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1.  Cerebellar c9RAN proteins associate with clinical and neuropathological characteristics of C9ORF72 repeat expansion carriers 
Acta Neuropathologica  2015;130(4):559-573.
Clinical and neuropathological characteristics associated with G4C2 repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72), the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia, are highly variable. To gain insight on the molecular basis for the heterogeneity among C9ORF72 mutation carriers, we evaluated associations between features of disease and levels of two abundantly expressed “c9RAN proteins” produced by repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation of the expanded repeat. For these studies, we took a departure from traditional immunohistochemical approaches and instead employed immunoassays to quantitatively measure poly(GP) and poly(GA) levels in cerebellum, frontal cortex, motor cortex, and/or hippocampus from 55 C9ORF72 mutation carriers [12 patients with ALS, 24 with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and 19 with FTLD with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND)]. We additionally investigated associations between levels of poly(GP) or poly(GA) and cognitive impairment in 15 C9ORF72 ALS patients for whom neuropsychological data were available. Among the neuroanatomical regions investigated, poly(GP) levels were highest in the cerebellum. In this same region, associations between poly(GP) and both neuropathological and clinical features were detected. Specifically, cerebellar poly(GP) levels were significantly lower in patients with ALS compared to patients with FTLD or FTLD-MND. Furthermore, cerebellar poly(GP) associated with cognitive score in our cohort of 15 patients. In the cerebellum, poly(GA) levels similarly trended lower in the ALS subgroup compared to FTLD or FTLD-MND subgroups, but no association between cerebellar poly(GA) and cognitive score was detected. Both cerebellar poly(GP) and poly(GA) associated with C9ORF72 variant 3 mRNA expression, but not variant 1 expression, repeat size, disease onset, or survival after onset. Overall, these data indicate that cerebellar abnormalities, as evidenced by poly(GP) accumulation, associate with neuropathological and clinical phenotypes, in particular cognitive impairment, of C9ORF72 mutation carriers.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-015-1474-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4575385  PMID: 26350237
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; C9ORF72 repeat expansion; c9RAN proteins; Cognition; Dipeptide repeat proteins; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Neuropathological diagnosis; Repeat-associated non-ATG translation
2.  Dementia with Lewy bodies 
Neurology  2014;83(9):801-809.
To investigate clinical, imaging, and pathologic associations of the cingulate island sign (CIS) in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
We retrospectively identified and compared patients with a clinical diagnosis of DLB (n = 39); patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) matched by age, sex, and education (n = 39); and cognitively normal controls (n = 78) who underwent 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and C11 Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)-PET scans. Among these patients, we studied those who came to autopsy and underwent Braak neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) staging (n = 10).
Patients with a clinical diagnosis of DLB had a higher ratio of posterior cingulate to precuneus plus cuneus metabolism, cingulate island sign (CIS), on FDG-PET than patients with AD (p < 0.001), a finding independent of β-amyloid load on PiB-PET (p = 0.56). Patients with CIS positivity on visual assessment of FDG-PET fit into the group of high- or intermediate-probability DLB pathology and received clinical diagnosis of DLB, not AD. Higher CIS ratio correlated with lower Braak NFT stage (r = −0.96; p < 0.001).
Our study found that CIS on FDG-PET is not associated with fibrillar β-amyloid deposition but indicates lower Braak NFT stage in patients with DLB. Identifying biomarkers that measure relative contributions of underlying pathologies to dementia is critical as neurotherapeutics move toward targeted treatments.
PMCID: PMC4155048  PMID: 25056580
3.  Incidence of Dementia Among Participants and Nonparticipants in a Longitudinal Study of Cognitive Aging 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2014;180(4):414-423.
Although rates of incident dementia have been reported from several populations, the impact of nonparticipation on dementia incidence in studies of cognitive aging is unknown. In 2004, investigators with the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging selected persons aged 70–89 years from an enumeration of all Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents (age- and sex-stratified random sample). Of 4,398 potential participants, 2,050 agreed to undergo an in-person health assessment. Those participants were reevaluated in person using standard diagnostic procedures approximately every 15 months over a median follow-up period of 5.7 years (through September 15, 2013). There were 1,679 persons who refused any participation. A trained nurse abstractor reviewed the medical records of nonparticipants using the Rochester Epidemiology Project's medical record linkage system a median of 3.9 years after refusal. Nonparticipants had a higher prevalence of dementia than participants evaluated in person (6.5% vs. 3.3%; P < 0.0001). The standardized incidence of dementia was not significantly higher among the nonparticipants (23.2 per 1,000 person-years) than in those evaluated in person (19.6 per 1,000 person-years; hazard ratio = 1.17, 95% confidence interval: 0.95, 1.43 (P = 0.13); adjusted for education and sex, with age as the time scale). The small, nonsignificant impact of nonparticipation on rates of incident dementia is reassuring for future studies based on incident dementia cases.
PMCID: PMC4128768  PMID: 24859276
aging; cognition; cognitive aging; dementia; epidemiologic methods; incidence; prevalence
4.  Genome-wide association study of corticobasal degeneration identifies risk variants shared with progressive supranuclear palsy 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7247.
Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting movement and cognition, definitively diagnosed only at autopsy. Here, we conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in CBD cases (n=152) and 3,311 controls, and 67 CBD cases and 439 controls in a replication stage. Associations with meta-analysis were 17q21 at MAPT (P=1.42 × 10−12), 8p12 at lnc-KIF13B-1, a long non-coding RNA (rs643472; P=3.41 × 10−8), and 2p22 at SOS1 (rs963731; P=1.76 × 10−7). Testing for association of CBD with top progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) GWAS single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified associations at MOBP (3p22; rs1768208; P=2.07 × 10−7) and MAPT H1c (17q21; rs242557; P=7.91 × 10−6). We previously reported SNP/transcript level associations with rs8070723/MAPT, rs242557/MAPT, and rs1768208/MOBP and herein identified association with rs963731/SOS1. We identify new CBD susceptibility loci and show that CBD and PSP share a genetic risk factor other than MAPT at 3p22 MOBP (myelin-associated oligodendrocyte basic protein).
Corticobasal degeneration is a rare neurodegenerative disorder that can only be definitively diagnosed by autopsy. Here, Kouri et al. conduct a genome-wide-association study and identify two genetic susceptibility loci 17q21 (MAPT) and 3p12 (MOBP), and a novel susceptibility locus at 8p12.
PMCID: PMC4469997  PMID: 26077951
5.  TDP-43 in Alzheimer’s disease is not associated with clinical FTLD or Parkinsonism 
Journal of neurology  2014;261(7):1344-1348.
Widespread deposition of TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43), a major protein inclusion commonly found in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can also be seen in a subset of cases with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Some of these AD cases have TDP-43 immunoreactivity in basal ganglia (BG) and substantia nigra (SN), regions that when affected can be associated with parkinsonian signs or symptoms, or even features suggestive of frontotemporal dementia. Here, we examined the presence of clinical features of FTLD, parkinsonian signs and symptoms, and BG atrophy on MRI, in 51 pathologically confirmed AD cases (Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage IV–VI) with widespread TDP-43 deposition, with and without BG and SN involvement. All 51 cases had presented with progressive cognitive impairment with prominent memory deficits. None of the patients demonstrated early behavioral disinhibition, apathy, loss of empathy, stereotyped behavior, hyperorality, and/or executive deficits. Furthermore, TDP-43 deposition in BG or SN had no significant association with tremor (p = 0.80), rigidity (p = 0.19), bradykinesia (p = 0.19), and gait/postural instability (p = 0.39). Volumes of the BG structures were not associated with TDP-43 deposition in the BG. The present study demonstrates that TDP-43 deposition in pathologically confirmed AD cases is not associated with a clinical manifestation suggestive of FTLD, or parkinsonian features.
PMCID: PMC4101047  PMID: 24760339
TDP-43; Alzheimer’s disease; Frontotemporal dementia; Parkinsonism
6.  Antemortem MRI findings associated with microinfarcts at autopsy 
Neurology  2014;82(22):1951-1958.
To determine antemortem MRI findings associated with microinfarcts at autopsy.
Patients with microinfarcts (n = 22) and patients without microinfarcts (n = 44) who underwent antemortem MRI were identified from a dementia clinic–based, population–based, and community clinic–based autopsy cohort. The microinfarct and no-microinfarct groups were matched on age at MRI, age at death, sex, APOE status, Mini-Mental State Examination score, and pathologic diagnosis of Alzheimer disease. Brain infarcts were assessed on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI. White matter hyperintensities on FLAIR MRI and hippocampal volumes on T1-weighted MRI were quantified using automated methods. A subset of subjects with microinfarcts (n = 15) and a matched group of subjects without microinfarcts (n = 15) had serial T1-weighted MRIs and were included in an analysis of global and regional brain atrophy rates using automated methods.
The presence of cortical (p = 0.03) and subcortical (p = 0.02) infarcts on antemortem MRI was associated with presence of microinfarcts at autopsy. Higher numbers of cortical (p = 0.05) and subcortical (p = 0.03) infarcts on antemortem MRI were also associated with presence of microinfarcts. Presence of microinfarcts was not associated with white matter hyperintensities and cross-sectional hippocampal volume on antemortem MRI. Whole-brain and regional precuneus, motor, and somatosensory atrophy rates were higher in subjects with microinfarcts compared to subjects without microinfarcts.
Microinfarcts increase brain atrophy rates independent of Alzheimer disease pathology. Association between microinfarct pathology and macroinfarcts on MRI suggests either common risk factors or a shared pathophysiology and potentially common preventive targets.
PMCID: PMC4105260  PMID: 24793188
7.  Early Alzheimer's Disease Neuropathology Detected by Proton MR Spectroscopy 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(49):16247-16255.
Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) is sensitive to early neurodegenerative processes associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although 1H-MRS metabolite ratios of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr), NAA/myoinositol (mI), and mI/Cr measured in the posterior cingulate gyrus reveal evidence of disease progression in AD, pathologic underpinnings of the 1H-MRS metabolite changes in AD are unknown. Pathologically diagnosed human cases ranging from no likelihood to high likelihood AD (n = 41, 16 females and 25 males) who underwent antemortem 1H-MRS of the posterior cingulate gyrus at 3 tesla were included in this study. Immunohistochemical evaluation was performed on the posterior cingulate gyrus using antibodies to synaptic vesicles, hyperphosphorylated tau (pTau), neurofibrillary tangle conformational-epitope (cNFT), amyloid-β, astrocytes, and microglia. The slides were digitally analyzed using Aperio software, which allows neuropathologic quantification in the posterior cingulate gray matter. MRS and pathology associations were adjusted for time from scan to death. Significant associations across AD and control subjects were found between reduced synaptic immunoreactivity and both NAA/Cr and NAA/mI in the posterior cingulate gyrus. Higher pTau burden was associated with lower NAA/Cr and NAA/mI. Higher amyloid-β burden was associated with elevated mI/Cr and lower NAA/mI ratios, but not with NAA/Cr. 1H-MRS metabolite levels reveal early neurodegenerative changes associated with AD pathology. Our findings support the hypothesis that a decrease in NAA/Cr is associated with loss of synapses and early pTau pathology, but not with amyloid-β or later accumulation of cNFT pathology in the posterior cingulate gyrus. In addition, elevation of mI/Cr is associated with the occurrence of amyloid-β plaques in AD.
PMCID: PMC4252542  PMID: 25471565
Alzheimer's disease; digital microscopy; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; neuropathology; posterior cingulate; tau
8.  Regional Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Patterns in Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Neurobiology of aging  2014;35(6):1483-1490.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) characteristics of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitively normal controls (CN) were compared. DLB (n=34), AD (n=35) and CN (n=148) participated in a MRS study from frontal, posterior cingulate and occipital voxels. We investigated DLB patients with preserved hippocampal volumes to determine the MRS changes in DLB with low probability of overlapping AD pathology. DLB patients were characterized by decreased NAA/Cr in the occipital voxel. AD patients were characterized by lower NAA/Cr in the frontal and posterior cingulate voxels. Normal NAA/Cr levels in the frontal voxel differentiated DLB patients with preserved hippocampal volumes from AD patients. DLB and AD patients had elevated Cho/Cr and mI/Cr in the posterior cingulate. MRS abnormalities associated with loss of neuronal integrity localized to the occipital lobes in DLB, and the posterior cingulate gyri and frontal lobes in AD. This pattern of MRS abnormalities may have a role in differential diagnosis of DLB and in distinguishing DLB patients with overlapping AD pathology.
PMCID: PMC3961495  PMID: 24468473
Dementia with Lewy Bodies; Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; Alzheimer’s disease
9.  TDP-43 is a key player in the clinical features associated with Alzheimer’s disease 
Acta neuropathologica  2014;127(6):811-824.
The aim of this study was to determine whether the TAR DNA-binding protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) independently has any effect on the clinical and neuroimaging features typically ascribed to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology, and whether TDP-43 pathology could help shed light on the phenomenon of resilient cognition in AD. Three-hundred forty-two subjects pathologically diagnosed with AD were screened for the presence, burden and distribution of TDP-43. All had been classified as cognitively impaired or normal, prior to death. Atlas-based parcellation and voxel-based morphometry were used to assess regional atrophy on MRI. Regression models controlling for age at death, apolipoprotein ε4 and other AD-related pathologies were utilized to explore associations between TDP-43 and cognition or brain atrophy, stratified by Braak stage. Additionally, we determined whether the effects of TDP-43 were mediated by hippocampal sclerosis. One-hundred ninety-five (57%) cases were TDP-positive. After accounting for age, apolipoprotein ε4, and other pathologies, TDP-43 had a strong effect on cognition, memory loss, and medial temporal atrophy in AD. These effects were not mediated by hippocampal sclerosis. TDP-positive subjects were 10× more likely to be cognitively impaired at death compared to TDP-negative subjects. Greater cognitive impairment and medial temporal atrophy were associated with greater TDP-43 burden and more extensive TDP-43 distribution. TDP-43 is an important factor in the manifestation of the clinico-imaging features of AD. TDP-43 also appears to be able to overpower what has been termed resilient brain aging. TDP-43 therefore should be considered a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of AD.
PMCID: PMC4172544  PMID: 24659241
TDP-43; Alzheimer disease; resilience; APOE ε4; Braak stage; MRI
10.  Progranulin protein levels are differently regulated in plasma and CSF 
Neurology  2014;82(21):1871-1878.
We aimed to investigate the relationship between plasma and CSF progranulin (PGRN) levels.
Plasma and CSF PGRN were measured in a cohort of 345 subjects from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging by ELISA. Single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping was performed using TaqMan assays. Associations between PGRN and sex, age at sample collection, diagnosis, single nucleotide polymorphism genotypes (GRN, SORT1, and APOE), and Pittsburgh compound B score were explored separately in CSF and plasma using single variable linear regression models. Pearson partial correlation coefficient was used to estimate the correlation of PGRN in CSF and plasma.
Plasma (p = 0.0031) and CSF (p = 0.0044) PGRN significantly increased with age, whereas plasma PGRN levels were 7% lower (p = 0.0025) and CSF PGRN levels 5% higher (p = 0.0024) in male compared with female participants. Correcting for age and sex, higher plasma PGRN was associated with higher CSF PGRN (partial r = 0.17, p = 0.004). In plasma, both rs5848 (GRN; p = 0.002) and rs646776 (SORT1; p = 3.56E-7) were associated with PGRN, while only rs5848 showed highly significant association in CSF (p = 5.59E-14). Age, sex, rs5848 genotype, and plasma PGRN together accounted for only 18% of the variability observed in CSF PGRN.
While some correlation exists between plasma and CSF PGRN, age, sex, and genetic factors differently affect PGRN levels. Therefore, caution should be taken when using plasma PGRN to predict PGRN changes in the brain. These findings further highlight that plasma PGRN levels may not accurately predict clinical features or response to future frontotemporal lobar degeneration therapies.
PMCID: PMC4105255  PMID: 24771538
11.  Baseline Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and the Risk of Incident Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study 
The American journal of psychiatry  2014;171(5):572-581.
We conducted a prospective cohort study to estimate the incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by baseline neuropsychiatric status, in the setting of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.
A classification of normal cognitive aging, MCI, and dementia was adjudicated by an expert consensus panel based on published criteria. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were computed using Cox proportional hazards model, with age as a time scale. Baseline Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire data were available on 1,587 cognitively normal persons who underwent at least one follow-up visit.
We followed the cohort (N=1,587) to incident MCI (N=365) or censoring variables (N=179) for a median of 5 years. The following baseline neuropsychiatric symptoms significantly predicted incident MCI, after adjusting for age, sex, education and medical comorbidity: agitation (HR=3.06; 95% CI=1.89–4.93), apathy (HR=2.26; 95% CI=1.49–3.41), anxiety (HR=1.87; 95% CI=1.28–2.73), irritability (HR=1.84; 95% CI=1.31–2.58), and depression (HR=1.63; 95% CI=1.23–2.16). Delusion (HR=0.55; 95% CI=0.08–3.95) and hallucination (HR=1.48; 95% CI=0.37–5.99) did not predict incident MCI. A secondary analysis showed that euphoria (HR=11.3; 95% CI=3.44–37.2), disinhibition (HR=5.18; 95% CI=2.24–12.0) and nighttime behavior (HR=2.04; 95% CI=1.11–3.76) were significant predictors of non-amnestic MCI but not of amnestic MCI. By contrast, depression predicted amnestic MCI (HR=1.74; 95% CI=1.22–2.47) but not non-amnestic MCI (HR=1.18; 95% CI=0.64–2.16).
Non-psychotic symptoms predicted incident MCI. However, the associations between baseline euphoria, disinhibition, delusions, hallucinations, and the outcome of incident MCI should be considered preliminary since the observations were based on small number of events.
PMCID: PMC4057095  PMID: 24700290
12.  Late-onset Alzheimer disease genetic variants in posterior cortical atrophy and posterior AD 
Neurology  2014;82(16):1455-1462.
To investigate association of genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) with risk of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), a syndrome of visual impairment with predominant Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology in posterior cortical regions, and with risk of “posterior AD” neuropathology.
We assessed 81 participants with PCA diagnosed clinically and 54 with neuropathologic diagnosis of posterior AD vs 2,523 controls for association with 11 significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from published LOAD risk genome-wide association studies.
There was highly significant association with APOE ε4 and increased risk of PCA (p = 0.0003, odds ratio [OR] = 3.17) and posterior AD (p = 1.11 × 10−17, OR = 6.43). No other locus was significant after corrections for multiple testing, although rs11136000 near CLU (p = 0.019, OR = 0.60) and rs744373 near BIN1 (p = 0.025, OR = 1. 63) associated nominally significantly with posterior AD, and rs3851179 at the PICALM locus had significant association with PCA (p = 0.0003, OR = 2.84). ABCA7 locus SNP rs3764650, which was also tested under the recessive model because of Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium, also had nominally significant association with PCA risk. The direction of association at APOE, CLU, and BIN1 loci was the same for participants with PCA and posterior AD. The effects for all SNPs, except rs3851179, were consistent with those for LOAD risk.
We identified a significant effect for APOE and nominate CLU, BIN1, and ABCA7 as additional risk loci for PCA and posterior AD. Our findings suggest that at least some of the genetic risk factors for LOAD are shared with these atypical conditions and provide effect-size estimates for their future genetic studies.
PMCID: PMC4001196  PMID: 24670887
13.  Association of type 2 diabetes with brain atrophy and cognitive impairment 
Neurology  2014;82(13):1132-1141.
We investigated the associations of diabetes and hypertension with imaging biomarkers (markers of neuronal injury and ischemic damage) and with cognition in a population-based cohort without dementia.
Participants (n = 1,437, median age 80 years) were evaluated by a nurse and physician and underwent neuropsychological testing. A diagnosis of cognitively normal, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or dementia was made by an expert panel. Participants underwent MRI to determine cortical and subcortical infarctions, white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume, hippocampal volume (HV), and whole brain volume (WBV). The medical records were reviewed for diabetes and hypertension in midlife or later.
Midlife diabetes was associated with subcortical infarctions (odds ratio, 1.85 [95% confidence interval, 1.09–3.15]; p = 0.02), reduced HV (−4% [−7 to −1.0]; p = 0.01), reduced WBV (−2.9% [−4.1 to −1.6]), and prevalent MCI (odds ratio, 2.08; p = 0.01). The association between diabetes and MCI persisted with adjustment for infarctions and WMH volume but was attenuated after adjustment for WBV (1.60 [0.87–2.95]; p = 0.13) and HV (1.82 [1.00–3.32]; p = 0.05). Midlife hypertension was associated with infarctions and WMH volume and was marginally associated with reduced performance in executive function. Effects of late-life onset of diabetes and hypertension were few.
Midlife onset of diabetes may affect late-life cognition through loss of brain volume. Midlife hypertension may affect executive function through ischemic pathology. Late-life onset of these conditions had fewer effects on brain pathology and cognition.
PMCID: PMC3966799  PMID: 24647028
14.  TMEM106B protects C9ORF72 expansion carriers against frontotemporal dementia 
Acta neuropathologica  2014;127(3):397-406.
Variants in transmembrane protein 106 B (TMEM106B) modify the disease penetrance of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in carriers of progranulin (GRN) mutations. We investigated whether TMEM106B is also a genetic modifier of disease in carriers of chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) expansions. We assessed the genotype of 325 C9ORF72 expansion carriers (cohort 1), 586 FTD patients lacking C9ORF72 expansions (with or without motor neuron disease [MND]; cohort 2), and a total of 1,302 controls for TMEM106B variants (rs3173615 and rs1990622) using MassArray iPLEX and Taqman genotyping assays. For our primary analysis, we focused on functional variant rs3173615, and employed a recessive genotypic model. In cohort 1, patients with C9ORF72 expansions showed a significantly reduced frequency of carriers homozygous for the minor allele as compared to controls (11.9% versus 19.1%, odds ratio (OR): 0.57, p=0.014; same direction as carriers of GRN mutations). The strongest evidence was provided by FTD patients (OR: 0.33, p=0.009) followed by FTD/MND patients (OR: 0.38, p=0.017), whereas no significant difference was observed in MND patients (OR: 0.85, p=0.55). In cohort 2, the frequency of carriers homozygous for the minor allele was not significantly reduced in patients as compared to controls (OR: 0.77, p=0.079); however, a significant reduction was observed when focusing on those patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration and TAR DNA-binding protein 43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP; OR: 0.26, p<0.001).
Our study identifies TMEM106B as the first genetic factor modifying disease presentation in C9ORF72 expansion carriers. Homozygosity for the minor allele protects carriers from developing FTD, but not from developing MND; similar effects are seen in FTLD-TDP patients with yet unknown genetic causes. These new findings show that the protective effects of TMEM106B are not confined to carriers of GRN mutations, and might be relevant for prognostic testing, and as a promising therapeutic target for the entire spectrum of FTLD-TDP.
PMCID: PMC3944829  PMID: 24385136
C9ORF72; TMEM106B; frontotemporal dementia; motor neuron disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; disease modifier
15.  Age-at-Onset in Late Onset Alzheimer Disease is Modified by Multiple Genetic Loci 
JAMA neurology  2014;71(11):1394-1404.
As APOE locus variants contribute to both risk of late-onset Alzheimer disease and differences in age-at-onset, it is important to know if other established late-onset Alzheimer disease risk loci also affect age-at-onset in cases.
To investigate the effects of known Alzheimer disease risk loci in modifying age-at-onset, and to estimate their cumulative effect on age-at-onset variation, using data from genome-wide association studies in the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC).
Design, Setting and Participants
The ADGC comprises 14 case-control, prospective, and family-based datasets with data on 9,162 Caucasian participants with Alzheimer’s occurring after age 60 who also had complete age-at-onset information, gathered between 1989 and 2011 at multiple sites by participating studies. Data on genotyped or imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) most significantly associated with risk at ten confirmed LOAD loci were examined in linear modeling of AAO, and individual dataset results were combined using a random effects, inverse variance-weighted meta-analysis approach to determine if they contribute to variation in age-at-onset. Aggregate effects of all risk loci on AAO were examined in a burden analysis using genotype scores weighted by risk effect sizes.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Age at disease onset abstracted from medical records among participants with late-onset Alzheimer disease diagnosed per standard criteria.
Analysis confirmed association of APOE with age-at-onset (rs6857, P=3.30×10−96), with associations in CR1 (rs6701713, P=7.17×10−4), BIN1 (rs7561528, P=4.78×10−4), and PICALM (rs561655, P=2.23×10−3) reaching statistical significance (P<0.005). Risk alleles individually reduced age-at-onset by 3-6 months. Burden analyses demonstrated that APOE contributes to 3.9% of variation in age-at-onset (R2=0.220) over baseline (R2=0.189) whereas the other nine loci together contribute to 1.1% of variation (R2=0.198).
Conclusions and Relevance
We confirmed association of APOE variants with age-at-onset among late-onset Alzheimer disease cases and observed novel associations with age-at-onset in CR1, BIN1, and PICALM. In contrast to earlier hypothetical modeling, we show that the combined effects of Alzheimer disease risk variants on age-at-onset are on the scale of, but do not exceed, the APOE effect. While the aggregate effects of risk loci on age-at-onset may be significant, additional genetic contributions to age-at-onset are individually likely to be small.
PMCID: PMC4314944  PMID: 25199842
Alzheimer Disease; Alzheimer Disease Genetics; Alzheimer’s Disease - Pathophysiology; Genetics of Alzheimer Disease; Aging
16.  Higher risk of progression to dementia in mild cognitive impairment cases who revert to normal 
Neurology  2014;82(4):317-325.
To estimate rates of progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia and of reversion from MCI to being cognitively normal (CN) in a population-based cohort.
Participants (n = 534, aged 70 years and older) enrolled in the prospective Mayo Clinic Study of Aging were evaluated at baseline and every 15 months to identify incident MCI or dementia.
Over a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 153 of 534 participants (28.7%) with prevalent or incident MCI progressed to dementia (71.3 per 1,000 person-years). The cumulative incidence of dementia was 5.4% at 1 year, 16.1% at 2, 23.4% at 3, 31.1% at 4, and 42.5% at 5 years. The risk of dementia was elevated in MCI cases (hazard ratio [HR] 23.2, p < 0.001) compared with CN subjects. Thirty-eight percent (n = 201) of MCI participants reverted to CN (175.0/1,000 person-years), but 65% subsequently developed MCI or dementia; the HR was 6.6 (p < 0.001) compared with CN subjects. The risk of reversion was reduced in subjects with an APOE ε4 allele (HR 0.53, p < 0.001), higher Clinical Dementia Rating Scale–Sum of Boxes (HR 0.56, p < 0.001), and poorer cognitive function (HR 0.56, p < 0.001). The risk was also reduced in subjects with amnestic MCI (HR 0.70, p = 0.02) and multidomain MCI (HR 0.61, p = 0.003).
MCI cases, including those who revert to CN, have a high risk of progressing to dementia. This suggests that diagnosis of MCI at any time has prognostic value.
PMCID: PMC3929198  PMID: 24353333
17.  Association of diabetes with amnestic and nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment 
Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) through Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related and vascular pathology and may also increase the risk of nonamnestic MCI (naMCI) through vascular disease mechanisms. We examined the association of type 2 diabetes with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and MCI subtype (aMCI and naMCI) overall and by sex.
Participants were Olmsted County, Minnesota residents (70 years and older) enrolled in a prospective, population-based study. At baseline and every 15 months thereafter, participants were evaluated using the Clinical Dementia Rating scale, a neurological evaluation, and neuropsychological testing for a diagnosis of normal cognition, MCI, and dementia by a consensus panel. Type 2 diabetes was ascertained from the medical records of participants at baseline.
Over a median 4.0 years of follow-up, 348 of 1450 subjects developed MCI. Type 2 diabetes was associated (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval]) with MCI (1.39 [1.08–1.79]), aMCI (1.58 [1.17–2.15]; multiple domain: 1.58 [1.01–2.47]; single domain: 1.49 [1.09–2.05]), and the hazard ratio for naMCI was elevated (1.37 [0.84–2.24]). Diabetes was strongly associated with multiple-domain aMCI in men (2.42 [1.31–4.48]) and an elevated risk of multiple domain naMCI in men (2.11 [0.70–6.33]), and with single domain naMCI in women (2.32 [1.04–5.20]).
Diabetes was associated with an increased risk of MCI in elderly persons. The association of diabetes with MCI may vary with subtype, number of domains, and sex. Prevention and control of diabetes may reduce the risk of MCI and Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC3830601  PMID: 23562428
Mild cognitive impairment; Risk factors; Type 2 diabetes; Incidence; Cohort studies; Population-based studies; Sex differences; Diabetic retinopathy; Diabetic neuropathy
18.  Nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment progresses to dementia with Lewy bodies 
Neurology  2013;81(23):2032-2038.
To determine the rate of progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
We followed 337 patients with MCI in the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (range 2–12 years). Competing risks survival models were used to examine the rates of progression to clinically probable DLB and Alzheimer disease (AD). A subset of patients underwent neuropathologic examination.
In this clinical cohort, 116 remained as MCI, while 49 progressed to probable DLB, 162 progressed to clinically probable AD, and 10 progressed to other dementias. Among nonamnestic MCI, progression rate to probable DLB was 20 events per 100 person-years and to probable AD was 1.6 per 100 person-years. Among amnestic MCI, progression rate to probable AD was 17 events per 100 person-years, and to DLB was 1.5 events per 100 person-years. In 88% of those who developed probable DLB, the baseline MCI diagnosis included attention and/or visuospatial deficits. Those who developed probable DLB were more likely to have baseline daytime sleepiness and subtle parkinsonism. In 99% of the clinically probable AD group, the baseline MCI diagnosis included memory impairment. Neuropathologic confirmation was obtained in 24 of 30 of those with clinically probable AD, and in 14 of 18 of those with clinically probable DLB.
In a clinical sample, patients with nonamnestic MCI were more likely to develop DLB, and those with amnestic MCI were more likely to develop probable AD.
PMCID: PMC3854825  PMID: 24212390
19.  Treatment of Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
PMCID: PMC3913181  PMID: 24222315
Dementia with Lewy bodies; Treatment; Cholinesterase inhibitors; Parkinson's disease dementia; Antipsychotic; Dysautonomia; REM sleep behavior disorder
20.  MRI and pathology of REM sleep behavior disorder in dementia with Lewy bodies 
Neurology  2013;81(19):1681-1689.
To determine structural MRI and digital microscopic characteristics of REM sleep behavior disorder in individuals with low-, intermediate-, and high-likelihood dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) at autopsy.
Patients with autopsy-confirmed low-, intermediate-, and high-likelihood DLB, according to the probability statement recommended by the third report of the DLB Consortium, and antemortem MRI, were identified (n = 75). The clinical history was assessed for presence (n = 35) and absence (n = 40) of probable REM sleep behavior disorder (pRBD), and patients' antemortem MRIs were compared using voxel-based morphometry. Pathologic burdens of phospho-tau, β-amyloid, and α-synuclein were measured in regions associated with early neuropathologic involvement, the hippocampus and amygdala.
pRBD was present in 21 patients (60%) with high-likelihood, 12 patients (34%) with intermediate-likelihood, and 2 patients (6%) with low-likelihood DLB. Patients with pRBD were younger, more likely to be male (p ≤ 0.001), and had a more frequent neuropathologic diagnosis of diffuse (neocortical) Lewy body disease. In the hippocampus and amygdala, phospho-tau and β-amyloid burden were lower in patients with pRBD compared with those without pRBD (p < 0.01). α-Synuclein burden did not differ in the hippocampus, but trended in the amygdala. Patients without pRBD had greater atrophy of temporoparietal cortices, hippocampus, and amygdala (p < 0.001) than those with pRBD; atrophy of the hippocampus (p = 0.005) and amygdala (p = 0.02) were associated with greater phospho-tau burdens in these regions.
Presence of pRBD is associated with a higher likelihood of DLB and less severe Alzheimer-related pathology in the medial temporal lobes, whereas absence of pRBD is characterized by Alzheimer-like atrophy patterns on MRI and increased phospho-tau burden.
PMCID: PMC3812105  PMID: 24107861
21.  Diabetes and Elevated HbA1c levels are Associated with Brain Hypometabolism but not Amyloid Accumulation 
Dysfunctional insulin signaling may affect brain metabolism or amyloid deposition. We investigated the associations of type 2 diabetes with amyloid accumulation measured using 11C-Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) and brain hypometabolism measured using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET).
We studied a sample of non-demented participants from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. All subjects underwent MRI, amyloid PET and FDG PET. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) signature and region of interest (ROI) measures for PiB retention ratio and FDG ratio were measured. Diabetes was assessed from the Rochester Epidemiology Project medical records-linkage system.
Among 749 participants (median age 79.0 years; 56.5% male, 81.0% cognitively normal; 20.6% diabetics), FDG hypometabolism (FDG ratio < 1.31) in the AD signature meta-ROI was more common in diabetics (48.1%) than in non-diabetics (28.9%; p <0.001). The median FDG ratio was lower in diabetics vs. non-diabetics in the AD signature meta-ROI (1.32 vs. 1.40, p < 0.001), and in the angular (1.40 vs. 1.48, p < 0.001) and posterior cingulate gyri ROIs (1.63 vs. 1.72, p < 0.001). The odds ratio (OR [95% confidence interval]) for abnormal AD signature FDG hypometabolism was elevated (OR, 2.28 [1.56, 3.33]) in diabetics vs. non-diabetics after adjustment for age, sex, and education, and after additional adjustment for Apolipoprotein ε4 allele, glycemic level, and cognitive status (OR, 1.69 [1.10, 2.60]). However, AD signature PiB retention ratio was similar in diabetics vs. non-diabetics (OR, 1.03 [0.71, 1.51]; p = 0.87). In post-hoc analyses in non-diabetics, a 1% increase in HBA1c was associated with greater AD signature hypometabolism in cognitively normal subjects (OR, 1.93 [1.03, 3.62; p = 0.04]) and in the total cohort (OR 1.59 [0.92, 2.75; p = 0.10).
Diabetes and poor glycemic control in non-diabetics may enhance glucose hypometabolism in AD signature regions. These factors should be investigated in longitudinal studies for their role in detecting onset of symptoms in AD.
PMCID: PMC4011952  PMID: 24652830
Diabetes; cerebral glucose metabolism; FDG- and PiB-PET imaging; hemoglobin A1c; amyloid accumulation
22.  Practice effects and longitudinal cognitive change in normal aging vs. incident mild cognitive impairment and dementia in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging 
The Clinical neuropsychologist  2013;27(8):10.1080/13854046.2013.836567.
The objective of this study was to examine practice effects and longitudinal cognitive change in a population based cohort classified as clinically normal at their initial evaluation. We examined 1390 individuals with a median age of 78.1 years and re-evaluated them up to four times at approximate 15 month intervals, with an average follow-up time of five years. Of the 1390 participants, 947 (69%) individuals remained cognitively normal, 397 (29%) progressed to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 46 (3%) to dementia. The stable normal group showed an initial practice effect in all domains which was sustained in memory and visuospatial reasoning. There was only a slight decline in attention and language after visit 3. We combined individuals with incident MCI and dementia to form one group representing those who declined. The incident MCI/dementia group showed an unexpected practice effect in memory from baseline to visit 2, with a significant decline thereafter. This group did not demonstrate practice effects in any other domain and showed a downward trajectory in all domains at each evaluation. Modeling cognitive change in an epidemiologic sample may serve as a useful benchmark for evaluating cognitive change in future intervention studies.
PMCID: PMC3869900  PMID: 24041121
Cognition; memory; practice effects; mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer’s disease
23.  Incidence of Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(11):1396-1402.
Epidemiologic data on dementia with Lewy bodies (LBD) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) remain limited in the US and worldwide. These data are essential to guide research and clinical or public health interventions.
To investigate the incidence of DLB among residents of Olmsted County, MN, and compare it to the incidence of PDD.
The medical records-linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiology Project was used to identify all persons who developed parkinsonism and, in particular, DLB or PDD from 1991 through 2005 (15 years). A movement disorders specialist reviewed the complete medical records of each suspected patient to confirm the diagnosis.
Olmsted County, MN, from 1991 through 2005 (15 years).
Main Outcome Measure
Incidence of DLB and PDD.
All the residents of Olmsted County, MN who gave authorization for medical record research.
Among 542 incident cases of parkinsonism, 64 had DLB and 46 had PDD. The incidence rate of DLB was 3.5 per 100,000 person-years overall, and it increased steeply with age. Similarly, the incidence of PDD was 2.5 overall and also increased steeply with age. The incidence rate of DLB and PDD combined was 5.9. Patients with DLB were younger at onset of symptoms than patients with PDD and had more hallucinations and cognitive fluctuations. Men had a higher incidence of DLB than women across the age spectrum. The pathology was consistent with the clinical diagnosis in 24 of 31 patients who underwent autopsy (77.4%).
The overall incidence rate of DLB is lower than the rate for Parkinson’s disease. DLB risk increases steeply with age and is markedly higher in men. This men-to-women difference may suggest different etiologic mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4181848  PMID: 24042491
24.  Chiari 1 Malformation Presenting as Central Sleep Apnea during Pregnancy: A Case Report, Treatment Considerations, and Review of the Literature 
Purpose: Chiari malformation (CM) type-1 frequently causes obstructive or central sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in both adults and children, although SDB is relatively rare as a presenting manifestation in the absence of other neurological symptoms. The definitive treatment of symptomatic CM is surgical decompression. We report a case that is, to our knowledge, a novel manifestation of central sleep apnea (CSA) due to CM type-1 with severe exacerbation and initial clinical presentation during pregnancy.
Methods: Case report from tertiary care comprehensive sleep medicine center with literature review of SDB manifestations associated with CM type-1. PubMed search was conducted between January 1982 and October 2013.
Results: We report a 25-year-old woman with severe CSA initially presenting during her first pregnancy that eventually proved to be caused by CM type-1. The patient was successfully treated preoperatively by adaptive servoventilation (ASV), with effective resolution of SDB following surgical decompression, and without recurrence in a subsequent pregnancy. Our literature review found that 58% of CM patients with SDB had OSA alone, 28% had CSA alone, 8 (10%) had mixed OSA/CSA, and 6 (8%) had hypoventilation. Of CM patients presenting with SDB, 50% had OSA, 42% had CSA, 8% had mixed OSA/CSA, and 10.4% had hypoventilation. We speculate that CSA may develop in CM patients in whom brainstem compression results in excessive central chemoreflex sensitivity with consequent hypocapnic CSA.
Conclusion: Chiari malformation type-1 may present with a diversity of SDB manifestations, and timely recognition and surgical referral are necessary to prevent further neurological deficits. ASV therapy can effectively manage CSA caused by CM type-1, which may initially present during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC4208407  PMID: 25386156
Chiari malformation; central sleep apnea; pregnancy; presentation; adaptive servoventilation
25.  Midbrain atrophy is not a biomarker of PSP pathology 
Midbrain atrophy is a characteristic feature of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), although it is unclear whether it is associated with the PSP syndrome (PSPS) or PSP pathology. We aimed to determine whether midbrain atrophy is a useful biomarker of PSP pathology, or whether it is only associated with typical PSPS.
We identified all autopsy-confirmed subjects with the PSP clinical phenotype (i.e. PSPS) or PSP pathology and a volumetric MRI. Of 24 subjects with PSP pathology, 11 had a clinical diagnosis of PSPS (PSP-PSPS), and 13 had a non-PSPS clinical diagnosis (PSP-other). Three subjects had PSPS and corticobasal degeneration pathology (CBD-PSPS). Healthy control and disease control groups (i.e. a group without PSPS or PSP pathology) and a group with CBD pathology and corticobasal syndrome (CBD-CBS) were selected. Midbrain area was measured in all subjects.
Midbrain area was reduced in each group with clinical PSPS (with and without PSP pathology). The group with PSP pathology and non-PSPS clinical syndromes did not show reduced midbrain area. Midbrain area was smaller in the subjects with PSPS compared to those without PSPS (p<0.0001), with an area under the receiver-operator-curve of 0.99 (0.88,0.99). A midbrain area cut-point of 92 mm2 provided optimum sensitivity (93%) and specificity (89%) for differentiation.
Midbrain atrophy is associated with the clinical presentation of PSPS, but not with the pathological diagnosis of PSP in the absence of the PSPS clinical syndrome. This finding has important implications for the utility of midbrain measurements as diagnostic biomarkers for PSP pathology.
PMCID: PMC3773014  PMID: 23746093
Progressive supranuclear palsy; tau; neuropathology; MRI; midbrain

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