Publications by authors named "John L Robinson"

42 Publications

Distinct microglial response against Alzheimer's amyloid and tau pathologies characterized by P2Y12 receptor.

Brain Commun 2021 29;3(1):fcab011. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Department of Functional Brain Imaging, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Chiba, Japan.

Microglia are the resident phagocytes of the central nervous system, and microglial activation is considered to play an important role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Recent studies with single-cell RNA analysis of CNS cells in Alzheimer's disease and diverse other neurodegenerative conditions revealed that the transition from homeostatic microglia to disease-associated microglia was defined by changes of gene expression levels, including down-regulation of the P2Y12 receptor gene (). However, it is yet to be clarified in Alzheimer's disease brains whether and when this down-regulation occurs in response to amyloid-β and tau depositions, which are core pathological processes in the disease etiology. To further evaluate the significance of P2Y12 receptor alterations in the neurodegenerative pathway of Alzheimer's disease and allied disorders, we generated an anti-P2Y12 receptor antibody and examined P2Y12 receptor expressions in the brains of humans and model mice bearing amyloid-β and tau pathologies. We observed that the brains of both Alzheimer's disease and non-Alzheimer's disease tauopathy patients and tauopathy model mice (rTg4510 and PS19 mouse lines) displayed declined microglial P2Y12 receptor levels in regions enriched with tau inclusions, despite an increase in the total microglial population. Notably, diminution of microglial immunoreactivity with P2Y12 receptor was noticeable prior to massive accumulations of phosphorylated tau aggregates and neurodegeneration in rTg4510 mouse brains, despite a progressive increase of total microglial population. On the other hand, Iba1-positive microglia encompassing compact and dense-cored amyloid-β plaques expressed P2Y12 receptor at varying levels in amyloid precursor protein (APP) mouse models (APP23 and mice). By contrast, neuritic plaques in Alzheimer's disease brains were associated with P2Y12 receptor-negative microglia. These data suggest that the down-regulation of microglia P2Y12 receptor, which is characteristic of disease-associated microglia, is intimately associated with tau rather than amyloid-β pathologies from an early stage and could be a sensitive index for neuroinflammatory responses to Alzheimer's disease-related neurodegenerative processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcab011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7901060PMC
January 2021

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

Brain 2021 Apr;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

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

ADNC-RS, a clinical-genetic risk score, predicts Alzheimer's pathology in autopsy-confirmed Parkinson's disease and Dementia with Lewy bodies.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 10 4;140(4):449-461. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

Departments of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, 3 West Gates, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Growing evidence suggests overlap between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) pathophysiology in a subset of patients. Indeed, 50-80% of autopsy cases with a primary clinicopathological diagnosis of Lewy body disease (LBD)-most commonly manifesting during life as PD-have concomitant amyloid-beta and tau pathology, the defining pathologies of AD. Here we evaluated common genetic variants in genome-wide association with AD as predictors of concomitant AD pathology in the brains of people with a primary clinicopathological diagnosis of PD or Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), diseases both characterized by neuronal Lewy bodies. In the first stage of our study, 127 consecutive autopsy-confirmed cases of PD or DLB from a single center were assessed for AD neuropathological change (ADNC), and these same cases were genotyped at 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) found by genome-wide association study to associate with risk for AD. In these 127 training set individuals, we developed a logistic regression model predicting the presence of ADNC, using backward stepwise regression for model selection and tenfold cross-validation to estimate performance. The best-fit model generated a risk score for ADNC (ADNC-RS) based on age at disease onset and genotype at three SNPs (APOE, BIN1, and SORL1 loci), with an area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) of 0.751 in our training set. In the replication stage of our study, we assessed model performance in a separate test set of the next 81 individuals genotyped in our center. In the test set, the AUC was 0.781, and individuals with ADNC-RS in the top quintile had four-fold increased likelihood of having AD pathology at autopsy compared with those in each of the lowest two quintiles. Finally, in the validation stage of our study, we applied our ADNC-RS model to 70 LBD individuals from 20 Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers (ADRC) whose autopsy and genetic data were available in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC) database. In this validation set, the AUC was 0.754. Thus, in patients with autopsy-confirmed PD or DLB, a simple model incorporating three AD-risk SNPs and age at disease onset substantially enriches for concomitant AD pathology at autopsy, with implications for identifying LBD patients in which targeting amyloid-beta or tau is a therapeutic strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02199-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7864557PMC
October 2020

Defining and predicting transdiagnostic categories of neurodegenerative disease.

Nat Biomed Eng 2020 08 3;4(8):787-800. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

The prevalence of concomitant proteinopathies and heterogeneous clinical symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases hinders the identification of individuals who might be candidates for a particular intervention. Here, by applying an unsupervised clustering algorithm to post-mortem histopathological data from 895 patients with degeneration in the central nervous system, we show that six non-overlapping disease clusters can simultaneously account for tau neurofibrillary tangles, α-synuclein inclusions, neuritic plaques, inclusions of the transcriptional repressor TDP-43, angiopathy, neuron loss and gliosis. We also show that membership to the six transdiagnostic disease clusters, which explains more variance in cognitive phenotypes than can be explained by individual diagnoses, can be accurately predicted from scores of the Mini-Mental Status Exam, protein levels in cerebrospinal fluid, and genotype at the APOE and MAPT loci, via cross-validated multiple logistic regression. This combination of unsupervised and supervised data-driven tools provides a framework that could be used to identify latent disease subtypes in other areas of medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41551-020-0593-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7946378PMC
August 2020

Thorn-shaped astrocytes in the depth of cortical sulci in Western Pacific ALS/Parkinsonism-Dementia complex.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 10 13;140(4):591-593. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), Institute On Aging and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3600 Spruce Street, 3 Maloney Building, Philadelphia, PA, 19104-4283, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02192-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7986993PMC
October 2020

Tau immunophenotypes in chronic traumatic encephalopathy recapitulate those of ageing and Alzheimer's disease.

Brain 2020 05;143(5):1572-1587

Department of Neurosurgery, Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a risk factor for neurodegenerative disease, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Preliminary consensus criteria define the pathognomonic lesion of CTE as patchy tau pathology within neurons and astrocytes at the depths of cortical sulci. However, the specific tau isoform composition and post-translational modifications in CTE remain largely unexplored. Using immunohistochemistry, we performed tau phenotyping of CTE neuropathologies and compared this to a range of tau pathologies, including Alzheimer's disease, primary age-related tauopathy, ageing-related tau astrogliopathy and multiple subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with tau inclusions. Cases satisfying preliminary consensus diagnostic criteria for CTE neuropathological change (CTE-NC) were identified (athletes, n = 10; long-term survivors of moderate or severe TBI, n = 4) from the Glasgow TBI Archive and Penn Neurodegenerative Disease Brain Bank. In addition, material from a range of autopsy-proven ageing-associated and primary tauopathies in which there was no known history of exposure to TBI was selected as non-injured controls (n = 32). Each case was then stained with a panel of tau antibodies specific for phospho-epitopes (PHF1, CP13, AT100, pS262), microtubule-binding repeat domains (3R, 4R), truncation (Tau-C3) or conformation (GT-7, GT-38) and the extent and distribution of staining assessed. Cell types were confirmed with double immunofluorescent labelling. Results demonstrate that astroglial tau pathology in CTE is composed of 4R-immunoreactive thorn-shaped astrocytes, echoing the morphology and immunophenotype of astrocytes encountered in ageing-related tau astrogliopathy. In contrast, neurofibrillary tangles of CTE contain both 3R and 4R tau, with post-translational modifications and conformations consistent with Alzheimer's disease and primary age-related tauopathy. Our observations establish that the astroglial and neurofibrillary tau pathologies of CTE are phenotypically distinct from each other and recapitulate the tau immunophenotypes encountered in ageing and Alzheimer's disease. As such, the immunohistochemical distinction of CTE neuropathology from other mixed 3R/4R tauopathies of Alzheimer's disease and ageing may rest solely on the pattern and distribution of pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa071DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7241956PMC
May 2020

Distribution patterns of tau pathology in progressive supranuclear palsy.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 08 7;140(2):99-119. Epub 2020 May 7.

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Munich, Germany.

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a 4R-tauopathy predominated by subcortical pathology in neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendroglia associated with various clinical phenotypes. In the present international study, we addressed the question of whether or not sequential distribution patterns can be recognized for PSP pathology. We evaluated heat maps and distribution patterns of neuronal, astroglial, and oligodendroglial tau pathologies and their combinations in different clinical subtypes of PSP in postmortem brains. We used conditional probability and logistic regression to model the sequential distribution of tau pathologies across different brain regions. Tau pathology uniformly predominates in the neurons of the pallido-nigro-luysian axis in different clinical subtypes. However, clinical subtypes are distinguished not only by total tau load but rather cell-type (neuronal versus glial) specific vulnerability patterns of brain regions suggesting distinct dynamics or circuit-specific segregation of propagation of tau pathologies. For Richardson syndrome (n = 81) we recognize six sequential steps of involvement of brain regions by the combination of cellular tau pathologies. This is translated to six stages for the practical neuropathological diagnosis by the evaluation of the subthalamic nucleus, globus pallidus, striatum, cerebellum with dentate nucleus, and frontal and occipital cortices. This system can be applied to further clinical subtypes by emphasizing whether they show caudal (cerebellum/dentate nucleus) or rostral (cortical) predominant, or both types of pattern. Defining cell-specific stages of tau pathology helps to identify preclinical or early-stage cases for the better understanding of early pathogenic events, has implications for understanding the clinical subtype-specific dynamics of disease-propagation, and informs tau-neuroimaging on distribution patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02158-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7360645PMC
August 2020

Contribution of mixed pathology to medial temporal lobe atrophy in Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimers Dement 2020 06 22;16(6):843-852. Epub 2020 Apr 22.

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

Introduction: It is unclear how different proteinopathies (tau, transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 [TDP-43], amyloid β [Aβ], and α-synuclein) contribute to atrophy within medial temporal lobe (MTL) subregions in Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Methods: We utilized antemortem structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data to measure MTL substructures and examined the relative contribution of tau, TDP-43, Aβ, and α-synuclein measured in post-mortem tissue from 92 individuals with intermediate to high AD neuropathology. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves were analyzed for each subregion in order to discriminate TDP-43-negative and TDP-43-positive patients.

Results: TDP-43 was strongly associated with anterior MTL regions, whereas tau was relatively more associated with the posterior hippocampus. Among the MTL regions, the anterior hippocampus showed the highest area under the ROC curve (AUC).

Discussion: We found specific contributions of different pathologies on MTL substructure in this population with AD neuropathology. The anterior hippocampus may be a relevant region to detect concomitant TDP-43 pathology in the MTL of patients with AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/alz.12079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7715004PMC
June 2020

Primary Tau Pathology, Not Copathology, Correlates With Clinical Symptoms in PSP and CBD.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2020 03;79(3):296-304

From the Penn Alzheimer's Disease Core Center.

Distinct neuronal and glial tau pathologies define corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Additional Alzheimer disease, TDP-43, and Lewy body copathologies are also common. The interplay of these pathologies with clinical symptoms remains unclear as individuals can present with corticobasal syndrome, frontotemporal dementia, PSP, or atypical Parkinsonism and may have additional secondary impairments. We report clinical, pathological, and genetic interactions in a cohort of CBD and PSP cases. Neurofibrillary tangles and plaques were common. Apolipoprotein E (APOE)ε4 carriers had more plaques while PSP APOEε2 carriers had fewer plaques. TDP-43 copathology was present and age-associated in 14% of PSP, and age-independent in 33% of CBD. Lewy body copathology varied from 9% to 15% and was not age-associated. The primary FTD-Tau burden-a sum of the neuronal, astrocytic and oligodendrocytic tau-was not age-, APOE-, or MAPT-related. In PSP, FTD-Tau, independent of copathology, associated with executive, language, motor, and visuospatial impairments, while PSP with Parkinsonism had a lower FTD-Tau burden, but this was not the case in CBD. Taken together, our results indicate that the primary tauopathy burden is the strongest correlate of clinical PSP, while copathologies are principally determined by age and genetic risk factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlz141DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7036659PMC
March 2020

Characterization of hippocampal subfields using ex vivo MRI and histology data: Lessons for in vivo segmentation.

Hippocampus 2020 06 1;30(6):545-564. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Hippocampal subfield segmentation on in vivo MRI is of great interest for cognition, aging, and disease research. Extant subfield segmentation protocols have been based on neuroanatomical references, but these references often give limited information on anatomical variability. Moreover, there is generally a mismatch between the orientation of the histological sections and the often anisotropic coronal sections on in vivo MRI. To address these issues, we provide a detailed description of hippocampal anatomy using a postmortem dataset containing nine specimens of subjects with and without dementia, which underwent a 9.4 T MRI and histological processing. Postmortem MRI matched the typical orientation of in vivo images and segmentations were generated in MRI space, based on the registered annotated histological sections. We focus on the following topics: the order of appearance of subfields, the location of subfields relative to macroanatomical features, the location of subfields in the uncus and tail and the composition of the dark band, a hypointense layer visible in T2-weighted MRI. Our main findings are that: (a) there is a consistent order of appearance of subfields in the hippocampal head, (b) the composition of subfields is not consistent in the anterior uncus, but more consistent in the posterior uncus, (c) the dark band consists only of the CA-stratum lacunosum moleculare, not the strata moleculare of the dentate gyrus, (d) the subiculum/CA1 border is located at the middle of the width of the hippocampus in the body in coronal plane, but moves in a medial direction from anterior to posterior, and (e) the variable location and composition of subfields in the hippocampal tail can be brought back to a body-like appearance when reslicing the MRI scan following the curvature of the tail. Our findings and this publicly available dataset will hopefully improve anatomical accuracy of future hippocampal subfield segmentation protocols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hipo.23172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7192771PMC
June 2020

Detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD) specific tau pathology with conformation-selective anti-tau monoclonal antibody in co-morbid frontotemporal lobar degeneration-tau (FTLD-tau).

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2019 03 4;7(1):34. Epub 2019 Mar 4.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Institute on Aging and Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, 3600 Spruce St. 3 Maloney, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Pathological tau aggregates in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration-tau (FTLD-tau) adopt distinct conformations differentiated by the AD-tau specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) GT-38 that are not readily visualized using phosphorylation-specific anti-tau mAbs. To determine the extent of co-morbid AD-tau pathology in FTLD-tau, we performed immunohistochemical (IHC) staining with GT-38 and assigned Braak stages of AD-tau in a cohort 180 FTLD-tau cases consisting of corticobasal degeneration (CBD; n = 49), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP; n = 109), and Pick's disease (PiD; n = 22). Nearly two-thirds of patients (n = 115 of 180, 63.8%) with FTLD-tau had some degree of comorbid AD-tau pathology and 20.5% of the FTLD-tau cohort had Braak stage ≥B2, consistent with medium-to-high-level AD neuropathological change (ADNPC). The PSP group had the highest frequency of medium-high AD-tau pathology compared to other tauopathies (PSP = 31/109, 28.4%; Picks = 2/22, 9.1%, CBD = 4/49, 8.2%) but neuropathological diagnosis was not found to be a significant independent predictor of medium-high AD Braak stage in a multivariate model after accounting for age at death (OR = 1.09; 95% CI = 1.03-1.15; p = 0.002) and CERAD plaque scores (OR = 3.75, 95% CI = 1.58-8.89; p = 0.003), suggesting there is no predilection for a specific FTLD tauopathy to develop AD-tau co-pathology after accounting for age. Patients with FTLD-tau who had, clinically significant, medium-high AD-tau pathology had significantly higher antemortem CSF levels of both total-tau (t-tau; mean = 89.98 pg/ml, SD = 36.70 pg/ml) and phosphorylated-tau (p-tau; mean = 20.45 pg/ml, SD = 9.31 pg/ml) compared to patients with negligible-low AD-tau, t-tau (mean = 43.04 pg/ml, SD = 25.40 pg/ml) and p-tau (mean = 11.90 pg/ml, SD = 4.48 pg/ml) (p ≤ 0.001 both). Finally, in an exploratory analysis in our largest pathology group (PSP) we find an association of GT-38 AD-tau Braak stage with lower baseline MMSE (p = 0.03). Together, these finding validate the use of GT-38 to selectively detect AD-tau pathology in the context of FTLD-tau and provides a novel tool to investigate associations of clinical phenotypes amongst co-morbid tauopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-019-0687-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6399892PMC
March 2019

Converging Patterns of α-Synuclein Pathology in Multiple System Atrophy.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2018 11;77(11):1005-1016

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

We aimed to determine patterns of α-synuclein (α-syn) pathology in multiple system atrophy (MSA) using 70-µm-thick sections of 20 regions of the central nervous system of 37 cases with striato-nigral degeneration (SND) and 10 cases with olivo-ponto-cerebellar atrophy (OPCA). In SND cases with the shortest disease duration (phase 1), α-syn pathology was observed in striatum, lentiform nucleus, substantia nigra, brainstem white matter tracts, cerebellar subcortical white matter as well as motor cortex, midfrontal cortex, and sensory cortex. SND with increasing duration of disease (phase 2) was characterized by involvement of spinal cord and thalamus, while phase 3 was characterized by involvement of hippocampus and amygdala. Cases with the longest disease duration (phase 4) showed involvement of the visual cortex. We observed an increasing overlap of α-syn pathology with increasing duration of disease between SND and OPCA, and noted increasingly similar regional distribution patterns of α-syn pathology. The GBA variant, p.Thr408Met, was found to have an allele frequency of 6.94% in SND cases which was significantly higher compared with normal (0%) and other neurodegenerative disease pathologies (0.74%), suggesting that it is associated with MSA. Our findings indicate that SND and OPCA show distinct early foci of α-syn aggregations, but increasingly converge with longer disease duration to show overlapping patterns of α-syn pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nly080DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6181179PMC
November 2018

Non-Alzheimer's contributions to dementia and cognitive resilience in The 90+ Study.

Acta Neuropathol 2018 09 18;136(3):377-388. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

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

The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the oldest-old is complicated by the increasing prevalence of age-related neurofibrillary tangles, plaques and non-AD pathologies such as cerebrovascular disease (CVD), hippocampal sclerosis (HS), aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG), as well as TDP-43 and Lewy pathology. The contribution of these non-AD pathologies to dementia and cognitive resilience is unclear. We assessed the level of AD neuropathologic change (ADNPC) and non-AD pathology in 185 participants enrolled in The 90+ Study with available cognitive assessments and brain tissue. Logistic regression models-adjusting for age, sex and education-determined the association between each pathology and dementia or between subgroups. 53% had dementia, primarily AD or mixed AD; 23% had cognitive impairment without dementia (CIND); 23% were not impaired. Both AD and non-AD pathology was prevalent. 100% had tangles, 81% had plaques, and both tangles and plaques associated with dementia. ARTAG distributed across limbic (70%), brainstem (39%) and cortical regions (24%). 49% had possible CVD and 26% had definite CVD, while HS was noted in 15%. Cortical ARTAG, CVD and HS were each associated with dementia, but limbic and brainstem ARTAGs were not. TDP-43 and Lewy pathologies were found in 36 and 17% and both associated with dementia. No pathology distinguished CIND and the not impaired. By NIA-AA criteria and dementia status, the cohort was subdivided into four groups: those with minimal ADNPC included the not dementia (ND) and Not AD dementia groups; and those with significant ADNPC included the Resilient without dementia and AD dementia groups. Compared to the ND group, the Not AD dementia group had more HS, cortical ARTAG, TDP-43, and Lewy pathology. Compared to the AD dementia group, the Resilient group had less CVD, no HS and less cortical ARTAG, TDP-43 and Lewy pathology. Our findings imply that reductions in non-AD pathologies including CVD contribute to cognitive resilience in the oldest-old.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-018-1872-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6534149PMC
September 2018

Sequential stages and distribution patterns of aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG) in the human brain.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2018 06 11;6(1):50. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), Institute on Aging and Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) at the University of Pennsylvania, HUP Maloney 3rd Floor, 36th and Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104 - 4283, USA.

Aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG) describes tau pathology in astrocytes in different locations and anatomical regions. In the present study we addressed the question of whether sequential distribution patterns can be recognized for ARTAG or astroglial tau pathologies in both primary FTLD-tauopathies and non-FTLD-tauopathy cases. By evaluating 687 postmortem brains with diverse disorders we identified ARTAG in 455. We evaluated frequencies and hierarchical clustering of anatomical involvement and used conditional probability and logistic regression to model the sequential distribution of ARTAG and astroglial tau pathologies across different brain regions. For subpial and white matter ARTAG we recognize three and two patterns, respectively, each with three stages initiated or ending in the amygdala. Subependymal ARTAG does not show a clear sequential pattern. For grey matter (GM) ARTAG we recognize four stages including a striatal pathway of spreading towards the cortex and/or amygdala, and the brainstem, and an amygdala pathway, which precedes the involvement of the striatum and/or cortex and proceeds towards the brainstem. GM ARTAG and astrocytic plaque pathology in corticobasal degeneration follows a predominantly frontal-parietal cortical to temporal-occipital cortical, to subcortical, to brainstem pathway (four stages). GM ARTAG and tufted astrocyte pathology in progressive supranuclear palsy shows a striatum to frontal-parietal cortical to temporal to occipital, to amygdala, and to brainstem sequence (four stages). In Pick's disease cases with astroglial tau pathology an overlapping pattern with PSP can be appreciated. We conclude that tau-astrogliopathy type-specific sequential patterns cannot be simplified as neuron-based staging systems. The proposed cytopathological and hierarchical stages provide a conceptual approach to identify the initial steps of the pathogenesis of tau pathologies in ARTAG and primary FTLD-tauopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-018-0552-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5996526PMC
June 2018

Neurodegenerative disease concomitant proteinopathies are prevalent, age-related and APOE4-associated.

Brain 2018 07;141(7):2181-2193

Penn Alzheimer's Disease Core Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Lewy bodies commonly occur in Alzheimer's disease, and Alzheimer's disease pathology is frequent in Lewy body diseases, but the burden of co-pathologies across neurodegenerative diseases is unknown. We assessed the extent of tau, amyloid-β, α-synuclein and TDP-43 proteinopathies in 766 autopsied individuals representing a broad spectrum of clinical neurodegenerative disease. We interrogated pathological Alzheimer's disease (n = 247); other tauopathies (n = 95) including Pick's disease, corticobasal disease and progressive supranuclear palsy; the synucleinopathies (n = 164) including multiple system atrophy and Lewy body disease; the TDP-43 proteinopathies (n = 188) including frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; and a minimal pathology group (n = 72). Each group was divided into subgroups without or with co-pathologies. Age and sex matched logistic regression models compared co-pathology prevalence between groups. Co-pathology prevalence was similar between the minimal pathology group and most neurodegenerative diseases for each proteinopathy: tau was nearly universal (92-100%), amyloid-β common (20-57%); α-synuclein less common (4-16%); and TDP-43 the rarest (0-16%). In several neurodegenerative diseases, co-pathology increased: in Alzheimer's disease, α-synuclein (41-55%) and TDP-43 (33-40%) increased; in progressive supranuclear palsy, α-synuclein increased (22%); in corticobasal disease, TDP-43 increased (24%); and in neocortical Lewy body disease, amyloid-β (80%) and TDP-43 (22%) increased. Total co-pathology prevalence varied across groups (27-68%), and was increased in high Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and neocortical Lewy body disease (70-81%). Increased age at death was observed in the minimal pathology group, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple system atrophy cases with co-pathologies. In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neocortical Lewy body disease, co-pathologies associated with APOE ɛ4. Lewy body disease cases with Alzheimer's disease co-pathology had substantially lower Mini-Mental State Examination scores than pure Lewy body disease. Our data imply that increased age and APOE ɛ4 status are risk factors for co-pathologies independent of neurodegenerative disease; that neurodegenerative disease severity influences co-pathology as evidenced by the prevalence of co-pathology in high Alzheimer's disease and neocortical Lewy body disease, but not intermediate Alzheimer's disease or limbic Lewy body disease; and that tau and α-synuclein strains may also modify co-pathologies since tauopathies and synucleinopathies had differing co-pathologies and burdens. These findings have implications for clinical trials that focus on monotherapies targeting tau, amyloid-β, α-synuclein and TDP-43.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awy146DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6022546PMC
July 2018

Cellular milieu imparts distinct pathological α-synuclein strains in α-synucleinopathies.

Nature 2018 05 9;557(7706):558-563. Epub 2018 May 9.

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Institute on Aging and Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

In Lewy body diseases-including Parkinson's disease, without or with dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and Alzheimer's disease with Lewy body co-pathology -α-synuclein (α-Syn) aggregates in neurons as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites . By contrast, in multiple system atrophy α-Syn accumulates mainly in oligodendrocytes as glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCIs) . Here we report that pathological α-Syn in GCIs and Lewy bodies (GCI-α-Syn and LB-α-Syn, respectively) is conformationally and biologically distinct. GCI-α-Syn forms structures that are more compact and it is about 1,000-fold more potent than LB-α-Syn in seeding α-Syn aggregation, consistent with the highly aggressive nature of multiple system atrophy. GCI-α-Syn and LB-α-Syn show no cell-type preference in seeding α-Syn pathology, which raises the question of why they demonstrate different cell-type distributions in Lewy body disease versus multiple system atrophy. We found that oligodendrocytes but not neurons transform misfolded α-Syn into a GCI-like strain, highlighting the fact that distinct α-Syn strains are generated by different intracellular milieus. Moreover, GCI-α-Syn maintains its high seeding activity when propagated in neurons. Thus, α-Syn strains are determined by both misfolded seeds and intracellular environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0104-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5970994PMC
May 2018

Characterizing the human hippocampus in aging and Alzheimer's disease using a computational atlas derived from ex vivo MRI and histology.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 04 28;115(16):4252-4257. Epub 2018 Mar 28.

Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Although the hippocampus is one of the most studied structures in the human brain, limited quantitative data exist on its 3D organization, anatomical variability, and effects of disease on its subregions. Histological studies provide restricted reference information due to their 2D nature. In this paper, high-resolution (∼200 × 200 × 200 μm) ex vivo MRI scans of 31 human hippocampal specimens are combined using a groupwise diffeomorphic registration approach into a 3D probabilistic atlas that captures average anatomy and anatomic variability of hippocampal subfields. Serial histological imaging in 9 of the 31 specimens was used to label hippocampal subfields in the atlas based on cytoarchitecture. Specimens were obtained from autopsies in patients with a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD; 9 subjects, 13 hemispheres), of other dementia (nine subjects, nine hemispheres), and in subjects without dementia (seven subjects, nine hemispheres), and morphometric analysis was performed in atlas space to measure effects of age and AD on hippocampal subfields. Disproportional involvement of the cornu ammonis (CA) 1 subfield and stratum radiatum lacunosum moleculare was found in AD, with lesser involvement of the dentate gyrus and CA2/3 subfields. An association with age was found for the dentate gyrus and, to a lesser extent, for CA1. Three-dimensional patterns of variability and disease and aging effects discovered via the ex vivo hippocampus atlas provide information highly relevant to the active field of in vivo hippocampal subfield imaging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1801093115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5910869PMC
April 2018

Neuron loss and degeneration in the progression of TDP-43 in frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2017 09 6;5(1):68. Epub 2017 Sep 6.

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research and Institute on Aging, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP) is associated with the accumulation of pathological neuronal and glial intracytoplasmic inclusions as well as accompanying neuron loss. We explored if cortical neurons detected by NeuN decreased with increasing TDP-43 inclusion pathology in the postmortem brains of 63 patients with sporadic and familial FTLD-TDP. Semi-automated quantitative algorithms to quantify histology in tissue sections stained with antibodies specific for pathological or phosphorylated TDP-43 (pTDP-43) and NeuN were developed and validated in affected (cerebral cortex) and minimally affected (cerebellar cortex) brain regions of FTLD-TDP cases. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) for NeuN and other neuronal markers found numerous neurons lacking reactivity, suggesting NeuN may reflect neuron health rather than neuron loss in FTLD. We found three patterns of NeuN and pTDP-43 reactivity in our sample of cortical tissue representing three intracortical region-specific stages of FTLD-TDP progression: Group 1 showed low levels of pathological pTDP-43 and high levels NeuN, while Group 2 showed increased levels of pTDP-43, and Group 3 tissues were characterized by reduced staining for both pTDP-43 and NeuN. Comparison of non-C9orf72/GRN FTLD-TDP with cases linked to both GRN mutations and C9orf72 expansions showed a significantly increased frequency of Group 3 histopathology in the latter cases, suggesting more advanced cortical disease. Hence, we propose that IHC profiles of pTDP-43 and NeuN reflect the burden of pTDP-43 and its deleterious effects on neuron health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-017-0471-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5586052PMC
September 2017

TDP-43 Depletion in Microglia Promotes Amyloid Clearance but Also Induces Synapse Loss.

Neuron 2017 Jul 29;95(2):297-308.e6. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

Systems and Cell Biology of Neurodegeneration, IREM, University of Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Microglia coordinate various functions in the central nervous system ranging from removing synaptic connections, to maintaining brain homeostasis by monitoring neuronal function, and clearing protein aggregates across the lifespan. Here we investigated whether increased microglial phagocytic activity that clears amyloid can also cause pathological synapse loss. We identified TDP-43, a DNA-RNA binding protein encoded by the Tardbp gene, as a strong regulator of microglial phagocytosis. Mice lacking TDP-43 in microglia exhibit reduced amyloid load in a model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) but at the same time display drastic synapse loss, even in the absence of amyloid. Clinical examination from TDP-43 pathology cases reveal a considerably reduced prevalence of AD and decreased amyloid pathology compared to age-matched healthy controls, confirming our experimental results. Overall, our data suggest that dysfunctional microglia might play a causative role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, critically modulating the early stages of cognitive decline.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2017.05.037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5519492PMC
July 2017

Multisite Assessment of Aging-Related Tau Astrogliopathy (ARTAG).

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2017 Jul;76(7):605-619

Institute of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Institute on Aging and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; and Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology; and Department of Neurosurgery, Center for Brain Injury and Repair, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary; Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern ADC Neuropathology Core, Chicago, Illinois; Clinical Neuropathology, King's College Hospital and London Neurodegenerative Brain Bank, London, UK; Institute of Neuropathology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; University of California San Francisco, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, San Francisco, California; Neuropathology Department, Hôpital de La Salpetrière, AP-HP, UPMC-Sorbonne-University, Paris, France; Institute of Neuropathology, Bellvitge University Hospital, University of Barcelona, CIBERNED, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; Discipline of Pathology, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Neurological Tissue Bank of the Biobank-Hospital Clinic-IDIBAPS, Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques Pi i, Barcelona, Spain; Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK; IRCCS Foundation "Carlo Besta" Neurological Institute, Milan, Italy; Memory and Aging Center, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, California; Department of Pathology, University of Sao Paulo Medical School, LIM, São Paulo, Brazil; Brain & Mind Centre, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, and UNSW Medicine & NeuRA, Sydney, Australia; Department of Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas; Fishberg Department of Neuroscience, Friedman Brain Institute, and Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer's Disease, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York; Department of Neuropathology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK; Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry, University Hospitals and University of Geneva School of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland; Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Bristol, Learning & Research Level 2, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Thomayer Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Pathology, First Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Anatomical Pathology, Alfred Hospital , Prahran, Victoria, Australia; Division of Pathology, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Pathology and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky; Physiopathology in Aging Lab/Brazilian Aging Brain Study Group-LIM22, University of Sao Paulo Medical School, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology Unit, Department of Neurology, University of São Paulo , São Paulo, Brazil; Netherlands Brainbank, Amsterdam and Department of Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Neurology and Neurobiology of Aging, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kanazawa, Japan; Institute of Neuroanatomy, Centre for Biomedicine and Medical Technology Mannheim, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany; Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases and Gerontopsychiatry at the University of Bonn Medical Center, Bonn, Germany; Department of Pathology, Brain Research Institute, Niigata University, Niigata, Japan; Department of Neurology, Saitama Medical University International Medical Center, Saitama, Japan; Department of Neuroscience, Katholieke Universiteit-Leuven; and Department of Pathology, Universitaire Ziekenhuizen-Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Laboratory of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology and Neuropathology, Kepler University Hospital, Medical School, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria; Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK; and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Aging-related tau astrogliopathy (ARTAG) is a recently introduced terminology. To facilitate the consistent identification of ARTAG and to distinguish it from astroglial tau pathologies observed in the primary frontotemporal lobar degeneration tauopathies we evaluated how consistently neuropathologists recognize (1) different astroglial tau immunoreactivities, including those of ARTAG and those associated with primary tauopathies (Study 1); (2) ARTAG types (Study 2A); and (3) ARTAG severity (Study 2B). Microphotographs and scanned sections immunostained for phosphorylated tau (AT8) were made available for download and preview. Percentage of agreement and kappa values with 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated for each evaluation. The overall agreement for Study 1 was >60% with a kappa value of 0.55 (95% CI 0.433-0.645). Moderate agreement (>90%, kappa 0.48, 95% CI 0.457-0.900) was reached in Study 2A for the identification of ARTAG pathology for each ARTAG subtype (kappa 0.37-0.72), whereas fair agreement (kappa 0.40, 95% CI 0.341-0.445) was reached for the evaluation of ARTAG severity. The overall assessment of ARTAG showed moderate agreement (kappa 0.60, 95% CI 0.534-0.653) among raters. Our study supports the application of the current harmonized evaluation strategy for ARTAG with a slight modification of the evaluation of its severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlx041DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6251511PMC
July 2017

Evaluating the Patterns of Aging-Related Tau Astrogliopathy Unravels Novel Insights Into Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2017 04;76(4):270-288

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Institute on Aging and Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

The term "aging-related tau astrogliopathy" (ARTAG) describes pathological accumulation of abnormally phosphorylated tau protein in astrocytes. We evaluated the correlates of ARTAG types (i.e., subpial, subependymal, white and gray matter, and perivascular) in different neuroanatomical regions. Clinical, neuropathological, and genetic (eg, APOE ε4 allele, MAPT H1/H2 haplotype) data from 628 postmortem brains from subjects were investigated; most of the patients had been longitudinally followed at the University of Pennsylvania. We found that (i) the amygdala is a hotspot for all ARTAG types; (ii) age at death, male sex, and presence of primary frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) tauopathy are significantly associated with ARTAG; (iii) age at death, greater degree of brain atrophy, ventricular enlargement, and Alzheimer disease (AD)-related variables are associated with subpial, white matter, and perivascular ARTAG types; (iv) AD-related variables are associated particularly with lobar white matter ARTAG; and (v) gray matter ARTAG in primary FTLD-tauopathies appears in areas without neuronal tau pathology. We provide a reference map of ARTAG types and propose at least 5 constellations of ARTAG. Furthermore, we propose a conceptual link between primary FTLD-tauopathy and ARTAG-related astrocytic tau pathologies. Our observations serve as a basis for etiological stratification and definition of progression patterns of ARTAG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlx007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6251691PMC
April 2017

A framework for informing segmentation of in vivo MRI with information derived from ex vivo imaging: Application in the medial temporal lobe.

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2016 Aug;2016:6014-6017

Automatic segmentation of cortical and subcortical structures is commonplace in brain MRI literature and is frequently used as the first step towards quantitative analysis of structural and functional neuroimaging. Most approaches to brain structure segmentation are based on propagation of anatomical information from example MRI datasets, called atlases or templates, that are manually labeled by experts. The accuracy of automatic segmentation is usually validated against the "bronze" standard of manual segmentation of test MRI datasets. However, good performance vis-a-vis manual segmentation does not imply accuracy relative to the underlying true anatomical boundaries. In the context of segmentation of hippocampal subfields and functionally related medial temporal lobe cortical subregions, we explore the challenges associated with validating existing automatic segmentation techniques against underlying histologically-derived anatomical "gold" standard; and, further, developing automatic in vivo MRI segmentation techniques informed by histological imaging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2016.7592099DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5603287PMC
August 2016

Tauopathy with hippocampal 4-repeat tau immunoreactive spherical inclusions: a report of three cases.

Brain Pathol 2018 03 19;28(2):274-283. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Institute on Aging and Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

Tauopathies are a major group of neurodegenerative proteinopathies characterized by the accumulation of abnormal and hyperphosphorylated tau proteins in the brain. Tau pathology is characterized as 3R (repeat) or 4R predominant or mixed 3R and 4R type. Here we report three cases lacking mutations in the microtubule associated protein tau (MAPT) gene with unusual tau pathology. The age at onset and duration of illness, respectively, were 63 and 20 years (male), 67 and 5 years (female) and 72 and 20 years (female). The clinical presentation was compatible with a diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) in two subjects and with cognitive decline in all three subjects. Common neuropathological features included neuronal loss in the hippocampus and dentate gyrus associated with spherical basophilic Pick body-like inclusions showing 4R tau immunoreactivity, which was supported by the detection of predominantly 4R tau species by Western blot examination. In addition, accumulation of tau immunoreactive argyrophilic astrocytes in the hippocampus and amygdala and oligodendroglial coiled bodies in the hippocampal white matter were observed. These morphologies appeared in combination with Alzheimer disease-related pathology and subcortical tau pathology compatible with PSP. Together with a single case report in the literature, our observations on these three cases expand the spectrum of previously described tauopathies. We suggest that this tauopathy variant with hippocampal 4R tau immunoreactive spherical inclusions might contribute to the cognitive deficits in the patients reported here. The precise definition of the clinicopathological relevance of these unusual tau pathologies merits further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bpa.12482DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5484758PMC
March 2018

Intralesional rose bengal in melanoma elicits tumor immunity via activation of dendritic cells by the release of high mobility group box 1.

Oncotarget 2016 Jun;7(25):37893-37905

Department of Immunology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA.

Intralesional (IL) therapy is under investigation to treat dermal and subcutaneous metastatic cancer. Rose bengal (RB) is a staining agent that was originally used by ophthalmologists and in liver function studies. IL injection of RB has been shown to induce regression of injected and uninjected tumors in murine models and clinical trials. In this study, we have shown a mechanism of tumor-specific immune response induced by IL RB. In melanoma-bearing mice, IL RB induced regression of injected tumor and inhibited the growth of bystander lesions mediated by CD8+ T cells. IL RB resulted in necrosis of tumor cells and the release of High Mobility Group Box 1 (HMGB1), with increased dendritic cell (DC) infiltration into draining lymph nodes and the activation of tumor-specific T cells. Treatment of DC with tumor supernatants increased the ability of DCs to stimulate T cell proliferation, and blockade of HMGB1 in the supernatants suppressed DC activity. Additionally, increased HMGB1 levels were measured in the sera of melanoma patients treated with IL RB. These results support the role of IL RB to activate dendritic cells at the site of tumor necrosis for the induction of a systemic anti-tumor immune response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9247DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5122358PMC
June 2016

Common neuropathological features underlie distinct clinical presentations in three siblings with hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids caused by CSF1R p.Arg782His.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2015 Jul 4;3:42. Epub 2015 Jul 4.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 3600 Spruce Street, 19104, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids (HDLS) presents with a variety of clinical phenotypes including motor impairments such as gait dysfunction, rigidity, tremor and bradykinesia as well as cognitive deficits including personality changes and dementia. In recent years, colony stimulating factor 1 receptor gene (CSF1R) has been identified as the primary genetic cause of HDLS. We describe the clinical and neuropathological features in three siblings with HDLS and the CSF1R p.Arg782His (c.2345G > A) pathogenic mutation. Each case had varied motor symptoms and clinical features, but all included slowed movements, poor balance, memory impairment and frontal deficits. Neuroimaging with magnetic resonance imaging revealed atrophy and increased signal in the deep white matter. Abundant white matter spheroids and CD68-positive macrophages were the predominant pathologies in these cases. Similar to other cases reported in the literature, the three cases described here had varied clinical phenotypes with a pronounced, but heterogeneous distribution of axonal spheroids and distinct microglia morphology. Our findings underscore the critical importance of genetic testing for establishing a clinical and pathological diagnosis of HDLS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-015-0219-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4491242PMC
July 2015

Erratum to: Sequential distribution of pTDP-43 pathology in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).

Acta Neuropathol 2015 Jun;129(6):929

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 3rd Floor Maloney Building, 3600 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA,

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-015-1428-xDOI Listing
June 2015

Perforant path synaptic loss correlates with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease in the oldest-old.

Brain 2014 Sep 9;137(Pt 9):2578-87. Epub 2014 Jul 9.

1 Centre for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Institute on Aging and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Alzheimer's disease, which is defined pathologically by abundant amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles concurrent with synaptic and neuronal loss, is the most common underlying cause of dementia in the elderly. Among the oldest-old, those aged 90 and older, other ageing-related brain pathologies are prevalent in addition to Alzheimer's disease, including cerebrovascular disease and hippocampal sclerosis. Although definite Alzheimer's disease pathology can distinguish dementia from normal individuals, the pathologies underlying cognitive impairment, especially in the oldest-old, remain poorly understood. We therefore conducted studies to determine the relative contributions of Alzheimer's disease pathology, cerebrovascular disease, hippocampal sclerosis and the altered expression of three synaptic proteins to cognitive status and global cognitive function. Relative immunohistochemistry intensity measures were obtained for synaptophysin, Synaptic vesicle transporter Sv2 (now known as SV2A) and Vesicular glutamate transporter 1 in the outer molecular layer of the hippocampal dentate gyrus on the first 157 participants of 'The 90+ Study' who came to autopsy, including participants with dementia (n = 84), those with cognitive impairment but no dementia (n = 37) and those with normal cognition (n = 36). Thal phase, Braak stage, cerebrovascular disease, hippocampal sclerosis and Pathological 43-kDa transactive response sequence DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) were also analysed. All measures were obtained blind to cognitive diagnosis. Global cognition was tested by the Mini-Mental State Examinaton. Logistic regression analysis explored the association between the pathological measures and the odds of being in the different cognitive groups whereas multiple regression analyses explored the association between pathological measures and global cognition scores. No measure clearly distinguished the control and cognitive impairment groups. Comparing the cognitive impairment and dementia groups, synaptophysin and SV2 were reduced, whereas Braak stage, TDP-43 and hippocampal sclerosis frequency increased. Thal phase and VGLUT1 did not distinguish the cognitive impairment and dementia groups. All measures distinguished the dementia and control groups and all markers associated with the cognitive test scores. When all markers were analysed simultaneously, a reduction in synaptophysin, a high Braak stage and the presence of TDP-43 and hippocampal sclerosis associated with global cognitive function. These findings suggest that tangle pathology, hippocampal sclerosis, TDP-43 and perforant pathway synaptic loss are the major contributors to dementia in the oldest-old. Although an increase in plaque pathology and glutamatergic synaptic loss may be early events associated with cognitive impairment, we conclude that those with cognitive impairment, but no dementia, are indistinguishable from cognitively normal subjects based on the measures reported here.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awu190DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4132652PMC
September 2014

TDP-43 pathology and neuronal loss in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis spinal cord.

Acta Neuropathol 2014 Sep 12;128(3):423-37. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3rd Floor Maloney Building, 3600 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA,

We examined the phosphorylated 43-kDa TAR DNA-binding protein (pTDP-43) inclusions as well as neuronal loss in full-length spinal cords and five selected regions of the central nervous system from 36 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and 10 age-matched normal controls. The most severe neuronal loss and pTDP-43 lesions were seen in lamina IX motor nuclei columns 4, 6, and 8 of lower cervical segments and in columns 9-11 of lumbosacral segments. Severity of pTDP-43 pathology and neuronal loss correlated closely with gray and white matter oligodendroglial involvement and was linked to onset of disease, with severe involvement of columns 4, 6, and 8 of upper extremity onset cases and severe involvement of columns of 9, 10, and 11 in cases with lower extremity onset. Severe TDP-43 lesions and neuronal loss were observed in stage 4 cases and sometimes included Onuf's nucleus. Notably, three cases displayed pTDP-43 aggregates in the midbrain oculomotor nucleus, which we had not seen previously even in cases with advanced (i.e., stage 4) pathology. pTDP-43 aggregates were observed in neurons of Clarke's column in 30.6 % of cases but rarely in the intermediolateral nucleus (IML). Gray matter oligodendroglial pTDP-43 inclusions were present in areas devoid of neuronal pTDP-43 aggregates and neuronal loss. Taken together, our findings indicate that (1) the dorsolateral motor nuclei columns of the cervical and lumbosacral anterior horn may be the earliest foci of pTDP-43 pathology in the spinal cord, (2) gray matter oligodendroglial involvement is an early event in the ALS disease process that possibly heralds subsequent involvement of neurons by pTDP-43 pathology, and (3) in some very advanced cases, there is oculomotor nucleus involvement, which may constitute an additional neuropathological stage (designated here as stage 5) of pTDP-43 pathology in ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-014-1299-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4384652PMC
September 2014