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1.  Trail Making Test Part A and Brain Perfusion Imaging in Mild Alzheimer's Disease 
The Trail Making Test (TMT) has long been used to investigate deficits in cognitive processing speed and executive function in humans. However, there are few studies that elucidate the neural substrates of the TMT. The aim of the present study was to identify the regional perfusion patterns of the brain associated with performance on the TMT part A (TMT-A) in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Eighteen AD patients with poor performance on the TMT-A and 36 age- and sex-matched AD patients with good performance were selected. All subjects underwent brain single photon emission computed tomography.
No significant differences between the good and poor performance groups were found with respect to years of education and revised Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination scores. However, higher z-scores for hypoperfusion in the bilateral superior parietal lobule were observed in the group that scored poorly on the TMT-A compared with the good performance group.
Our results suggest that functional activity of the bilateral superior parietal lobules is closely related to performance time on the TMT-A. Thus, the performance time on the TMT-A might be a promising index of dysfunction of the superior parietal area among mild AD patients.
PMCID: PMC3721127  PMID: 23888166
Alzheimer's disease; Cerebral blood flow; Single photon emission computed tomography; Trail Making Test

2.  FET proteins TAF15 and EWS are selective markers that distinguish FTLD with FUS pathology from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations 
Brain  2011;134(9):2595-2609.
Accumulation of the DNA/RNA binding protein fused in sarcoma as cytoplasmic inclusions in neurons and glial cells is the pathological hallmark of all patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with mutations in FUS as well as in several subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration, which are not associated with FUS mutations. The mechanisms leading to inclusion formation and fused in sarcoma-associated neurodegeneration are only poorly understood. Because fused in sarcoma belongs to a family of proteins known as FET, which also includes Ewing’s sarcoma and TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15, we investigated the potential involvement of these other FET protein family members in the pathogenesis of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies. Immunohistochemical analysis of FET proteins revealed a striking difference among the various conditions, with pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations being labelled exclusively for fused in sarcoma, whereas fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration also consistently immunostained for TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and variably for Ewing’s sarcoma. Immunoblot analysis of proteins extracted from post-mortem tissue of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology demonstrated a relative shift of all FET proteins towards insoluble protein fractions, while genetic analysis of the TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing’s sarcoma gene did not identify any pathogenic variants. Cell culture experiments replicated the findings of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations by confirming the absence of TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing’s sarcoma alterations upon expression of mutant fused in sarcoma. In contrast, all endogenous FET proteins were recruited into cytoplasmic stress granules upon general inhibition of Transportin-mediated nuclear import, mimicking the findings in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology. These results allow a separation of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies caused by FUS mutations from those without a known genetic cause based on neuropathological features. More importantly, our data imply different pathological processes underlying inclusion formation and cell death between both conditions; the pathogenesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations appears to be more restricted to dysfunction of fused in sarcoma, while a more global and complex dysregulation of all FET proteins is involved in the subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology.
PMCID: PMC3170539  PMID: 21856723
FUS; TAF15; EWS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia
3.  Granular expression of prolyl-peptidyl isomerase PIN1 is a constant and specific feature of Alzheimer’s disease pathology and is independent of tau, Aβ and TDP-43 pathology 
Acta neuropathologica  2011;121(5):635-649.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) manifests with progressive memory loss and decline of spatial awareness and motor skills. Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) represent one of the pathological hallmarks of AD. Previous studies suggest that the enzyme prolyl-peptidyl cis–trans isomerase PIN1 [protein interacting with NIMA (never in mitosis A)-1] recognizes hyperphosphorylated tau (in NFTs) and facilitates its dephosphorylation, thereby recovering its function. This study aims to determine the frequency, severity and distribution of PIN1 immunoreactivity and its relationship to NFTs and other neuropathological markers of neurodegeneration such as amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and transcription-responsive DNA-binding protein of Mr 43 kDa (TDP-43). Immunohistochemical analysis of 194 patients (46 with AD, 43 with Parkinson’s disease/dementia with Lewy bodies, 12 with progressive supranuclear palsy/corticobasal degeneration, 36 with frontotemporal lobar degeneration, 21 with motor neuron disease and 34 non-demented (ND) individuals) revealed an increased frequency and severity of PIN1 immunoreactive inclusions in AD as compared to all diagnostic groups (P < 0.001). The hippocampal and cortical distribution of PIN1 granules was distinct from that of NFTs, Aβ and TDP-43 pathologies, though the frequency of neurons with PIN1 immunoreactivity increased with increasing NFT pathology. There was a progressive increase in PIN1 changes in ND individuals as the degree of AD-type pathological changes increased. Present findings indicate that PIN1 changes are a constant feature of AD pathology and could serve as a biomarker of the onset or spread of AD neuropathology independent of tau or Aβ.
PMCID: PMC3122037  PMID: 21243369
Alzheimer’s disease; PIN1; Neurofibrillary tangles; Neurodegeneration; Dementia
4.  Phosphorylated TDP-43 pathology and hippocampal sclerosis in progressive supranuclear palsy 
Acta neuropathologica  2010;120(1):55-66.
TDP-43 is characteristically accumulated in TDP-43 proteinopathies such as frontotemporal lobar degeneration and motor neurone disease, but is also present in some tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease, argyrophilic grain disease, and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). However, several studies have suggested that cases of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) lack TDP-43 pathology. We have therefore examined limbic regions of the brain in 19 PSP cases, as well as in 12 CBD cases, using phosphorylation-dependent anti-TDP-43 antibodies. We observed TDP-43-positive inclusions in five PSP cases (26%), as well as in two CBD cases (17%). The amygdala and hippocampal dentate gyrus were most frequently affected in PSP. Regional tau burden tended to be higher in TDP-43-positive PSP cases, and a significant correlation between tau and TDP-43 burden was noted in the occipitotemporal gyrus. Hippocampal sclerosis (HS) was found in 3/5 TDP-43-positive PSP cases, but HS was significantly more frequent in TDP-43-positive than TDP-43 negative PSP cases. Dementia was present in 13/19 (58%) of the PSP cases, in 4/5 TDP-43-positive cases, in all 3 TDP-43-positive cases with HS, in 1/2 TDP-43-positive cases without HS, and 7/14 cases lacking both. TDP-43 and tau were frequently colocalized in the amygdala, but not in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Immunoblotting demonstrated the characteristic (for TDP-43 proteinopathies) 45 and 25 kDa bands and high molecular weight smear in the TDP-43-positive PSP case. These findings suggest that (1) although PSP is nominally a tauopathy, pathological TDP-43 can accumulate in the limbic system in some cases, and (2) TDP-43 pathology may be concurrent with HS.
PMCID: PMC2901929  PMID: 20512649
Argyrophilic grains; Hippocampal sclerosis; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Tau; TDP-43

Results 1-4 (4)