Publications by authors named "Edward B Lee"

137 Publications

Longitudinal naming and repetition relates to AD pathology and burden in autopsy-confirmed primary progressive aphasia.

Alzheimers Dement (N Y) 2021 2;7(1):e12188. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

Frontotemporal Degeneration Center, Perelman School of Medicine Department of Neurology Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA.

Introduction: In primary progressive aphasia (PPA) patients with autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer's disease (AD) or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FLTD), we tested how the core clinical features of logopenic PPA-naming and repetition-change over time and relate to pathologic burden.

Methods: In PPA with AD (n = 13) or FTLD (n = 16) pathology, Boston Naming Test and Forward Digit Span measured longitudinal naming and repetition; as reference, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) measured global cognition. Pathologic burden in left peri-Sylvian regions was related to longitudinal cognitive decline.

Results: PPA with AD showed greater decline in naming (= 0.021) and repetition (= 0.020), compared to FTLD; there was no difference in MMSE decline (= 0.99). Across all PPA, declining naming (= 0.0084) and repetition (= 0.011) were associated with angular, superior-middle temporal (naming = 0.014; repetition = 0.011) and middle frontal (naming = 0.041; repetition = 0.030) pathologic burden.

Discussion: Unique longitudinal profiles of naming and repetition performance in PPA with AD are related to left peri-Sylvian pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/trc2.12188DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8327471PMC
August 2021

Predictors of cognitive impairment in primary age-related tauopathy: an autopsy study.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2021 08 5;9(1):134. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

Department of Pathology, Nash Family Department of Neuroscience, Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer's Disease, Icahn School of Medicine At Mount Sinai, Friedman Brain Institute, Neuropathology Brain Bank & Research CoRE, 1 Gustave L. Levy Place Box 1194, New York, NY, 10029, USA.

Primary age-related tauopathy (PART) is a form of Alzheimer-type neurofibrillary degeneration occurring in the absence of amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques. While PART shares some features with Alzheimer disease (AD), such as progressive accumulation of neurofibrillary tangle pathology in the medial temporal lobe and other brain regions, it does not progress extensively to neocortical regions. Given this restricted pathoanatomical pattern and variable symptomatology, there is a need to reexamine and improve upon how PART is neuropathologically assessed and staged. We performed a retrospective autopsy study in a collection (n = 174) of post-mortem PART brains and used logistic regression to determine the extent to which a set of clinical and neuropathological features predict cognitive impairment. We compared Braak staging, which focuses on hierarchical neuroanatomical progression of AD tau and Aβ pathology, with quantitative assessments of neurofibrillary burden using computer-derived positive pixel counts on digitized whole slide images of sections stained immunohistochemically with antibodies targeting abnormal hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau) in the entorhinal region and hippocampus. We also assessed other factors affecting cognition, including aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG) and atrophy. We found no association between Braak stage and cognitive impairment when controlling for age (p = 0.76). In contrast, p-tau burden was significantly correlated with cognitive impairment even when adjusting for age (p = 0.03). The strongest correlate of cognitive impairment was cerebrovascular disease, a well-known risk factor (p < 0.0001), but other features including ARTAG (p = 0.03) and hippocampal atrophy (p = 0.04) were also associated. In contrast, sex, APOE, psychiatric illness, education, argyrophilic grains, and incidental Lewy bodies were not. These findings support the hypothesis that comorbid pathologies contribute to cognitive impairment in subjects with PART. Quantitative approaches beyond Braak staging are critical for advancing our understanding of the extent to which age-related tauopathy changes impact cognitive function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-021-01233-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8340493PMC
August 2021

TDP-43 mediates SREBF2-regulated gene expression required for oligodendrocyte myelination.

J Cell Biol 2021 Sep 4;220(9). Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

Cholesterol metabolism operates autonomously within the central nervous system (CNS), where the majority of cholesterol resides in myelin. We demonstrate that TDP-43, the pathological signature protein for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), influences cholesterol metabolism in oligodendrocytes. TDP-43 binds directly to mRNA of SREBF2, the master transcription regulator for cholesterol metabolism, and multiple mRNAs encoding proteins responsible for cholesterol biosynthesis and uptake, including HMGCR, HMGCS1, and LDLR. TDP-43 depletion leads to reduced SREBF2 and LDLR expression, and cholesterol levels in vitro and in vivo. TDP-43-mediated changes in cholesterol levels can be restored by reintroducing SREBF2 or LDLR. Additionally, cholesterol supplementation rescues demyelination caused by TDP-43 deletion. Furthermore, oligodendrocytes harboring TDP-43 pathology from FTD patients show reduced HMGCR and HMGCS1, and coaggregation of LDLR and TDP-43. Collectively, our results indicate that TDP-43 plays a role in cholesterol homeostasis in oligodendrocytes, and cholesterol dysmetabolism may be implicated in TDP-43 proteinopathies-related diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201910213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8348376PMC
September 2021

Three-dimensional mapping of neurofibrillary tangle burden in the human medial temporal lobe.

Brain 2021 Jul 14. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Human Neuroanatomy Laboratory, Neuromax CSIC Associated Unit, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete, Spain.

Tau protein neurofibrillary tangles are closely linked to neuronal/synaptic loss and cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Our knowledge of the pattern of neurofibrillary tangle progression in the human brain, critical to the development of imaging biomarkers and interpretation of in vivo imaging studies in Alzheimer's disease, is based on conventional two-dimensional histology studies that only sample the brain sparsely. To address this limitation, ex vivo MRI and dense serial histological imaging in 18 human medial temporal lobe specimens (age 75.3 ± 11.4 years, 45 to 93) were used to construct three-dimensional quantitative maps of neurofibrillary tangle burden in the medial temporal lobe at individual and group levels. Group-level maps were obtained in the space of an in vivo brain template, and neurofibrillary tangle was measured in specific anatomical regions defined in this template. Three-dimensional maps of neurofibrillary tangle burden reveal significant variation along the anterior-posterior axis. While early neurofibrillary tangle pathology is thought to be confined to the transentorhinal region, we find similar levels of burden in this region and other medial temporal lobe subregions, including amygdala, temporopolar cortex, and subiculum/cornu Ammonis 1 hippocampal subfields. Overall, the three-dimensional maps of neurofibrillary tangle burden presented here provide more complete information about the distribution of this neurodegenerative pathology in the region of the cortex where it first emerges in Alzheimer's disease, and may help inform the field about the patterns of pathology spread, as well as support development and validation of neuroimaging biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab262DOI Listing
July 2021

TMEM106B modifies TDP-43 pathology in human ALS brain and cell-based models of TDP-43 proteinopathy.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 10 21;142(4):629-642. Epub 2021 Jun 21.

Department of Neurology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

The neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) inclusions (FTLD-TDP) share the neuropathological hallmark of aggregates of TDP-43. However, factors governing the severity and regional distribution of TDP-43 pathology, which may account for the divergent clinical presentations of ALS and FTLD-TDP, are not well understood. Here, we investigated the influence of genotypes at TMEM106B, a locus associated with risk for FTLD-TDP, and hexanucleotide repeat expansions in C9orf72, a known genetic cause for both ALS and FTLD-TDP, on global TDP-43 pathology and regional distribution of TDP-43 pathology in 899 postmortem cases from a spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases. We found that, among the 110 ALS cases, minor (C)-allele homozygotes at the TMEM106B locus sentinel SNP rs1990622 had more TDP-43 pathology globally, as well as in select brain regions. C9orf72 expansions similarly associated with greater TDP-43 pathology in ALS. However, adjusting for C9orf72 expansion status did not affect the relationship between TMEM106B genotype and TDP-43 pathology. To elucidate the direction of causality for this association, we directly manipulated TMEM106B levels in an inducible cell system that expresses mislocalized TDP-43 protein. We found that partial knockdown of TMEM106B, to levels similar to what would be expected in rs1990622 C allele carriers, led to development of more TDP-43 cytoplasmic aggregates, which were more insoluble, in this system. Taken together, our results support a causal role for TMEM106B in modifying the development of TDP-43 proteinopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02330-2DOI Listing
October 2021

Interactions between ALS-linked FUS and nucleoporins are associated with defects in the nucleocytoplasmic transport pathway.

Nat Neurosci 2021 08 31;24(8):1077-1088. Epub 2021 May 31.

Department of Neurology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.

Nucleocytoplasmic transport (NCT) decline occurs with aging and neurodegeneration. Here, we investigated the NCT pathway in models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-fused in sarcoma (ALS-FUS). Expression of ALS-FUS led to a reduction in NCT and nucleoporin (Nup) density within the nuclear membrane of human neurons. FUS and Nups were found to interact independently of RNA in cells and to alter the phase-separation properties of each other in vitro. FUS-Nup interactions were not localized to nuclear pores, but were enriched in the nucleus of control neurons versus the cytoplasm of mutant neurons. Our data indicate that the effect of ALS-linked mutations on the cytoplasmic mislocalization of FUS, rather than on the physiochemical properties of the protein itself, underlie our reported NCT defects. An aberrant interaction between mutant FUS and Nups is underscored by studies in Drosophila, whereby reduced Nup expression rescued multiple toxic FUS-induced phenotypes, including abnormal nuclear membrane morphology in neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41593-021-00859-9DOI Listing
August 2021

Distinct brain-derived TDP-43 strains from FTLD-TDP subtypes induce diverse morphological TDP-43 aggregates and spreading patterns in vitro and in vivo.

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 2021 May 10. Epub 2021 May 10.

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), Institute on Aging, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Aim: The heterogeneity in the distribution and morphological features of TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) pathology in the brains of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP) patients and their different clinical manifestations suggest that distinct pathological TDP-43 strains could play a role in this heterogeneity between different FTLD-TDP subtypes (A-E). Our aim was to evaluate the existence of distinct TDP-43 strains in the brains of different FTLD-TDP subtypes and characterise their specific seeding properties in vitro and in vivo.

Methods And Results: We used an inducible stable cell line expressing a mutant cytoplasmic TDP-43 (iGFP-NLSm) to evaluate the seeding properties of distinct pathological TDP-43 strains. Brain-derived TDP-43 protein extracts from FTLD-TDP types A (n = 6) and B (n = 3) cases induced the formation of round/spherical phosphorylated TDP-43 aggregates that morphologically differed from the linear and wavy wisps and bigger heterogeneous filamentous (skein-like) aggregates induced by type E (n = 3) cases. These morphological differences correlated with distinct biochemical banding patterns of sarkosyl-insoluble TDP-43 protein recovered from the transduced cells. Moreover, brain-derived TDP-43 extracts from type E cases showed higher susceptibility to PK digestion of full-length TDP-43 and the most abundant C-terminal fragments that characterise type E extracts. Finally, we showed that intracerebral injections of different TDP-43 strains induced a distinctive morphological and subcellular distribution of TDP-43 pathology and different spreading patterns in the brains of CamKIIa-hTDP-43 Tg mice.

Conclusions: We show the existence of distinct TDP-43 strains in the brain of different FTLD-TDP subtypes with distinctive seeding and spreading properties in the brains of experimental animal models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nan.12732DOI Listing
May 2021

The Cryo-EM Effect: Structural Biology of Neurodegenerative Disease Aggregates.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2021 Jun;80(6):514-529

From the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Neurogenerative diseases are characterized by diverse protein aggregates with a variety of microscopic morphologic features. Although ultrastructural studies of human neurodegenerative disease tissues have been conducted since the 1960s, only recently have near-atomic resolution structures of neurodegenerative disease aggregates been described. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography have provided near-atomic resolution information about in vitro aggregates but pose logistical challenges to resolving the structure of aggregates derived from human tissues. Recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have provided the means for near-atomic resolution structures of tau, amyloid-β (Aβ), α-synuclein (α-syn), and transactive response element DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) aggregates from a variety of diseases. Importantly, in vitro aggregate structures do not recapitulate ex vivo aggregate structures. Ex vivo tau aggregate structures indicate individual tauopathies have a consistent aggregate structure unique from other tauopathies. α-syn structures show that even within a disease, aggregate heterogeneity may correlate to disease course. Ex vivo structures have also provided insight into how posttranslational modifications may relate to aggregate structure. Though there is less cryo-EM data for human tissue-derived TDP-43 and Aβ, initial structural studies provide a basis for future endeavors. This review highlights structural variations across neurodegenerative diseases and reveals fundamental differences between experimental systems and human tissue derived protein inclusions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlab039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8177849PMC
June 2021

Tau immunotherapy is associated with glial responses in FTLD-tau.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 08 5;142(2):243-257. Epub 2021 May 5.

Translational Neuropathology Research Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 613A Stellar Chance Laboratories, 422 Curie Blvd, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD) are neuropathologic subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with tau inclusions (FTLD-tau), primary tauopathies in which intracellular tau aggregation contributes to neurodegeneration. Gosuranemab (BIIB092) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to N-terminal tau. While Gosuranemab passive immunotherapy trials for PSP failed to demonstrate clinical benefit, Gosuranemab reduced N-terminal tau in the cerebrospinal fluid of transgenic mouse models and PSP patients. However, the neuropathologic sequelae of Gosuranemab have not been described. In this present study, we examined the brain tissue of three individuals who received Gosuranemab. Post-mortem human brain tissues were studied using immunohistochemistry to identify astrocytic and microglial differences between immunized cases and a cohort of unimmunized PSP, CBD and aging controls. Gosuranemab immunotherapy was not associated with clearance of neuropathologic FTLD-tau inclusions. However, treatment-associated changes were observed including the presence of perivascular vesicular astrocytes (PVA) with tau accumulation within lysosomes. PVAs were morphologically and immunophenotypically distinct from the tufted astrocytes seen in PSP, granular fuzzy astrocytes (GFA) seen in aging, and astrocytic plaques seen in CBD. Additional glial responses included increased reactive gliosis consisting of bushy astrocytosis and accumulation of rod microglia. Together, these neuropathologic findings suggest that Gosuranemab may be associated with a glial response including accumulation of tau within astrocytic lysosomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02318-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8270872PMC
August 2021

The Cryo-EM Effect: Structural Biology of Neurodegenerative Disease Proteostasis Factors.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2021 Jun;80(6):494-513

Translational Neuropathology Research Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the accumulation of misfolded proteins. This protein aggregation suggests that abnormal proteostasis contributes to aging-related neurodegeneration. A better fundamental understanding of proteins that regulate proteostasis may provide insight into the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative disease and may perhaps reveal novel therapeutic opportunities. The 26S proteasome is the key effector of the ubiquitin-proteasome system responsible for degrading polyubiquitinated proteins. However, additional factors, such as valosin-containing protein (VCP/p97/Cdc48) and C9orf72, play a role in regulation and trafficking of substrates through the normal proteostasis systems of a cell. Nonhuman AAA+ ATPases, such as the disaggregase Hsp104, also provide insights into the biochemical processes that regulate protein aggregation. X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures not bound to substrate have provided meaningful information about the 26S proteasome, VCP, and Hsp104. However, recent cryo-EM structures bound to substrate have provided new information about the function and mechanism of these proteostasis factors. Cryo-EM and cryo-electron tomography data combined with biochemical data have also increased the understanding of C9orf72 and its role in maintaining proteostasis. These structural insights provide a foundation for understanding proteostasis mechanisms with near-atomic resolution upon which insights can be gleaned regarding the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlab029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8177850PMC
June 2021

Neurofilament Light Chain Related to Longitudinal Decline in Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration.

Neurol Clin Pract 2021 Apr;11(2):105-116

Penn Frontotemporal Degeneration Center (JVZ, DJI, KR, L. Massimo, CTM, MG) and Department of Neurology (DJI, KR, L. Massimo, CTM, AC-P, LE, L. McCluskey, D. Wolk, MG), Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (EBL, LMS, VM-YL, JBT, JQT), Department of Psychiatry (D. Weintraub), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology (KB, HZ), Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Mölndal, Sweden; Clinical Neurochemistry Laboratory (KB, HZ), Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Mölndal, Sweden; UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL (HZ); and Department of Neurodegenerative Disease (HZ), UCL Institute of Neurology, UK.

Objective: Accurate diagnosis and prognosis of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) during life is an urgent concern in the context of emerging disease-modifying treatment trials. Few CSF markers have been validated longitudinally in patients with known pathology, and we hypothesized that CSF neurofilament light chain (NfL) would be associated with longitudinal cognitive decline in patients with known FTLD-TAR DNA binding protein ~43kD (TDP) pathology.

Methods: This case-control study evaluated CSF NfL, total tau, phosphorylated tau, and β-amyloid in patients with known FTLD-tau or FTLD-TDP pathology (n = 50) and healthy controls (n = 65) and an extended cohort of clinically diagnosed patients with likely FTLD-tau or FTLD-TDP (n = 148). Regression analyses related CSF analytes to longitudinal cognitive decline (follow-up ∼1 year), controlling for demographic variables and core AD CSF analytes.

Results: In FTLD-TDP with known pathology, CSF NfL is significantly elevated compared with controls and significantly associated with longitudinal decline on specific executive and language measures, after controlling for age, disease duration, and core AD CSF analytes. Similar findings are found in the extended cohort, also including clinically identified likely FTLD-TDP. Although CSF NfL is elevated in FTLD-tau compared with controls, the association between NfL and longitudinal cognitive decline is limited to executive measures.

Conclusion: CSF NfL is associated with longitudinal clinical decline in relevant cognitive domains in patients with FTLD-TDP after controlling for demographic factors and core AD CSF analytes and may also be related to longitudinal decline in executive functioning in FTLD-tau.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000959DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8032415PMC
April 2021

COllaborative Neuropathology NEtwork Characterizing ouTcomes of TBI (CONNECT-TBI).

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2021 03 1;9(1):32. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, UK.

Efforts to characterize the late effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been in progress for some time. In recent years much of this activity has been directed towards reporting of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in former contact sports athletes and others exposed to repetitive head impacts. However, the association between TBI and dementia risk has long been acknowledged outside of contact sports. Further, growing experience suggests a complex of neurodegenerative pathologies in those surviving TBI, which extends beyond CTE. Nevertheless, despite extensive research, we have scant knowledge of the mechanisms underlying TBI-related neurodegeneration (TReND) and its link to dementia. In part, this is due to the limited number of human brain samples linked to robust demographic and clinical information available for research. Here we detail a National Institutes for Neurological Disease and Stroke Center Without Walls project, the COllaborative Neuropathology NEtwork Characterizing ouTcomes of TBI (CONNECT-TBI), designed to address current limitations in tissue and research access and to advance understanding of the neuropathologies of TReND. As an international, multidisciplinary collaboration CONNECT-TBI brings together multiple experts across 13 institutions. In so doing, CONNECT-TBI unites the existing, comprehensive clinical and neuropathological datasets of multiple established research brain archives in TBI, with survivals ranging minutes to many decades and spanning diverse injury exposures. These existing tissue specimens will be supplemented by prospective brain banking and contribute to a centralized route of access to human tissue for research for investigators. Importantly, each new case will be subject to consensus neuropathology review by the CONNECT-TBI Expert Pathology Group. Herein we set out the CONNECT-TBI program structure and aims and, by way of an illustrative case, the approach to consensus evaluation of new case donations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-021-01122-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7919306PMC
March 2021

Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition).

Autophagy 2021 Jan 8;17(1):1-382. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

University of Crete, School of Medicine, Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Voutes, Heraklion, Crete, Greece; Foundation for Research and Technology, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

In 2008, we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, this topic has received increasing attention, and many scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Thus, it is important to formulate on a regular basis updated guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Despite numerous reviews, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to evaluate autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. Here, we present a set of guidelines for investigators to select and interpret methods to examine autophagy and related processes, and for reviewers to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of reports that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a dogmatic set of rules, because the appropriateness of any assay largely depends on the question being asked and the system being used. Moreover, no individual assay is perfect for every situation, calling for the use of multiple techniques to properly monitor autophagy in each experimental setting. Finally, several core components of the autophagy machinery have been implicated in distinct autophagic processes (canonical and noncanonical autophagy), implying that genetic approaches to block autophagy should rely on targeting two or more autophagy-related genes that ideally participate in distinct steps of the pathway. Along similar lines, because multiple proteins involved in autophagy also regulate other cellular pathways including apoptosis, not all of them can be used as a specific marker for autophagic responses. Here, we critically discuss current methods of assessing autophagy and the information they can, or cannot, provide. Our ultimate goal is to encourage intellectual and technical innovation in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2020.1797280DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7996087PMC
January 2021

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration proteinopathies have disparate microscopic patterns of white and grey matter pathology.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2021 02 23;9(1):30. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Digital Neuropathology Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration proteinopathies with tau inclusions (FTLD-Tau) or TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP) are associated with clinically similar phenotypes. However, these disparate proteinopathies likely differ in cellular severity and regional distribution of inclusions in white matter (WM) and adjacent grey matter (GM), which have been understudied. We performed a neuropathological study of subcortical WM and adjacent GM in a large autopsy cohort (n = 92; FTLD-Tau = 37, FTLD-TDP = 55) using a validated digital image approach. The antemortem clinical phenotype was behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) in 23 patients with FTLD-Tau and 42 with FTLD-TDP, and primary progressive aphasia (PPA) in 14 patients with FTLD-Tau and 13 with FTLD-TDP. We used linear mixed-effects models to: (1) compare WM pathology burden between proteinopathies; (2) investigate the relationship between WM pathology burden and WM degeneration using luxol fast blue (LFB) myelin staining; (3) study regional patterns of pathology burden in clinico-pathological groups. WM pathology burden was greater in FTLD-Tau compared to FTLD-TDP across regions (beta = 4.21, SE = 0.34, p < 0.001), and correlated with the degree of WM degeneration in both FTLD-Tau (beta = 0.32, SE = 0.10, p = 0.002) and FTLD-TDP (beta = 0.40, SE = 0.08, p < 0.001). WM degeneration was greater in FTLD-Tau than FTLD-TDP particularly in middle-frontal and anterior cingulate regions (p < 0.05). Distinct regional patterns of WM and GM inclusions characterized FTLD-Tau and FTLD-TDP proteinopathies, and associated in part with clinical phenotype. In FTLD-Tau, WM pathology was particularly severe in the dorsolateral frontal cortex in nonfluent-variant PPA, and GM pathology in dorsolateral and paralimbic frontal regions with some variation across tauopathies. Differently, FTLD-TDP had little WM regional variability, but showed severe GM pathology burden in ventromedial prefrontal regions in both bvFTD and PPA. To conclude, FTLD-Tau and FTLD-TDP proteinopathies have distinct severity and regional distribution of WM and GM pathology, which may impact their clinical presentation, with overall greater severity of WM pathology as a distinguishing feature of tauopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-021-01129-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7901087PMC
February 2021

Neuropathology associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Lancet 2021 01;397(10271):277

Division of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00096-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7825880PMC
January 2021

The development and convergence of co-pathologies in Alzheimer's disease.

Brain 2021 04;144(3):953-962

Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy neuropathological change (LATE-NC) and Lewy bodies occur in the absence of clinical and neuropathological Alzheimer's disease, but their prevalence and severity dramatically increase in Alzheimer's disease. To investigate how plaques, tangles, age and apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE ε4) interact with co-pathologies in Alzheimer's disease, we analysed 522 participants ≥50 years of age with and without dementia from the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) autopsy program and 1340 participants in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC) database. Consensus criteria were applied for Alzheimer's disease using amyloid phase and Braak stage. Co-pathology was staged for CAA (neocortical, allocortical, and subcortical), LATE-NC (amygdala, hippocampal, and cortical), and Lewy bodies (brainstem, limbic, neocortical, and amygdala predominant). APOE genotype was determined for all CNDR participants. Ordinal logistic regression was performed to quantify the effect of independent variables on the odds of having a higher stage after checking the proportional odds assumption. We found that without dementia, increasing age associated with all pathologies including CAA (odds ratio 1.63, 95% confidence interval 1.38-1.94, P < 0.01), LATE-NC (1.48, 1.16-1.88, P < 0.01), and Lewy bodies (1.45, 1.15-1.83, P < 0.01), but APOE ε4 only associated with CAA (4.80, 2.16-10.68, P < 0.01). With dementia, increasing age associated with LATE-NC (1.30, 1.15-1.46, P < 0.01), while Lewy bodies associated with younger ages (0.90, 0.81-1.00, P = 0.04), and APOE ε4 only associated with CAA (2.36, 1.52-3.65, P < 0.01). A longer disease course only associated with LATE-NC (1.06, 1.01-1.11, P = 0.01). Dementia in the NACC cohort associated with the second and third stages of CAA (2.23, 1.50-3.30, P < 0.01), LATE-NC (5.24, 3.11-8.83, P < 0.01), and Lewy bodies (2.41, 1.51-3.84, P < 0.01). Pathologically, increased Braak stage associated with CAA (5.07, 2.77-9.28, P < 0.01), LATE-NC (5.54, 2.33-13.15, P < 0.01), and Lewy bodies (4.76, 2.07-10.95, P < 0.01). Increased amyloid phase associated with CAA (2.27, 1.07-4.80, P = 0.03) and Lewy bodies (6.09, 1.66-22.33, P = 0.01). In summary, we describe widespread distributions of CAA, LATE-NC and Lewy bodies that progressively accumulate alongside plaques and tangles in Alzheimer's disease dementia. CAA interacted with plaques and tangles especially in APOE ε4 positive individuals; LATE-NC associated with tangles later in the disease course; most Lewy bodies associated with moderate to severe plaques and tangles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa438DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8041349PMC
April 2021

Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration TDP-43-Immunoreactive Pathological Subtypes: Clinical and Mechanistic Significance.

Adv Exp Med Biol 2021 ;1281:201-217

Department of Pathology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TPD-43-immunoreactive pathology (FTLD-TDP) is subclassified based on the type and cortical laminar distribution of neuronal inclusions. The relevance of these pathological subtypes is supported by the presence of relatively specific clinical and genetic correlations. Recent evidence suggests that the different patterns of pathology are a reflection of biochemical differences in the pathological TDP-43 species, each of which is influenced by differing genetic factors. As a result, patient FTLD-TDP subtype may be an important factor to consider when developing biomarkers and targeted therapies for frontotemporal dementia. In this chapter, we first describe the pathological features, clinical and genetic correlations of the currently recognized FTLD-TDP subtypes. We then discuss a number of novel patterns of TDP-43 pathology. Finally, we provide an overview of what is currently known about the biochemical basis of the different FTLD-TDP subtypes and how this may explain the observed phenotypic and pathological heterogeneity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51140-1_13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8183578PMC
February 2021

Astroglial tau pathology alone preferentially concentrates at sulcal depths in chronic traumatic encephalopathy neuropathologic change.

Brain Commun 2020 3;2(2):fcaa210. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Department of Neuropathology, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow G51 4TF, UK.

Current diagnostic criteria for the neuropathological evaluation of the traumatic brain injury-associated neurodegeneration, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, define the pathognomonic lesion as hyperphosphorylated tau-immunoreactive neuronal and astroglial profiles in a patchy cortical distribution, clustered around small vessels and showing preferential localization to the depths of sulci. However, despite adoption into diagnostic criteria, there has been no formal assessment of the cortical distribution of the specific cellular components defining chronic traumatic encephalopathy neuropathologic change. To address this, we performed comprehensive mapping of hyperphosphorylated tau-immunoreactive neurofibrillary tangles and thorn-shaped astrocytes contributing to chronic traumatic encephalopathy neuropathologic change. From the Glasgow Traumatic Brain Injury Archive and the University of Pennsylvania Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research Brain Bank, material was selected from patients with known chronic traumatic encephalopathy neuropathologic change, either following exposure to repetitive mild (athletes  = 17; non-athletes  = 1) or to single moderate or severe traumatic brain injury ( = 4), together with material from patients with previously confirmed Alzheimer's disease neuropathologic changes ( = 6) and no known exposure to traumatic brain injury. Representative sections were stained for hyperphosphorylated or Alzheimer's disease conformation-selective tau, after which stereotypical neurofibrillary tangles and thorn-shaped astrocytes were identified and mapped. Thorn-shaped astrocytes in chronic traumatic encephalopathy neuropathologic change were preferentially distributed towards sulcal depths [sulcal depth to gyral crest ratio of thorn-shaped astrocytes 12.84 ± 15.47 (mean ± standard deviation)], with this pathology more evident in material from patients with a history of survival from non-sport injury than those exposed to sport-associated traumatic brain injury ( = 0.009). In contrast, neurofibrillary tangles in chronic traumatic encephalopathy neuropathologic change showed a more uniform distribution across the cortex in sections stained for either hyperphosphorylated (sulcal depth to gyral crest ratio of neurofibrillary tangles 1.40 ± 0.74) or Alzheimer's disease conformation tau (sulcal depth to gyral crest ratio 1.64 ± 1.05), which was comparable to that seen in material from patients with known Alzheimer's disease neuropathologic changes ( = 0.82 and  = 0.91, respectively). Our data demonstrate that in chronic traumatic encephalopathy neuropathologic change the astroglial component alone shows preferential distribution to the depths of cortical sulci. In contrast, the neuronal pathology of chronic traumatic encephalopathy neuropathologic change is distributed more uniformly from gyral crest to sulcal depth and echoes that of Alzheimer's disease. These observations provide new insight into the neuropathological features of chronic traumatic encephalopathy that distinguish it from other tau pathologies and suggest that current diagnostic criteria should perhaps be reviewed and refined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcaa210DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7784042PMC
December 2020

Neuropathological consensus criteria for the evaluation of Lewy pathology in post-mortem brains: a multi-centre study.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 02 5;141(2):159-172. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Currently, the neuropathological diagnosis of Lewy body disease (LBD) may be stated according to several staging systems, which include the Braak Lewy body stages (Braak), the consensus criteria by McKeith and colleagues (McKeith), the modified McKeith system by Leverenz and colleagues (Leverenz), and the Unified Staging System by Beach and colleagues (Beach). All of these systems use semi-quantitative scoring (4- or 5-tier scales) of Lewy pathology (LP; i.e., Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites) in defined cortical and subcortical areas. While these systems are widely used, some suffer from low inter-rater reliability and/or an inability to unequivocally classify all cases with LP. To address these limitations, we devised a new system, the LP consensus criteria (LPC), which is based on the McKeith system, but applies a dichotomous approach for the scoring of LP (i.e., "absent" vs. "present") and includes amygdala-predominant and olfactory-only stages. α-Synuclein-stained slides from brainstem, limbic system, neocortex, and olfactory bulb from a total of 34 cases with LP provided by the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource (NBTR) and the University of Pennsylvania brain bank (UPBB) were scanned and assessed by 16 raters, who provided diagnostic categories for each case according to Braak, McKeith, Leverenz, Beach, and LPC systems. In addition, using LP scores available from neuropathological reports of LP cases from UPBB (n = 202) and NBTR (n = 134), JT (UPBB) and JA (NBTR) assigned categories according to all staging systems to these cases. McKeith, Leverenz, and LPC systems reached good (Krippendorff's α ≈ 0.6), while both Braak and Beach systems had lower (Krippendorff's α ≈ 0.4) inter-rater reliability, respectively. Using the LPC system, all cases could be unequivocally classified by the majority of raters, which was also seen for 97.1% when the Beach system was used. However, a considerable proportion of cases could not be classified when using Leverenz (11.8%), McKeith (26.5%), or Braak (29.4%) systems. The category of neocortical LP according to the LPC system was associated with a 5.9 OR (p < 0.0001) of dementia in the 134 NBTR cases and a 3.14 OR (p = 0.0001) in the 202 UPBB cases. We established that the LPC system has good reproducibility and allows classification of all cases into distinct categories. We expect that it will be reliable and useful in routine diagnostic practice and, therefore, suggest that it should be the standard future approach for the basic post-mortem evaluation of LP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02255-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7847437PMC
February 2021

Early Selective Vulnerability of the CA2 Hippocampal Subfield in Primary Age-Related Tauopathy.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2021 01;80(2):102-111

Institute of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Primary age-related tauopathy (PART) is a neurodegenerative entity defined as Alzheimer-type neurofibrillary degeneration primarily affecting the medial temporal lobe with minimal to absent amyloid-β (Aβ) plaque deposition. The extent to which PART can be differentiated pathoanatomically from Alzheimer disease (AD) is unclear. Here, we examined the regional distribution of tau pathology in a large cohort of postmortem brains (n = 914). We found an early vulnerability of the CA2 subregion of the hippocampus to neurofibrillary degeneration in PART, and semiquantitative assessment of neurofibrillary degeneration in CA2 was significantly greater than in CA1 in PART. In contrast, subjects harboring intermediate-to-high AD neuropathologic change (ADNC) displayed relative sparing of CA2 until later stages of their disease course. In addition, the CA2/CA1 ratio of neurofibrillary degeneration in PART was significantly higher than in subjects with intermediate-to-high ADNC burden. Furthermore, the distribution of tau pathology in PART diverges from the Braak NFT staging system and Braak stage does not correlate with cognitive function in PART as it does in individuals with intermediate-to-high ADNC. These findings highlight the need for a better understanding of the contribution of PART to cognitive impairment and how neurofibrillary degeneration interacts with Aβ pathology in AD and PART.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlaa153DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8453611PMC
January 2021

Machine learning suggests polygenic risk for cognitive dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

EMBO Mol Med 2021 Jan 3;13(1):e12595. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, USA.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a multi-system disease characterized primarily by progressive muscle weakness. Cognitive dysfunction is commonly observed in patients; however, factors influencing risk for cognitive dysfunction remain elusive. Using sparse canonical correlation analysis (sCCA), an unsupervised machine-learning technique, we observed that single nucleotide polymorphisms collectively associate with baseline cognitive performance in a large ALS patient cohort (N = 327) from the multicenter Clinical Research in ALS and Related Disorders for Therapeutic Development (CReATe) Consortium. We demonstrate that a polygenic risk score derived using sCCA relates to longitudinal cognitive decline in the same cohort and also to in vivo cortical thinning in the orbital frontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, lateral temporal cortex, premotor cortex, and hippocampus (N = 90) as well as post-mortem motor cortical neuronal loss (N = 87) in independent ALS cohorts from the University of Pennsylvania Integrated Neurodegenerative Disease Biobank. Our findings suggest that common genetic polymorphisms may exert a polygenic contribution to the risk of cortical disease vulnerability and cognitive dysfunction in ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/emmm.202012595DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799365PMC
January 2021

ATN incorporating cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light chain detects frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Alzheimers Dement 2021 05 23;17(5):822-830. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Introduction: The ATN framework provides an in vivo diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) using cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of pathologic amyloid plaques (A), tangles (T), and neurodegeneration (N). ATN is rarely evaluated in pathologically confirmed patients and its poor sensitivity to suspected non-Alzheimer's pathophysiologies (SNAP), including frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), leads to misdiagnoses. We compared accuracy of ATN (ATN ) using CSF total tau (t-tau) to a modified strategy (ATN ) using CSF neurofilament light chain (NfL) in an autopsy cohort.

Methods: ATN and ATN were trained in an independent sample and validated in autopsy-confirmed AD (n = 67) and FTLD (n = 27).

Results: ATN more accurately identified FTLD as SNAP (sensitivity = 0.93, specificity = 0.94) than ATN (sensitivity = 0.44, specificity = 0.97), even in cases with co-occurring AD and FTLD. ATN misclassified fewer AD and FTLD as "Normal" (2%) than ATN (14%).

Discussion: ATN is a promising diagnostic strategy that may accurately identify both AD and FTLD, even when pathologies co-occur.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/alz.12233DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8119305PMC
May 2021

Tau pathology associates with in vivo cortical thinning in Lewy body disorders.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2020 12 27;7(12):2342-2355. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Penn Frontotemporal Degeneration Center, Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Objectives: To investigate the impact of Alzheimer's disease (AD) co-pathology on an in vivo structural measure of neurodegeneration in Lewy body disorders (LBD).

Methods: We studied 72 LBD patients (Parkinson disease (PD) = 2, PD-MCI = 25, PD with dementia = 10, dementia with Lewy bodies = 35) with either CSF analysis or neuropathological examination and structural MRI during life. The cohort was divided into those harboring significant AD co-pathology, either at autopsy (intermediate/high AD neuropathologic change) or with CSF signature indicating AD co-pathology (t-tau/Aβ  > 0.3) (LBD+AD, N = 19), and those without AD co-pathology (LBD-AD, N = 53). We also included a reference group of 25 patients with CSF biomarker-confirmed amnestic AD. We investigated differences in MRI cortical thickness estimates between groups, and in the 21 autopsied LBD patients (LBD-AD = 14, LBD+AD = 7), directly tested the association between antemortem MRI and post-mortem burdens of tau, Aβ, and alpha-synuclein using digital histopathology in five representative neocortical regions.

Results: The LBD+AD group was characterized by cortical thinning in anterior/medial and lateral temporal regions (P < 0.05 FWE-corrected) relative to LBD-AD. In LBD+AD, cortical thinning was most pronounced in temporal neocortex, whereas the AD reference group showed atrophy that equally encompassed temporal, parietal and frontal neocortex. In autopsied LBD, we found an inverse correlation with cortical thickness and post-mortem tau pathology, while cortical thickness was not significantly associated with Aβ or alpha-synuclein pathology.

Interpretation: LBD+AD is characterized by temporal neocortical thinning on MRI, and cortical thinning directly correlated with post-mortem histopathologic burden of tau, suggesting that tau pathology influences the pattern of neurodegeneration in LBD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7732256PMC
December 2020

Autosomal dominant VCP hypomorph mutation impairs disaggregation of PHF-tau.

Science 2020 11 1;370(6519). Epub 2020 Oct 1.

Translational Neuropathology Research Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA.

Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is closely associated with the accumulation of pathologic tau aggregates in the form of neurofibrillary tangles. We found that a p.Asp395Gly mutation in (valosin-containing protein) was associated with dementia characterized neuropathologically by neuronal vacuoles and neurofibrillary tangles. Moreover, VCP appeared to exhibit tau disaggregase activity in vitro, which was impaired by the p.Asp395Gly mutation. Additionally, intracerebral microinjection of pathologic tau led to increased tau aggregates in mice in which p.Asp395Gly mice was knocked in, as compared with injected wild-type mice. These findings suggest that p.Asp395Gly is an autosomal-dominant genetic mutation associated with neurofibrillary degeneration in part owing to reduced tau disaggregation, raising the possibility that VCP may represent a therapeutic target for the treatment of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aay8826DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7818661PMC
November 2020

Multimodal in vivo and postmortem assessments of tau in Lewy body disorders.

Neurobiol Aging 2020 12 21;96:137-147. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Department of Neurology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA; Frontotemporal Degeneration Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Electronic address:

We compared regional retention of F-flortaucipir between 20 patients with Lewy body disorders (LBD), 12 Alzheimer's disease patients with positive amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) scans (AD+Aβ) and 15 healthy controls with negative amyloid PET scans (HC-Aβ). In LBD subjects, we compared the relationship between F-flortaucipir retention and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau, cognitive performance, and neuropathological tau at autopsy. The LBD cohort was stratified using an Aβ42 cut-off of 192 pg/mL to enrich for groups likely harboring tau pathology (LBD+Aβ = 11, LBD-Aβ = 9). F-flortaucipir retention was higher in LBD+AB than HC-Aβ in five, largely temporal-parietal regions with sparing of medial temporal regions. Higher retention was associated with higher CSF total-tau levels (p = 0.04), poorer domain-specific cognitive performance (p = 0.02-0.04), and greater severity of neuropathological tau in corresponding regions. While F-flortaucipir retention in LBD is intermediate between healthy controls and AD, retention relates to cognitive impairment, CSF total-tau, and neuropathological tau. Future work in larger autopsy-validated cohorts is needed to define LBD-specific tau biomarker profiles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.08.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7819484PMC
December 2020

Neuronal Transcriptome from Repeat Expanded Human Tissue is Associated with Loss of C9orf72 Function.

Free Neuropathol 2020 21;1. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Translational Neuropathology Research Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

A hexanucleotide GC repeat expansion in is the most common genetic cause of familial and sporadic cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). The mutation is associated with a reduction of C9orf72 protein and accumulation of toxic RNA and dipeptide repeat aggregates. The accumulation of toxic RNA has been proposed to sequester RNA binding proteins thereby altering RNA processing, consistent with previous transcriptome studies that have shown that the repeat expansion is linked to abundant splicing alterations and transcriptome changes. Here, we used a subcellular fractionation method and FACS to enrich for neuronal nuclei from repeat expanded human ALS/FTD brains, and to remove neuronal nuclei with TDP-43 pathology which are observed in nearly all symptomatic repeat expanded cases. We show that the expansion is associated with relatively mild gene expression changes. Dysregulated genes were enriched for vesicle transport pathways, which is consistent with the known functions of C9orf72 protein. Further analysis suggests that the transcriptome is not driven by toxic RNA but is rather shaped by the depletion of pathologic TDP-43 nuclei and the loss of expression. These findings argue against RNA binding protein sequestration in neurons as a major contributor to mediated toxicity.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7470232PMC
August 2020

APOE and TREM2 regulate amyloid-responsive microglia in Alzheimer's disease.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 10 25;140(4):477-493. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Translational Neuropathology Research Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 613A Stellar Chance Laboratories, 422 Curie Blvd, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Beta-amyloid deposition is a defining feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD). How genetic risk factors, like APOE and TREM2, intersect with cellular responses to beta-amyloid in human tissues is not fully understood. Using single-nucleus RNA sequencing of postmortem human brain with varied APOE and TREM2 genotypes and neuropathology, we identified distinct microglia subpopulations, including a subpopulation of CD163-positive amyloid-responsive microglia (ARM) that are depleted in cases with APOE and TREM2 risk variants. We validated our single-nucleus RNA sequencing findings in an expanded cohort of AD cases, demonstrating that APOE and TREM2 risk variants are associated with a significant reduction in CD163-positive amyloid-responsive microglia. Our results showcase the diverse microglial response in AD and underscore how genetic risk factors influence cellular responses to underlying pathologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02200-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7520051PMC
October 2020

Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy differs from frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Brain 2020 09;143(9):2844-2857

Department of Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.

TAR-DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43) proteinopathy is seen in multiple brain diseases. A standardized terminology was recommended recently for common age-related TDP-43 proteinopathy: limbic-predominant, age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE) and the underlying neuropathological changes, LATE-NC. LATE-NC may be co-morbid with Alzheimer's disease neuropathological changes (ADNC). However, there currently are ill-defined diagnostic classification issues among LATE-NC, ADNC, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 (FTLD-TDP). A practical challenge is that different autopsy cohorts are composed of disparate groups of research volunteers: hospital- and clinic-based cohorts are enriched for FTLD-TDP cases, whereas community-based cohorts have more LATE-NC cases. Neuropathological methods also differ across laboratories. Here, we combined both cases and neuropathologists' diagnoses from two research centres-University of Pennsylvania and University of Kentucky. The study was designed to compare neuropathological findings between FTLD-TDP and pathologically severe LATE-NC. First, cases were selected from the University of Pennsylvania with pathological diagnoses of either FTLD-TDP (n = 33) or severe LATE-NC (mostly stage 3) with co-morbid ADNC (n = 30). Sections from these University of Pennsylvania cases were cut from amygdala, anterior cingulate, superior/mid-temporal, and middle frontal gyrus. These sections were stained for phospho-TDP-43 immunohistochemically and evaluated independently by two University of Kentucky neuropathologists blinded to case data. A simple set of criteria hypothesized to differentiate FTLD-TDP from LATE-NC was generated based on density of TDP-43 immunoreactive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions in the neocortical regions. Criteria-based sensitivity and specificity of differentiating severe LATE-NC from FTLD-TDP cases with blind evaluation was ∼90%. Another proposed neuropathological feature related to TDP-43 proteinopathy in aged individuals is 'Alpha' versus 'Beta' in amygdala. Alpha and Beta status was diagnosed by neuropathologists from both universities (n = 5 raters). There was poor inter-rater reliability of Alpha/Beta classification (mean κ = 0.31). We next tested a separate cohort of cases from University of Kentucky with either FTLD-TDP (n = 8) or with relatively 'pure' severe LATE-NC (lacking intermediate or severe ADNC; n = 14). The simple criteria were applied by neuropathologists blinded to the prior diagnoses at University of Pennsylvania. Again, the criteria for differentiating LATE-NC from FTLD-TDP was effective, with sensitivity and specificity ∼90%. If more representative cases from each cohort (including less severe TDP-43 proteinopathy) had been included, the overall accuracy for identifying LATE-NC was estimated at >98% for both cohorts. Also across both cohorts, cases with FTLD-TDP died younger than those with LATE-NC (P < 0.0001). We conclude that in most cases, severe LATE-NC and FTLD-TDP can be differentiated by applying simple neuropathological criteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa219DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7526723PMC
September 2020

Degeneration of the locus coeruleus is a common feature of tauopathies and distinct from TDP-43 proteinopathies in the frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 11 17;140(5):675-693. Epub 2020 Aug 17.

Digital Neuropathology Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Neurodegeneration of the locus coeruleus (LC) in age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) is well documented. However, detailed studies of LC neurodegeneration in the full spectrum of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) proteinopathies comparing tauopathies (FTLD-tau) to TDP-43 proteinopathies (FTLD-TDP) are lacking. Here, we tested the hypothesis that there is greater LC neuropathology and neurodegeneration in FTLD-tau compared to FTLD-TDP. We examined 280 patients including FTLD-tau (n = 94), FTLD-TDP (n = 135), and two reference groups: clinical/pathological AD (n = 32) and healthy controls (HC, n = 19). Adjacent sections of pons tissue containing the LC were immunostained for phosphorylated TDP-43 (1D3-p409/410), hyperphosphorylated tau (PHF-1), and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) to examine neuromelanin-containing noradrenergic neurons. Blinded to clinical and pathologic diagnoses, we semi-quantitatively scored inclusions of tau and TDP-43 both inside LC neuronal somas and in surrounding neuropil. We also digitally measured the percent area occupied of neuromelanin inside of TH-positive LC neurons and in surrounding neuropil to calculate a ratio of extracellular-to-intracellular neuromelanin as an objective composite measure of neurodegeneration. We found that LC tau burden in FTLD-tau was greater than LC TDP-43 burden in FTLD-TDP (z = - 11.38, p < 0.0001). Digital measures of LC neurodegeneration in FTLD-tau were comparable to AD (z = - 1.84, p > 0.05) but greater than FTLD-TDP (z = - 3.85, p < 0.0001) and HC (z = - 4.12, p < 0.0001). Both tau burden and neurodegeneration were consistently elevated in the LC across pathologic and clinical subgroups of FTLD-tau compared to FTLD-TDP subgroups. Moreover, LC tau burden positively correlated with neurodegeneration in the total FTLD group (rho = 0.24, p = 0.001), while TDP-43 burden did not correlate with LC neurodegeneration in FTLD-TDP (rho = - 0.01, p = 0.90). These findings suggest that patterns of disease propagation across all tauopathies include prominent LC tau and neurodegeneration that are relatively distinct from the minimal degenerative changes to the LC in FTLD-TDP and HC. Antemortem detection of LC neurodegeneration and/or function could potentially improve antemortem differentiation of underlying FTLD tauopathies from clinically similar FTLD-TDP proteinopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02210-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7554264PMC
November 2020

Distinct clinicopathologic clusters of persons with TDP-43 proteinopathy.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 11 14;140(5):659-674. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 40536, USA.

To better understand clinical and neuropathological features of TDP-43 proteinopathies, data were analyzed from autopsied research volunteers who were followed in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC) data set. All subjects (n = 495) had autopsy-proven TDP-43 proteinopathy as an inclusion criterion. Subjects underwent comprehensive longitudinal clinical evaluations yearly for 6.9 years before death on average. We tested whether an unsupervised clustering algorithm could detect coherent groups of TDP-43 immunopositive cases based on age at death and extensive neuropathologic data. Although many of the brains had mixed pathologies, four discernible clusters were identified. Key differentiating features were age at death and the severity of comorbid Alzheimer's disease neuropathologic changes (ADNC), particularly neuritic amyloid plaque densities. Cluster 1 contained mostly cases with a pathologic diagnosis of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP), consistent with enrichment of frontotemporal dementia clinical phenotypes including appetite/eating problems, disinhibition and primary progressive aphasia (PPA). Cluster 2 consisted of elderly limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE-NC) subjects without severe neuritic amyloid plaques. Subjects in Cluster 2 had a relatively slow cognitive decline. Subjects in both Clusters 3 and 4 had severe ADNC + LATE-NC; however, Cluster 4 was distinguished by earlier disease onset, swifter disease course, more Lewy body pathology, less neocortical TDP-43 proteinopathy, and a suggestive trend in a subgroup analysis (n = 114) for increased C9orf72 risk SNP rs3849942 T allele (Fisher's exact test p value = 0.095). Overall, clusters enriched with neocortical TDP-43 proteinopathy (Clusters 1 and 2) tended to have lower levels of neuritic amyloid plaques, and those dying older (Clusters 2 and 3) had far less PPA or disinhibition, but more apathy. Indeed, 98% of subjects dying past age 85 years lacked clinical features of the frontotemporal dementia syndrome. Our study revealed discernible subtypes of LATE-NC and underscored the importance of age of death for differentiating FTLD-TDP and LATE-NC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02211-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7572241PMC
November 2020
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