a large cohort of adult-onset leukodystrophy cases.
Whole-exome sequencing and follow up-screening by Sanger sequencing.
Collaborative study between the Institute of Neurology, University College London and the Inserm, Paris, France.
A total of 114 probands, mostly European patients, with a diagnosis of adult-onset leukodystrophy or atypical cases that could fit within a picture of leukodystrophy. These included 3 extended families within the spectrum of leukodystrophy phenotype.
Whole-exome sequencing in a family and Sanger sequencing of CSF1R.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Mutations in CSF1R.
We identified 12 probands with mutations in CSF1R. The clinical diagnoses given to these patients included dementia with spastic paraplegia, corticobasal degeneration syndrome, and stroke disorders. Our study shows that CSF1R mutations are responsible for a significant proportion of clinically and pathologically proven HDLS.
Conclusions and Relevance
These results give an indication of the frequency of CSF1R mutations in a European leukodystrophy series and expand the phenotypic spectrum of disorders that should be screened for this gene.
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.
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
The outcomes of Central Nervous System (CNS) relapses in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) treated in the ALL R3 trial, between January 2003 and March 2011 were analysed. Patients were risk stratified, to receive a matched donor allogeneic transplant or fractionated cranial irradiation with continued treatment for two years. A randomisation of Idarubicin with Mitoxantrone closed in December 2007 in favour of Mitoxantrone. The estimated 3-year progression free survival for combined and isolated CNS disease were 40.6% (25·1, 55·6) and 38.0% (26.2, 49.7) respectively. Univariate analysis showed a significantly better survival for age <10 years, progenitor-B cell disease, good-risk cytogenetics and those receiving Mitoxantrone. Adjusting for these variables (age, time to relapse, cytogenetics, treatment drug and gender) a multivariate analysis, showed a poorer outcome for those with combined CNS relapse (HR 2·64, 95% CI 1·32, 5·31, p = 0·006 for OS). ALL R3 showed an improvement in outcome for CNS relapses treated with Mitoxantrone compared to Idarubicin; a potential benefit for matched donor transplant for those with very early and early isolated-CNS relapses.
Clinical and neuropathological similarities between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases (PD and AD, respectively) suggest that these disorders may share etiology. To test this hypothesis, we have performed an association study of 54 genomic regions, previously implicated in PD or AD, in a large cohort of DLB cases and controls. The cohort comprised 788 DLB cases and 2624 controls. To minimize the issue of potential misdiagnosis, we have also performed the analysis including only neuropathologically proven DLB cases (667 cases). The results show that the APOE is a strong genetic risk factor for DLB, confirming previous findings, and that the SNCA and SCARB2 loci are also associated after a study-wise Bonferroni correction, although these have a different association profile than the associations reported for the same loci in PD. We have previously shown that the p.N370S variant in GBA is associated with DLB, which, together with the findings at the SCARB2 locus, suggests a role for lysosomal dysfunction in this disease. These results indicate that DLB has a unique genetic risk profile when compared with the two most common neurodegenerative diseases and that the lysosome may play an important role in the etiology of this disorder. We make all these data available.
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.)
Familial British (FBD) and familial Danish dementia (FDD) are progressive neurodegenerative disorders characterized by cerebral deposition of the amyloidogenic peptides ABri and ADan. These amyloid peptides start with an N-terminal glutamate residue, which can be posttranslationally converted into a pyroglutamate (pGlu-) modified form, a mechanism which has been extensively described to be relevant for Aβ peptides in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Like pGlu-Aβ peptides, pGlu-ABri peptides have an increased aggregation propensity and show higher toxicity on human neuroblastoma cells as their non-modified counterparts. We have generated novel N-terminal specific antibodies detecting the pGlu-modified forms of ABri and ADan peptides. With these antibodies we were able to identify abundant extracellular amyloid plaques, vascular and parenchymal deposits in human FBD and FDD brain tissue, as well as in a mouse model for FDD. Double-stainings using C-terminal specific antibodies in human samples revealed that highly aggregated pGlu-ABri and pGlu-ADan peptides are mainly present in plaque cores and central vascular deposits, leading to the assumption that these peptides have seeding properties. Furthermore, in an FDD-mouse model ADan peptides were detected in pre-synaptic terminals of the hippocampus where they might contribute to impaired synaptic transmission. These similarities of ABri and ADan to Aβ in AD suggest that the posttranslational pGlu-modification of amyloid peptides might represent a general pathological mechanism leading to increased aggregation and toxicity in these forms of degenerative dementias.
familial British dementia; familial Danish dementia; amyloid; pyroglutamate; transgenic mice; aggregation; toxicity; ABri; ADan
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting 1–2% in people >60 and 3–4% in people >80. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have now implicated significant evidence for association in at least 18 genomic regions. We have studied a large PD-meta analysis and identified a significant excess of SNPs (P < 1 × 10−16) that are associated with PD but fall short of the genome-wide significance threshold. This result was independent of variants at the 18 previously implicated regions and implies the presence of additional polygenic risk alleles. To understand how these loci increase risk of PD, we applied a pathway-based analysis, testing for biological functions that were significantly enriched for genes containing variants associated with PD. Analysing two independent GWA studies, we identified that both had a significant excess in the number of functional categories enriched for PD-associated genes (minimum P = 0.014 and P = 0.006, respectively). Moreover, 58 categories were significantly enriched for associated genes in both GWA studies (P < 0.001), implicating genes involved in the ‘regulation of leucocyte/lymphocyte activity’ and also ‘cytokine-mediated signalling’ as conferring an increased susceptibility to PD. These results were unaltered by the exclusion of all 178 genes that were present at the 18 genomic regions previously reported to be strongly associated with PD (including the HLA locus). Our findings, therefore, provide independent support to the strong association signal at the HLA locus and imply that the immune-related genetic susceptibility to PD is likely to be more widespread in the genome than previously appreciated.
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
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.
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.